Creating Relevant, Timely Web Learning Activities

I’m trying to figure out how best to create relevant, timely web learning activities for the students in my various classes, and just hours after publishing a detailed assignment designed to help my students create a web- and group-based workflow on our Business Information Systems blog last night I got a call from my wife saying she was stranded in Sweden because of the volcano eruption in Iceland disrupting air travel and didn’t know how and when she was going to make her way back to Berlin.  So I went to work, without too much trouble learned much about the situation, and then realized that here might be a good opportunity to reflect on the technologies I had used and offer some compelling advice to my students.  I don’t yet know how helpful this effort will be — never mind how cost-effective the two hours it has taken me to write everything up will be — but I thought I’d share this little experiment in the event others might be interested.  As always, I’d be delighted if anybody would like to talk about it and share their interest and experiences!  I’ll paste the email I sent to my students below.  Hi Everybody:

Sorry to be sending you more than one email a week, but this one could be interesting!

My wife called last night to say she is stuck in Sweden and couldn’t fly back because of the volcano … volcano?

Well, instead of going dancing I stayed up late learning all about volcanos, airplanes, and making last-minute travel arrangements, and wondering about all this fantastic technology we have to go here and there and keep track of each other.  So this morning wrote up a brief post on our class blog about how one or more of you might use this episode, or another like it, to explore some of the different technologies and information systems we use nowadays, sometimes without thinking, so to speak, because like most everyone else we use them as consumers.

With just a little searching I found that just about every website I visited, and service that I used, had an interesting information system and business model behind it, and as working with problems that are immediately relevant is one of our main themes, well, maybe my little post,, will encourage you to choose as one of your topics the technologies you have been living with until now from only the consumer’s side, from the other, the producer’s, side.

Also, most everyone, but not all, has registered their twitter account on our wiki site, so I’m hoping the rest of you will do so soon and take this opportunity to fiddle with twitter, learn about it, and profit from it, too!  For twitter to work, we need a “critical mass” of twitterers.

I have found that most of you visited our class blog within hours of my posting the homework last night, as you’ll see by this screenshot of the statistics I set up afterwards, here: .  Yaaaa!  My only worry now is to learn that you find this assignment to be relevant, interesting, helpful, and even inspiring — and to learn how we might improve on it!

Statistics? Yup, you can set up your WordPress blogs to keep track of visitors.

And what is this that I stored the image on?  Well, Skitch is a cost-free, lightweight application for making screenshots and publishing them on the web with just a couple of clicks, and it’s great for things like this: posting some image that you can’t so easily send in an email.

And what is this url?  It’s a web service that creates a very short url linked to a longer one, helping you keep your emails shorter and easier to use.

More little, helping things for you to check out.

Learn, Enjoy!



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