August 1, 2006

Annotation and teaching

All this Web 2.0 stuff has gotten to my head. A friend of mine has convinced me that trying to use the collaborative concept-map software CMAP would be a mistake in a masters class (which I reluctantly agreed was probable), even though I'm fairly certain there's a reasonable application, if not in my classes. Then there's the class of edit-in-place applications (examples 1, 2, 3, and 4), which look to be fairly simple tools that are halfway between web annotation and wikidom and might fit well in a teaching environment.

The problem I've discovered with wikis is that they can be too flexible, to the point where I've had former students who merrily created pages with no links to their team, and these orphan pages then became problems. And web annotation typically is browser-specific and relies on a third-party server to link a class's annotations and bookmarks, and relying on a third-party server is never a wise thing with a time-limited class (I know from experience). But a section of a page that is edit-in-place (like Flickr's titles and captions) could serve as an annotation space. And, if it works with multiple browsers, it's fairly simple to explain to students, Go to this page. Click on this paragraph and add to it. Now, if only there were versioning...

In other teaching news, I've been having fun putting together another directed reading (which puts me in the position of having to read several new books, always a good thing) and figuring out which hot-button issues I put in my online class this fall.

Oh, and my thanks to profgrrrrl for recommending Brookfield and Preskill's Discussion as a Way of Teaching (2nd ed., 2005). Some useful tips, and I haven't delved into the college teaching-methods literature for a few years.

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Posted in Teaching on August 1, 2006 11:40 PM |