Online Learning

U of South Florida

My Links

Post Categories

Article Categories


Blog Stats

Friday, June 18, 2004 #

Saltmine Report: Agenda, Submitted by Patty

Go over individual instructor's lesson plans.
Finalize due date madness.
Distributed Assessment
Use of technology: who needs tutorials? We need to make tutorials available to ALL TA's.
(Should we offer a tutorial during TA orientation this summer as part of this course's development?)

posted @ 10:36 AM | Feedback (50)

Nicole's aggregate email

Instead of answering each email individually and filling up your emails with the site of my type (sound of my voice? :) ), I've compiled the other emails and responded to particular areas. Here you go...

Deborah says:>I hesitate to have stuff due Saturday. If we have any religious Jews who don't use power on the Sabbath, we're sending out a clear message to them (and yes, I might be a little sensitive about this because I happen to be Jewish, albeit not Sabbath-observant).

Up in my oblivious cloud, I didn't even think about that. But isn't 7th day Adventists not allowed to work after dusk on Fridays, so that rules that out as well. That durned 4th of July holiday on a Sunday is making our lives difficult ;) how ironic! but as Matt says

>, if the student has any obligations, he/she can always submit it >early. No problem!< and greg says >I think that an initial statement that the due dates are only "the last minute" will resolve some of the problems.

And there we have it. We do give them multiple days to finish their work by, AND technically they signed up for a Saturday online course!

Matt says: >I am a bit frustrated about our lack of unity, but that could be because we have a bad habit of leaving so many fundamental issues unresolved at meetings.

I agree! Every time we leave the meetings I'm thinking, 'but I thought we'd go over the projects together one by one and see what we all think about each and what we'd done so far.' and fretting about due dates being settled. and wondering why we didn't cover this or that...and why are we leaving already?

Now on another matter, Patty says: >I think it is important to keep in mind that what we are looking for is a way to create LESS work, not more. Use of multiple tools helps that. Use of open source software helps. I don't see how we can tie our hands with Blackboard when there may be other, more beneficial, tools out there.

I'm worried, at this point, about getting things in on time. 10 days! However, is our work on building this course limited to this single teaching experience? or are we looking to create a template for the future? If it is the latter, then couldn't we continue to build this course while we're in the midst of teaching it in order to create an online experience for future teaching? even if our current students will not benefit from the complete experience, future classes can? Then we can work on Matt's idea with the video and audio experience plus any others we can think of...and even, perhaps, if it's ready by mid-semester, ask students to test it out, get their written feedback, and offer a bit of extra credit for their work? and we could throw Greg's idea about the list serve into that as well. Perhaps even offering their feedback into such?

Now regarding an older email of Deborah' we want a diagnostic on grammar and a second diagnostic on working with blackboard? The second would have to be created later once we get everything completely set up and know, ourselves, where everything is. Did anyone volunteer to create a grammar diagnostic? I could work out something using an old copy of the Simon & Schuster handbook and compiling some of the exercises listed therein.

posted @ 10:18 AM | Feedback (58)

Tuesday, April 27, 2004 #

course #

The course number is 54634.  The course covers summer C.  Students will need to contact me so I can put in a permit for them to register.  Thanks!

posted @ 3:49 PM | Feedback (26)

Wednesday, April 21, 2004 #

Maricopa - Freshman Comp

You all probably know about this - but it came up in this online conference I'm doing this week...  If I wake up early enough tomorrow morning, I'll do their chat session.

