Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Learning by doing

Google Sites For the past 24 hours I've been playing around with Google Sites for a project which ... I can't talk about yet. After the initial shiny wore off, it quickly became a frustrating experience. I suppose if I was not familiar with HTML my reaction may have been different, but as it is, with the progress Blogger has made over the last year, it's now a much better prospect as a content management system than Sites. Apart from side-stepping the idiosyncrasies and annoyances of Sites, Blogger gives you content scheduling, tagging, RSS everywhere, multiple sharing options, custom permalinks - it's a no-brainer.

One remaining issue - what's the best way to implement MCQs/SAQs on Blogger - via links to Google forms?

Which has two consequences. On the plus side, I now have a platform for my forthcoming (secret) project (sorry). On the other hand, I was planning on inflicting Google Sites on our first year students in the coming year. I can't do that in good conscience now, so I need an alternative (to replace the Google Docs group writing exercise which has just become too troublesome to administer). Any suggestions of what to do with 300 first year biology students?


  1. I looked at google sites for a project and found it limited and to do more interesting things was a lot of work. Saying that it is free hosting without having Ads appearing everywhere.

  2. Sites isn't great as a CMS but as an alternative to a wiki for student-built sites they could be OK. Put them in groups of, I don't know, 20 (kidding) and give each group a topic. They can produce/embed media, cite their sources and the rest and have fun trying to give it a visual identity. Then they review each others' work and learn learn learn. This isn't going to solve your admin headache is it?

    A group of Linguistics undergrads at Sheffield did a similar thing and got a lot out of it, as well as good grades.