Latest & Greatest Technology Tips for Your Online Teaching Spaces


Blog Building 101: The Social Marketing Academy ~ iTunesU

Today I am listening to a free resource thorugh iTunesU called Blog Building 101. This is WordPress based, but he gives 15 minutes of why businesses are using blogs.

Top reasons to have a blog are to drive traffic to your website, basics and figuring out if you can manage your own blog.

What do you share? Anything…it’s a journal, it’s conversational, it is a conversation starter. You use this blog to “talk” to your clients/customers in a casual way. It also allows these clients to interact in real-time. Yet you can use it as a private space to collaborate with your research, writing and self assess what you really want to share.

What pages do you need? For UAA Staff & Faculty you can focus on a single blog page, but if you have an ePortfolio you can have a Home, ePortfolio, Blog etc., that go along with your content/focus.

Why blog? This depends on your goal and focus. Some people blog to share ideas and content they feel is relevant, think political content. Some blog to capture thoughts on content and ideas, but also to share these ideas with either a specific group, say other faculty or researchers in that area, or a team, like here at AI&e we have a team of Instructional Designers and I like to share information relevant to our profession and work with our clients.

If you are trying to gain credibility in your content area or research field you may want to collaborate and share more openly than if you are using your blog as a place to collect your works to organize at a later time. When you share your content, research etc. it builds credibility according to the Social Media Marketing Academy. But only if you are sharing it where your peers can find it.

You can use a blog as a place to produce pages or chapters of a book, pages or chapters of a dissertation, a chapter you are writing for submission to a publisher etc. You can even use it, set to private, as a journal of ideas.

The thing is, it is up to you how you use it.

That’s the beauty of the blog…it’s in the cloud, it’s flexible and it can be shared in so many ways.

Once you have established your blog, using social media to share it out to your readership is the next logical step, but that is really an additional blog post, which I will create and give to you all next week.



Tips for Writing and Publishing a Journal Article

This blog lists the tips found in “Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks,” by Wendy Laura Belcher.

This basic list is detailed out in the book, but the list is a great place to begin on your journey of publishing articles.

This makes me think…I can do this too. Time, though, where do I find the time! Any of you have tips for carving out time to write?

Check out : Tips on Writing a Journal Article

JAin12I might need to get myself writing a bit more to make this goal!



Not Technology, but an inspiring message of hope and a vision of education for Africa…


Fred Swaniker: The leaders who ruined Africa, and the generation who can fix it

Full Text Transcript:

I experienced my first coup d’état at the age of four. Because of the coup d’état, my family had to leave my native home of Ghana and move to the Gambia. As luck would have it, six months after we arrived,they too had a military coup. I vividly remember being woken up in the middle of the night and gathering the few belongings we could and walking for about two hours to a safe house. For a week, we slept under our beds because we were worried that bullets might fly through the window.

Then, at the age of eight, we moved to Botswana. This time, it was different. There were no coups.Everything worked. Great education. They had such good infrastructure that even at the time they had a fiber-optic telephone system, long before it had reached Western countries.

The only thing they didn’t have is that they didn’t have their own national television station, and so I remember watching TV from neighboring South Africa, and watching Nelson Mandela in jail being offered a chance to come out if he would give up the apartheid struggle. But he didn’t. He refused to do that until he actually achieved his objective of freeing South Africa from apartheid. And I remember feeling how just one good leader could make such a big difference in Africa.

Then at the age of 12, my family sent me to high school in Zimbabwe. Initially, this too was amazing:growing economy, excellent infrastructure, and it seemed like it was a model for economic development in Africa. I graduated from high school in Zimbabwe and I went off to college.

Six years later, I returned to the country. Everything was different. It had shattered into pieces. Millions of people had emigrated, the economy was in a shambles, and it seemed all of a sudden that 30 years of development had been wiped out. How could a country go so bad so fast? Most people would agree that it’s all because of leadership. One man, President Robert Mugabe, is almost single-handedly responsible for having destroyed this country.

Now, all these experiences of living in different parts of Africa growing up did two things to me. The first is it made me fall in love with Africa. Everywhere I went, I experienced the wonderful beauty of our continent and saw the resilience and the spirit of our people, and at the time, I realized that I wanted to dedicate the rest of my life to making this continent great. But I also realized that making Africa greatwould require addressing this issue of leadership. You see, all these countries I lived in, the coups d’étatand the corruption I’d seen in Ghana and Gambia and in Zimbabwe, contrasted with the wonderful examples I had seen in Botswana and in South Africa of good leadership. It made me realize that Africa would rise or fall because of the quality of our leaders.

