Wednesday, April 6, 2011

April 6, 2011

Good Evening Online Instructors!  And welcome to Spring Quarter!

As you immerse yourself into your new courses, I encourage you to challenge yourself to implement at least one new resource, tool, approach, etc., into one or more of your courses this quarter.  The more interactive and engaging our online courses, the more responsive our students will be, which ultimately leads to higher student retention and more student success. 

As in past quarters, I will be posting to this blog on a weekly basis and sharing with you various online teaching resources, tools, strategies, etc.  Please use this information as it best fits your teaching needs, and if at any time you have questions on anything I'm blogging about, please do not hesitate to let me know.  And on the same line, if you use something and find it to be great (or even not so great), please let me know that too!

For this week's posting I'd like to introduce you to a new Social Teaching tool called Sophia.  In the words of the organization, Sophia is described in the following way :  
"Some people describe Sophia as a mash up of Wikipedia, YouTube, and Facebook — focused solely on  teaching and learning. It’s where you can teach what you know and learn what you don’t. Whether you’re a high school student, college student, teacher, professor, tutor or parent, Sophia makes knowledge easier to share, easier to find, and easier to organize. And it’s free" (  

And what I really like about Sophia (in addition to it being a Minneapolis based source!), is that it directly offers suggestions and ideas for ways educators can use this social teaching site.  By clicking here you can check out some of these suggestions and ideas.  And if you click here you'll get a first hand tour of Sophia from the Sophia organization.  

Subject areas for include:
  • Applied Sciences
  • English/Literature
  • Humanities
  • Learning Strategies
  • Mathematics
  • Sciences
  • Social/Behavioral Sciences
  • Visual and Performing Arts
  • World Languages
But if you don't teach in one of the above listed discipline areas, that doesn't mean Sophia couldn't be helpful and beneficial to you and your students.  For example, research and writing are found in almost all courses of study at GEN, and Sophia could serve as a great resource for your students as they are working on research or writing assignments or projects in your courses.

I encourage you to check out this tool and let me know what you think.

Heather Thomton-Stockman
Online Instructional Specialist

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