Eric Kunnen\’s GRCC Blog


How much are a student’s course notes worth?
September 19, 2008, 10:49 am
Filed under: Articles | Tags: , ,

So I came across an article in Inside Higher Ed entitled: “Sharing Your Notes Online — and Getting Paid for It“.   The article was featuring a new note sharing site called “Knetwit“. Sharing notes really isn’t anything new…  Students have been using Facebook, email, and other web2.0 sites to share course information with each other for quite some time now…  The getting paid for it what really caught my eye.  It’s an interesting model.  We have seen a large increase of students with laptops in the classroom since the college began offering wireless connectivity across campus.

Think about it, students are going to take notes anyway, and in doing so, they could get paid for it by sharing their notes on this service?  It’s probably something I would do as a student.  I regularly take copius notes from various conferences I attend and freely share them on the web…   Now, if I could get “reimbursed” for my efforts, well, that may be something I’d really be interested in! 🙂

The site seems to be pretty well done, with a nice web viewer for the uploaded notes and all the other social networking components that are becoming a standard in any web2.0 service.

I created an account to check out the service and noticed that at least 7 students from Grand Rapids Community College are already using the site.  It appears that there are currently notes posted from Biology, Political Science, and English classes at GRCC.

I do wonder how course management systems like Blackboard could be expanded to offer such a service.  It would seem that as students are logged into their course on campus, a set of tools provided by the cms could also be leveraged by the students.  Plug in some instant messaging and realtime collaboration through products such as Wimba Pronto, and you have a combination of tools that have the potential for increasing a student’s learning experience.  The trouble is, is that most cms’s are really designed with the faculty members as the “users” of the applications, and in so much, there aren’t many student oriented capabilities to allow them to upload and share with other users their own generated content.  Some of these student focused group tools and features look to be coming in Blackboard’s Project NG so it will be interesting to see how the future cms competes, integrates, supports, and entertains these ideas.

Enter Facebook.  I noticed that Knetwit also has a Facebook application which I would imagine generate more usage.  One of the features I’ve always liked about the Blackboard integrated CourseFeed Facebook application, especially if you compare it to Blackboard Sync is that CourseFeed ha a course wall for student interchange.  Back in March, I took some time to run a side-by-side comparison of Bb Sync and CourseFeed. 

I suppose the kicker here is that student’s get paid for using the service… Something that wouldn’t be likely in a campus provided software solution.

What are your thoughts about this type of web service?



Instant Messaging for Office Hours, Tutoring, Library, Help Desks, and more!
September 11, 2008, 2:26 pm
Filed under: Articles | Tags: , , ,

I just finished reading an article on Insider Higher Ed.  It is entitled, “When IM is the Best Way to Stay on Top“.

In the article, Ivy Tech Community College is highlighted (along with Grand Rapids Community College) in the use of Wimba Pronto as a way to better connect with students.

The new Wimba Pronto includes a set of features that will enable faculty and students to better communicate during office hours.  The new features such as: video, application sharing, and instant message queing will allow faculty to have effective online exchanges with students.

In additon, there is potential for campus departments, tutorial labs, and help desks to leverage instant messaging for student support services.

The support for students, and their learning, is extensive.  Students can get support for their learning well beyond the typical “email” interchange by using any of the following channels:

  1. Questions in the Face to Face Classroom
  2. Questions in Discussion Boards (Blackboard)
  3. Face to Face Office Hours
  4. Online Office Hours (Wimba Pronto)
  5. Face to Face Tutorial Lab Visits
  6. Online Tutorial Lab (Wimba Pronto)
  7. Face to Face Library Visits
  8. Online Library Support (Wimba Pronto)
  9. Face to Face Help Desk Support
  10. Online Help Desk (Wimab Pronto)

The possibilities for leveraging Wimba Pronto is almost endless. Especially if you roll in the application sharing, some whiteboard technology, video, and voip.

Next up… how do we do this entirely on the web?  Without client support.  Or perhaps… how can we add a mobile technology spin, say, txt messaging and mobile web browsing and IM?