Using Technology to Improve Communication with Students


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The Web 2.0 is providing new ways to create content, collaborate, and participate in wide-reaching discussions. For a graduate course in building such interactive services, I have used these recent technological advances to give students exposure to what they are to design. I will briefly describe some technologies that I have used from Web 2.0 type of applications. The first is Twitter which I use to carry classroom discussions outside of email and outside of classroom boundaries (physical and electronic). I also use DropBox as a way to share documents with students in groups. I have also used podcasts, Google Docs, Google Calendar, SlideShare, CiteULike, Delicious, and LinkedIn for other purposes related to my teaching/research.

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Using Technology to Improve Communication with Students

  1. 1. Using Web 2.0 Infrastructure to Improve Classroom Communication Manuel A. Pérez-Quiñones • Department of Computer Science Center for Human-Computer Interaction Virginia Tech
  2. 2. Dropbox • • Store and share documents Suggested (but not done) to online just have a folder for class, drop materials there, gets • copied to students Software syncs your online and automatically computer files • • Free software, limit of 2GB; Share folders transparently paid option for more storage • To write papers with my students, we just share a Dropbox folder 2
  3. 3. • • Micro blogging platform Has been used in courses to support “contextualized” • teaching (teaching in the Status (what are you doing) moment) service • • I use it to post announcements Inform your friends, be and updates to course informed about their status materials, and to interact with • students in short bursts “Follow” friends, famous people, or single words • Follow me: mapq • Updates can be received via email, SMS (to your phone), desktop client, etc. 3
  4. 4. “The class twitter account served as a nice platform for the class participants to built rapport and exchange thoughts and ideas. On a personal note, […] whenever I wanted a clarification, I just sent him a private message on Twitter and got back a quick reply.” 4
  5. 5. “CS5774 made me re-evaluate my view of the importance of Web 2.0 technologies. The quot;Web 2.0quot; label had been attached to so many concepts that it had lost much of its meaning for me. This class helped me see the underlying social nature of these concepts and how they can be deployed in meaningful ways to enhance systems which might not normally be considered quot;socialquot; software systems.” 5
  6. 6. “I found the incorporation of easy to use software like Moodle, Twitter, email list serve and video podcasts invaluable in providing appropriate context and information to me outside of the class. Thanks to the use of these technologies, I could come prepared to class about the topic that was going to be taught and since I wasn't distracted by having to write notes in class, I could devote all my attention to the conversations transpiring in class. […] Being a full time professional with several responsibilities outside of class, I found having this quot;contextquot; available literally at my fingertips at all times very useful.” 6
  7. 7. Other systems • Identify friends (facebook, orkut, friendster) • Education (citeulike, campusbug, carmun, koofers, rateteachers) • Share resources: movies (youtube), pictures (flickr), status (twitter), bookmarks (, stumbleupon), news (digg, reddit), citations (citeulike), exams (koofers), slides (slideshare)... 9
  8. 8. • • Bookmarking for references, Create a “group” with your with support to export to students and share references EndNote, bibtex, etc. • Supports “bookmarking” from popular cites, including ACM DL • Power of social browsing, recommendations 10