Whew! It's been a busy couple of weeks, what with the start of classes at SJSU and adding a third class that I wasn't originally scheduled to teach.
This semester is an interesting experiment. I'm teaching two sections of Journalism 61, with one regular "on ground" section that meets twice a week and one fully online class. The class I added is Mass Comm 100W - Writing Workshop, which I'm teaching as a blended class, meeting once a week with about half of the assignments being blogged. Ought to make for an interesting comparison.
I'm running all three of my classes through WordPress blogs (gotta love that "pages" feature for syllabi and such) at jour61.wordpress.com (both Jour61 sections) and 100w.wordpress.com.
Normally, online classes at SJSU are administered through a system called WebCT, based on Blackboard. I spent some time this summer talking with the WebCT folks on campus and came to the conclusion that it didn't have a lot to offer. WebCT probably works OK for lecture classes with multiple choice tests, but it's not set up to accommodate writing classes. So I said to hell with it and decided to use blogs instead.
Each student in my fall classes is required to set up a blog, even those in the on-ground section (though they won't post as many assignments on their blogs as students in the blended and fully online classes). I've subscribed to my students' blogs to more easily track their assignments via Google feed reader. That seems to be working well.
I'm also posting one lecture a week from the "on ground" class as a podcast -- the jury's still out on how well that's working, but at least I should get better at podcasting by the end of the semester.