Isn’t it odd how we are constantly teaching tweens and teens about peer pressure, yet in our adult years we sometimes find ourselves unable to resist it? I had my most recent experience with peer pressure while becoming an adjunct lecturer for the summer. I will be teaching a graduate course on Inclusion for Students with Disabilities In General Education. Teaching teachers is the most inspiring experience. You have the opportunity to model all of the things you hope they will go off and embody with their students: high engagement, rich resources, collaboration, student-centered learning and more!
The faculty at my college (and at many colleges) uses Blackboard for course management. Years ago when I was a student, I often felt frustrated with Blackboard so it came as no surprise when I began entering my course information and realized I had quite a few questions. Perhaps the most important question that came to mind was, “Why do we use Blackboard?” It’s sad to say that I think the reason most people use it is peer pressure. It becomes “Everyone uses it so it must be good. Now lets stop asking questions.” This year I left the classroom to begin a long journey filled with questions and pondering about teaching and learning and I didn’t feel that now was the time to stop.
After chatting with some colleagues and looking into my options, I decided to pilot Lore to manage my course. This may sound silly but I felt connected to the simple design of the site. It was reminiscent of turning in my Sony Vaio and buying a Mac years ago. Lore is so attractive and simple to use. With Blackboard, I relied mostly on one-pagers to walk me through the process of completing each task. Lore is pretty intuitive. It took me about ten minutes of play testing to figure out how to use the site. Lore’s videos helped me with the small things I couldn’t figure out myself.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been uploading information and resources that will support my students. I have filled in the calendar with dates for class times, assignments and exams – which are all color coded. I uploaded articles, links, and videos, and shared ISBN numbers for reading materials. Finally, I recently linked my Blackboard account to Lore (I know this sounds blasphemous) so my students could login and see what I’ve been up to. I invited students to set up their profiles. So far I have a few students who have gone through the full process of filling out their bios. I like the idea of the profiles on Lore. I am able to connect with students before our course begins. This will help me match faces to names and will give me background experience of each of my students.
The moral of the story: Now more than ever, in our current state of education, we need to be asking questions about EVERYTHING! I’ll keep you posted on how Lore goes.