Eric Kunnen\’s GRCC Blog

Educause and 7-Things-You-Should-Know
July 31, 2007, 3:59 am
Filed under: Articles, Work Activities

I came across this blog post while accessing my Twitter messages on my phone. There it was, a post from a colleague that I met through a Blackboard Product Development Partnership. Since then, we have been twitter friends (Twitter calls them followers now as it was confusing to have both friends and followers. See Twitter blog.) and quite frequently he posts a gem that I have to read.

He (edventures) updated his blog about an excellent Educause article. Read John Martin’s blog post about this here.

I’d like to pull out a few of the items in his list and correlate them to some of the work we are following at GRCC.

1. Twitter
At GRCC we have been using clearTXT for about 2 years now, for text messaging on campus. We have used it to communicate a snow closing and most recently a bomb threat on one of our buildings. We are working to potentially expand it’s use to more effectively integrate it into our emergency communication plan. We also hope to leverage more clearTXT features to include course and instructor oriented txt messaging for teaching. By the way, clearTXT runs an excellent blog about mobile computing and education called Mobility in Education Community.

Also, tonight I read an article in the Grand Rapids Press about the dangers of TXT messaging while driving.  In the article, it was mentioned that most teenagers use their cell phones for TXT messaging MORE THAN using their phone for actually making phone calls.  Sounds like me! 🙂  I’m not much of  a phone person either!

2. RSS
We have several RSS capabilities through Blackboard such as the Learning Objects Campus Pack Blog and also feeds into our academic portal (Blackboard Community System). We have also used RSS to Javascript for some announcement and content area usage for courses. Finally, Blackboard Scholar feeds can also be brought into a course.

3. Screencasting and Podcasting
Most definitely we are working on building up our capabilities in this area. We are an iTunes U site, have a Learning Objects Campus Pack Podcast tool, and we are using Camtasia for the majority of our screencasting.  Raidercast is our web site which contains more information on our podcasting initiatives.

4. Wikis
After visiting BbWorld, Wikis again are making a splash. From the Blackboard Support Knowledgebase Wiki, to course Wikis, this is one area where we have some tools in place such as the Learning Objects Campus Pack Wiki that can be used for team projects, and a plethora of other uses.

5. Clickers
We are seeing some interest in the use of student response systems in certain classes and even some internal meetings. We are currently leaning toward TurningPoint clickers as a standard, however, we have not yet made a final decision.

6. Social Bookmarking
We were involved with a product development partnerhip with Blackboard that lead to the development of Blackboard Scholar. We have nearly 300 accounts on the system and we continue to find uses for this tool. From using it for personal productivity for saving and storing bookmarks, to sharing them with other members in a committee or class project, to using course streams to dynamically update course content, this tool has tremendous potential.

7. Blogs
More and more instructors are beginning to use blogs in their teaching. Using the Learning Objects Campus Pack Blog, it’s a simple 1-2-3 to get started with student journals as blog sites whereby other students can comment.

8. Instant Messaging
Since joining Wimba Inc. as an early release partner, instant messaging using Wimba’s Pronto has grown rapidly. It’s an excellent resource for student to student and student to instructor communication. And EASY to install and use!


And of course Wikipedia, Facebook, and MySpace are talked about frequently on campus. For sure, students are frequenting these sites.

I see some unique uses for Google Earth, Virtual Worlds, and Mapping Mashups in our geography classes. I’m not sure they are being used in those classes, however.

Thanks again to John Martin for this interesting read!


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