Sunday, August 17, 2008

Web 2.0 and the New Semester

The new semester is almost here. I’m excited, anxious, and looking forward to working with new students, new colleagues and new challenges.
When I started teaching at Trinity five years ago, I did not incorporate blogs, wikis or any other aspects of Web 2.0 as part of the Computer Skills curriculum. I had not heard of podcasts or You Tube (which apparently didn’t really exist until April of 2005).
Now, one of the first things we do is to set up our class blogs in order to share thoughts and reflections about the class content, lab activities, and material from guest presenters. We also use the Class Wiki almost immediately to add to the body of knowledge that we’re developing.
Brad DeLong, Professor of Economics at Berkeley, has described has described the academic blogosphere as a kind of Invisible College. Students (and instructors) who blog and contribute to wikis within a higher education environment should probably keep this in mind. It’s not Facebook, although Facebook is definitely another way to share information. In fact, some professors are apparently using as part of a classroom experiment ("Academic Facebook: Lessons learned so far")
Our classroom blogs and wikis are here to stay. We are part of a dynamic academic community, and we’re all in this together.

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