Monday, June 29, 2009

Academic Travel on a Budget - Post 1/5


I usually travel to at least three academic conferences per year and the inpending state of this year's economy has pushed me to be very frugal when traveling. During the next few posts, I will provide you with tips on traveling frugally. The topic will range from booking the flight to hotel dining. Please check back every few days for a new tip.
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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Adopt THIS Technology: The Perils of Twitter (An Opinion)

I love twitter as much as the next professor. However, I am quite skeptical about providing specific real time updates for my readers. I caution my students and friends against posting tweets like, "Going to Mom's this Weekend" and "Going to Spring Break in South Padre".

Two weeks ago, I read an article in the Houston Chronicle (from an undisclosed location by the Houston area :) ) titled, "Do 'I'm on Vacation' Posts Pose Security Concerns?". I was alarmed by the fact that someone's house was bulgarized because of the real time tweets that someone posted from their vacation spot in Kansas City. Here is a small exert from the article:

Like a lot of people who use social media, Isreal Hyman and his wife, Noell, shared real-time details of a recent trip on Twitter. Their posts said they were "preparing to head out of town," that they had "another 10 hours of driving ahead," and that they "made it to Kansas City." While they were on the road, their home in Mesa, Ariz., was burgularized.

Hyman had over 2,000 followers on twitter and "he thinks his updates tipped the burglars off" (Allen, 2009, G9). As a result, I am quite skeptical of posting any twitter updates (tweets) pertaining to my current location. In addition, any tweets that I post to twitter automatically go to my facebook account as updates for my 450+ friends on that website. I have met about 90% of my friends on facebook in person, but not on twitter.

The day before this article was published, I decided to protect my twitter updates and my "follow list". As a result, I have to give permission to my students to have them follow my twitter updates and they have to give me permission to follow their updates.

I continue to use the twitter assignment that I posted last month and it seems that more students are interested in this new type of social media. I cannot wait to see what the next new social media application will be in 2010. To maintain a strong awareness of social media, I follow Jane Hart from The Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies (C4LPT) on twitter and I read her daily RSS feed -Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day.
In addition, I add her website suggestions to my account -

If YOU have any technology suggestions, PLEASE let me know. I love technology and I try to remain at the forefront of social media adoption.

Have a great weekend!
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Teaching Online: Pros and Cons (Chronicle of Higher Education)

As many of you know, I teach "COMS 101 - Fundamentals of Speech Communication" in an online format. There are many pros and cons of teaching a college course in an online format. Recently, the Chronicle of Higher Education published two articles in their commentary section titled "Teaching Online: 2 Perspectives".

The first article, "A Reaffirmation of Why I Became an Educator", focused on the benefits of teaching online and the second article, "I'll Never Do It Again", focused on the negative aspects of teaching online. These articles can be accessed by clicking the links above.

What do YOU think about teaching a college course online?


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Friday, June 19, 2009

Are For-Profit Institutions Better for Our Students?

A colleague sent this article to me via e-mail yesterday - "Who Graduates At-Risk Students".
My Opinion - The fact that for-profit career colleges have more college graduates than public/private community colleges and universities makes sense. Many for-profit career colleges focus on the technical skills of their students (i.e. - welding, graphic design, etc.) for one to two years. Other colleges require the students to complete core requirements and advanced requirements for their degrees. In addition, public/private community colleges and universities require their students to attend school for a longer amount of time than their for-profit counterparts.
Also, the for-profit institutions provide courses that fit the students' busy schedules. For example, one for-profit institution offers courses from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. These institutions also use unconventional advertising methods (i.e. - commercials during soap operas and late night television, sponsoring a radio spot, etc.).
What do you think?
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Monday, June 8, 2009

Adopt THIS Technology: The Narrated Syllabus

Last night, I had an epiphany...I should create a narrated syllabus on Slide Share. I heard about Slide Share a few years ago, but a presenter from the last Southern States Communication Conference spoke about the Slide Cast function on Slide Share. I thought that this feature would be incredible, because my institution would not allow me to download Adobe Captivate on my laptop (which is my main computer).

I love the Slide Cast feature! I hope that the students like the feature too! This morning, I embedded the slide cast in a blackboard e-mail for the students.

Please let me know what you think! Ask me any questions!

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My Thoughts Were Lost in the May Mester!

Hello! I taught a May Mester course for the past few weeks and it was very demanding. As a result, I had to take a small break to focus on the three week course. That was last week, but the funny thing is... it doesn't seem like this week will be any easier. Here's my to do list:

a) take car to the dealership
b) finish article outline - e-mail to Lora
c) revise communication article - Due Date - June 13th
d) upload blackboard course content (working on it now)
e) disperse syllabus slideshare presentation
f) organize my desk
g) finish IRB info. for partner institution

Well, I will post more information soon. Wish me luck!

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