Primers

A collection of in-depth analyses of technologies, educational approaches, teaching challenges, how-tos, and best practices.

The Case Method Classroom

Editors Note: In conjunction with the transition of Case Consortium @ Columbia management from the Columbia Journalism School to CCNMTL, we are publishing below an adapted version of the introduction to Our Digital Future: Boardrooms and Newsrooms. Available for purchase...

Get in Sync with Web Conferencing: A Guide for Online Instructors

Asynchronous web-based learning environments–those not constrained by location and time–often fail to effectively facilitate the type of social interaction that is essential to the learning process. Web conferencing can provide a means to achieve greater social interaction in largely asynchronous courses.

Facebook in the Classroom

Perhaps you've heard of Facebook. According to TechCrunch, it now accounts for 44% of social sharing on the web, and its precocious founder, 26-year-old Mark Zuckerberg, was TIME Magazine's 2010 Person of the Year. You may already have a Facebook...

My Experience with eBooks

The Reader Ecosystem and Digital Rights Management The current crop of digital reader devices share a common set of attributes: most employ a special black-and-white display that offers paper-like readability even in bright light, allow you to read digitally formatted...

Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants

An oft-discussed topic in education right now is whether students who have grown up with computers and the Internet learn differently than earlier generations and, if so, whether the academy must change instructional traditions to accommodate their new learning styles....

Defining Standards for Web Media Delivery: A Case Study

For eleven years, CCNMTL has provided cutting-edge media services for courses and projects at Columbia University. Our media services initially relied heavily on streaming media (via RealMedia and QuickTime servers), but we have come to favor downloadable media (in the...

Exploring YouTube Usage Information

This past May, video recordings of Columbia University's 2010 commencement ceremonies were published to YouTube. A number of Columbia videos quickly rocketed to the top of YouTube EDU's most viewed list, creating an excellent opportunity to examine how the YouTube...

Using Annotations for Close Reading Exercises

A common student assignment is to summarize a text or other course material. The general approach to this type of assignment is to skim the material, look for indicators that might convey the author's intentions, and quote passages in a...

Google Apps: One Year In

After using the Google Apps service for one year, our department has collected some experiences that are worth sharing with anyone who might roll out the service for a work group.

Evaluating Student Work in a Wiki

Wikis are prone to develop in unpredictable ways. Instructors rightfully worry about uncontrolled posting in their Wikispaces sites, because it can lead to difficulty when trying to assess an individual student's effort. Fortunately, instructors can simplify this assessment by considering some of the methods presented below.

eBooks: a Primer

After many years of hype and unfulfilled promise, the market for electronic books and reading devices has recently grown significantly. ...demand continues to increase and the implications are beginning to be felt in several areas. Publishers have made progress in...

An Introduction to Simulations for Teaching & Learning

Computer-based simulations have a history as long as the development of the computer itself, dating back to the days of the Manhattan Project. One could argue that the technique of using simulations for teaching and learning (without technology) has been...

Using Audio As a Teaching Tool

Audio can be used in numerous academic contexts, from music to language instruction, as well as archival recordings of lectures. Making audio content available online can be an excellent way to reach students, who can listen from any location and at any time, provided they have a computer with an Internet connection.

An In-depth Look at YouTube

As YouTube improves its video service, it becomes ever more attractive to educators. Universities are getting into the act by creating "partner" channels (a special designation in the YouTube account system) to collect and distribute the institution's course and promotional videos.

Journaling Online

Maintaining a class journal prompts students to write on a consistent basis, and track thoughts as they evolve over the course of a project or a semester. This tracking can encourage students to think broadly about a subject matter, while still engaging with particulars along the way. It also encourages students to register personal reactions to reading or discussion, which can increase their investment in a class.

Encouraging Peer Editing

Peer editing is a technique often used in composition and other writing-intensive courses. Students engaged in peer editing trade drafts of material they have written and provide each other with suggestions for improvement. This technique can be used at any point in the writing process--idea formation, outlining, draft revision, or copy editing a final draft.

Engaging in Collaborative Writing

Collaborative writing can be incredibly rewarding for both students and instructors if expectations are established and the exercise is well planned. It is important to determine the outcomes of the collaborative writing exercise before choosing the type of technology needed to facilitate the exercise. Wikis, blogs, discussion boards, and Web-based tool services have multiplied in number and availability in recent years and can often be used for a low monthly fee, or no fee.

Some Words On Presentations

In 1973 the Times of London reported that 41 percent of Americans cited "fear of public speaking" as their number one fear. Only 19 percent said they were most fearful of "death." Even if you don't have a mortal fear...

Using a Blog in Your Teaching

The word "blog" is an abbreviation of "Weblog". A blog is a web publication which consists of a series of message posts (possibly with comments by visitors). Blogs archive each post chronologically, with the most recent posts showing up at the top of the main page.

Using a Discussion Board

A discussion board is a communication tool used to share messages, which can be questions or responses, comments, or announcements that are accessible to the members of a group. An electronic discussion board is a group communication tool that allows...

Teaching and Learning with Podcasting

Article adapted with permission from University of Wisconsin-Madison Educators interested in educational technology are rediscovering the power of the spoken word by utilizing new technologies to communicate with students outside the traditional classroom. Podcasting is a new medium that enables...