Meaningful Meanderings

Chris Mark's Blogfolio

Final Thought on IT 780 May 1, 2010

I can’t believe the semester is over.  So much has happened in the last few months.  IT 780 was a very good experience for me both personally and professionally.  Personally it was a valuable experience that I will not forget.  The opportunity to meet so many other people with a similar interest in technology and teaching was wonderful.  I had the opportunity to socialize with some of the other students in my class.  We went out to dinner which proved to be a great opportunity to get to know each other and our interests in education.  I also had the opportunity to attend and present at two conferences during the semester where some of my fellow students were also attending.  This was a great opportunity to further get to know them and we supported each other in what we were doing. 

This class also helped me professionally by introducing me to so many great Web 2.0 tools.  By learning the advantages of this technology and its uses for education and learning I was able to integrate these tools into my classes immediately.  I am using a Wiki in my Human Resource Management class.  We have discussion of cases, communication, etc.  I also incorporated the social network Ning into a new class I am teaching, Introduction to Business.  The Ning is a wonderful tool that has allowed my class to have discussions, work together in groups and stay connected.  The class also helped me professionally as far as developing new ways to communicate and stay connected.  For instance, this blog contains a great variety of information that I can share with my colleagues and students.  I intend to continue adding things to my blog for a long time to come.  The class also allowed me to see many different tools and techniques that I never knew existed.  The only problem is there is not enough time in the day to check out all that is available. 

I am sure this will end up being one of the classes that I look back at and say I learned a lot and am actually using and applying what I learned to be a better teacher!!!


Ning – Another Social Networking Site (for Now) April 17, 2010

Filed under: Ning,online teaching,Social Network,Teaching with Technology — Christine Mark @ 7:07 pm
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For my class, IT 780 at the University of Southern Mississippi I was required to create a social network using Ning as the platform. I had some experience in being a Ning user before I created my own Ning network. My IT 780 class is using a Ning network. I also belong to a professional organization, NBEA (National Business Education Association) which has a Ning network.

For my assignment I decided to create a Ning network I could use in my class that started on March 22nd, Introduction to Business. It is a face-to-face class and I need a place for out-of-class discussion and communication. The social network is very easy to create. There are many templates to choose from and I think I tried them all before choosing the one I am using. It was quite easy to arrange the layout by clicking and dragging content place holders from one side to the other. Ning allows for as many text and descriptive boxes as needed which was nice because I could put the information about the class as well as an area where students could link to my website where they could get course materials such as PowerPoint presentations. I set up several items on the Forum including a request for each student to write a bio and forum for discussion questions. I then invited the class to participate and the results were surprising. I had students posting their bios, albums of photos and friending each other even before the class started. Since they are mostly Freshmen I was surprised how eagerly they adapted to the Ning. The NIng network has been extremely easy to maintain and add more content as the need arises. It has definitely been an asset to my teaching this class.

The bad news is yesterday the new President of Ning announced there will no longer be any free accounts on Ning. Their new strategy is to concentrate on their premium customers so all free accounts will be asked to pay or to transition from Ning. I think Ning is such a great tool for educators and I would hope he would allow free education accounts but that is not clear as of today. Meanwhile I know I will continue using NIng as the students like it and it is a great way to communicate. Follow the link below for an update on Ning.