This 10 week online course provided an introduction to many Web 2.0 tools and ways in which they might be used in the classroom.
This past September through December, I had the good fortune of taking this online course, an offering from the University of Wisconsin – Stout. Instructor Ann Bell has been teaching the course for several years, and has developed a well rounded set of modules that offer a thorough introduction to many web-based (and mostly free) technologies that can be used in engaging and practical ways in course work.
When I signed up for the course, my goals were twofold – to experience participation in an online course, and to learn all that the course had to offer.
The workload required to complete the course was more than I expected. Completing the assignments was a rigorous process that required a good deal of time. Despite having already been exposed to many of the tools and ideas covered in the class, I learned a great deal, and would highly recommend this course to educators and education technologists.
What I Learned
The course covered many concepts, tools, and technologies. I was already familiar with many of these, such as Skype, iGoogle, eBooks, RSS, Social Networking, etc., but I was also introduced to many other tools and ideas that I had either never come across before, or knew of but had not yet spent any time learning about. For example:
- VoiceThread: I was well aware of this application, but had never actually used it. In the course, we recorded video clips in which we discussed our experiences using this tool and a few others that were part of the “Online Collaboration” module.
- Copyright and Creative Commons: This was fascinating. Until we covered it in the course, I had no idea how much I would appreciate knowing about this (or how difficult it was to determine what Copyright permitted for educators). I ended up writing this post about it.
- EyeJot: This is a great, easy to use tool which provides video mail capabilities (the free version allows for 1 minute long video mail clips).
These are just a few of the many tools that were covered. There were literally dozens of other tools and topics introduced and used in the lessons.
Beyond the tools themselves, one of the most valuable aspects of the course was the discussions that were required as part of each module. Having to explain how we might use the various tools in the classroom was thought provoking, and reading and responding to other classmate's discussions was most certainly educational. While our class was small, they still represented a wide swath of academic and professional experiences, and I thoroughly appreciated reading their insights and ideas.
In closing, I want to thank instructor Ann Bell for a well run, informative class, and reiterate my recommendation that anyone who can fund the course should consider taking it. As of January, 2011, the 3 credit course costs $378 per credit, for a total of $1134. It will be time and money well spent – just check out the comments in the “What Our Students Are Saying” on the course's web page. The course is run several times a year (a new session starts Jan 31st).
As always, we love to hear your feedback – if you can recommend any similar courses, or you took this course or any others at UW-Stout, please comment and share your experiences. Questions and other comments are also welcomed!
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