Use of New Technologies in CSC442 Section B at UIS – Transcript

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Today’s podcast is about the use of new technologies in the CSC 442 Section B online course at the University of Illinois at Springfield.  For more information, visit the blog at csc442b.blogspot.com.

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Well, welcome back!  This is Burks Oakley, and today is Wednesday, January 9th, 2013.  I’m speaking to you today from my rented condo in beautiful Naples, Florida.  In this podcast, I’ll be talking about the use of new technologies in our online class for the Spring 2013 semester. 

If you have looked at the main course website, which is linked from my homepage at burksoakley.com, you will see a number of links related to the technologies we'll be using in our course this semester - technologies such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.  You might have noticed that all of these technologies are free for anyone to use - and "free" is my middle name!  In this podcast, I would like to take a few minutes to explain WHY I am using these technologies in our online course and WHAT I hope to achieve through the use of these technologies.

Of course, the bottom line is that I want to improve student learning - and I feel that these technologies can enhance communication with the students in the class, they can help me to explain the course material better than simple text posted within Blackboard, and hopefully these technologies can engage students so that they will be more motivated to participate in this online class.  And participation is certainly one of the keys to success in any online class.

So let me now go on to talk about the various technologies.  I will provide links to all of these technologies in a posting on my course blog at csc442b.blogspot.com.

The first technology, of course, is podcasting - I'll be publishing a new podcast for our course every week - usually on Sunday morning.  In these podcasts, I'll summarize the previous week's material and look ahead to what we will be doing during the coming week.  During the past few years that I have been podcasting, many students have told me that they like hearing me put the course into perspective in my podcasts.  All you need to do to get these podcasts is download the free iTunes software and subscribe to the RSS feed for this podcast series - that way, each new podcast will be downloaded to your computer automatically as soon as it is published.  You also can subscribe to these podcasts on your smartphone; I have an Android smartphone, and it has an app that lets me download the podcasts and listen to them directly on my phone.  I'll also put a direct link to the mp3 file for each podcast in Blackboard.

The next technology is Facebook.  I know that a number of college students today are checking their Facebook accounts multiple times each day; in fact, recent data suggests that college students are using e-mail much less these days, and communicating much more via social networking sites such as Facebook.  So I have created an official Facebook page for our course - and all you have to do is "Like" this page.  I'll be posting short announcements and reminders on this official Facebook page - and if you have "liked" this page, you will get my postings on your main Facebook page - which technically is your News Feed in Facebook.  You can view my Facebook announcements using a web browser or on your smartphone.  Of course, you can go to the official Facebook page for the course and post anything you want on the Wall, or even start a discussion in the discussion forum.  Again, I view Facebook as just another channel to improve communication in our course - and one that I hope many students will take advantage of.

The next technology I'll be using this semester is Twitter.  I access my Twitter account multiple times each day.  I follow a number of interesting people on Twitter - people who post links to online articles about subjects that I am interested in, including the Internet, technology, and online learning.  I refer to this as my "Personal Learning Network".  I have a separate account for tweeting about the CSC442B online class, and I post tweets several times each week, with brief announcements about the course - such as when I have finished grading the weekly discussions.  Again, this is just another channel for communication - but the nice thing is that you not only can view my tweets in a browser on your PC, but you also can get my tweets delivered directly to your cell phone as text messages.  And on my Android smartphone, I have a Twitter app that lets me view all the postings to my Twitter account directly on my phone.

OK, now let's move on to YouTube.  I know that I can spend a lot of time watching YouTube videos and I'm sure that many of you spend some time on this site, as well.  I have found that it is incredibly easy to upload my videos to the YouTube site, and they even provide free closed captioning.  I hope you will check out the videos I post to YouTube - and appreciate just how awesome the closed captioning is.  I already have posted an introduction to our course as a YouTube video, and I'll be uploading announcements to YouTube throughout the semester.  It is really nice that you can embed a YouTube video within Blackboard - and hopefully some of you will do this during the semester when you find YouTube videos that are relevant to our weekly discussions.

The next technology I want to discuss is Jing, which is free software that anyone can use to create a screencast - that is, a short video of what they are viewing on their computer screen.  Screencasts are a great way to illustrate how to use various applications - and I have found that Jing is especially useful in illustrating the new features in the latest version of Blackboard.  In fact, over the past year or so, I have recorded a number of Jing screencasts related to Blackboard version 9 - you can find them by clicking on the link labeled "Navigation in Bb 9" on the main course menu in Blackboard.  If you have any questions about how to use any of the technologies in our course, please let me know and I'll create a short Jing screencast with an explanation.

One additional technology I want to mention is Skype, which is free software for audio and video conferencing over the web.  I use Skype all the time to speak with professional colleagues all across the country, and also for video conferencing with my daughters and grandchildren, who live in other states.  I'm sure that a number of you use Skype to talk with family members and friends who live far away.  If you have a question about our course, or just would like to chat, please feel free to contact me on Skype - my username is burksoakley, all one word.  If you have a webcam, please use it if and when you call me on Skype; I have found that online video conferences are a great way to connect with others.

Finally, as an incentive to get you to use all these various technologies, I'll give anyone a few extra credit points for using the various technologies - for example, "liking" the official Facebook page for our course, following me in Twitter, and contacting me via Skype.  Just send me an e-mail note to request the extra credit after you have used these new technologies.

OK - I hope that this podcast has given you a better idea of why I am using all of these new technologies in our course this semester.  If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.  Of course, I hope that some of you will have ideas about how I could make better use of these technologies in our course, or even
other new technologies that I might want to consider using.  Please let me know!

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Well, that wraps up this podcast, so until next time this is Burks, signing off!