Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Bottom-Line: Worthwhile Tools and Techniques for Online Instructors

Kathleen Ives, Sloan Consortium, Massachusetts

Shari McCurdy Smith, University of Illinois- Springfield














What Worked

  1. Time-Saving Products to Create Macros for 'Frequently-Repeated' Comments for Grading
  2. Tablet PCs
  3. Creating Student FAQs
  4. Using Voice in the Online Classroom
  5. Groups in the Online Classroom
  6. Software Promoting Group Collaboration
  7. Discussion Board Strategies
  8. APA Resources
  9. Utilizing the CMS Layout For Maximum Efficiency
  10. Ancillary Applications
  11. Blogs and Other Interaction-Type (Non-Discussion Board) Applications
  12. Grading Strategies
  13. Group Work Strategies
  1. Collaboration Tools
  2. Student Workload Management Strategies
  3. Partnerships

What didn't work

1. Asynchronous for f2f

2. Separating online and on campus instructional tools

3. Mandatory synchronous sessions

4. Not allowing new threads

5. No word count feature in DB

6. Storing frequently used text in DB

7. DB text box ( Typinator or TypeItin)

8. Db export

9. Dication software

10. Wimba voice db at times


Friday, February 27, 2004

Medicinal Marijuana: San Francisco

The use of medicinal marijuana continues to be a legal issue in the state of California. The federal appeals court has refused to back down from its December ruling that permits Californians to grow and partake in marijuana for medicinal reasons. This week the federal appeals court in San Francisco denied an appeal from the Bush administration to reconsider a hearing on the ruling. Even though Californian voters approved a 1996 ballot measure that legalized the medicinal use of the marijuana, people are being prosecuted for the possession of medicinal marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. During a court hearing in December of last year it was determined (by a two to one vote) that medicinal marijuana does not have an effect on interstate commerce when an individual grows it for personal medicinal use and does not pay for the drug.


Thursday, February 26, 2004

Political Debates on Blogs

The WTAMU student body president recently asked me for suggestions to improve participation in student government elections. He was particularly concerned about the low number of students who attend debates. A blog might be a way to increase participation in debates.

Sickle-Cell Patients Suffer from a Deadly Lung Disease

Researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Howard University Center reported that many Sickle-Cell individuals are prone to pulmonary hypertension. Therefore, it is suggested that these patients should be regularly screened. Furthermore, pulmonary hypertenison has been cited as the main predictor of "sudden death syndrome." Dr. Mark Galdwin (2004) explains sudden death syndrome as "when a patient who appears to be doing well suddenly falls ill and dies" (p.A16). So, what is pulmonary hypertension? Pulmonary hypertension is an increased blood pressure within the arteries that perfuse the lungs with blood. This elevated pressure results in narrowing blood vessels, and, therefore results in the arterial walls thickening and restricting the blood flow.

A current study, soon to be released in The New England Journal of Medicine (February 26, 2004), conducted by researchers at NIH and Howard University Center reveals 20 to 40% of sickle-cell patients have pulmonary hypertension. There were 195 sickle-cell clients enrolled in the study (82 men and 113 women) and the average age of the research particpants was 37-years. The participants received a non-invasive technique (doppler echo-cardiology) to observe the participants' hearts during the study. This procedure measures the velocity of the blood flow to determine a person's pulmonary artery pressure. Thirty-two percent of the clients had mild to severe pulmonary hypertension. Twenty of the 62 clients (enrolled in the study) with pulmonary hypertension died from the condition.

The disease is an inherited disorder (autosomal recessive) whereby the patient has abnormal hemoglobin (HgbS). This abnormal hemoglobin creates a situation where the red blood cells become irregualr in shape, and, therefore block the blood vessels and this in turn causes the patient severe pain. Worldwide this disease affects millions of people. Most specifically it is found in individuals from India, Africa, and the Meditteranean. There are 80,000 people in this country that suffer from this genetic disorder. Dr. Galdwin (2004) purports that approximately 60,000 people in this country would greatly benefit from being tested and monitored for pulmonary hypertension in order to prevent sudden death syndrome.

