Classroom Technologies

How much technology is the “right” amount?  How do we reconcile our traditional teaching practices with a digital world?  Here’s a list of common technologies available for the writing classroom and some links to help use them more effectively.

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Guide to ReggieNet

ReggieNet is the Course Management System (CMS) used by Illinois State University.  You may already be familiar with other CMS’s such as Blackboard – ReggieNet, however, is built on the Sakai framework.

This overview is meant to provide a basic grounding in the tools and options available to you in ReggieNet.  Many of the materials here (all the video tutorials, in particular) are from the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTLT).  To access these material directly, go to the ReggieNet Instructructor Support Materials on the CTLT website.

Please note: ReggieNet will only work after you publish your course via the Site Editor.  To do this, please see #3 – The Site Editor.

In a hurry?  Here’s our Quick ReggieNet Page.  It only covers Assignments, Discussions, and Discussion Forums, but that’s usually enough to get a good start.

 

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ReggieNet – Submitting Assignments

The submitting and grading of assignments is one of the most important aspects of any course, particularly a writing- and activity-intensive course for the Writing Program.  ReggieNet offers several options for assignment uploads – here’s a quick look at your options:

  1. Assignments
  2. File Drop
  3. Discussions and Discussion Forums
  4. Tests and Quizzes

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ReggieNet Collaboration Tools

One of the best parts of using an online platform like ReggieNet is the ability to foster student collaboration.  With ReggieNet, students don’t have to worry about finding times to meet outside of class – instead, they can work together from the comfort of their individual dorm rooms, and you can read their work from the comfort of home.  (Unless, of course, you’re still at the office grading papers…)

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ReggieNet Discussions and Discussion Forums

ReggieNet offers two tools for leading online discussions, the Discussions tool and the Discussion Forums tool.  To avoid confusion, I recommend only using one of these two tools – below, we have CTLT videos for each tool.

The Discussions tool is the one you’ll have by default.  It offers good links within ReggieNet, particularly if you’d like to use the Modules or Announcements to link to your individual discussions.  However, the Discussions tool is a pain when it comes to grading.  To grade your discussions, you first need create an item in your gradebook for each discussion, and then manually connect it to the discussion you’re grading.

Return to ReggieNet Overview

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Group Projects: Online Collaboration Keeps Students Working

Online technologies allow for asynchronous, delocalized collaboration. This not only means your students can avoid those awkward group meetings where one person never shows up, but it also means that you can have direct evidence of which students are contributing the group’s efforts.

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Facebook Groups: The Real-Time Discussion Board with Notifications

Fellow teachers often find it “unusual” that I would recommend Facebook as a teaching tool.  However, the factors which make Facebook such a popular (and powerful) tool for social media can also make it a highly effective means of fostering interaction among your students – so long as you mind your privacy settings.  Or, for a step-by-step guide to setting up a group, go straight to the WikiHow.com guide: Creating Your Facebook Group.

by Ryan Edel

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