Now, one might think, of course, leadership matters everywhere. But if there’s one thing you take away from my talk today, it is this: In Africa, more than anywhere else in the world, the difference that just one good leader can make is much greater than anywhere else, and here’s why. It’s because in Africa, we have weak institutions, like the judiciary, the constitution, civil society and so forth. So here’s a general rule of thumb that I believe in: When societies have strong institutions, the difference that one good leader can make is limited, but when you have weak institutions, then just one good leader can make or break that country.

Let me make it a bit more concrete. You become the president of the United States. You think, “Wow, I’ve arrived. I’m the most powerful man in the world.” So you decide, perhaps let me pass a law. All of a sudden, Congress taps you on the shoulder and says, “No, no, no, no, no, you can’t do that.” You say, “Let me try this way.” The Senate comes and says, “Uh-uh, we don’t think you can do that.” You say, perhaps, “Let me print some money. I think the economy needs a stimulus.” The central bank governor will think you’re crazy. You might get impeached for that. But if you become the president of Zimbabwe,and you say, “You know, I really like this job. I think I’d like to stay in it forever.” (Laughter) Well, you just can. You decide you want to print money. You call the central bank governor and you say, “Please double the money supply.” He’ll say, “Okay, yes, sir, is there anything else I can do for you?” This is the power that African leaders have, and this is why they make the most difference on the continent.

The good news is that the quality of leadership in Africa has been improving. We’ve had three generations of leaders, in my mind. Generation one are those who appeared in the ’50s and ’60s. These are people like Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Julius Nyerere of Tanzania. The legacy they left is that they brought independence to Africa. They freed us from colonialism, and let’s give them credit for that.They were followed by generation two. These are people that brought nothing but havoc to Africa. Think warfare, corruption, human rights abuses. This is the stereotype of the typical African leader that we typically think of: Mobutu Sese Seko from Zaire, Sani Abacha from Nigeria. The good news is that most of these leaders have moved on, and they were replaced by generation three. These are people like the late Nelson Mandela and most of the leaders that we see in Africa today, like Paul Kagame and so forth.Now these leaders are by no means perfect, but the one thing they have done is that they have cleaned up much of the mess of generation two. They’ve stopped the fighting, and I call them the stabilizer generation. They’re much more accountable to their people, they’ve improved macroeconomic policies,and we are seeing for the first time Africa’s growing, and in fact it’s the second fastest growing economic region in the world. So these leaders are by no means perfect, but they are by and large the best leaders we’ve seen in the last 50 years.

So where to from here? I believe that the next generation to come after this, generation four, has a unique opportunity to transform the continent. Specifically, they can do two things that previous generations have not done. The first thing they need to do is they need to create prosperity for the continent. Why is prosperity so important? Because none of the previous generations have been able to tackle this issue of poverty. Africa today has the fastest growing population in the world, but also is the poorest. By 2030, Africa will have a larger workforce than China, and by 2050, it will have the largest workforce in the world.One billion people will need jobs in Africa, so if we don’t grow our economies fast enough, we’re sitting on a ticking time bomb, not just for Africa but for the entire world.

Let me show you an example of one person who is living up to this legacy of creating prosperity: Laetitia.Laetitia’s a young woman from Kenya who at the age of 13 had to drop out of school because her family couldn’t afford to pay fees for her. So she started her own business rearing rabbits, which happen to be a delicacy in this part of Kenya that she’s from. This business did so well that within a year, she was employing 15 women and was able to generate enough income that she was able to send herself to school, and through these women fund another 65 children to go to school. The profits that she generated, she used that to build a school, and today she educates 400 children in her community. And she’s just turned 18. (Applause)

Another example is Erick Rajaonary. Erick comes from the island of Madagascar. Now, Erick realized that agriculture would be the key to creating jobs in the rural areas of Madagascar, but he also realized that fertilizer was a very expensive input for most farmers in Madagascar. Madagascar has these very special bats that produce these droppings that are very high in nutrients. In 2006, Erick quit his job as a chartered accountant and started a company to manufacture fertilizer from the bat droppings. Today, Erick has built a business that generates several million dollars of revenue, and he employs 70 people full time and another 800 people during the season when the bats drop their droppings the most. Now, what I like about this story is that it shows that opportunities to create prosperity can be found almost anywhere. Erick is known as the Batman. (Laughter) And who would have thought that you would havebeen able to build a multimillion-dollar business employing so many people just from bat poo? The second thing that this generation needs to do is to create our institutions. They need to build these institutions such that we are never held to ransom again by a few individuals like Robert Mugabe.