Maricopa Stories Around the Digital Campfire (Chatroom): Alisa Cooper

The Paperless Classroom

Alisa Cooper, English Faculty, South Mountain Community College

"A freshman composition course was taught using technology to eliminate the endless stacks of papers that get exchanged between faculty and students. The course utilizes Blackboard for course management, Blogger for writing journals, CourseForum for portfolios, and electronic grading using Microsoft Word."

posted @ 5:23 AM | Feedback (41)

Tuesday, April 20, 2004 #

QuickTopic - a way to allow others to comment on your work

I'm doing an online conference right now and the “speaker” just presented this: You can put up a document on the web and let anyone comment on your document paragraph by paragraph. The original document is unchanged.

posted @ 6:26 PM | Feedback (102)

Friday, April 16, 2004 #

RE: Blogging in the Schools

Will R. certainly plays the gloom and doom game. Maybe weblogging isn't for high schoolers, especially when one has to deal with censorship rearing its ugly head. And, although he makes a valid point, I couldn't help but be drawn to this link, in which a student is praised for her excellent blogging work. This was what the student had to say in response to the teacher's praise:

"This webloging group has showed me many opportunities. I have tought some other kids with my writing, which has been one of my dreams for a while. I have also learned from other webloggers. One main point I have learned from others is to always copy your writing before you post. Very, very helpful at times. Writing has shown me a career I am now considering to become(when I'm older). I can become a journalist! Now I know that journalism can be fun, exciting, and even exhillerating, not just boring.

All you people out there who say that elementry students can't blog......You Are SO Wrong!!! Look what it's done for me. It has taught me so much, while letting me have my voice shown across the web. I have been blogging for 2 years now and I haven't had a problem yet. Each time I post a blog entry, I feel like I'm on Cloud 9. It feels like I just got elected for the first women president! It feels like I just gained a million really close friends! Get what I'm saying? It's like your favorite thing, times 1000!!! Without blogging, I don't know what I would do. Again, elementry students CAN BLOG!!!!!

I wondering who's going to read this.....Oh well. Blog to ya later!"

Emily (the effervescent student) is why students should blog. That joyous feeling is why students should blog. Will R. seems to be mired in that Eeyore attitude that blogging is useless because SOME students drop it when they find that there is no way to manipulate a good grade out of the teacher by doing the assignment. I think that goes along with the same mindset that took competition out of kids' sports and made everybody "winners" rather than praising the achievers and saying "better luck next time" to the underachievers. In other words, the student is not blogging for the joy of it, he/she is blogging because they are being tasked (see the threads on Rhet Tech for THAT thorny issue).

With that said, how does one pass judgement (grade) on a blog when it is required? The answer is this: grade them on output. Do like we do now: you write so many blogs, you get this grade. That will satisfy those who want the playing field level. On the other hand, if we remove blogs as an option for writing there will be some students -- for whom blogging might be personally fulfilling -- who will be lost in the daily drudgery of the 5-paragraph suppository essay. I would be willing to bet that these are students who are marginalized, who do not fit into larger social groups, and who are brilliant kids, bored with school and tending to wind up doing drugs or hanging out with the wrong crowd because they feel like outcasts.

Sure, not every student will be a blogger. Not every student is a football player or a prep or a FFA member. But there are many kids out there who are loners and blogging is something that is individual and personal, yet public at a time when they want to make their personal, inner angst -- that wounded ego -- heard "out there". That is what makes the Internet great. (btw: I come by this information from experience as a marginalized student and mother of a brilliant kid with ADHD). I suppose that would go for college also. Granted, we do not censor (except for certain epithets), but we do require students to blog at some level. I look at it as offering an alternative to what they were probably expecting as first-year students. We may catch a few more brilliant people in the net by encouraging blogging and I do know, from dealing with my own students and blogging, that they definitely prefer it over doing other activities. Their reader responses in the blogs and wikis seemed to be a bit freer once I took off the constraints of the "Three D's" template.

posted @ 12:37 PM | Feedback (52)

Blogging in the Schools

Reported in Stephen Downes OLDaily - A blog about blogging in the schools some of which refers to high school - and not college, but...  might be worth a look.



posted @ 9:13 AM | Feedback (26)

Thursday, April 15, 2004 #

Re: An Idea About Using Chat

I used chat last semester.  Students were not showing up for Friday's classes so I made a deal with them.  If they signed in to Blackboard by the time class ended they would get credit for attending class without having to physically show up (I mean, why waste MY time?).  They were to get their assignment off Blackboard as well as check the ongoing conversations.  I was available in the chat during class hours as well as my office hours.  Only one or two students availed themselves of the chat, but I think in an online setting this is a tool they may have to deal with if they want some real-time interaction.  What I also found interesting was that I could always account for my time spent as well as my students'.  This way no one could say someone was slacking.



posted @ 8:53 PM | Feedback (21)

An idea about using chat

Hi! I found this on DEOS-L yesterday - and the person posting the message said it was ok to share - but I left her name off of this just in case.    

