Thursday, September 24, 2009

Google for Educators

Even if you are using an LMS for your online classes, Google offers a variety of tools and information for teaching. There is an entire section devoted to educators at:

An easy way to add a little mulitmedia to a coursepage, is to add a quick link to a Google map. If you are reading a case on South Africa, a quick link to the South African map on Google, will connect students with videos, photos and webcams of the area.

Google also is great for blogs. You could create a blog on the topics in your course, and have student teams manage the blog throughout the term, adding in their insights, personal experiences, information from your course and outside resources. For instance, if you are teaching business in South America, you could assign blogs for the various countries, or choose a specific country, and assign blogs for government, culture, art, society, economy, weather, etc.

Finally, if you don't want to create your own blog, consider having students research and evaluate other people's blogs. Many of our business journals and websites, also have their writers working on weekly blogs with interesting and up-to-date news. Try Financial Times or the HBS Working Knowledge on Globalization blogs.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Teaching Tools with Adobe

Our professors always mention how difficult it is to 'connect' with students when teaching distance learning. It feels more natural to talk to students casually before and after class, or meet them in the office. I've been really impressed with 2 tools from Adobe that help make this 'connection' easier for professors in our program.

One is the Adobe Commenting on PDF files. Most people know that you can type comments, but did you know you can also record your voice with commenting? It's easy to use, and most professors have access to it with Adobe Acrobat's full version. Our students say they love hearing their professors' voices with feedback.

The other tool is Adobe Connect. This product allows you to have web meetings and collaborate with up to 5 people in their 30 day free version. Professors can use a webcam and microphone to meet with teams, or give individuals some extra tutoring. They could even use it for a remote guest speaker! It's pretty easy to use, and includes the ability to have a whiteboard, share a file, or show your desktop and record. Thunderbird purchased a license to make it even easier for faculty.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I am just loving this free tool called It allows you to open a file online, and record comments for the students from your browser toolbar. Once you record the audio, you can email the file to the student for them to listen. I think it really helps personalize your feedback, and from what I've seen, students really like it. It's really easy to install and use. (You do need admin rights on your computer)

I also like the idea of using it in discussion boards to comment on a conversation thread, or shipping out a weekly update for students. The only drawback is not talking too long, to keep the file small and easy to share. (I'd suggest 10 minutes)