Now, all of this sounds great, but where are we going to get this generation four from? Do we just sit and hope that they emerge by chance, or that God gives them to us? No, I don’t think so. It’s too important an issue for us to leave it to chance. I believe that we need to create African institutions, home-grown, that will identify and develop these leaders in a systematic, practical way. We’ve been doing this for the last 10 years through the African Leadership Academy. Laetitia is one of our young leaders. Today, we have 700 of them that are being groomed for the African continent, and over the next 50 years, we expect to create 6,000 of them.

But one thing has been troubling me. We would get about 4,000 applications a year for 100 young leaders that we could take into this academy, and so I saw the tremendous hunger that existed for this leadership training that we’re offering. But we couldn’t satisfy it. So today, I’m announcing for the first time in public an extension to this vision for the African Leadership Academy. We’re building 25 brand new universities in Africa that are going to cultivate this next generation of African leaders. Each campus will have 10,000 leaders at a time so we’ll be educating and developing 250,000 leaders at any given time. (Applause)

Over the next 50 years, this institution will create three million transformative leaders for the continent.

My hope is that half of them will become the entrepreneurs that we need, who will create these jobs that we need, and the other half will go into government and the nonprofit sector, and they will build the institutions that we need. But they won’t just learn academics. They will also learn how to become leaders, and they will develop their skills as entrepreneurs. So think of this as Africa’s Ivy League, but instead of getting admitted because of your SAT scores or because of how much money you have or which family you come from, the main criteria for getting into this university will be what is the potential that you have for transforming Africa?

But what we’re doing is just one group of institutions. We cannot transform Africa by ourselves. My hopeis that many, many other home-grown African institutions will blossom, and these institutions will all come together with a common vision of developing this next generation of African leaders, generation four, and they will teach them this common message: create jobs, build our institutions.

Nelson Mandela once said, “Every now and then, a generation is called upon to be great. You can be that great generation.” I believe that if we carefully identify and cultivate the next generation of African leaders, then this generation four that is coming up will be the greatest generation that Africa and indeed the entire world has ever seen.

Thank you.



What ExAcTlY is an Online Teaching Space?

image of computer screen with instructor and chalkboardIn a few discussions that I have been a part of lately, including updating the UAA Student Fact Finder Blackboard information, it has come to my attention the definition of “Online Teaching Environment or Space” can be a little vague, or even misunderstood.

So let me clarify it for you as far as UAA Academic Innovations & eLearning is concerned.

All classes in the UAA Class Schedule receive an online course shell in UAA Blackboard. This means traditional, hybrid or online courses all have an online space for faculty and students to use during the course of the semester.

Why is this important to you?

  1. You can create online content that your students can access 24/7
  2. You can engage students in online discussions outside the classroom
  3. You can send announcements and information to students outside a classroom
  4. You can encourage students to collaborate using these tools and publish work to share with their classmates
  5. You can use the Grade Center features to collect, review and submit grades to students online. This thing is really a time management hero!
  6. You can track when students submit assignments and create quizzes and other learning modules that auto-grade.
  7. You can build it and reuse modules in subsequent semesters
  8. You can import publisher test banks and create unique tests & quizzes
  9. You can embed video/audio and other online resources for students to review previous to class
  10. You can create your own video/audio or online media and embed it in your online space

Is 10 enough? There are more really great things you can do using this space! Currently Blackboard is the learning management system at UAA, and students also have Google Apps for Education and other online options to use in their personal learning environments.

Need help with organizing and setting up an online course environment? Give me a shout!



New Study: Engage Kids with 7x the Effect | Edutopia

New Study: Engage Kids with 7x the Effect | Edutopia.

This blog by Todd Finley @Edutopia gives a great list of how faculty can add authentic engagement to their classes. Need ideas & examples for face to face and online engagement…give me a call!

(Click on the title link above to read the original post…it’s good)

Excerpt  from “Engage with 7x the Effect….

Engagement Method #1: Lively Teaching

Involves group work, games, and projects. The emphasis is on the students constructing knowledge, not on the teacher delivering it. Think social and fun.

Engagement Method #2: Academic Rigor

The instructor creates cognitively demanding tasks and environments (called “academic press”), emphasizing that students will need to work hard. The teacher also shows passionate investment in the content. According to research that Cooper cites, students’ perception of challenge is a strong predictor of achievement gains.

