How do you Glassboard? Micah Humphreys, professor
I recently had an exchange with Micah Humphreys about how he is using Glassboard with students in his class. Glassboard provides a place where Micah can make announcements to his students privately. He’s also found other ways to use Glassboard to engage with his students.
How are you using Glassboard with your class?
In our Agroecology course (which is a fancy word for crop and soil science), every student has an iPod Touch. I’ve got a website for all the class information like lectures, lab activities, calendars, syllabus, etc., but we didn’t have a way for the students to interact with one another, and for me to send out announcements other than email, which doesn’t provide the same sort of interactivity than a forum might. When Glassboard came out, it was exciting because of the ability to have privacy in a group setting. We’ve been using Glassboard as an announcement tool, an attendance tool, and a pop quiz distributor.
How is Glassboard being received by your class (i.e., what kind of feedback have you been getting)?
The feedback that I get is positive, because the students are already geared towards sharing information in forums, replying to posts, clicking “like” and that whole domain of knowledge through Facebook. And we’ve toyed with just making a private Facebook group for our class, but then if there were a group within the class that wasn’t on Facebook (and those people do exist!), they are more likely to be resistant to “getting a Facebook” as they like to say. So Glassboard gets a positive reaction and fast adoption from the students familiar with social networking, and at the same time *isn’t* Facebook for those who aren’t familiar with these kinds of skills and services. As one student said, “It’s like a private Facebook.” And that’s exactly what we want – privacy so that the class dynamic isn’t on display for the whole world, and the students are ready to share valuable information with the rest of the class.
What are some ways that you think Glassboard will enhance your students’ experience?
I think Glassboard has done a great job emphasizing the private nature of the app. In my experience, if students are hesitant to share or answer questions in class vocally, they probably don’t want to share it on the web, so why make them? Glassboard builds a wall around that information sharing that we do in class, which also encourages the student to ask questions and share their knowledge to a group of people they know, and no one else.
What are some things you think Glassboard could improve upon to be better for your students?
Push notifications is a great feature, because now I can hound them when an important date is coming up! Instructors like to distribute material in lots of forms – videos, pdfs, and spreadsheets to name a few – and it might be nice to have a repository of materials at hand on a certain board. But right now, the simplicity of setting a board up and inviting the students to join is key – they can do everything on their iOS device without touching a desktop or laptop.
The Sepia Labs team is happy to see people like Micah using Glassboard to share with small groups that they interact with regularly, in a way that is far more private that Google+ or Facebook. If you have a story you’d like to see featured on the Glassboard blog, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Jenny Blumberg
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