If You Build It, They Will Come: Using Ning to Create a Virtual Classroom


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  • Last year, I was sitting where you are – wondering how in the world I was going to create an online course on INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS!
  • Users Sent Invitation (Import Class List)
  • First Week – Orientation to ANGEL and Ning – TA Support is CriticalPersonalize – REQUIRED (including photo)Discussion Groups – n of 200 shrinks down to 10
  • Overview of Content – not really a lecture – more of an overview, and use examples. Make it “real”Family Communication & The Creation of Family Meanings
  • If You Build It, They Will Come: Using Ning to Create a Virtual Classroom

    1. 1. If You Build It, They Will Come<br />Using Ning to Create a Virtual Classroom<br />Jodi L. Spicer, MA<br />Department of Family & Child Ecology<br />Michigan State University<br />Phone: (517) 353-5267<br />Email: spicerj@msu.edu<br />
    2. 2. My Goals for Today<br />Share my “story” with you<br />Explore the possibilities of using social networks to increase student engagement<br />Provide tools and tips for online teaching and learning<br />
    3. 3. FCE 444: Interpersonal Relationships<br />Course Objective:<br /> The main focus of this course is to provide students with a deeper understanding of the complexities and dynamics of interpersonal relationships within families, as well as other important social, physical and cultural contexts, through the exploration of theory and application<br />Fully On-Line (since Spring 2000)<br />Offered EverySemester: 180 students (FS/SS) 125 students (US) <br />
    4. 4. A Little About Me<br />Have previously taught large face-to-face coursewithin department.<br />Fall 2009 - first time teaching FCE 444 and first time teaching fully online course. <br />My goal was to find a way to engage students in a collaborative way that encouraged them to openly share and learn from one another’s unique experiences and perspectives.<br />Willing to “dive in” and try something new.<br />
    5. 5. Why Ning?<br />In March 2009, received Ning Invitation to join an Early Childhood Education Collaborative from a colleague.<br />Intrigued with idea of using a social network to conduct online course.<br />Ning allowed for customized site<br />Environment Settings (Theme/Tabs)<br />Administrator Controls<br />Personalized Profiles<br />Variety of Collaborative Features<br />Activity Feed<br />
    6. 6. FCE 444: Nuts and Bolts<br />ANGEL: Course “Backpack”<br />Stores important information such as syllabus, course outline, assigned readings, PowerPoint lectures.<br />Assignment Drop Boxes<br />Student Assessments (Quizzes)<br />Welcome & Orientation<br />
    7. 7. Nuts and Bolts<br />Ning: Virtual Classroom<br />Closed social network.<br />Provides a variety of collaborative tools that allow students to interact with one another.<br />Helps replicate classroom environment. (participation, connection with instructor, connection with one another)<br />
    8. 8. So…..What is Ning? <br />Ning is a social networking platform that allows users to focus on a particular topic, and create social networks around specific interests.<br />Ning Facts:<br />More than 2 million Ning Networks created<br />More than 43 million registered members<br />5,000 Ning Networks are created every day<br />1 million members register every 12 days<br />
    9. 9. Features of Virtual Classroom<br />Student Interaction<br />Weekly Small Group Discussions<br />Individualization<br />Personalized Profile Pages<br />Engagement<br />Video Blogs<br />Ning Chat<br />Jodi’s Question of the Week<br />
    10. 10. So……How Does This Work?<br />
    11. 11.
    12. 12. Let’s Take a Tour!<br />
    13. 13. Video Blogs (Vlogs)<br />Set-up FlipCam in my office or home<br />Limit to 10 minutes<br />Include overview of content, review of assignments/due dates, hidden “gem”<br />Students feel like they “know” me<br />
    14. 14. Helpful Tools<br />FLIP Video Mino ($121/$173) <br />Gorilla TriPod ($19.95)<br />Camtasia ($92)<br />Jing (Free)<br />
    15. 15. What Makes it Work<br />Increased student interaction<br />Opportunity for regular participation, discussions and presentations<br />Environment is familiar to students<br />
    16. 16. Strategies for Engagement<br />Students are assigned to Discussion Groups (n<10) using ANGEL’s Random Team Generator.<br />Each week, a student is assigned the role of Group Facilitator within the various Discussion Groups.<br />Total Class Discussions<br />Individual Student Presentations<br />Extra Credit (embedded within Vlog)<br />
    17. 17. Tips for Success<br />Personalize!<br />Update regularly (weekly)<br />Go “ALL IN”<br />Incorporate technology into assignments<br />
    18. 18. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)<br />Student Assessment<br />Three Interactive Writing Assignments<br />Getting to Know One Another<br />Group Facilitator Summary Paper<br />Fictional Family Analysis<br />Construction of Family Genogram<br />Weekly Participation in Discussion Groups<br />Three Multiple-Choice Quizzes<br />
    19. 19. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)<br />Limitations<br />Previously free (with ads). Beginning July 2010, will cost users. <br />Ning Mini ($2.95/month)<br />Ning Plus ($19.95/month)<br />Ning Pro ($49.95/month)<br />Potentially Steep Learning Curve<br />
    20. 20. “Thrilling”<br />