Mmmm, so, I spent a restful and low-key day today avoiding overdue work by getting stuff together for my next class. (Now, having written that, I do acknowledge that I have to get on it with this class, so it's not like I'm looking super way ahead. But I am blowing off all the stuff that is currently due in order to play with a new class that is soon-to-be due. Ah well.)
Anyway, I went through a couple textbooks* and am playing with schedules and copying assignments and taking preliminary notes on stuff and suddenly had the idea about the Google apps. Has anybody tried making their class a Google group and having them upload documents? I know GradSchoolLand had, um, one or the other of those online course sites, which I don't think I ever used, but I had the sudden idea that Google Docs would be nice for collaborative writing --- have you ever put a thesis up on the board and collectively brainstormed an outline and then had each group get evidence and write one paragraph of the essay? You get to model all the steps of the writing process and it goes faster because each group writes a portion. Plus you get to show them the importance of revision when the different sections don't go together or make any sense and it sucks bad enough even they recognize it. In the past I've been in rooms that had computer access or could take students to a computer lab; right now I don't have that option. So, maybe setting up this online and having the groups paste in their paragraphs from home would work?
Help me, oh Internets, forsee all the different stupid shit that will go wrong here, so I can be prepared when/if I use this new technique. And do the online course thingies like Blackboard and Whiteboard or whatever allow students to post and edit each others' stuff? Or is it only able to do the little forum discussion things? I could also post the syllabus and assignments and stuff on a Google group, but obviously I don't want students to be able to edit those. Hmm. Thoughts?
* Random side note that you don't care about: So back when I was supposed to pick my textbook I didn't have time to read and choose between two of them so I just picked one. Luckily, I like it better, but I think I'm going to end up using about half of that and half of the other one, which will involve going back through them in more detail later, to pull all the crap I'm going to have to photocopy and bring in. Still, I did get a fair amount done today on the course prep, if not on, say, cleaning my apt. or putting on clothes or any of that other silly stuff.