Posted by: jzinn3 | December 6, 2009

Final Week

We certainly have come a long way since August!  For our last few days together, please be sure to make any final comments and answer any questions there may be on the Voice Thread presentations.  Remember, all comments pertaining to the presentations, except for Kay’s, should be made on Voice Thread.  Simply click on the “Comment” button on Voice Thread under any of the presentation slides.

Also, please take a few moments to share your thoughts about our online class format by responding to this post.  Early in the semester some of you expressed your reservations about participating on a blog and creating a digital story.  Thank you for agreeing to be pioneers and for taking a chance!  I am very pleased with how well we worked together as a class.  Do you have any comments, suggestions, or ideas for future classes?  I really would appreciate your thoughts.



  1. I enjoyed the class very much and feel it was well done!

    • I had never blogged or done a Voice Thread presentation before, but by the end of the semester, I felt a lot more comfortable.

      If I ever blog for another class, I know I will be more efficient because of this class.

      It was interesting to see everyone’s comments. I feel like it was very similar to an in-class discussion.

      John, you were great in responding fast to my questions about blogging and the Voice Thread. You were kind and very wonderful with explaining how to contribute to the class.

  2. The blogging was good and easy to navigate.

    The digital story gave some of us a few problems, but overall went well and would recommend it.

  3. I enjoyed this class. The books were great. The blog is something I have done before in another class using a different site. I prefer to use blackboard because it is easier to follow for me. And gives me 1 site to visit for all my class work. But these are personal preferences. The blog work we did her is excellent. I like the use of other avenues of media and information like youtube.

    The voice thread was also a great tool. In an online class the “person” feeling is gone. You are just reading other peoples thoughts. There is almost no emotion. The voice thread brings some of that back. It gives the opportunity to see/feel the emotion of what people are saying. A good tool. I would recommend using this in the future and maybe incorporate it more into the course work.

    • I agree I prefer Blackboard also. The strange thing is this is the first semester i had no blackboard discussion.

    • I do agree with you regarding the use of Blackboard. I think it is easier to follow and I also prefer using one site instead of having to visit so many different sites to get the work done. Having said that, if I have to use an external site I think WordPress is a good site for bloging, it is really user friendly.

      • meaganrae:

        Yes, wordpress is very user friendly.

  4. I have several thoughts I’d like to share:
    1) 3 textbooks seemed like a lot, but they actually complimented each other with different perspectives…each added another helpful layer of understanding to a complicated topic.
    2) we’re all used to BlackBoard, so WordPress seemed new and slightly off-putting at first; however as the class progressed and our comfort level increased, this format gave us a liberal and open forum to express ourselves and reflect not only on our required reading but on our classmates contributions as well.
    3) the addition of the voicethread project had a bit of a learning curve, but turned out to be a fascinating, fun way to learn more about a particular topic and share it with everyone. Plus, those guys up at TLC are a great resource.

    • I agree with the amount of the texts, but they were cheap. I connected most with “Riding the Rails” than any of them. Altough I learned a lot from the required texts and they didn’t cost me too much, I’m used to a more traditional text book and researching them for answers was harder than usual.

    • I liked all the texts especially ‘Forgotten Man”. It really had the everyday person’s perspective. The texts all gave different viewpoints this helped me to see the problems and solutions from all sides. The cost of all three was less than one book.

    • I agree that 3 books seemed like a lot and I have several books for another class also. In that class we read one book at a time and I did prefer that approach as opposed to having chapters from each book every week. Reading one book at a time helped me focus on the material from each book.

  5. I truly enjoyed this class:

    I personally thought that three textbooks seemed like a lot, but after each discussion that we had, I truly enjoyed them all and was glad that we were able to have three different perspectives instead of one.

    Using was different for me as well, because I have always used blackboard but I will say it was different but very easy to navigate and something “new” that I learned how to use. Different is good!! Now, Voicethread on the other hand was a little complicated, but it was actually fun and I have never heard of it before so again something else I learned. I really enjoyed listening to my classmates presentations and respected and appreciated all the feedback that I have received throughout this class.

    I really enjoyed this class and I am actually taking another one of your classes next semester!!!
    (I hope it runs the same 🙂 )

    • Kim,
      I signed up too! See you in January! Have a great holiday!

      -Christine (lcbaur)

      • Wow! We will have a reunion! I was concerned about three books, as well. But as was pointed out above, they weren’t all that expensive and they did provide a variety of points of view. Maybe two books would be sufficient next time?

      • Proff jzinn3:

        Well, I got my books from the Henrico Library 🙂

    • I was familiar with Worpress from another course. Yet, I still had a little confusion when trying to add a link or Youtube. Then i figured out how to go to my homepage and it was much easier. WordPress is so user friendly and has excellent tutorials and help pages.

  6. Economics is not my strongest subject. However, I liked this class so much & feel more comfortable with blogging that I signed up for ECON 398U- Boom & Bust: America’s Road to Prosperity.

    Are we going to blog? I hope so! I want to give it another go!

    • Yes, we will be blogging. As soon as I submit grades next Tuesday, I am going to start hammering out the syllabus for the next course! Oh, and only one book . . .

      • Proff jzinn3:

        Talk to you next semester !!!