Engagement Method #3: Connective Instruction

In connective instruction, the teacher helps students make personal connections to the class, content, and learning. The power of connective instruction comes from the instructor helping students see the curriculum as critical to their current lives, their future, and their culture. Additionally, six instructor behaviors play into creating high quality relationships where, according to Andrew Martin, students “actually internalize the beliefs valued by significant others.”

  1. Promoting relevance: relating content to students’ lives.

  2. Conveying care: understanding learners’ perspectives.

  3. Concern for students’ well-being: demonstrating knowledge of students’ lives.

  4. Providing affirmation: telling students they are capable of doing well; using praise, written feedback, and opportunities for success.

  5. Relating to students through humor: showing that you enjoy working with young people (not as a class, as individuals).

  6. Enabling self-expression: connecting learning and identity by encouraging students’ expression of ideas, values, and conceptions of self.


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Social Media in Higher Ed

Just exactly what are the benefits of Social Media in Higher Ed?

According to the article The Benefits of Social Media for Higher Education by ZOG at it is all about the marketing, with just this one blurb about students using Twitter to practice Italian Language skills:

In the Classroom. Social media can revolutionize learning and make it more efficient – as long as it isn’t abused. It offers a wealth of worldwide information that professors can use to complement lessons. An excellent example is shown in the case study: “Twitter in an Italian Class.” An Italian teacher at Montclair State University had her students tweet each other – only in Italian – in and out of the classroom, encouraging native speakers to join as well. 90% of the students reported a boost in confidence and motivation.

 I can think of SO many more ways that faculty can use social media in their classroom and degree programs! Here is my off the top of my head today list:

  • Business students should be in LinkedIn posting completed projects, networking and looking for internship opportunities.
  • Graduate students should be finding academic groups in their degree fields and either joining or signing up for RSS feeds via FacebookTwitter, LinkedIn or Google to keep ahead of the newest trends and research in their field. There are academic groups in every area you can think of!
  • – Free reference manager and PDF organizer. Look for academic and peer reviewed articles in your academic area. For education majors this is amazing.
  • – Peer reviewed online teaching and learning materials. Really this is also amazing and you can post your own work.
  • Facebook private groups to post video role playing practice for more causal peer review in a place they all know.
  • Twitter and Facebook feeds of organizations in your academic or career areas and/or important journals and magazines.
  • LinkedIn is my new favorite for all RSS news feeds, you can get quick views of whats popular and also search and select specific topics to read about.
  • All upper division topic courses should be requiring students to use discussion boards or WIKI’s to post at least one relevant current topic article for weekly from one of these feeds that is relevant to the course topic. Why? so other students can review it and write a 2-3 sentence review of the article and its relevance, can we say encouraging critical thinking skills and ability to discuss current events?
  • Students can use Google Hangouts, Google Drive and Sites to create group assignments and work that can be shared with faculty for review and grading. Why? Because it works.
  • Faculty can set up pre-set announcements and/or deadline dates to go out to Facebook groups. And use groups for discussion and/or current events posts that get to students in realtime vs. posting in Blackboard only.
  • Faculty can use social media the same way, to set up RSS feeds and like pages and groups to review and share information with students in class.
  • YouTube can be used to view movies and videos of relevance to coursework.
  • Creative Commons and other free resources that offer open use or free source photos and videos that can be used in reports and presentations.
  • Open Source or MOOC courses can be used to review materials like math concepts in an economics course.
  • Classes, Departments and Degree Programs creating Social Learning Communities where students engage in dialogue inside and outside the classroom.
There are so many more ways to use not only Social Media but MOOC’s, Creative Commons, Web 2.0 software and more.
Students are living in technology, they are accessing more research materials online than ever before, and they communicate using Blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. Ask them…what are they using and how can you implement ways within their world to communicate your course content?
Be creative…
You can do it….


Brainstorm Content Prezi


Make Presentations Different

See on Scoop.itPedagogy & Higher Education

With SlideIdea, presentations are no longer a one-man show. SlideIdea gives presenters the tools to engage their audience through their audience’s smart phones, laptops, and tablets. Each SlideIdea presentation is provided a unique URL (i.e, ). Regardless of the location, an audience can simply input the URL into their internet browser and then immediately follow along with slides, participate in polls, ask questions, or even network.


Lara N. Madden‘s insight:

downloading to test the interactivity because that is the point!

See on


An Introductory Guide to Content Curation

See on Scoop.itPedagogy & Higher Education

See on

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