Using Instructure Canvas for a Short Orientation Program

A couple weeks ago we had just over 50 participants for a three day Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant orientation, a program that we have participated in for several years now.  I have been trying to implement some sort of LMS training using our own Sakai instance, but we have constantly run into the reality that participants can’t get access until they arrive, and then the schedule is just too short to really do anything of substance.  At the same time, we had two additional components that we wanted to accomplish this year, video clips and homework, so we needed some online way to facilitate that.  I decided to try Instructure Canvas for this purpose, mostly out of curiosity about this relatively new entry into the LMS market.

One online resource for language learning: PBS Newshour

One resource that I use and often recommend to English learners is the PBS Newshour site.  While it is clearly not intended specifically to be used in that capacity, it has several characteristics that make it well-suited to that purpose.

Video: Technology and Assessment at the Stanford Language Center

Just finished these.  They will eventually be on the Language Center website:

Lesson Slides: Google vs Microsoft

When I teach a pedagogy class, I tell the students that I think in PowerPoint. I do this partly to spite the large community of Microsoft haters, but also to illustrate a point: planning a lesson is a step that a teacher should never skip, especially if they have not taught that lesson at least 5 times. And, while it is important to be flexible, it is also important to visualize the short period of time that we spend with our students in a structured, chronological way, so that we make the most of every minute.

Assigning Media

Last quarter I taught EFSLANG-693B, an advanced listening comprehension and discussion course for international graduate students. I have written about my efforts with the media in that class before, and wanted to follow up with a few reflections on the most recent iteration.

Due Diligence

As we approach the end of the academic year, there is often a tendency to look for ways to assess how we have done and what we should do next year. One of the easiest tools for doing this is the survey, but I would suggest that querying network and software logs might give a more accurate picture of what is going on. At the very least, there is a strong argument that we really should take advantage of the resources we control before we start asking students and faculty who might have time to report what they think they can recall about their computer use. Below are a few questions that might be answerable, followed by some guiding principles behind them. These lists are by no means complete, but hopefully they give a direction that might be productive. The basic idea is to get a more accurate picture of how the learning management system (LMS), clusters, and other university controlled resources are used in order to possibly find opportunities or lacks that could be addressed.

Vocabulary and Questions with Quizlet and Paper

On one level, this post is about Quizlet, a tool that I use in a couple different ways, but what I really hope to convey to readers is an approach that I am taking in my curriculum and how I implement that with both high and low tech, or online and traditional technology.

Experimenting on My Friends

With the recent introduction of Facebook Graph Search, the fact that the data we provide Facebook situates us in a navigable, analyzable network has become clearer than ever. When I came across this tutorial that explains how to extract one’s social network data from the site (here’s another one as slides), I jumped on the chance and produced these results in Gephi:

Setting up Blogs, Thinking at an Institutional Level

Second Conference on Computational Social Science

Earlier this month, the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRiSS) held its second conference on Computational Social Science.  Sometimes shortened to CompSS or CSS, with apologies for the confusion with the alternate abbreviation more common to web developers.