Google Apps at the U : UMNews : University of Minnesota

Check out this article about Google Apps at the U : UMNews : University of Minnesota. Here’s a couple quotes the used from me:

“When you can find ways to support students interacting meaningfully—which is not easy—but when you can achieve that, you reach an almost exponential growth in the quality of content and the specificity of the feedback they’re getting.”

“For example,” says Anders. “I set up (Google) chats while students are giving presentations. I’ll immediately ask students to give kudos—what is something this student did well? So they’ll give a presentation, sit down, and they’ll have 10 comments about things they did well. That kind of feedback, I think, is really a game changer for the levels of engagement and the kind of motivations needed for students to do well and improve.”

Read the full article for some interesting facts, figures, and perspectives on UMN’s use of Google Apps.

All-Google Project Template Includes Tools for Self-directed Learning

Odyssey 2

This open-source project features all-Google tools in a site template designed for connecting with collaborators. The project has three main components:

1. A Google site for project participants, including links to social networking sites and tools.

2. A Google+ Community where writers can share resources and hold Hangouts.

3. A Google spreadsheet for project management and data visualization.

Users can create a site based on this template, then update links. Home page charts and leader board links show participants where they are on their individual projects in comparison with others.

To prepare for creating and using a site based on the template, review these FAQs. If you think tutorials are in order, suggestions are welcome.

Discussion and Chat Tool Round-up

I was just asked by a colleague to suggest some tools for online discussions and/or live chats. She, like me, is beginning to explore hybrid learning and looking for tools to support out-of-class interactions.

Here’s the list I put together.  Please share your suggestions/opinions/reviews in the comments.

Moodle (LMS) based tools:

Google Apps based tools:

Other/3rd Party Tools

  • TodaysMeet ( A free 3rd party tool; you can embed simple chat into a website with automatic expiration dates; great for feedback and easy to use.
  • Tricider ( Similar to Google Moderator; collect ideas vote for the best ones
  • PollEverywhere ( a tool for “polling” an audience; they can respond via website or text message.
  • VoiceThread ( asynchronous group chat around media artifacts and presentations, some very interesting applications
  • ( white board and chat space for brainstorming and project design

Next MOOC: #etmooc?

#ETMOOC Massive Open Online Course Educational Technology and Media

There’s a new MOOC on the horizon: it begins the week of January 13-16th.  This one is led by Alec Couros and will be hosted at The Topics and Tentative Schedule suggest a more hands-on, practitioner-based focus to the exploration of educational technology and media for teaching and learning. The leadership team and project evolution suggest a very collaborative and participatory atmosphere.  Bonus: its hosted on a WordPress site ;-).

I just signed up. Anyone care to join me?

“On the Use and Abuse of MOOCs” My #CFHE12 Post-Interview

Received a request from Stacy Herrick at the State University of New York Institute of Technology to fill out a survey about my participation in #CFHE12. I thought I’d share my responses with all of you.

How many MOOCs have you been involved in?

I have signed up for and participated in at least 10 MOOCs and audited or sampled another 10. My most significant experiences have been with connectivist MOOCs (cMOOCs): Change 2011, Learning Analytics 2011, Connectivism and Connective Knowledge 2012, and the Current/Future State of Higher Education 2012. I have also surveyed and audited a wide range of courses on the major cloud-based LMS platforms (xMOOCs) including courses from Coursera, Udacity, Stanford’s Venture Lab, and Google. Finally, I have engaged a number of “indie-MOOCs” like #DS106 (led by Jim Groom et al) and #MOOCMOOC.

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Students learn by creating a MOOC

Check out this interesting project led by Cathy Davidson from and Dan Ariely of “predictably irrational” fame. They will offer a course “Surprise Endings: Social Science and Literature” in which students will lead a public MOOC in parallel to the University course they take for credit.

I really like this an example of how MOOCs can be a source of inspiration for pedagogy beyond simply “big box” lecture courses for masses of students. When students learn through teaching others and engage a larger online audience, learning is not just more exciting but more meaningful. I look forward to more projects like this one that have the courage to creatively reimagine how MOOCs can contribute to progressive pedagogical goals.