I got some expected feedback from my online Children's Literature class. A reoccuring theme amongst my students is they feel overwhelemed by the number of tools. To me it fels like the natural tools of networked knowledge building but many students have trouble navigating the tools. I used o use:
- Class website- https://
edu305.jgregorymcverry.com for example
- Class Feed-Linked on the page
- Wordpress.com-Their website, usually a first, where they learn to blog
- Slack-Our chatroom and hangout
- Hypothesis-Online Annotation
This semester I am dropping Slack and Hypothesis. I love the tools but clearly my students want less places.....And I am itching tio add more like wikis....but I won't. The shift of mindset alone requires enough effort.
I always want to recreate the culture we have in our online pedagogy groups. A fool's errand. Many of us have hung online toggether for ten years. A decade of of practice can not be baked into one semester.
Though I am starting to get students who have helped to create learning speaces with me in two other classes so maybe this will improve.
Still no students hang out in Slack like we roll in Slack, IRC, or Twitter. The primary reason lies in the realities of the students I serve. Many have two to three jobs. 25% of of my undergraduates have children. Each as a unique life story and experience to bring. This ain't the cookie cutter white fence lives of Ivy League students or even UCONN students. They worry about making rent not the next Spring Break destination.
Having the capcity for networked learning reflects priviledge. No one used the channel. I tried Slack because when I used Known turned into a file cabinent to hand in assignments. If I wanted that I would use Blackboard. Slack was no different.
Maybe I could have tried more welcoming messages each days, diret messaging people, but I coudl not increae engagement in any class.
I still need chat. It reduces student emails a hundred fold, plus it's how humans learn. So I added a chat room to my IndieWeb Course template.
I love hypothesis. My students do not. Partly because I did not spend as much time in the arrticle stream, but also just preference. Many do not want to read and take notes this way. I feel have a moral obligation not to demand students use a specific method for the external storage of knowledge.
I am going to have students publish Read posts and include block quotes and analysis, and then publish an analysis post synthesizing the readings. Our students, even in their sophmore year of college need support in text based analysis. I feel this step will add in greater reflection.
I have used inoreader the past few years and create a page of class feeds on the website. I am debating whether to try Malcom Blaney unicyclic.com but all my students use WordPress.com so I wouldn't get the benefits of having a microsub/micropub social reader.
I don't have a one button push solution for IndieWeb sites and the best we can do with WordPress.com is webmentions with Bridgy.
Probably just stick to Inoreader.
Meeting the Student Needs
This will greatly reduce student navigation. They now will only have to vist the class website and post on their website.