Sunday, May 23, 2010

Podcasts better than live lectures?

Students watching podcast of lecture did better on exam than students who attended the lecture in person. !!! Result could be because those watching podcast could pause whenever, take notes, reflect, etc. But note this was a very limited sample of 64 students for one lecture and one test. Still, it is thought provoking. Found while reading a blog re teaching sociology. Original study in Computers & Education, Volume 52, Issue 3, April 2009, Pages 617-62. (full text available through ScienceDirect)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Using Cartoons/Graphics to Convey Info

I've always been struck with some of the creative uses of graphics to convey information. I was particularly impressed by the way Global Kids at Holy Meatballs used graphics to present qualitative research data. The teens had conducted an open-ended survey of other youth about how they use and relate to digital media. Instead of a text only summary of replies, the Global Kids prepared a much more interesting results report by using illustrative graphics to accompany each survey answer. Kept me reading in a way that text-only reports might not have.

I assigned my students to experiment with similar graphical approaches when summarizing an article about the obstacles facing inner-city teens trying to navigate the online financial aid application process. (See “Low-Income Urban High School Students’ Use of the Internet to Access Financial Aid" by Kristan Venegas)

I suggested the students might try using PowerPoint in a graphically intensive manner (not the traditional bullet points) or they might try making a "comic book" using the ready made cartoon elements at

Above is the first panel of one student's cartoon rendition. Check out the complete cartoon/comic book on our class wiki.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Non Traditional PowerPoints for Digital Storytelling

To show students what I mean by a non-traditional PowerPoint, I created a presentation about Ada Lovelace in the style of the classic children's Golden Book series.

For those interested in learning more about Ada Lovelace and George Babbage or comparing with a more traditional Powerpoint, I am including another slideshow here.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Corvida Raven: Geek Girl

For the last week of class, I assigned students to research a woman who has made an important contribution to the development of computers and/or the Internet. I also asked them to present their findings in an interesting digital storytelling mode - perhaps by using Voicethread or Prezi. In any event, they were not to use a traditional bullet-style PowerPoint.

One of the students chose to research Corvida Raven, one of the youngest contributors. I thought the student did an excellent job of matching the style of her presentation with Raven's style. And I thought others might enjoy it also.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Use Slide Shows for Resumes?

One of the purposes of the Women and Computers course is to prepare students for the job market, so I was intrigued by this posting by Amit of Digital Inspiration. The post has 4 or 5 examples of people who used the medium of a PowerPoint slide show to present their resume. I thought one of the examples near the end from a teacher was particularly interesting.

I didn't find any examples from women, only men. Women less willing to take risks with non-traditional approaches? Blog author preferred the men's examples?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Women Who Blog

Since my last post about the need to use exact phrase with quotes "why women blog" to find any useful information, another student in the class located a reference to the "2009 Social Media Study" by Blogher, iVillage and Compass Partners which looks at women's use of social media based on surveys of two different population groups - a general population survey of 2,821 online women (53% of whom participate in social media at least once a week) and a survey of 1008 women from the Blogher network.

Most interesting to me was a chart on page p. 12 which compares the demographic characteristics of women who write blogs or post comments to other people's blogs from the two survey groups.

If look at just the general online population survey, 69% of those who participate in blogging do not have a college degree - which contradicts the stereotype many have of the blogosphere as inhabited by only the highly educated. In contrast, if limit oneself to the BlogHer network, only 30% have not graduated from college - so women who participate in BlogHer are not exactly representative of the female online blogging community.

When asked why they blog, little difference found between the general population group and the BlogHer community. The most frequent reasons given were:
  • 76% for fun
  • 73% to express myself
  • 59% to connect with others like me
In contrast only 22% said they blog in order to "to persuade others/advocate" and 17% "to earn money"

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why Women Blog – Need Exact Search in Google

Students and I were trying, somehow, to find articles on why women blog. I know I had read some in the past, so why can't we find them in the search engines? I went to Google and tried a whole bunch of different terms - women blogging benefits - women blogging problems - women bloggers problems. And I had very little success.
Finally the light bulb went off and I remembered you could do a search at Google putting an exact phrase in quotes. When I entered "why women blog" (including quotation marks) in the Google search box, I got lots of hits right on target (7 on first page of hits plus a good video on second page). I'm listing them below for anyone who wants to follow up on this topic.
  • Video: “Why Women Blog” uploaded by author to on Feb. 10, 2010. Based on a one year study where she asked women all over the country “Why do you blog? The main message I got from the video is the community building around bloggers & their readers. Also this video seemed like a lot better way to present one’s report than the traditional all text methods. Video also available at author’s own blog site Marketing to Women Online where more comments are posted.
  • Blissdom '10 - What I Learned About Womenwhat blogger Holly Buchanon learned about women bloggers at the Blissdom ’10 conference. Entry dated 2/7/10 on Holly’s Marketing to Women Online blog.
  • Why Women Blog” from the Crossroads Dispatches blog, dated 5/20/05
  • Why Women Blog Less than Men” from, dated 10/27/09 – very short, not sure I agree.
  • Why Women Blog More than Men” from Jerminix” blog, dated 8/30/08
  • Why Women Blog” from the Feminist Majority’s Choices Campus Blog. Dated 6/19/09
    • Wonderful link provided by commenter in above blog post to Bella DePaulo’s “For the Love of Blogging” at Huffington Post. Dated 6/19/09
  • Great list of relevant articles at where they want you to pay to read, but they give the source of each of the articles – many of which are also available on the free web; others available to SCSU people for free via EBSCO host at Miller Library web pages.