Instructional Technology Support Services has several new options for web and social software course projects. These options include podcasts, blogs, wikis and web sites. Podcasts are audio or multimedia "shows" that are automatically delivered to subscribers through the Internet. Blogs are web journals that allow viewers to discuss the main topics by writing comments. Wikis are simply web pages that any visitor can edit, allowing a more collaborative web experience. Google Docs is an example of a wiki. Virtual Worlds are a recently evaluated technology that allows immersion in a three-dimensional computer generated environment where participants can explore, communicate, collaborate and create in new and exciting ways.
Other website creation tools, such as Dreamweaver, do not have the same level of support as the tools listed above. ITS does not provide instruction for these tools or support for sites created using them over time.
Requests for new course projects that involve social software will initiate a meeting with an ITS Instructional Technology Support staff member and, if appropriate other members of Hillgroup. The purpose of this meeting will be to have a conversation about the nature of the request and what resources would be necessary for it to succeed. Customized projects and/or workflows may require more planning time. If possible, initial planning should be completed before the start of classes for the supported course.
Static websites can be created using SiteManager 3. Photos, audio, and video can be added using built-in modules. SiteManager allows individuals with little to no coding experience to learn how to apply basic design and information organization skills to a website that can be made publicly accessible through the courses.hamilton.edu web server. SiteManager is a good choice for sites that have a multimedia emphasis and may be updated after the final site is created.
Blogs are online public forums where one or more administrators post entries to which others may contribute comments. They are good discussion tools when it is desired to preserve a sense of authority for the original topic posting. Blogs can work well for discussions where divergent thinking is desired. Blogs are supported primarily using BlogCFC on the Hamilton College web server and can be made accessible to a global audience or restricted to individuals with Hamilton College userids. Blogs are also supported within the Blackboard course management system when it is desired to restrict access to the blog to the students in a particular class. To see a list of Hamilton College blogs and to request your own blog, go to http://www.hamilton.edu/blogs.
Wikis are designed to decentralize authority over content by providing anyone who had edit-level access to the wiki with the ability to add, modify and even delete any text on the wiki. Wikis can work well for collaborative writing assignments where convergent thinking is desired. The content generated in a shared web-based document, when complete, can then be presented to a larger intended audience in a website.