learning from teaching online

I’ve been teaching Writing in Cyberspace and Academic Writing online this semester and using iTunes U. Using iTunes U has obviously got me thinking about video and audio I can create for my courses, as well as media my students can produce and share. The obvious first impluse is as a teacher is that you’re going to record lectures or maybe get more ambitious and put together video with some better production values. Those things are OK, I guess. And I can put in the extra time to make a video with decent productions values. But if I do that, I’m going to want to use it more than once. Then I’ll suddenly find myself in a world of canned content that I’ve been avoiding as an FTF teacher my whole career. If I were going to pursue that, I guess the best thing I might do then is create a library of media that I can share with my students.

Well, perhaps you can guess where I’m going with this. I’ve created some specific screencasts for my students to help them with some technical how-to’s and maybe I’ll create some lecture-like videos yet. But I can draw just as easily on existing material. I know, no great revelation there.

However, it does have me thinking about how one thing leads to another. In part it makes me think about the potential value of public pedagogy, a professional-technical writing channel on YouTube. Sure there’d be a fair amount of worthless stuff as there always is on YouTube. Yet there’s also great stuff, as you know.

But more importantly this experience has offered up a palpable feeling of how these things proliferate. I remember when I first learned many years ago that students who have computers at home use computer labs more than students who don’t have labs. Now that just seems obvious.

Well, this is obvious too: iTunes U can be a gateway drug. Start thinking about how you can draw networked media into a course and you’ll uncover many avenues for doing this.


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