Monday, January 08, 2007

Welcome to CALL spring 2007

Hi Folks,

Welcome to the CALL Class blog. I'll use this blog solely for posting reviews and "how to's" of technologies and resources that I find useful for langauge teachers. For the first few postings, I'll cover some of the sites that we are using in this course including
Moodle, Blogger, & Wikispaces.

Your role as a reader (and student) is to read the postings, check out these technologies, and comment on my postings. Comments can range from, "that's great...." to "how do I..."

Let me know if you have any questions.


John Steele said...

Hi Dan, this is my first time using Moodle, but it seems like a good program and easy yo use. I have read a lot of blogs on this blogger site, though haven't used it myself yet. And Wikispace, if it's associated with Wikipedia, one of my favorite sites, will be cool. Wikipedia is an amazing source of information.

Dan said...

Hi John,

Moodle is a really good alternative to some of the popular big names out there. I don't know if you've used the IU system, OncourseCL. It is based on Sakai and I absolutely hate it at this point. I have to admit that they've done a lot of good work on it in the last year, but the discussion application is simply awful. Considering it is the cornerstone of most online classes, it is a most unfortunate oversight.


Anonymous said...

I've enjoyed using Oncourse so I'm excited to reap the benefits of Moodle. I still need to browse around a bit. I recently used Quest Atlantis for a class and thought it was really cool.


Anonymous said...
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Dan said...

Hi Stephanie,

Did you use the new or old oncourse? While the old one had issues, I still thought that it was a pretty good system. The new Oncourse added a whole bunch of great functionality and improvements over the old one. I just wish that they had a discussion forum nearly as good.


Anonymous said...

Hi. I'm still navigating the various contact points you've listed via Moodle. I'm trying to negotiate Oncourse for another class I'm taking and so far the experience has been less-than-pleasant. I've not figured out whether the instructor is using the original or CL either, but the course doesn't seem to show up in either! Anyway, I'll learn.

I've used Blackboard as an online tool--from both the instructor and student side. I like it very much, but Moodle seems to be pretty effective and user-friendly.

For online meetings and perhaps even for learning/teaching, I can recommend Team Engine a Swedish company: I've participated in a group on this site, but I've not administered anything using the software, so perhaps I'll test it for one of the assignments if that's what you have in mind, Dan?

Ciao for now.

Eric Espinoza said...

Hello Dan, Last semester was my first experience with a course taught entirely online. It was a great experience. The course was through IU's Oncourse.

I must admit that my first reaction to reading about our class this semester was that it would be difficult to keep track of all of the different methods for communication you have available for us. However, after getting signed up and looking around, I see things are pretty simple. My only hang up is that sites like are blocked by the filter at the school where I teach. I guess I shouldn't spend so much time there anyway. :)

Dan said...

Your concern is valid. We do use too many applications and it has been a problem in the past.

You're probably saying, "then why don't you simplify it, fool!"

Well, this is sort of a trial by fire. I have simplified quite a bit of the last few semesters. What's left are absolutely necessary to give you all a taste of using this very popular applications that you might not normally get.

So, I just try to be there for support (both moral and technical) and it usually works out well :)

Yes, so many schools block Blogger and other very useful sites. It's a shame, but one that we have to learn to work around. For example, you can view one of my Blogger sites even at school. It is (personal/professional blog). The reason you can do so is that I host it on a different server. So, it is powered by Blogger (same easy interface), but the files are stored on my server (and thus my This is pretty easy to do, but a little much for the average teacher. The tech folks at your school however, should be able to set it up with no problem (though they might have to be bribed).

Anonymous said...

Hi Guys,

I am trying to navigate all of these new programs. I just want to understand the applications better. For example, why do we need so many alternative programs? Is it that the technology keeps improving or expanding or both? I have had some experience with Blackboard but again it was presented to us in a two hour workshop so I only understand a tiny portion of it. Everytime I tried to experiment I had to have support. What is Sakai for those of us who don't know these words.

Dan said...

Hi Victoria,

We don't have to have so many different programs to work with. Applications like Moodle have all of these things built in discussion, chat, wikis, and blogs (at least the new version of Moodle does I think).

However, the point of this class is to introduce technologies that everyone can use. Many schools don't have access to Blackboard or even Moodle. That's why I de-emphasize these and only really use Moodle as a discussion forum and as a password protected Web page. I don't emphasize the other uses.

I want you to be able to leave this class with at least some experience in using free/open technologies that you can use immediately without having to wait for the school tech person to approve and install it (which often never happpens).

Also, in regards to Sakai, and other terminology that you might not know, look it up first ( is always a good start) and then come back to me for clarification. To borrow from an old saying, "tell someone a definition and they'll understand what the word means, teach them how to find the definition themselves and they'll never need you again." Or in other words, I won't be around forever and I need you to learn to find these things on your own :) Let me know if you have any problems or need clarification/extra information.


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