Friday, December 05, 2008

Web 2.0 assignments

I've been working on possible assignments to use next semester with Web 2.0 applications, focusing so far on Composition II, using Twitter, Diigo and Pageflakes.

The first two are part of what I hope to have students do in the spring on their first essay. Twitter will be used as a research/writing log, where students will be asked to jot down "What are you doing?" concerning their exploration, research, reading, writing of the first essay. I expect to make it a running assignment throughout the semester. I'm hoping that class members will begin asking questions and helping each other a bit more readily than has been the case with standard Angel fare.

I've also been writing instructions on how to set up the two programs, which take a good number of steps. There are some video instructions on setting up Twitter and Diigo:

Both of the videos cover more features than I do in my instructions, and especially with the Diigo video, do so quite quickly. But I figure that students can have them as resources to review features they might want to add later. Or that I may want to expand upon as the semester progresses.

I've also been playing with Pageflakes, an aggregator that is like iGoogle, but allows you to create pagecasts or public pages. What I would like to create is an essay resource page, a one-stop aggregator that students can use to work on their essays. I wanted to include access to the essay assignment page but soon found that I'd need to reformat in order to read easily in the widget.

Pageflakes is pretty easy to use, though you need time for trial and error. One aspect of the application that is announced often on the site is that you can easily take a widget someone else is using and put it on your page. Just click on the faint envelope in the corner (just above the cursor arrow on the top right):

The only problem is, no instruction on what to do with the html that is offered. I finally figured out how to add it to one of the widgets, but it would have been nice to have been told!

Also, at first I thought I'd have a page for each essay, but I soon realized that would be impractical, redundant and cluttered. So I figure I'll change the essay widget when we change essay assignments. And I'll have one page available for both WRIT 122 and WRIT 132, with separate essay assignment widgets to choose from.

I was also going to talk about some educational experiences and discussions I had this week in SL this week, but I think I'll leave that for next week.

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