Live Chats in online classes

While I use the discussion boards very heavily, I have been using the chat
once a week at the same time as the first orientation session (I require a
three hour class on campus the first evening of the semester).  Chat has not
been required and becomes very informal. I use the whiteboard to outline the
topics or students enter and ask question like an office hour.
My question is can these real time chats be better.  Students do not want
them to be required, so that is one immediate limitation.
One chat which draws a crowd is an assignment I have for setting a list
which all the students will be using to write an essay.  We draw up a list
of criteria for the assignment which is an evaluation of two items. The
students use five of the 7 or 8 criteria we list. THAT chat draws the most
students, but I include a discussion board too, so every student can
participate.  I would love to come up with some other chats which work as
well. I teach English Comp for college freshman.

posted @ 10:19 AM | Feedback (32)

Wednesday, April 14, 2004 #


Personal Author: Kim, Loel

Peer Reviewed Journal: Y

Journal Name: Research in the Teaching of English

Source: Research in the Teaching of English v. 38 no. 3 (February 2004) p. 304-37 Publication Year: 2004 Physical Description: Bibliography (p 331-4); Diagram; Table

ISSN: 0034-527X

Language of Document: English

Abstract: English departments are increasingly under pressure to offer writing courses online, but research that informs effective pedagogies--including effective ways to respond to students' drafts--is still limited. By investigating students' perceptions of online teacher response to student writing, this study suggests that in order to develop sound online writing courses, instructional designers will need to understand better the hybridized nature of online modalities. Early studies promised that voice modality would enhance feedback to in-process drafts, not only because of a lower cost of production, but because this modality offers nonverbal as well as verbal information. However, as this study points out, students do not necessarily regard more information as better. In addition, the process of interpreting social information online may differ from the way we read information in a face-to-face setting. In this study, 39 first-year college students, working with texts that had previously been seeded with ten writing problems (five low- and five high-level problems), reacted to online responses to these texts from one of four teachers, both in voice and written modality. Based on prior studies, students were expected to prefer voice over written comments; however, they exhibited split preferences due to a significant teacher effect. This finding for teacher impact was complicated by the finding that 80{percent} of students did not recognize the same teacher in the two modalities, suggesting that modality plays a role in the ways students construct the teacher behind the response. This study points to the need for further situation-specific research to guide the development of online instruction. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

Subject(s): English language/Composition/Colleges and universities; Internet/Distance education use/Colleges and universities; English language/Composition/Evaluation; Teachers and students/Colleges and universities Document Type: Feature Update Code: 20040330

Database: Education


posted @ 4:41 PM | Feedback (20)

Agenda for our FTF Meeting today


  1. I've asked AC for 3 BB shells--
  2. We can use the BB shell for discussions


  1. Review of Drafts
  2. Who will market what we have so we get our 1st 70 students?
  3. Decide on tasks and schedule.
  4. What assignments do you want to draft?


posted @ 6:57 AM | Feedback (20)

Tuesday, April 13, 2004 #

An ice-breaker idea

Found this on the DEOS-L discussion list yesterday.  Maybe this  - or something like it - would be a nice ice-breaker for the first week. This is from Terry Dugas at Florida Gulf Coast  (It would be good to find a song lyric from this century!):  

Interestingly enough, I know far more about my distance learning students

than I ever did about my face to face students. There are many ways to

achieve the "deep knowledge" you refer to. I start off each semester with

the "8 Nouns Assignment." It's not original, but I've used it for so long,

I don't remember where I first saw it.


"Welcome back my friends

To the show that never ends

We're so glad you could attend

Come inside, come inside"

"Karn Evil 9", Emerson, Lake, and Palmer (1973)

Your first WebBoard assignment is to tell the class a little about

yourself. However, you have to do it "my" way.

