Monday, August 25, 2008

The 23 Things for Learning 2.0: Post #2

Blogs and Avatars
The word blog is an abbreviation of web log. It could be an online journal, a “column” (to use newspaper speak), or a series of posts tied together only by a loosely identified topic. Here’s what blogs have in common: their entries are usually listed in reverse chronological order; they can contain not only text but pictures, video, audio, and links to other websites and blogs; and they are available for syndication, meaning you can subscribe and have entries delivered to your “feed.” In the verb form, to blog, or blogging, just means contributing to a blog. If you’re interested, see Wikipedia’s more in-depth article with a definition and the history of blogging. If you prefer, here’s another source at Encyclopedia Britannica. There’s even a blog about blogging.

Here are some samples from university-related blogs:
Check out TWU Connection, the Distance Learner blog!
E-Learning and Distance Education Blog
Create and Post to Your Own Blog

Discovery Exercises (Things)
#3. Set up your own blog
#4. Post your Blog URL here
#5. Create an Avatar

#3. Set up your own blog. You have several choices for blog hosts that offer free blog hosting. This blog is hosted on Blogger. Others include WordPress, and LiveJournal. That’s just a sampling; there are many more. Because it’s an easy blog service to work with, I’m going to give you instructions for Blogger. Those of you who are experienced bloggers may use any blog service you like.

  1. If you already have a blog, skip to #6; if you are new to blogs and blogging, proceed to #2.
  2. Click on this link to blogger: (this will open in a new window, on top of what you’re now viewing).
  3. If you have a Google Account, sign in with that at the top right of the page, and then click on SIGN IN; if you do not have a Google Account, use the CREATE YOUR BLOG NOW button (in the shape of an arrow).
  4. Google will walk you through setting up your account, naming your blog, and selecting your template.
  5. Be sure to record your blog name and password! It is recommended that you bookmark your blog.
  6. Play around and add a test post or two.
  7. You will create a blog post for each of the "23 Things" you try.

Please clearly label each entry in your blog in the following way: WEEK 1, Thing #1, subject. Each of your posts should provide insights into what you’ve discovered and learned. Feel free to share what worked for you … and what didn’t … what surprised you … what frustrated you … what amazed you. TIP: This is a good time to "bookmark" your blog for easy access.

#4 Post your URL for your blog (the “address,” like to this page using the comments button. [ ]

#5. Create an avatar -- a representation of yourself. Go to , design an avatar [representing you or a younger version of yourself] with a school, library, or classroom background. (You will have to set up an account if you don't use Yahoo!) Save your avatar and export to your blog.

Yahoo! Avatars
[HINT: Here's how to export your avatar to your blog. When you are on your page, go to "home" tab and look to the right column. One of the options is: "EXPORT: Use your avatar in web pages and blogs and more." Click there. Then, in the Center of the page, 0ne option is your avatar's HTML code. Copy the code, go to your blog (Sign in. When you first sign in, there is an option to add a post OR manage posts, settings, or layout; Go to "LAYOUT." You will see various page elements.) Paste (Control V) the HTML code in the PAGE ELEMENT marked "HTML/Java Script." Then move that PAGE ELEMENT to wherever you want your avatar to appear on your blog.] Each blog application: blogger, wordpress, edublog, typepad, and so on has a unique method of exporting avatars and other images onto your pages. Be sure to use the ‘help’ menu within your application to work your way through any problems you run into. ]

Texas Blackboard Users Group Proposals - Deadline Extended

The deadline to submit proposals for the 2008 Texas Blackboard Users Group Conference (TBUG) has been extended to Sunday, August 31. You can access the proposal submission web page at

Please take advantage of this opportunity. Presenting is a win/win situation! It gives you the opportunity to showcase the hard work you have put forth, the valuable courses you have provided to our students, and presentations also look great in your professional portfolio! Your presentation contributions also provide excellent learning opportunities for the conference attendees.

For more information about the conference and to register, please visit the main TBUG website at

Monday, August 18, 2008

Two Webinars about Supporting Adjuncts

The Division of Academic Affairs is pleased to announce two webinar opportunities to learn more about supporting adjuncts at TWU.

  • Who should attend? Deans, chairs, program directors, faculty and staff who work with and support adjunct instructors.
  • Cost? These webinars are Free.
  • RSVPs are NOT required.
  • These webinars will be available on the Denton and Houston campuses.

Please join us for the following:

Training and Supporting Online Adjuncts: Practical Ideas
Featuring Dr. Kimberly Hardy, Dean of Instruction and Student Success for the Open Campus at Florida Community College at Jacksonville
Delivered by Magna Publications, Inc.

Thursday, September 25, 2008
11 a.m. – noon
Denton: STOD 308/ Houston: Room 3111

Learn More About:

  • Creating an online mentoring program
  • Helping adjuncts with development and preparation of courses
  • Meeting adjunct needs for technical support and assistance
  • Developing robust communication and information tools and forums
  • Creating adjunct tutorials
  • Building a community of learners among online adjuncts
  • Connecting offsite adjuncts to the campus
  • Establishing professional development opportunities

More Information

Supporting Adjunct Faculty Online: A Case Study
Featuring Patrick Nellis, Director of Faculty Development, Valencia Community College & Daryl Peterson, Teaching and Learning Support, Valencia Community College
Delivered by Academic Impressions

Thursday, October 2, 2008
Noon – 1:30 p.m.
Denton: STOD 308/ Houston: Room 3318

Learn More About:

  • Strategies for implementing a plan to support adjunct faculty
  • An appreciation of the advantages of online support for adjunct faculty
  • Strategies for development of online tools for supporting adjunct faculty

More Information

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The 23 Things for Learning 2.0: Post #1

Hello! Welcome to a special series of blog postings for the online instructor. This series is brought to you by the Instructional Designers from Distance Education at TWU as a professional development self discovery program. It is designed for you to do on your own.

