Recommended Modes of Communication in the Course
This course is designed to model open and distributed modes of networking and communication. More specifically, a goal of the course is to immerse participants in an environment that is similar in some ways to distributed, non-formal learning environments found across on the Web. While the course has somewhat of a central space (this blog), knowledge and information will be shared in many ways, through numerous interactions, using many freely available tools.
Below is a list of some of key tools and protocols to be used in this course. If you have suggestions for others, please let me know.
Course Blog: As mentioned above, this blog will serve as a central hub for the course. Please review the information pages for important course information, and follow the blog postings for frequent course updates.
Your Blog: Students taking this course for credit require their own blog to fulfill the course assignments. Blogs are relatively easy to setup and there are a number of free services such as: WordPress.com, Blogger and Edublogs. There are also newer services such as Tumblr and Posterous that are similar to these blogging platforms, but seem to focus on ease of use, posting of media snippets, and short-form blogging. For this course, I would recommend WordPress.com (it has been popular and dependable for former students) or, if you are ambitious, a self-hosted WordPress.org blog would be a worthy challenge.
RSS: RSS or Really Simple Syndication will be an essential element to this course. In simple terms, RSS allows people to easily subscribe to news & information from various sources around the web. The most popular RSS Reader is Google Reader, and will require a Google account (which you will need for several others things in this course). For a brief explanation of RSS and Google Reader, view this RSS in Plain English video from Common Craft.
Twitter: To many educators, Twitter is proving to be a powerful vehicle for anytime/anywhere professional development.This major microblogging platform will be used in this course to share information, encourage interaction among course participants, and nurture long-term connections to educators outside of EC&I 831. When using Twitter for course-related activities, it is best to use the #eci831 hashtag in your tweets to ensure ease of searchability. If you’d like to browse resources about Twitter in Education, check out this LiveBinder from Steven Anderson, this wiki on the subject, or view “Twitter in 60 Seconds“.
Diigo: Diigo is a social bookmarking service that allows people to “organize, store, manage and search for bookmarks of resources online.” While there are many other social bookmarking services, I am recommending Diigo for this course as it provides additional functionality such as highlighting, sticky notes, and sharing in groups. If you use Diigo, please use the tag #eci831 when bookmarking a resource relevant to this course, or send to the EC&I 831 Diigo group.
Start with these – more tools to be introduced as the course progresses.