Using Twitter and a Widget for Course Announcements


It is only this blog’s second week and already I have to cheat a little bit.  This week I have been working on getting common final exams together instead of learning new things.  I would love to learn the best paper cut remedy though!

I would like to tell about something that I learned this semester.  I could not easily update my course webpages at the college.  If I used the college server it was easy to update on campus.  I just saved a file  in the appropriate directory.  But, to move files from home I would have to log into a web portal and just move one file at a time; I’d pull it down, edit it and then have to upload it- FTP was not an option.  If I made it easy to update the files from home by using then it was hard to update from work.  I use FrontPage/Expressions to update the webpages.  The campus wireless network will not allow FTP  and FrontPage does not use secure FTP.

I solved the problem by putting a Twitter widget on my course webpage.  I could update from any computer that accesses the internet.  I could update from my phone.  Twitter handled pictures perfectly so I could share screenshots and photos of work .  I signed up for Jing and Screencast so that I could create, upload and then give links to short videos.

Students can choose to have announcements pushed to them by following the Twitter account or can visit the webpage to see announcements.

This solution has worked very well for me.  I started mid-semester so students never completely got in the habit of checking the announcements page.  I am looking forward to seeing whether students who are introduced to this at the start of the semester will visit frequently or follow.

Here is the outline of a presentation I’ll give at my college about this during the winter semester.

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