Course Logisitics

For class announcements, I use both ANGEL e-mail and a course blog (from the Blogs at Penn State) for announcements and Penn State e-mail for one-on-one communication. The blog was useful because it kept an archive of what was posted in a central location which students could reference later (a function duplicated in the ANGEL Announcements tool).

Sample Blog Titles like Some Phonology Hints, Typo in Problem, Exam Information, Handouts Updated in ANGEL

In the past I have used synchronous chat tools like AOL Instant Messenger. If I do this, I like to copy and paste the session into a separate text file so I have a record of what was said.

Student Discussion

I have used both ANGEL discussion boards and individual student blogs and ANGEL Discussion Forums as platforms for asynchronous discussion. I like asynchronous discussion because it allows students (and the instructor) to learn more about each other.

Formulating effective questions is always a challenge. Questions which are too technical for the current course often cause students to flounder and provide very shallow answers. Questions which are not as technical, but more related to a real-world situation students are comfortable often lead to more thoughtful insights.

In terms of platform, I think I prefer a joint discussion board or blog for true discussion, however allowing individual blogs can be effective for courses in which students are writing a journal, creating a portfolio or logging research notes.