Social Academia and Collective Knowledge

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to speak to a wonderful group of English graduate students in a course about Social Media at Kennesaw State University. I shared with them some of the research interests I have in instructional technology, digital publishing, and usability. I’ve become particularly interested in all the different learning spaces that are developing online and the social characteristics at their core.

Since the course is about Social Media, I thought it would be fun to point out a few of the different “social media” websites or applications that I’ve recently been exploring, such as Kahn Academy, Udemy, Inkling, and Kno. I also suspected that these selections would be outside of the more popular platforms used for social networking, (such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn Delicious, StumbleUpon, or Pinterest) that they’d been discussing. If you’re interested in seeing my full list of resources, take a look at the handout I used during the talk.

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About Face (Part 4): About Face and Teaching Writing

This is part four of a series of blog posts in response to About Face, by Alan Cooper, Robert Reinmann, and David Cronin.

How can we use the versioning, auto-save, and undo capabilities to re-envision the ways we teach writing?

 Many teachers will tell you that students perform better when they can see measurable progress. Just like the users of a software program, students want to know “where” they are in a process. Although we can’t always give students a virtual “status bar,” we do try to help them see their improvements.  This is why, at the end of the semester, many writing instructors require students to return to a paper they wrote during the first few weeks of class. The goal is to help students actually recognize how much they’ve (hopefully) learned throughout the semester—in terms of content and grammar, in addition to rhetorical writing strategies.

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About Face (part 3) About Face and Learning Spaces

This is part 3 of a series of blog posts in response to About Face, by Alan Cooper, Robert Reinmann, and David Cronin.

How do we avoid creating situations where users get lost in the interface, or experience “navigational trauma?”

Several times throughout the About Face, the authors quote Antoine de St. Exupery saying, “in anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away.”

To me, this principle seems to be at the core of usability and good design: Give people exactly what they need without all the other “stuff” that distracts, frustrates, or impedes progress and effectiveness.

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Annotated Bibliography Tutorials

I’m trying to think of how technologies can teach communication in ways that are MORE effective than traditional classroom instruction. In other words, rather than trying to simply REPLICATE in-class instruction with SUPPLEMENTAL tools, how might we RECREATE instruction techniques entirely?

Creating a tutorial similar to one of these could free up class time for writing and revision–and it could be reviewed by students multiple times, if needed.

I’d like to experiment with transitioning some of my current teaching materials into materials that could be used effectively online.  I searched for “how to write an annotated bibliography” on YouTube, and these were some of the more popular hits.

UMUC Library: How to Write an Annotated Bibliography Tutorial (5,235 Views) 

How to Write an Annotated Bibliography (13,401 Views)


Make an Annotated Bibliography (1,440 Views)


Creating an Annotated Bibliography (4,048 Views)