Meaningful Meanderings

Chris Mark's Blogfolio

Final Refelections on IT 860… July 23, 2010

I can’t believe the semester is coming to an end.  It went very fast, I think due to the magnitude and variety of things learned.  I think the course was designed very well with maximum exposure to Web 2.0 tools.  In addition to the tools that projects were completed for, the exposure to a new social network, Mixxt was also valuable.  Since Ning began charging this month, the class social network was changed.  I like Ning better, but  Mixxt proved to be good, free alternative. 

I liked the assignments dealing with the Web 2.0 tools the best and getting the hands-on exposure.  I was disappointed when ScreenToaster became unavailable, but I think it just went to show that there are many other choices and one has to remain flexible.  My favorite project was Second Life which probably comes as no surprise to anyone.  I have been a resident of SL for over two years and enjoy its many features.  It is a great tool for teaching and learning and I hope to be able to teach a complete class in this virtual world someday. 

I also appreciated the interaction between class members as well as with our instructors, Drs. Yuen and Mark.  I think they both did a great job making this class not just another online class, but one that felt inclusive and had a sense of community.  Most online classes are so cold, impersonal and one-dimensional.  It was fun meeting for training as a class in Second Life and seeing everyone’s avatars.  It truly did feel like we were meeting in person in a classroom. 

The class did make me realize how many great, useful Web 2.0 tools are available for free.  The problem is trying to determine which ones are useful and then how to integrate them into teaching.  This class really helped me sort this out.  I am going to try to use Twitter and Voice Thread in my classes during the upcoming year.  I have already integrated and used a personally designed Website, YouTube videos, Wikis and social networks (Ning) and the students were very receptive.  I am always looking for ways to improve my course content and increase student engagement and courses such as IT 860 definitely help!!!


The Wacky, Wacky World of Wikis April 17, 2010

An assignment for IT 780 (Seminar in Instructional Technology) was to create a group of 2-3 classmates and put together a wiki.  I have created a few wikis in the past so this was not a daunting task. 

Watch the below video, Wikis in Plain English from Commoncraft.  (This is one of my all time favorite videos.)

I joined two other IT 780 students, Donna Parker and Madelon Gruich.  We decided to create a wiki about places to visit in San Diego since Donna and I were going to attend the NBEA (National Business Education Association) conference which was held this year in San Diego.   Donna and Madelon created the wiki together using the free wiki software, Wet Paint and then invited me to participate.  They created some of the main categories such as Area Attractions, Sports, Dining, Night Life, Lodging and Transportation.  I then created a main category for Shopping (my favorite activity). 

Putting information into the wiki and creating new pages was fun and easy.  I came up with several types of shopping experiences to explore including, mall shopping, boutique shopping, outlet shopping and shopping in Mexico.  I added pictures of the various shopping facilities and the things one could purchase.  I also included a video about the adventure of shopping in Tijuana, Mexico.  Adding these things was also quite easy. 

 I use a wiki to assist in teaching my face-to-face classes as well.  I mainly use the wiki as an alternative to Blackboard since my students would have  to pay if I had decided to use the Blackboard learning management system.  I use the wiki to have class discussion and analyze cases for management classes.  I also use it to communicate and post class materials.    It was not until I completed the Destination San Diego wiki that I realized the true power of the wiki is in collaboration.  It allows many different people to modify and add content.  This only makes it better the more people who contribute and come up with innovative ideas and content.  For example, in the Destination San Diego wiki I contributed information and pictures of the great trolley system after being in San Diego and riding the trolley.  It was a great deal for $5.00 all day and the route was expansive.  The wiki allowed me to add this valuable information.  I also had the opportunity to add some content and photos from my trip to the San Diego Zoo after someone else had created the page for the zoo.  The power of a wiki is most evident from looking at Wikipedia, the largest wiki in the world.  Such a wealth of information on every subject imaginable continues to expanded and improved every day. 

 Click the link below to visit our wiki, Destination San Diego.  Add something if you would like, after all that is the idea of the wiki!!!

Destination San Diego Wiki