My Psych 100 Course Site: A Tour

Yesterday I gave you a tour of the main page of my website. Today I want to give you a tour of my Psych 100 course site.

  1. The link to my syllabus will download a pdf of it. The first page of the syllabus contains two QR codes for students who want to use their smartphones to quickly bookmark my website or have a copy of the syllabus on their phones. (See this post on QR codes.)

  2. I created a Google calendar for my course. This is brand new for Winter 2011. Following the link opens the Psych 100 calendar, which I created as a public calendar. Students who use Google Calendar can click the “+Google Calendar” button to add it to their list of calendars. (See this post on using Google Calendar for your courses.)
  3. Also new this term, I’m having my students upload their assignments directly to my Dropbox using a service called DropItTo.Me. Previously I had students email me their assignments and used the EZDetach Outlook add-in to save the files to my computer. I’m thinking that uploading directly to my Dropbox may be easier for both me and my students, but there’s one thing that’s making me nervous. I’m asking students to include their name when they name the file. Based on the comments I’ve heard from faculty when I’ve told them about EZDetach, which automatically appends the student’s name and email address to the file name, I’m not confident that DropItTo.Me is going to work quite like I’d like. But the only way to know is to try it. (See these posts for more information about Dropbox, DropItTo.Me, and EZDetach.)
  4. Elluminate is a web-based web-conferencing service. The Washington State Board for Community Technical Colleges has a contract with Elluminate that allows faculty and staff at member colleges to use it as often as we’d like. It was meant, I believe, to be used as an addition to distance learning courses, but I use it for my face-to-face classes. Most of the time I use it to hold test reviews or an hour the Sunday night before an exam. The sessions are recorded for the students who can’t make it. The interface is pretty intuitive, so students learn how to use it very quickly with minimal instruction from me. (“Click the button at the bottom of the screen to turn your mic on and off.”) I’ve also used it when work travel was going to cause me to miss too many classes. Just before Thanksgiving, the Pacific Northwest got nailed with a snowstorm that turned everything to ice. Campus was closed for 2 and a half days. I used Elluminate to make up missed class time.

    If your institution doesn’t have a contract with Elluminate or another web-conferencing provider, and you’re looking for a free meeting space, check out ScribLink. (See this post.)

  5. These are the 20 most recent Delicious bookmarks that I’ve tagged with psychology-related tags. Whenever I add a new bookmark with such a tag, it’s automatically added to the top of the list and the bottom one rotates off. Scroll down and you’ll see the tag cloud. Clicking on, say, “learning” will call up all of the bookmarks I’ve tagged with learning. The size of the font gives you a sense of how many bookmarks there are in each category; the bigger the font, the more bookmarks are there. (See this post on Delicious.)

    This New York Times article comes with some good study advice based on psychological research. Follow the link, and a video of me speaking will start playing. Eyejot allows you to record a video and attach it to a webpage. (See this post on Eyejot). Scrolling down farther, I’ve boxed some text and added a note using (See this post on Actually, the sequence was reversed. I used first because it gives me a new URL, one that goes to their website where the annotations are stored. Then I attached my Eyejot video to that new URL.

    I make my lecture outlines available to my students. I have a tendency to speak quickly (I blame it on my east coast upbringing, but I promise I’m working on it – the quick speaking, not the east coast upbringing), and I have a large number of students for whom English is not their first language. Not a good combination. Many students will print out the lecture outlines and bring them to class to make class easier to follow. Add the bottom of each outline is a Delicious bookmarks tag cloud that’s specifically relevant to that topic area.

    For example, on the Sensation and Perception lecture outline page, at the bottom you will see this. Only bookmarks tagged with “sensation” or “perception” will appear here.

    Finally, I recommend some books in the “Further Reading” section. Each hyperlink takes you to a different Google Bookshelf. Google Books allows you to save book titles to your own library. Each book can then be saved to one or more virtual bookshelves. On the left, you can see the bookshelves I’ve created and the number of titles on each shelf. On the right, you see each title and book information.

    Clicking on a title provides a more detailed description, more review information, and on the right, ways to get the book, including using WorldCat finding it in your public or college library.


    The thing to remember about websites is that they are never really done. Mine has been evolving since the mid-90s. If you want to add some of these elements to your own website (or course management system), don’t feel like you have to do it all at once. If you have students who often ask for book recommendations, start by slowing building a Google library. When you have some titles, direct students to them.

    As you website builds, check in with your students. Do they find the content useful? Can they find what they’re looking for? Is there something they’d like to see added?

    If you have a feature on your website that you really works for you, I’d love to hear what you’re doing!

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