The physiologic process includes the excessive amounts of free hemoglobin in these patients that literally eats nitirc oxide (a chemical substance that dilates blood vessels) and another chemical, arginase. "Arginase blocks the activity of a chemical called arginine that is crucial for making nitric oxide" (Leary, 2004, p. A16). Therefore, the blood vessels have a decreased chance to remain dilated. In an attempt to reduce the amounts of free hemoglobin, patients can take a drug,"Hydroxurea." This medication enhances the production of "healthy" hemoglobin in these patients and increases the amount of nitric oxide in the blood stream. Other therapeutic treatments for patients with this disorder include blood transfusions and inhalation of nitric oxide gas. It is important that these patients remain well hydrated in order to prevent a Sickle-Cell crisis. If a patient does have pulmonary hypertension they may be treated with prostacylcins and calcium channel blockers. Researchers are now suggesting individuals diagnosed with other anemias (e.g. thalassemia, hereditary spherocytosis) be tested for pulmonary hypertension in an effort to decrease the mortality rates.
For more information on sickle-cell disease you may visit http://www.sicklecelldisease.org/
Take care- MMaag

Testing for meter reading

I am just adding this so that I can go to the meter and see what my posting looks like.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Smoking: A Fatal Reaction

We all know that smoking tobacco has a deleterious effect on every human system, and it is often an invitation to human demise. However, who would ever imagine an airline company subjecting an individual with asthma to smoker's second hand smoke on an international flight? Well, I was heartbroken to read of the unfortunate tale of an airline passenger's unnecessary death due to airline personnel's inflexibility, ignorance, and insensitivity. Mathew Wald reports in today's NY Times that the Supreme Court (yes, this case went to the Supreme Court) has ruled that an airline is liable for the death of a young physician who experienced an allergic reaction to cigarette smoke. "Because the flight attendant refused to move him farther from the smoking section." The flight attendant's action has been deemed an "accident" by the Warsaw Convention. What is the definition of "accident?" Well, I will let you read the article to find out. Meanwhile you might like to visit the American Lung Association's web site http://www.lungusa.org/ to learn more about the organization's dedication to research in the fight against lung disease.
Until tomorrow....Margaret

Still searching

I'm wondering if this will post in the Wisconsin Blog site. What a grand experiment.

About 10 years ago I was furiously writing my dissertation. I would circulate draft chapters to my committee which was located in Oklahoma while I had moved to West Virginia. I think a blog would have made the process much cheaper and a little more efficient. One of the problems I encountered was one committee member would make a suggestion and a second member would make the completely opposite suggestion (i.e., "put it in," "take it out").


Blogs Hosted at Harvard Law School

Linked above are the top 100 blogs hosted at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School. Harvard is one of the leaders in investigating the application of blogging technologies to enhance higher education and in addressing social issues. It's worth browsing the blogs at their site!


Hurray! HaloScan Comments Are Back!


Well, that didn't take long. HaloScan is back and supporting our comments. I have started a thread in our WebBoard for today, Wednesday. I look forward to us all posting to the blog and testing the comment feature today.

Tomorrow, Thursday, we will look at the reach of blogs and tracking traffic on blogs. You will find that we can collect some very useful (and amazing) information.

Finally, Friday, I hope that we will be creating our own blogs and sharing them with one another.

As always, I will check our WebBoard through the day and look forward to responding to questions and comments!

-ray (from sunny spring-like central Illinois)

ok here goes

Well after some aborted attempts to get into the blogging site, I have finally succeeded. I like the clean crisp structure of this. I will now be even more curious to go and look at individual (vice team) blogs to see how we could use it for journals for students. I think that introducing them to this new technology will be just as useful as the learning logs/journals we intend to add to our curriculum next year.

In the team format, I can see where this might even be useful for collaborative discussions but only in a format that allows for faculty feedback. We use Caucus by ScreenPorch for that and have been 100% satsified with how it works, the ease of setting up sites for various lessons and the ability to capture an entire 2-week log in Word for using track changes for feedback.

I will be interested in exploring all the capabilities offered by blogs as well. I already see an entry in this one that I will respond to privately with the submitter.

Hazards in Blogging


This early morning the HaloScan comment server is down. Here's hoping our "comments" and "trackback" appear later this morning.

Since blogger.com does not offer these features, one must either use scripts on one's own server, or use one of the services such as HaloScan. Using a third party puts control into someone else's hands. I use squawkbox for this service on the Educational Technology blog where I pay a modest annual fee to help assure that the service will be there around the clock.

Looking forward to our further discussions at WebBoard in the blog!


First Try

I am new to this too. However, I already very much like blogging. I can see so many uses. While I was reading through postings from the discussion group and logging in to the blog Ray created for us to try, I began brainstorming about all the ways I could uses blogs immediately. I began setting one up for teachers who are working on a grant application in our k-12 district. The application is due soon and the teachers have limited time together (they teach at 10 different schools). I needed a way to maintain and facilitate converstaions between meetings as well as allow others input into their work. I thought this would be a great place to try creating my first blog. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Blogger Support

As a blogging novice, I found the frequently asked questions listings in the Blogger Support section very helpful. Right now my brain is blogged.

New Blogger

This is all new to me, so I will keep this brief--just to see if I'm successful. I love the concept and look forward to blogging with the best of 'em.