On future posts, you will encounter the tools of Web 2.0 that are bringing users in touch with the entire world through social networking, video, audio, and and more. The Instructional Design Team encourages you to take time to explore and enjoy all the tools of this new Internet and discover how they may be applied to learning.

Read on!

For this series of postings, there are 23 Things for you to complete. Each post will show you one more web tool. There are many places for you to explore, experiment with, and think about creative ways to use 2.0 tools in your courses.

Learning 2.0 is a discovery learning program created by Helene Blowers. Content and style for Learning 2.0 have been borrowed and duplicated with permission, under a Creative Commons License.

Each post begins with a brief explanation of a new web 2.0 topic or tool, followed by Discovery Exercises. These exercises give you the background you need to understand the tools you're learning about. After the Discovery Exercises, you'll find a Thing -- activity -- to complete. After each Thing you will write about the experience on a blog you will create. In other words, you will comment or "post" to your online log (Blog.) You will learn how to set up a blog on the 2nd post of this series. This is a tool to communicate your thoughts, new found skills, ideas, questions, and favorite websites. It's your space!


Post 1:
#1. Please begin by reading & finding out about the 23 Things program.
#2. Discover a few pointers from lifelong learners and learn how to nurture your own learning process.

#1 (Post 1) This 23 Things for Learning 2.0 series of blog postings has been set-up to encourage all of us to experiment and learn about the new and emerging technologies that are reshaping the context of teaching, learning and information. The Instructional Design Team modified The Learning 2.0 program designed by Helene Blowers, Technology Director, Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County and is loosely based upon Stephen Abram's article, 43 Things I (or You) might want to do this year (Information Outlook - February 2006) and the website 43 Things

Frequently Asked Questions:
1. How does this work? This is a self-discovery program which encourages participants to take control of their own learning and to utilize their lifelong learning skills through exploration and play. This content is web-based and not tied to any particular computer. In fact, you may want to work at home or in your TWU office.

2. Is this program open to everyone or just some? This program is open to all who want to learn and grow. Participate individually or as a group. The benefit to participating as a part of a group is that your cheer one another along. Participants tell us this is incredibly rewarding and also a way to learn from one another. Don’t we all like positive reinforcement?

3. How long do I have to complete these activities? This is a series of 9 blog postings. The idea is that you work on a new “thing” or activity every other week. However, you may work ahead or take a week off here and there. It is up to you how fast you decide to work!

4. How do I track my progress for the 23 Things? You will be asked to make a blog of your own to track your progress. Please use your blog to write your reactions and add any ideas you may have on how to use web 2.0 tools for yourself and your courses. This is YOUR time to experiment, have fun, and learn at your own pace.

We recommend you to label your blog posts this way: Include THING # in the heading of each post. It will help you track your progress. It is also helpful when you want to refer back or add something new on a specific topic or tool.

5. Will there be any training classes offered to show participants how to do this? No, this is a self-directed learning program. We will provide helpful hints, encouraging words, and post comments from time to time. You are also encouraged to be resourceful and to find a co-worker or another staff member who can help. Be sure to share your knowledge and expertise too!

6. Why Do This? Web 2.0 is a phrase that was coined in 2004. It refers to the fact that the Internet is now an interactive medium rather than a ‘place’ to go to get information. Since it is the young who are flocking to these Web 2.0 sites, it is important that those of us who work in with learners be up-to-date with the latest trends in education and technology and learn how they can be utilized in or with our classrooms and courses.

#2 (Post 1) Lifelong Learning Habits

It makes sense that before we embark on this online learning and discovery journey that we review a few habits that can assist in creating lifelong learners. These habits, called the Seven and 1/2 Habits of Highly Successful Lifelong Learners, will provide you with a refresher on what it means to be a lifelong learner.

The Seven and ½ Habits tutorial is a great introduction to Helene Blowers, the person who put together the very first “23 Things.” [Please note that at the end, where she invited her staff to submit their comments and questions to the We Value Your Opinion! link, DO NOT use that link. Instead, post your comments here on this blog or on your own blog. Here are instructions on how to leave a comment on this blog:]

Discovery Exercise:
1. Make sure you have headphones or speakers attached to your computer.

2. Open up the 7 & 1/2 Habits online tutorial and view the online tutorial. The tutorial was developed by the training specialists at the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

3. As you watch and listen, write down which habit among the 7 & 1/2 that is easiest for you and which is hardest. You will use your personal blog (which you will set up in the next post in this series) to post your thoughts about lifelong learning. Have fun! If you haven't jumped on board yet, it's never too late to become a lifelong learner. This is a great time to create a “learning contract” for yourself.

Next Up: Creating a blog so you can begin tracking your journey.