The Day of DH draws to a close and thus so does this small experiment in blogging on my activity for the day. It was good to have this day to bring the course website, which I have worked on here and there since August, up to a certain level of completeness. It’s not done yet, and that’s fine, since (1) the fall semester doesn’t begin for another three months and (2) the format allows/encourages fiddling even when the semester is underway.
But for now, here’s what I’ve got, in the meaty parts of the site:
To the right of the spiffy little slide show (kind of a beauty pageant for ancient and medieval architectural history) are a series of buttons with materials that are “internal” to the class:
syllabus: links to a pdf of the old-fashioned, four-page, paper syllabus
assignments: will list/explain course assignments within the website page, allowing links to tools, helpful websites, and other web-based resources for student use on particular assignments
glossaries: to be built up through the semester, these will probably be Thinglinks (see “Greek” for an example that works right now) that act as visual glossaries and study aids for discipline-specific vocabulary
images: lots and lots of study images, snatched via Google Images (with the “labeled for noncommercial reuse” filter), organized by subject sections. Voted Most Likely To Experience A Broken Link, but time will tell.
gradebook: like syllabus and calendar, will link to a pdf that shows students (who register for the service & provide a PIN) their grades and standing in the class.
To the left of the “History in the News” box that will be changed up when I run across relevant items of interest, more buttons, but these “external” to the class:
facebook: links to my “virtual office” that students can elect to join
voicethread: links to the menu of voicethread presentations that are a required part of the course
maps: links to a series of maps I worked up through Google Maps Engine* that show all the sites we visit in class, meant to be a teaching/learning tool on its own, to study both settlement patterns and also the patterns of historical interest in ancient/medieval cultures.
That is where the project comes to rest now. Just about everything can still stand a little more attention, either for basic structural work or at least a little spit-shine. Another important matter to address is how to put these tools in the hands of students and encourage them to take the reins through their study, assignments and other coursework.
*I recently ran across articles that suggest that the Google Maps Engine might be on its last legs; this is not just a concern for this particular tool I want to use for the class, but generally speaking, reminds us that all this great stuff that lives on a cloud somewhere is only as secure as the servers and programs and updates and further support that go into the programs that run them. And suddenly those 35 mm slides and paper-copy syllabi look pretty good again.