It’s 1 week to the launch of the new programme, and I’m feeling pretty good about it, but working damn hard, and there’s still an insane amount to do. All of our students are going to have Windows Live installed as part of their student account. I’ve been looking into it, and I think it’s actually an excellent platform for transitioning people into the web. As part of their login, students get similar services to what they got previously with Groupwise, but with a few extra services bundled in. There’s a spaces function, which I haven’t really checked out yet, but seems at first glance a bit facebook-ish. You can post comments about what’s going on with you, there’s a blogging function, you can post photos. MSN Messenger is also bundled into the package (although unfortunately not fully integrated with the other functions). This provides the potential for students to use IM & Voice-over IP communication (similar to skype).

My current plan is to get them started using messenger in a platform that’s already provided to them from polytech. In the first 1/2 week get students to communicate via messenger & google group. Set topics that require engagement through these platforms. Get students building profiles. Consider using the blogging function? Then start pushing them into Elluminate & Blackboard (we’re planning to use Bb for our Communication 1 & our Bioscience this year).

I’m looking forward to putting all of my planning into action.  It’s going to be quite fun I think.

Our teaching issues have been sorted out thankfully. I’m very happy with the staff that we’ve found to fill the spaces. Due to the timeframe, we’ve decided to hold back the start of teaching for Bioscience & Communication 1 to the second practical block (about 7-9 March).  This wasn’t the original plan, but on reflection I think that it makes a lot of sense to give the students space so that they can get used to communicating online before we start doing a lot of teaching online.

I’m going to be working for most of the weekend.  The 2nd years are back on Tuesday  for the beginning of their F2F programme (I’ve hardly even considered my teaching of them this year, but I’m pretty happy with the subject material that I used last year).  The 1st years are back on Friday for their first practical block (Friday – Monday).  My online teaching experience starts on Tuesday the 26th of February.

I’ll keep you posted.