1.4 Digital learning environments

This is a fully online class. An online course does not need to be about watching videos and answering quizzes. To foster rich learning experiences, we will be using several technological tools to foster social, collaborative learning. Depending on your familiarity with these tools, there could be a learning curve. So please spend time this week to familiarize yourself with them.

Below is a list of them and we could tweak the list when moving forward.

Bookdown course site. This website you’re reading is built by myself using Bookdown. Bookdown is designed for writing books. While this site may evolve into an open textbook, I’m using it as our course portal.

Course resourses, usually organized by weeks, will be published here. Each chapter maps onto a week. Weekly course annoucements will be pushed to the class through Slack (more below). (If you are an ‘Open Participant’, just check this website every Tuesday!)

Slack (UMN Students Only). You will receive a link that invites you to join our Slack community. Course announcements are made on Slack. All sorts of class discussion will take place there as well. First time using Slack? Watch the video below and/or read this brief introduction to Slack.

To get started with Slack, get familiar with a few Slack terms you need to know:3

  • Messages or Updates — the basic message or status of Slack. Similar to Facebook updates, tweets, chats, etc.
  • Channels — like separate rooms within the domain. They can be public or private.
  • Direct Messages — like DMs or private messages anywhere else.
  • Posts — longer than a status update. Similar to a blog post or a Word document. Once it’s shared to a Channel, folks can comment on it or even edit it if the owner allows.
  • Snippets — Chunks of syntax-highlighted code for when that’s the thing you need to share. We might use it.
  • @replies — much like on Twitter, used when you want to mention someone. You can @everyone or @channel.
  • emoji — just like what you see everywhere.
  • Integrations — Slack can ‘talk’ with many other systems. For example, you can post a doc from your Google Drive when submitting an assignment; you can type /giphy to share random gifs. I will explain more later.

To learn more, check out the Slack tutorials.

Hypothes.is. If you’re a formal participant, you should have received a link that invites you to join a private Hypothes.is group. Hypothes.is is a web annotation tool that enables us to discuss readings in a contextual manner. When annotating, please make sure our group name (SNAEd) is properly selected. Pro Tip: Please try to use a same (or at least a smilar) username for Slack and Hypo so that we can match you in two spaces.

If you are an Open Participant, please annotate publicly and make sure to tag your annotations with SNAEd. Otherwise, it will not be picked up by our class feed.

To learn more, check out Hypothesis Quick Start Guide for Students, and a more complete Resource Guide for Students.

Zoom. We will host virtual meetings on Zoom from Week 7. Please make sure your computer has Zoom installed (see the video below). Please test your Zoom setup in advance to make sure audio and video configurations work properly. You will receive a calendar invitation with details about joining our Zoom meetings.

Twitter (optional). If you tweet, like me, please tag your tweets with #SNAEd as well.

To demonstrate how Twitter could be useful, I bet you can learn more from TechPizza than from this course (set Topic to be, for example, ‘Text, Network Analysis’ –> ‘network:gephi’).

Google Drive. Google Drive will be used for major assignment submissions. I will provide detailed feedback directly in your Google Docs, so it is important you use Google Drive. UMN offers free Drive access and unlimited storage. If you need help, check this OIT page: https://it.umn.edu/technology/google-drive

To submit an assignment through Slack, head to the #assignment Slack channel and click on the ‘+’ button to pull out a menu with opitons of adding Drive files. You may need to authenticate Google Drive on Slack. See help page.