I'm ready to blog

I have heard the term blog for the last several years, but did not have any real idea of what it was or how it could be used. Now that I have seen an example of it, I see several possibilities for using this technology inside and outside of the classroom. One use would be for a group of my students who are studying for a certification exam. This would be a good way for them to communicate outside of the classroom. It also gives them a better way to manage an ongoing conversation than what they have with e-mail. I also serve on several committees. I can see how this could be used to facilitate communication between meetings (and maybe fewer meetings?). This would also be a good tool for students working on group projects or participating in discussions in an online or traditional classroom.

Due to the nature of some of the information that could be shared in my examples, I do have concerns about limiting access to the blog. Now that I know that I have a better idea of what blogging is, I will have to re-read the postings on this issue.

I am ready to learn more and have enjoyed reading everyone's postings!

Read Many, Written Little

I'm really new to blogging, but I can really see the possibilities for teaching and learning. I've often found that students are more likely to write better when they know someone other than just the instructor will read their writing.


My First Blog Experience

Well...hopefully I'm using the tool appropriately. I've enjoyed exploring RSS during the past 24 hours and now I'm finally joining a blog. I've known about them for a long time, but I've never actually used one. Thanks for the opportunity, Ray!

Nancy, like you, I'm on all sorts of committees and I teach online as well as design courses for traditional, blended, and online delivery. I can see some excellent uses of the technology for those purposes. The pedagogy asssociated with blogging is also really interesting. The Journal article Ray shared with us is an excellent primer in blog pedagogy.

I'm looking forward to expanding my knowledge this week.


So Here we Are

I really am not sure of the URL listing, but it is free. I also have my own posted.

Well lets see it this continues the wind blowing and grass growing over the blogland.

Little Format Changes

Hi- I have been tweaking the formatting a little bit to make the blog look better (I hope). Please be sure to click on "Post & Publish" - NOT just "post" when you are posting to the blog. Post will save your posting on the server, but not show it to the world. Post & Publish will put your posting out there for all to see! :-)


Testing Blogging

In reviewing the resources that Ray provided and looking at a few examples of blogs, reflecting and putting some ideas in writing for feedback seem to be key blogging activities. So my first post to a blog will be thoughts on how I might use blogging.

I work as a support staff member for a couple of online degree programs and am involved in a lot of committee work. We rely on e-mail for communicating outside of meetings and we often end up with long strings of e-mail messages that are copied to everyone with comments added along the way. Capturing our ideas in a blog seems like a better way to keep track of this information and getting feedback. The search function would certainly help. This would have to be a private blog for those on the committee and focused on collaboration. I'm also interested in pursuing and testing blogging as an additional tool for our distance students who get involved in group projects.

Lifting the Veils of Autism, One by One by One

Erica Goode's feature article, Lifting the Veils of Autism, One by One by One, on the front page of today's Science Times (New York Times) caught my attention this morning because our daughter plans on working with children afflicted with this childhood disorder. Ms. Goode captures your attention with a vivid description of a 3-year old attending the evaluation center at Yale's Child Study Center. Unfortunately, the cause(s) of this disorder remain unknown following its identification 60-years ago. However, scientists are beginning to unfold some interesting clues. For example, it has been determined the brains of children with autism are generally larger than normal, but the multiple stacks of neurons within the brain's neocortex appear to be actually smaller, more numerous, and more uniform in individuals with autism. Children focus more on objects instead of human faces and the author provides the reader with images of how the autistic individual views a picture on a wall versus a person without a diagnosis of autism. Genetics might play a role, as well. And, geneticists are earnestly looking for DNA clues. The disorder affects 425,000 Americans under the age of 18, and in the past parents have seen their children fade away into a world of self-destructive behaviors and "aloneness." Often in the past, children were admitted to institutions with a diagnosis of childhood schizophrenia. Once upon a time it was believed that autism was the direct result of childhood parenting styles, however now it is attributed to abnormalities in brain development and possibly genetics. Goode points out that environmental factors early in a person's life might still play a role, as well. Our country is supporting autism research by increasing the number of dollars spent over the last 10 years. Currently, the National Institutes of Health has spent approximately $81.3 million dollars. This is substantially more than what was spent in 1993, $9.6 million. http://www.nichd.nih.gov/autism/ Hopefully there will be a cure one day.
Well, I will let you read the article for more information if you are interested in the current research that is attempting to "bridge the gap between theory and basic science."


Jump Right in....

Hi again. When you reach the editor for this blog, just jump right in and test the blogging. It is fairly simple. Just type in a title, add a URL of a link if you want to (or not), and type your message in the larger text block. Then just click the "Post & Publish" on the upper right. Finally, go to the blog URL and check out your posting! http://wisconsinblog.blogspot.com/


Greetings and welcome to Wisconsin: Blogs in DE!

Here we will be able to test out blogging. I will enable the team posting option to allow each of us in the current discussion forum to place posts on the blog.

Looking forward to blogging our discussions.


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