I am finding this whole hybrid course development exercise to be both exciting and daunting! I think in my mind, I was (incorrectly) thinking that I basically had all my material “ready to go”, it just needed to be uploaded into Blackboard (whoops…Pitfall #1). So now I am re-conceptualizing everything from an “instructor-driven” model to a more “student-driven” model, attempting to avoid pitfalls #3, 4, & 5. To compound things, I finally mastered the online management system, Moodle, and now I feel upside-down trying to learn Blackboard this summer! I guess now I know what my students might go through when trying to navigate BB…I will understand their pain!
I absolutely love the idea of using Blogs to get students thinking and responding, and Wikis to get them to collaborate on a product that produces something tangible. The one thing I don’t like about Discussion Boards is that they seem to me to be pretty cumbersome, with excellent thoughts embedded way down in the tree somewhere, only to be found if you really go digging for them. The Blog format puts it all out there up front. In a class of 25 or so, I think this format may work even better than discussion boards but we’ll see. I still need to investigate how easy (or difficult) it is to grade/assign points using each format. I think students are very used to reading blog-style content and posting their thoughts or reading what others had to say. I find it is often much more entertaining and thought provoking to read what others had to say than it is to read the original content!
I plan to use Blogs to get students thinking about and responding online to somewhat controversial topics (e.g. Who is responsible for the child obesity epidemic?). I do this in lecture now so I think the transition should work well from the discussion standpoint. I think this may even be better than F2F for the quiet students though…everyone seems to be able to voice an opinion online, but only a select few seem to want to voice their opinion in class.
This is another interesting tool I just found:
Along the same vein, I plan to use Wikis for small group work and maybe even for a “whole-class” activity, where students use a collective approach to develop and refine a document or publishable product. For others who have said they are in love with Google Docs, wikis might be an easy BB tool that accomplishes the same goal! This is all very exciting…