The normal process in conducting distance classes is usually through a structured course management system, such as Blackboard or Moodle. These systems are very instructor-centered. I'd like to use more student-centered tools, so why not use a social network? There are many available, including Facebook and Ning. Since this course is for K-12 teachers, we should select a tool that can be used in K-12 classrooms. Therefore, the primary social network will be Edmodo, with some use of Google (Groups, Plus).
For those taking the more structured course, these are the variety of strategies for facilitating communication:Google Group
Anyone can register for this Google Group, and participate in email discussions of the topics of each lesson.
A private Google Group will be established to facilitate communication for those who sign up for the Facilitated Course
educational social network is used in schools across the world, and
provides a very familiar interface (looks and acts like Facebook... but
in a private online space). Each class will have its own private group
(a code will be sent to each team once payment or purchase order is
received). We will use this social network to share resources, announce
course activities, and set up grade-specific sub-groups. You must sign up for a free Edmodo account.Google+
brand new social network has some interesting capabilities that should
support some interesting collaboration in this course. Right now, you must have a Gmail.com account to use Google +.
- Participants in the Facilitated Course will receive an invitation to
join Google+ and will be added to Dr. Barrett's private class circle. In
that circle, the class members can discuss the topics of each lesson. Instructions and tutorials will be provided.
- Regular group video conferences will be held each week. Instructions
for joining the hangout and participate in a conversation about the
topics of that week's lesson will be posted in the private Circle. Instructions and tutorials will be provided.