Thursday, January 31, 2008

Free Online Blogging Workshop

For a limited time, Atomic Learning is offering free access to their online Blogging Workshop.

A blog is a Web site that functions as a journal, or a diary, or a place to post your thoughts and opinions pertaining to a particular subject matter. In addition to text entries, a blog may contain pictures, video, and/or audio clips. This workshop will explain the difference between various kinds of blogs, introduce you to some hosting solutions, and show you how to setup your own blog using Blogger™.

Keep in mind, please, that the University of Minnesota hosts a fully supported, advertisement-free, blog site, and that you can set up your own blog for your department, your discipline, your class, or for yourself [or all of the above], FOR FREE.

To set up your own blog, go to: and click on the link, "Start your own blog!"

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Making your lectures portable

Take a look at this. University of Washington, Classroom Support Services resource:

Video Screencasting for Teaching and Learning

Video Screencasting is different from traditional video recording. Screencasting conveys complex information and concepts by recording your digital presentation, a view of the room, and your voice. These three elements are combined into a web-based presentation that students can view after class.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Faculty Fears of Podcasting

Perhaps the biggest threat to podcasting is fear -- on the part of faculty who know about the technology, but haven't the foggiest notion how to use it. To confront and overcome this obstacle, some educators have developed podcasts geared for those of their colleagues who might not understand how podcasting works.

For example, there's Kathy Schrock, technology administrator at Nuaset Public Schools in Orleans, MA. Schrock's podcasts ( include short interviews with teachers and administrators about such things as how they use technology in the classrooms.

For more on the fundamentals of creating and locating educational podcasts, visit:

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Life in the Palaeozoic

Life in the Palaeozoic [pdf]

The Open University in Britain is well-known for its efforts to bring higher education to persons across the world. As of late, they have also been expanding their online offerings for the general public by making course materials available on their "OpenLearn" site. This particular course will take interested parties into the world of the Palaeozoic era. Through six different topical sections, visitors will learn about the Cambrian explosion, the origins of vertebrates, and life in the Silurian sea. Along the way, visitors will be presented with questions that will test their knowledge of the material. Visitors may also wish to post comments to the online forum and offer their own reviews of the material and course offerings.

Information provided by The Internet Scout Project: The Scout Report

Biology Resources

Biology Browser: Teaching Resources

Thomson Scientific has created this fine site in order to provide science educators with a wide array of activities that can be used in the classroom. Currently, the site features over 190 resources related to various areas of biology. Visitors can search through the resources by subject, geography, or organism. These resources include a primer on the antlion (also known as a doodlebug) and "Bugnet" which is an online forest entomology class. Visitors can also glance over a glossary of zoology terms and look over news from the world of taxonomy.

Information provided by The Internet Scout Project: The Scout Report

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Student Response Systems - "Clickers"

The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Digital Media Center has standardized on a student response system. They have selected the Turning Point system. Turning Point has provided a plug-in for WebVista, so that student response cards can be associated directly with registered students in a course. The plug-in also enables in-class "clicker" quizzes and exams to be directly integrated in the WebVista gradebook.

An e-commerce site is being worked on, so that students will be able to purchase clickers via the UMART online store. RF (radio frequency) response cards will sell for $28. Faculty may purchase an RF receiver (USB receiver) for $99. Until the UMART site is set up for purchasing clickers and receivers, please contact Pam Gades at 589-6376 or via email to make arrangements for your classes.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Social Spaces, like Facebook

Social networking within Moodle or WebVista. How to connect to your students using the tools that they use. Create a facebook group for your course. Give it a shot. Your students will receive alerts when you add content to your group page in facebook.

Alumni and Career Services. Trying to get students to connect to the University for events. Those department staff can set up a group in facebook and students and alumni can join the group and receive alerts when events are announced.

Listen to the discussion (podcast) from Penn State:

Encouraging Faculty to Podcast

Podcasting is a simple and effective way to engage students in and out of the classroom.

- Podcasts can be used to provide feedback to students via a weekly podcast. This may be a weekly recap of the events from class.

- An instructor may wish to create usable versions of a weekly lecture so that the lecture can be automatically delivered to members of the class.

- An instructor may wish to charge students with the task of providing weekly status review in the form of an audio or video podcast.

iTunes U

Getting started with Podcasting.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Go Green

How is it that Europeans manage to lead good lives, and yet only burn half as much energy per capita as Americans?

If you were designing a mass transit system for your area, how would it work? And, more importantly, how would you get people to actually trade in their cars for a ride on the bus?

If your campus was to reduce its carbon footprint, where would you start? With the lightbulb? With local food in the cafeteria? With turning down the thermostat in winter? With getting more students, staff, and faculty to walk or bike to school?

These are questions posed by Bill McKibben, the author of a dozen books on the environment, and the founder of Step It Up 2007.

edutopia magazine's October 2007 issue was all about "going green." You can see edutopia online at
See the go green database at:
This is a searchable database packed with online resources: links to lesson plans, green curricula, service learning opportunities, and innovative classroom projects. You can even filter your search by topic, grade level, cost, or location. These are primarily K-12 resources, but it is a great place to get some ideas.
How green is your classroom?
Start your semester with the "sustainable pencil challenge." Students must use the same refillable pen or pencil throughout the entire semester.
Save paper and ink: Encourage your students to use NetFiles to save their work. They can give you access to an individual document, or attach the document in email to you. They would not print anything and you would be able to comment and grade their assignments electronically and return the assignments to your students.
If you do need to write something down, or print something out, use recycled paper.
Be diligent about recycling or reusing as much as you can.
Your students can take paperless tests and quizzes on their computers, or via "clickers."
Shut down your computer at night, and over weekends and holidays.
See the 'Sustainability and U' site at
What can you do to go green?