[evonline2002_webheads] Your advice requested

Greetings from the Black Sea, Georgia, where I’m sipping coffee with wifi in an all-day wait for a night train to Tbilisi.  I must say Batumi is a charming place to have to wait, old world European charm and Gaudi ambiance by the sea.

Since I’m posting this to post@vancestevens.posterous.com I will explain that it is written in reply a question on the Webheads list, about how one can: “set up a website where volunteer teachers and tutors can post questions about grammar (like a YahooGroup or a forum), but I’d also like to be able to post resources (including videos) in a way that they will be easy to locate (like a wiki). In my experience, files uploaded to a Yahoo Group tend to be forgotten unless there are constant reminders in the Messages. There are 300 teachers and tutors; not all will be technologically savvy, so the site(s) should be easy to learn and use. What do you recommend?”

My reply:

I have grown increasingly fond of Posterous to do what you are suggesting.  You mention uploading videos and these are often displayed by Posterous when only the link is mentioned.  They have automatic plugins for YouTube and Slideshare, and all my Jing image captures and screencasts are displayed on supply of only the link.  This makes it incredibly easy to create tutorials such as the one’s you can find in this blog; e.g.

Here I find the workflow of creating tutorials to be much simplified when I get a screen I want to display, annotate it as you see in Jing (could be a recording of the process a la Russell Stannard <http://www.teachertrainingvideos.com/> upload it in a click to Screencast.com, and then paste the URL into the blog post I’m writing.  Previously I had to create the capture image, store it on my computer, then upload it to the document I was working on, and often i had to keep track of which order the images should appear in the blog, but here it’s all on the fly, so much easier, faster.

Posterous has interesting ways for people to subscribe to the blog and then post to it themselves if you wish (by making them writers), or at least make comments either on the blog, or in response to email.  Subscribers are emailed when posts are made and they can comment by replying to the email (they can also email posts or make them directly at the website – great for people who will write emails easily but hesitate to go online and post to a blog.

You can try the look and feel by subscribing to http://vancestevens.posterous.com. You might have to seed the process first time after that by making a comment in the blog in the normal way, but subscribers should get an email with your comment, and when I get mine, I’ll reply, and you can see how the replies to emails stack up as comments on the posts.  You’ll see that it’s different from replies to YGroups, which are as you pointed out stored online but only loosely threaded, not in a way that they can be easily seen as they can in a blog format.

I’m also using Posterous for http://learning2gether.posterous.com, where I take advantage of the fact that Posterous creates a media player for any mp3 I upload, and by using Feedburner I can make a podcast out of that.  I also found a way to add an Odiogo text to speech widget to my sidebar (not straightforward as with Blogger) as you can see at http://justcurious.posterous.com.  And I’ve described more how I’m using this with students here:

Hope this helps explain and illustrate what I’m finding to be a useful way of loosely joining many small pieces (from David Weinberger <http://www.smallpieces.com/index.php> 🙂

 

Meanwhile, here is some commentary via the traditional YahooGroups list (this one from Bee)

Like Michael, I would tend to use wikispaces and Google – however, WordPress is announcing a learning management platform for this fall, which allied to Buddy press may be a winner.
http://wpmu.org/wordpress-as-a-learning-management-system-move-over-blackboard/

The link to the new WordPress coming up this fall is
http://wplms.org/

One tool, whose format looks interesting for questions, is Stack Exchange and there is an English site for English language and usage – you may want to open one for grammar 🙂
http://english.stackexchange.com/

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