    • I was unfamiliar will economics before this class too. It really scared me but the application of economic theories to current events helped me to become engaged in conversation. I could handle current events much better than economic theory.

      • Good! Econ can be scary, but we use it every day.

  7. I thought the 3 textbooks were good choices and worked well together. They were easy to read so the assigned reading went fast.

    I prefer discussions on Blackboard. Word Press was easy to use but I like the format of making a statement and responding to two others and then having the professor comment generally on the question rather than being evaluated on the number of times I respond. Some responses were very substantial and others were minimal. I am sure that was considered but it seemed that number of responses was also a factor in our weekly grade. It wasn’t the reading that I found so time consumming…it was the blog.

    I concentrated on the 3 minute time limit on the Voice Thread and it took me a long time to cut the presentation to 3 minutes. Considering the length of everyone’s, I think I put too much emphasis on that part.

    I feel I learned a lot in this class and I have a different perspective on the main players of that time. I wish more people would take the time to understand the history of our country. I don’t know that it would help.

    • I’m glad you found the three books easy to read and not a burden. For the blog, the quantity was just one point and it was used to measure engagement with the class. You are so right, it is important to understand history. The Great Depression is such an interesting time period.

    • I spent a lot of time cutting my presentation down to exactly three minutes. Then when I put it on voice thread it grew. Funny how a mere second in between pictures adds to the time. After many tries i just gave up and left it alone. I think everyone’s presentation length was fine not too long and not to short.

  8. One thing that I liked about the online class was the ability to view multimedia. So often in a class setting, a teacher is so rushed to get in their lesson in the limited time they have that they are unable to show films or photos.

    • Especially the media posted by our classmates. Each addition added to another viewpoint on the subject. This forum expanded what could be done in a classroom. I learned much more from my classmates posts and blogging than from the books. The books were great and gave good information. I guess what I’m saying is that there is so much information out there that it helps to have so many people looking for a different perspective to enhance their views.

      • This is why I took the leap from discussion boards in Blackboard to blogging. It makes it easier (usually) to share multimedia files. I really enjoy the constructivist approach – that is, each student brings a unique perspective to the table and, as a class, we contribute to the body of knowledge and actively participate in the presentation of the content.

  9. I thoroughly enjoyed this class. I agree the blogging took quite a bit of time but it was also the most rewarding part of the course. I am a person of few words and have a hard time expressing them in this format. Using current events gave me a platform to express without feeling lost in the shuffle because I am so inept in economic policies.

    Worpress is an easy and helpful blogging site. I found voice thread very frustrating. The tutorials were few and lacking clear direction. I prefer Worpress’s tutorials they are so direct walking you through each step. The final results were amazing but I think I would have had a better experience and presentation with clearer directions from voice thread.

    I have recommended this class to other students for the fun of the course and the format. It has been the most enjoyable online class I’ve ever had.Thank You for your creativity and conversations.

    Prof. Zinn you have created a wonderful learning experience.

    • catstd – well said! I would recommend it as well!

      • Wow- thank you both! It sometimes is a challenge to create a rich and engaging online learning environment. Everyone in the class put forth the effort to interact with one another. Well done!!!

    • I have to agree here too. I am also a person of few spoken words, but do enjoy email and texting. However, I found I had to push myself to keep up with the quantity of participation I felt was required on WordPress…at times it seemed that just talking about stuff and commenting on everyone’s posts was desired as much as quality. However, that may have been simply my own learning curve. Although I am also comfortable on Blackboard, it’s not even close to WordPress for flexibility. And now, I’m not only more knowledgable about the period of the Great Depression, I’m more comfortable on WordPress and even VoiceThread. Bravo to all of us!

      • I’d agree with you on the quantity vs. quality thing. The average number of responses to each weeks’ discussion was pretty high, but I sometimes felt like I should be posting just for the sake of keeping up with the “average” rather than writing one or two longer posts. Overall, I don’t think the quantity of posts figured too heavily into the weekly grade, though, so I’m not sure how much that really matters.

  10. I have enjoyed this class. I thought the open communication on our blog was interesting and it was a good replacement for in class participation. It is challenging to utilize new technology and it seems with every online class I take there is a new technology I have to contend with.
    I was resistant to the voice thread while I was preparing my presentation but I did enjoy listening to all of my classmates’ presentations. All of the different topics were interesting.

  11. Although I came to the class a bit late, I enjoyed it. Making an online class engaging and shepherding the discussion in a useful way is probably more challenging than in a regular class, but I think it succeeded.

    Frankly, Blackboard is junk that’s showing its age, so I’m glad we weren’t using it for this class. I’m not really convinced a blog is the best format for discussion (I would’ve preferred some kind of threaded discussion forum platform), but considering it’s free, easy to setup, and easy for the class to use and share links and media, WordPress worked pretty well!

    I’d never used VoiceThread before. It made putting together a presentation easy, although it has some weird quirks that I didn’t care for. Voice comments from other classmates seemed to get appended to the end of the original author’s slide, which was jarring. The pause between slides also tended to interrupt the flow of the presentation. But those are minor things, overall. Not everyone has access to the tools necessary to make a video presentation, so VoiceThread was a good compromise.

    Overall, this class was a bit different from the other online classes I’ve taken, but that’s a good thing—I hope other profs can learn something about teaching online from the way Prof. Zinn put this class together!

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