Laura Gibbs's Blog (24)

Spring08: blogging over at Fireside

I'd been hoping the ning magic would make it possible to post in both of the education nings that I follow, classroom2.0 here and fireside learning - I've been spending more time participating in discussions over at the fireside, so that's where I'll be blogging about the semester. So, no more crossposting here - but you can find me over at the fireside ning! :-)

Added by Laura Gibbs on February 5, 2008 at 10:30pm — No Comments

Spring08: Storybook brainstorming - Phase 1 done

Today I finished reading and responding to the last of the Storybook brainstorming assignments that students turned in for my three classes this week. In all three classes, the students do a Storybook project, and this first brainstorming assignment is basically the same for all three classes, with slight variations - the students propose four possible Storybook topics, and I give them feedback on each one (if you are curious the specific assignments are here:… Continue

Added by Laura Gibbs on January 31, 2008 at 9:13pm — No Comments

Spring08: Happy Fat Thursday, everybody!

Fat Thursday 2008. Today, January 31, marks the

holiday of "Fat Thursday" in 2008. You have probably heard of "Mardi

Gras" ("Fat Tuesday") which is a holiday celebrated the day before Ash

Wednesday (that will be next week). Well, "Fat Thursday" is a similar

holiday, marking the last Thursday before Lent; you can read more at wikipedia.

The Fat Thursday holiday is especially celebrated in Germany… Continue

Added by Laura Gibbs on January 30, 2008 at 10:14pm — 2 Comments

Spring08: January 30, Gandhi, Rama

Tomorrow, January 30, is the sixtieth anniversary of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. I wanted to share here the announcement I am sharing with my class (see below). There was a discussion at the Fireside Learning ning about cultural literacy and I was discouraged about the notion that there was nothing in Hindu culture that belongs to the "basics of basics," the essentials of cultural literacy. Now, I don't want to be in the business of drawing up any "basics of basics" (I think that's a… Continue

Added by Laura Gibbs on January 29, 2008 at 10:11pm — 1 Comment

Spring08: student web publishing galore

Today was a watershed day in my classes this semester: tonight, at midnight, the first web publishing assignment was due. And it's gone quite well - more or less 91 students (my current roster) have published their first webpages. Simple simple simple: just two pages, linked to each other, with some link to another website. We'll add images next week.



As usual, most of the students had never published a webpage before.



Even better: most students were surprised at how easy it… Continue

Added by Laura Gibbs on January 28, 2008 at 10:53pm — No Comments

Spring08: Friday, second week - thoughts about quizzes

Well, here it is, already Friday of the second week of the semester. I feel a bit zonked, but I think perhaps that is because I am coming down with a cold - it is more than just the usual online course end-of-week-zonkiness! Anyway, I want to stick to my plan of reflecting on how things went in general this week, and what improvements I can make next semester.



Probably the biggest thing I noticed was people either stressing too much about the quizzes (taking the quizzes over and over… Continue

Added by Laura Gibbs on January 25, 2008 at 2:58pm — No Comments

Spring08: Thinking about Janusz Korczak

Through a combination of chance online events, I've decided to write something here in my blog today about someone who is a great hero to me, Janusz Korczak. Wikipedia is a great place to learn something about this amazing man, whose dedication to the education of children can be an inspiration to us all; there is also a brilliant movie, called simply… Continue

Added by Laura Gibbs on January 24, 2008 at 10:45pm — No Comments

Spring08: the first Storybook coverpages are up!

In all three of my classes, the main focus of attention is the Storybook projects which the students create (here are past Storybooks from my Indian Epics class, for example). It's a semester-long process, starting right from the first week, with several weeks of brainstorming and learning to publish webpages, and then the students start creating their Storybooks online.



Well, since it is possible to work… Continue

Added by Laura Gibbs on January 23, 2008 at 6:02pm — No Comments

Spring08: students want their own widgets

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Day (a welcome holiday after the hectic first week of classes), but I got a very interesting email during the day from a student - she wrote to ask if it was possible for her to put the "Random Internet Bumper Sticker" widget that I have put in our Desire2Learn course homepage (more about that widget) on the homepage for her other Desire2Learn courses.



WHAT A GREAT… Continue

Added by Laura Gibbs on January 22, 2008 at 7:09pm — No Comments

Spring08: first week... finished!