1) Introduce yourself using eight nouns.

2) Explain why you picked each noun.

3) After everyone has posted, comment on at least two of your classmates'



There are four important elements to this question.

The first is the song lyrics. I introduce each assignment with a quote

from a song. I believe this helps "humanize" both myself and the

course. Since I teach courses in media and culture, it ties into the

course content.

Second, the nouns chosen by the student help introduce themselves to the

rest of the class.

Third, requiring each student to respond to two of their classmates

postings helps breakdown the distance barrier between students. Students

quickly find shared interests, hobbies, even face to face classes they

share. This often leads to side conversations among the students based on

these interests. In addition, the eight nouns help students recognize the

class diversity in terms of age, background, and interests.

And most importantly, I answer this question myself. This helps make me a

"real person" to the class rather than a disembodied "voice."

I'm sure others use similar "bonding" exercises early in their discussion



Terry Dugas

Adjunct Professor of Communications

Florida Gulf Coast University

"That's life. Whichever way you turn,

Fate sticks out a foot to trip you."


posted @ 8:17 AM | Feedback (28)

Monday, April 12, 2004 #

1101 is getting there

we made slow but steady progress on 1101 today.

I'm excited abut the projects. Now I need u all to start fleshing those projects out some. Note I killed the collaborative assign given Deb's ideas. But i want to keep collab in 1102.

Ran into Leah today and she's gonna work on the online literature one.


posted @ 5:28 PM | Feedback (26)


James--Thanks for the wicked wiki work. The pw worked for me on 2nd attempt.

I love doing the online literature curve and the technology literacy curve.

posted @ 10:47 AM | Feedback (31)

Friday, April 09, 2004 #

wpa outcomes

Just dropped in the wpa outcomes into the course descriptions. Now we need to cut and refine those outcomes as they related to our particular goals

I'm excited about these course descriptions cuz i feel they more accurately reflect contemporary writing. they are less like high school assignments.

Folks--i need to back off here and give hands a rest. pls feel free to make changes as u wish. we need to be a flexible, collaborative team

posted @ 8:14 AM | Feedback (22)

Thursday, April 08, 2004 #

trying to build the foundation for collaboration

Today Patty and I jammed on getting the descriptions in to a wiki so they’d be easier for u all to edit/collaborate on.


We also started working on a sharepoint site, thinking we might use that for curriculum matters.


1 important ? is whether or not we publish all writing in the blog or hide behind a password


Below are the new links


Teacher/Researchers' Workspace:

Online Blog | Online Teaching and Learning |

Student Sites

1101 Wiki | 1101 SharePoint

1102 Wiki | 1101 SharePoint

posted @ 2:48 PM | Feedback (45)

Important Issues

  1. Should we password protect the essays or have them online? If so, what precautions must we take?

posted @ 1:08 PM | Feedback (16)

First Week Activities

Oh brother - I'm just full of suggestions...but I've been teaching online since 1996, so I've been through the mill...  So... without looking at all the stuff you have on the syllabi yet... I suggest a non-threatening first week activity such as writing a little biographical sketch - and not expecting much else.  It's going to take some days to get everyone on board.  Also... Blackboard can link to anywhere, so you could take advantage of the gradebook, email functions, etc.   I myself keep all my course content outside Blackboard (and actually I copy it into Bb as well).  I DO use Blackboard to manage the list of enrolled students. I use the gradebook to post grades (Students can see ONLY their own grades - no privacy issues. Even emailing grades is considered not good form.). I do use Blackboard to communicate with the entire class at once - I have them use their official USF email address and learn to set that to forward to anywhere else they choose.  If you decide on a quiz or two - or even a survey or two - of the class, Bb will handle that nicely and pop the results  - or just the fact that they did the quiz -   into the gradebook.  Quizzes could be useful for checking up on their library-related skills.  Surveys can be useful for a check after 4 or 5 weeks of class: “What do you like about the class? What don't you like about the class? What else should we be doing?”   And personally, I really like the little “user participation” feature that's been added on  - You can tell the last time a student logged in.  That can be really helpful the first week. By the end of the week, you can find out if there are students on the class rolls that haven't logged in at all - and you can track them down and find out what's up. You'll find students who'll say “I was waiting for the class to start.”  They think something is supposed to reach out and GET them. “I didn't know what to do.”   “I tried logging on (or whatever) and it didn't work and I didn't know what to do next.”   I get that with GRADUATE STUDENTS!  

