Duolingo Teaches Me About Online Learning


I recently discovered Duolingo, a free website that delivers language lessons. If you’re an English speaker, you can take lessons in Spanish, German, French, Italian, or Portuguese. What’s really cool about it, though, is the way that it teaches you the language of your choice using online instruction. I think that Duolingo is a website that really gets online learning right, and it taught me a lot more about how to use the Web to teach something than it taught me Spanish (though I re-learned quite a bit of that, too!).

On “Technology:” Some Notes from the Higher Ed Salon


Over the course of the summer, my mind was ablaze with many a new input surrounding technology and higher education. I have been working closely with April Lawrence and Gene Roche to construct a series of pedagogical modules that will help William & Mary faculty introduce online tools to their courses. I also taught my first blended/hybrid course: an introductory cultural geography course at John Tyler Community College. My involvement with these projects has exposed me to an array opinions, strategies, and tactics with regards to the intersection of technology and post-secondary institutions. These are clearly volatile times for those of us in higher education.

Three Tips for Using Ebrary E-Books

Here's an example of a note I added to a page of Lisa Gitelman's Always Already New, and a highlight on the same page.

I recently started using more of Swem Library’s electronic books available via ebrary. Before this week, when I’d seen that a book was only available electronically, I rolled my eyes and would ILL a copy. I just didn’t want to have to read the book on my computer screen.  Fast forward to this week.  I […]

Adventures in Tech: Sharing an iPad in a Video Teleconference


I was worried at first when asked to research the problem: how to share the screen of an Apple iPad within an Adobe Connect meeting. Screen sharing using an app is not just unavailable, but prevented by the iPad’s basic design. But then I had a glimmer of an idea, and thus of hope: AirPlay.

Dealing with File Clutter: Why You Need Network-Attached Storage


Chances are you’ve got a bunch of files that are really important to you. They’re so important that at some point someone told you that you really need to have a backup of all those files should anything happen to them, and you probably woke up in the middle of the night in a cold […]

Research Trips: Five Tips for Surviving the Worst-Case Scenario


I was recently on a research trip in Hungary when, three days into my two and a half month stay, my laptop, camera, and passport were stolen. Although the theft made my research trip much more difficult, it was not devastating and I was able to complete the research I had set out to do. By taking a couple of simple measures beforehand and asking for support from the academic community when I needed it, I survived my worst-case scenario.

Video Collaboration: What’s on the Menu at W&M?

You can do more than just meet via telephone at W&M these days. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

When there are many software products that do similar things it can be a little confusing to choose one. Like a neophyte oenophile looking at a wine list, one might be tempted to make an arbitrary choice just to move things along — and wind up with a snootful of inappropriate complexity and a character that doesn’t suit the meal. So, without further ado (or beating this metaphor to death), here’s a sampler of the computer video conferencing and collaborating products in use at the College, somewhat arranged in order of complexity.