HAPPY FRIDAY! We have reached the end of the first week of classes. Normally, I don't even have work due on Friday in my classes, but because of the Martin Luther King Day holiday on Monday, there are some assignments that students are turning in today. Still, for me it definitely feels like I have reached the finish line in this week's crazy race - I dropped two students for non-attendance last night before going to bed, so all the folks who are on the roster today (91 total) are going… Continue

Added by Laura Gibbs on January 18, 2008 at 11:38am — No Comments

Spring08: Help stamp out procrastination TODAY

I was not able to post yesterday: it is the most intensive day of my online classes - the day of the great weeding out. What happens is that on Tuesday, students had assignments due; if they did not turn all of them in on Tuesday, they had a reprieve and were given a one-time only extension until Wednesday. I did a lot of hovering over the computer on Wednesday, something I normally don't do, responding instantaneously to student questions - I didn't want any of the students who had fallen… Continue

Added by Laura Gibbs on January 17, 2008 at 10:55am — No Comments

Spring08: what's in a name

Today featured the first deadline for my spring online classes, so some of the students who had been slow getting started suddenly sprang into action - meaning that by now I've had some kind of encounter with pretty much all of the 100 students who start out the semester.



Now I am trying to learn everybody's names - and to also get used to their email aliases, which sometimes are based on their names, and are sometimes completely fanciful. One of my students uses "Gilgamesh" as his… Continue

Added by Laura Gibbs on January 15, 2008 at 8:11pm — No Comments

Spring08: all homework, no class (= GOOD)

It's the first official day of classes today, but I always start my online classes at least a week early... so I am not really caught up in a "first day of school" frenzy today. Lots of students have been checking in, starting their blogs, all is going well. There are a lot of things on my mind, though, and I had a hard time deciding what to post about today. Finally, I decided to say something about HOMEWORK. On the Latin-Teach… Continue

Added by Laura Gibbs on January 14, 2008 at 1:51pm — No Comments

Spring08: My first video experiment

Well, a new year is a time for new experiments, right? So yesterday I played with iMovie and made my first video! I have to confess: it was TOTALLY FUN. This is not actually for one of my online classes, but is instead part of my "other" online life, promoting Latin and Greek language study online... although I had so much fun with this video that I think I might invent some videos to share with my online classes too! Anyway, I've embedded the video below, and if you'd like to read an English… Continue

Added by Laura Gibbs on January 11, 2008 at 1:21pm — 2 Comments

Spring08: not having an office

Perhaps I should have entitled this post, the JOYS of not having an office. There is a lot to say on this happy subject, but what prompted me to write about it was that I received an email from a student this morning - a typical email, I will probably get 2 or 3 more such emails in the first week of class - and the email goes like this (I quote): "Hello. I am a bit confused on how to do

the blog. I have read over the instructions and looked at…
Continue

Added by Laura Gibbs on January 10, 2008 at 7:50am — 2 Comments

Spring08: websites I can't live without

It's still a bit slow in the week before classes "officially" begin, but some students are already racing ahead into the second and third week assignments, defining the project they want to do for class (for two classes, actually: Mythology and Folklore, and World Literature). As usual, I am very dependent for the success of these projects on the existence of two amazing websites, which I thought I would post about here:



Sacred Texts… Continue

Added by Laura Gibbs on January 9, 2008 at 9:14pm — 3 Comments

Spring08: Study Tips for the semester

It was a slow day today (the semester does not officially start until next week, so the only students I am interacting with right now are the ones who are getting a head start). I did spend some time working on my Study Tips widget for this semester - it's HUGELY expanded over last year, and I am really happy with it.



Basically this is a widget that I use in the Desire2Learn Homepage space - every time the homepage loads, a study tip appears at random (created with the… Continue

Added by Laura Gibbs on January 8, 2008 at 3:42pm — 2 Comments

Spring08: Alas, plagiarism

Well, here it is, the first real day of classes for me this semester, and I am already dealing with a case of plagiarism. It is, alas, a really egregious case of plagiarism - instead of a student lazily paraphrasing (not cutting and pasting, but still scarily close to the original), this student simply cut-and-pasted from the Internet and turned in the work as his own, word for word.



Ironically... the source that he plagiarized from was me! Ha! I guess the universe does have a sense of… Continue

Added by Laura Gibbs on January 7, 2008 at 1:55pm — 2 Comments

Spring08: Decorating the Walls

As I explained in yesterday's blog post, my online course starts officially on January 14, but the early bird students are already getting a head start. Meanwhile, I am busy decorating my virtual classroom walls! College classroom walls are notoriously bare because they are transient places, usually without any kind of soul. I love the way high school and elementary school classrooms are often plastered… Continue

Added by Laura Gibbs on January 4, 2008 at 7:53am — 4 Comments

Spring08: Meet and Greet

With the beginning of the new year and the new semester, I thought I would use this Classroom2.0 blog space as a way to keep a kind of running diary of the semester. I haven't really been sure what to do with this blog space since I keep some other blogs already (http://bestlatin.net), but it would probably be useful in all kinds of ways to keep a running record of a new semester, charting the ups and downs. Luckily, it is mostly ups! I love teaching my… Continue

Added by Laura Gibbs on January 3, 2008 at 10:54am — No Comments

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