I also suggested to Joe that you offer a voluntary, complimentary face-to-face meeting or two for any student who'd like the reassurance of an introduction to the class.  If you decide to use Blackboard to manage grades, etc. , you can have them bring their ID cards and make sure they've signed up for a NetID and know how to set their email forward. You can make sure that they know where all the  course sites are located. You can give'em a general introduction to the syllabus. You can let them try a tool or two.  (Academic Computing is willing to do the “how to do the NetID, etc. parts if you schedule their time in advance.)  Even if only a few students come, it'll be worth it. Those students will really appreciate your willingness to give them a good start on the course. 

Also, if you set up a “help” discussion area - and I'm sure you will want to do that - , make sure that someone is going to be around during the first couple of weeks and attend to queries for help as quickly as possible! And that includes Labor Day, weekends, etc.             

Ok - I'll stop with the mommy type advice! (At least until I think of something else.)

posted @ 11:21 AM | Feedback (29)


Patt and I are brainstorming today; we are taking the descriiptions for the courses out of the blog and into the wiki but we are also creating a sharepoint interface for all

posted @ 9:40 AM | Feedback (26)

Wednesday, April 07, 2004 #

blogs vs. blackboard

Actually posting this before I review the links Ilene offered, but don't recall her mentioning Blackboard.

Here is the link to my blog which can take you to the many Dennis offers regarding Blogs as Course Management Systems. 


posted @ 9:06 PM | Feedback (323)

Preparing students for online courses

Joe called this afternoon with this plan about doing some ENC's online and I think that's a really excitiing idea - AND... I'd like to suggest that there be a LOT of upfront information for any student who might want to take this online since they will have the mistaken impression that online is “less work”.   I have some self assessment surveys stashed away...

Are distance learning courses right for me?

Online self assessment

Self evaluation

What makes a successful online student?

I strongly urge this group to get something like the above together. Make sure students think about 

- technology requirements (Would someone be happy with this course if they had to depend on USF Open Use Labs or do they really need to have a computer and  a darn good connection at home?) ;

- keyboarding skills a must I presume. (Any provisions for disabled students?)

- strict deadlines if you have those (and I would suggest strict deadlines)

- average number of hours per week to plan to spend on the course 

- where they can get help with technology

- what they need to get started (Blackboard, right?  How to get a NetID, etc.  Academic Computing has some good “how to's“ using Camtesia)

- where they can get help with course content  (A face-to-face writing center? An online writing center?)

-  info about Turnitin if you guys are going to use that to check for plagiarism

- maybe a common glossary of terms or something FAQ-ish with terms like blogging, Blackboard, other techno tools you might be using... ?

That's the kind of thing you need to have upfront so that students are not shocked out of their minds when they find out what they've gotten themselves into.  AND... you need some way to communicate where all that info is located for students who want to sign up for these classes.  That's the hardest part!   Are you all planning any face-to-face sessions at all to go with these courses?  

posted @ 8:45 PM | Feedback (65)


Greetings & Welcome.

This is the collalborative home for our online learning group at USF. We are researching best practices and working together to create an online curriculum at USF to support online sections of First Year Composition.

This project is supported by an Innovative Teaching Grant

We hope you find our deliberations here interesting.

Joe Moxley, Daisy Pignetti, Matt Barton, Deborah Bowen, Leah Cassorla, Greg Smith, Nicole Spottke, Matt Forester, Ilene Frank, Patty Remmell, Terry Beavers, Valerie Murphy and James Inman. 


posted @ 3:19 PM | Feedback (33)