Thursday, July 15, 2010

Using the topic modules

I plan to create enough modules to support two overlapping IT literacy courses -- one for students with IT majors like computer science or information systems and a second version for students in other majors.

The topic modules are stored as blog posts, so each has a unique URL (permalink) and tag terms for retrieval. The blog also has a text search box at the top. An instructor might use a single module, a list of modules on a common theme like this one on writing for the Internet, or, as I do, an entire course.

If you are taking CIS 275, you will usually access the topic modules through the list of links to the topic modules we have covered. You will typically access assignments by clicking on links in the topic modules. You may also go directly to the assignment blog.

I am using the topic module and assignment blogs as database and constantly adding new posts and editing old ones. Feel free to comment on any of the posts -- correct an error, suggest ways to improve the explanation, suggest new assignments, let me know if something is confusing, discuss the self-study questions, etc.

Do not be confused by the fact that our course material is on the Internet rather than printed in a textbook. We are used to reading Internet material superficially, but that will not suffice for our electronic text. You cannot skim the topic modules like a note on your Facebook wall. They require study and reflection like a chapter in a text book.

Each module has a list of the concepts and skills it covers. Use that as a checklist -- do not go on until you have acquired the skills and understand the concepts. If one is unclear, go back over the material or get help.

There are also self-study questions at the end of each PowerPoint presentation. Those also allow you to test your comprehension. You should also use the assignments for self-assessment. If you can do them, and understand how they complement the topic module, you are in good shape.

I encourage you to use networked tools to help each other. You can ask questions and discuss the topic notes and assignments in their comment sections. Students in past classes have also set up email lists, wiki pages and threaded discussions to discuss the self-study questions, assignments, and quiz questions.