Our Ocotillo Online Learning Group meetings have really taken off nicely this year. This group, now its fifth year, began as a “Blackboard Users Group” but we have broadened it to include demos and exchanges for people using any sort of online technology. I recall in the old days a few meetings with an audience of about 4 people, but now we are in the 30-50 range, and we are getting people coming from all of our colleges.
The October 1 meeting was at Phoenix College, where we had a demo from a faculty member, Pam Petty, who was tired of the limited capabilities of the Blackboard gradebook, and has integrated WebGrade, the web version of MicroGrade, software that has been used in our system a long time. In her course, Pam just hides the Blackboard gradebook link, and ads the left side link for students to go log in to the WebGrade site.
Next, Accounting faculty Sid Ford, share some results from his teaching of the same class in a face to face format and and online (actually more of a hybrid since in person testing is required) format. He shared “facts”, “student opinions”, and his “own opinions” on what worked well. We have his presentation available as an MLX package.
One of the strongest reactions was a slide showing an excerpt of a stat he provides his online students that cited his online student average was better than his face to face students, but more importantly, students who scored above 90 had more than 2500 page views of the course content, while students with averages below 70, had 926 page views.
It seems an interesting way to get the message out to students to spend more time with the material (??).
We also had a quick hands on demo with “Pluck”, a free, Windows based Internet Explorer plug-in that ads shared folders, RSS readers to the browser. It has a lot of options which may have confused the audience in a quick demo, but fortunately, Billie Hughes form Phoenix College had prepared an online guide to using Pluck that has made available.
The biggest outcome was watching people see what RSS could bring them.
The we had the door prizes; they love the door prizes.
Next month it is a theme of Multimedia in the Humanities at South Mountain Community College.