Using Free Web 2.0 Media Tools to Promote Student ?· “Using Free Web 2.0 Media Tools to Promote Student…

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<ul><li><p>Using Free Web 2.0 Media Tools to Promote Student Engagement </p><p>and Instructor Presence in Online Classes. </p><p>Risa Blair and Sheryl Hartman </p><p>Miami Dade College </p><p>Instructor presence in the online classroom is a vital to promote student engagement in the online </p><p>classroom, including both instructor to student interaction and student to student interaction (Picciano, </p><p>2002). To that end, Jin et al (1998) provided a model to simulate the professor to student relationship in </p><p>the distance-learning environment. This model shows the professor on one side in his or her own world, </p><p>and the students on the other side in their own world. Although this model is old by bleeding edge </p><p>technology standards, it still holds true in the online environment. There is a clear gap, especially in </p><p>terms of communication, providing an opportunity for creating a bridge between the professor and the </p><p>students through the use of free Web 2.0 media tools. </p><p>Figure 1: Distance Learning Model with Socially Constructed Knowledge (Jin et al, 1998) </p><p>Free Web 2.0 tools used in the online classroom to promote student engagement include Animoto, </p><p>Xtranormal, Eyejot, Fix8, and Twitter. Animoto is a very easy-to-use tool to optimize student engagement </p><p>in the first Meet &amp; Greet discussion. Students are generally able to upload picture, so the learning curve </p><p>is very short with Animoto. Essentially, students upload pictures, choose music, and are create a video </p><p>snapshot introduction to post on their first discussion board. </p><p>Xtranormal may be used by students, but can serve a variety of very useful purposes in the online </p><p>classroom. The free software download provides a variety of characters for use in scripted dialogue </p><p>animations with music and sets. The quality of the characters and the voices is fair, but the overriding </p><p>meaning possible is exceptional. Xtranormal can certainly be used for course announcements or </p><p>reminders, but the really interesting use is to create characters that conduct conversations about the </p><p>course. For instance, early in the semester, the two characters may discuss expectations in the course </p><p>and whether they think it will be easy or difficult, as well as strategies for success. The students really </p><p>dont have in depth at the point of this dialogue, so there is some guessing. As the instructor, one can </p><p>front-end load the dialogue with Shakespearean foreshadowing. At instructor designated hot spots in the </p><p>course, these same two (or maybe different) characters may appear and take their conversation to the </p></li><li><p>next level. These two characters may discuss any specific assignments or notable aspects of the course. </p><p>This is a useful edutainment tool to bridge the gap between the instructor and the students, as music, </p><p>dancing, or other software enabled features may be integrated into the animated video. </p><p>Eyejot is a simple video email tool. It may be used directly to speak to someone and provide a video. </p><p>However, a more interesting use of the tool is for course announcements. An instructor may send a video </p><p>and then cut and paste the embed code into any HTML document, or course announcement. Obviously, </p><p>since students will see the instructor, he or she would want to present well in the video. For those early </p><p>mornings that instructors spend grading online, prior to meeting and greeting the public, there is Fix8. </p><p>The free version of this tool provides a lesser quality video; however, the video is enabled with hats, </p><p>glasses, beards, or other embellishments. Additionally, in lieu of a video of the instructor, Fix8 allows the </p><p>instructor to speak through an avatar that follows (albeit somewhat crudely) the instructors facial </p><p>movement. Overall, using Eyejot or Fix8 add interest and engagement to the course, as well as provide </p><p>an instructor presence, whether using the instructors voice alone with an animated character (Fix8) or the </p><p>instructors voice and video (Eyejot). </p><p>Twitter can be a very powerful tool to broadcast messages around the world in a flash. Twitter can also </p><p>be used to broadcast drivel. With guidelines in place, Twitter can be a very useful tool to stay connected </p><p>to students in an online class. </p><p>In summary, the literature supports providing a strong instructor presence in the online class to promote </p><p>student engagement. Free Web 2.0 tools, such as Animoto, Xtranormal, Eyejot, Fix8, and Twitter, when </p><p>used with intent, can be extremely helpful in bridging the instructor to student gap, as well as for </p><p>promoting student engagement in online courses. </p></li><li><p>References </p><p>Jin, Z., Mason, R. M., &amp; Yim, P. P. (1998). Bridging Us-China Cross-Cultural Differences Using Internet and </p><p>Groupware Technologies. The 7th</p><p> International Association for Management of Technology </p><p>Annual Conference, http://www.cim-oem.com/bridge_8c18c.html. </p><p>Picciano, A. (2002). Beyond student perceptionsL issues of interaction, presence, and performance in an </p><p>online course. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 6, 21-40. </p></li></ul>