Web Communication Tools (course 2010-11)

Web Communication Tools is a new subject I’m teaching in second year of Modern Languages and Humanities at the University of Deusto.  These are new grades that replaces our old phylologies, so it is the first time I give this subject with the new format (adapted to Bologna).

As it is mentioned in the syllabus (for this course 2010-11)

[The main objective is to learn] how to make the best of alternative tools to email for web communication, such as social networks, blogs, forums, microblogging and wikis.

Almost 100 students are registered and reviewing their practical work or assignments and grading them in time is not an easy task :-(. For this reason I will be putting into practice peer and self evaluation (on top of the general and final evaluation that I, in my condition of teacher, will have to carry out both during the course and at the end of it).

Now we are half way through the semester and I have just collected the first self-evaluation forms. As expected, students are too generous with their own work. But now at least they understand better what is what they have to do and will be capable of evaluating their peers.  But before we go into that, it is time to revise the evaluation elements and to consider some adjustments.

The course started with an introduction to social networks (in our case Facebook). We set up a page and a questionnaire which students had to answer through notes in their user accounts. There were 10 questions, ranging from privacy settings to link management. The practical deserves a post on its own because of the big amount of features we have discovered while using Facebook’s configuration settings and other functionalities.

The second topic has been microblogging (and we are using Twitter for that). I suggested the hashtag #wct1011 and students started to send their comments and opinions (and it become local trending topic for some weeks). I’ve asked them to publish more than 100 tweets by the end of the semester. Since the exercise was almost new for the majority of them, I had to include a tempting definition of what are good and poor tweets. It has not been strait-forward to get students make good contributions or make them take part of interesting conversations. There are little spontaneous replays or retweets. Tweets have been mostly for sharing links, but unlike previous years,  little class-broadcasting has taken place; probably because I didn’t mention such possibility, which as Greg Ferenstein has pointed out helps “broden students participation in lecture”.

Now students are working on their first blog post (we are using WordPress). Afeter setting up our blog accounts (last week) now they have to produce their first “almost-publishable” draft, which after getting my aproval, will go into the collective blog LitteraMedia. I agree with Anne Mirtschin in that blogging is a very formative activity. I introduced it in the classroom in 2003-04. I’ve learned that it is hard to maintain; even more difficult now that we have microblogs  and Facebook walls. For this is the reason, we will share a collective blog instead of working on individual ones.

The last practical will be with wikis (i.e. MediaWiki in our case). Students will work on two wiki-pages, one will have the  structure of a technical report and the second one will consist of a compilation of classroom notes from other subjects. It will be a good exercise of peer collaboration, of the type we used to have when I was a student (and a member of  those old class-notes commissions).


Picture taken from http://www.editeur-web.fr/

5 thoughts on “Web Communication Tools (course 2010-11)

  1. Guillermo

    Joseba, muy interesante la experiencia en tu curso. Espero ansioso tus conclusiones sobre el feedback que hayas recibido de los alumnos y tu propia visión del curso una vez que ya lo hayas terminado.
    ¡Ánimo con todo ese trabajo! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Web Communication Tools (course 2010-11) « Deusto's Littera Media

  3. mónica

    Querido Joseba. Fui estudiante de Filología Hispánica en Deusto hace algunos años, aunque llevo unos cuantos fuera (Hungría, Estados Unidos). Acabo de encontrar este blog tuyo, que me ilusiona e interesa a partes iguales. En el extranjero, y a otro nivel, el de la enseñanza de lengua y literatura a extranjeros, Alvaro (otro ex-estudiante de Deusto, también de Hispánicas)y yo estamos llevando a cabo cursos transmedia, con uso de diversas plataformas y herramientas web (algunas de las cuales mencionas aquí). Te dejo las direcciones de los cursos que enseñamos, para estar en contacto, sobre todo, por si te es de ayuda e interés, al igual que tu blog lo es para nosotros. Un saludo cordial.
    Mónica Poza

  4. Joseba Abaitua

    Gracias Mónica, no había visto tus comentarios hasta hoy. Ha sido un fin de semestre loco, con más de 100 alumnos evaluados y el comienzo de una nueva asignatura, todavía más interesante que la anterior, aunque para muchos de mis alumnos (sobre todo para los que inexplicablemente han suspendido la asignatura anterior) resultará un poco árida. Pero en fin, me motivo con mi tercio excelente.

    Echaré un vistazo a vuestro trabajo y seguimos en contacto.

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