On Jun 5, 12:15pm, Doug Brent wrote:
> Subject: Re: First Class
> I haven't seen First Class. Naturally I'd like to know who to write to
> to get a demo copy, but I'd like to ask the people on this list some more
> personal questions:
> 1. What, exactly, does it do? What combinations of word processing,
> local-area email, conferencing etc does it have?
I just set up Russ to be a member of our FirstClass community; if it works
(i.e, if the client software and instrcutions on how to load the program
work), then I can send you the same package via email, and you can see for
yourself what it looks like.
> 2. In what way is it better than a standard word processor plus regular
> e-mail? Ease of use, or is there more?
the advantage is that you have a program that is solely dedicated to course
work--although other conferences could be set up that would be "social" in
nature (the BBS mode) . With email, you have to set up aliases (which could
be really big if you've got a large class), and everyone would have to change
their alias if someone dropped or was added to class--anarchy, the times I've
tried it. It's also better than a newsgroup because the maintenance of the
group list can be maintained by the course director, so you don't have a
level of "administration" in there. Students can work from home and attach
their wp files. If they're on campus they can log into their file server,
and cut and paste stuff to send out to the group (large or small) as a "new"
message; then the readers "reply" to the original, and it is threaded and the
thread can be read backwards or forwards--other messges following different
threads come in time sequence, but they can be sorted by using these "thread"
buttons. This makes it really neat to follow individual conversations.
> 3. Most important--what do you find most pedagogically useful about it?
> Obviously you use it in a process classroom to ship drafts around and
> such, but I'd be interested in a more detailed picture of how the thing
> works pedagogically. Can somebody walk me through a few days or weeks of
> a typical First Class class and help me follow the life cycle of a
> document as augmented by F.C.? I'm trying to get a real mental picture
I don't actually use it to ship drafts around--i use it for more informal
writing--students post a journal then students in their small group respond
to the ideas in the original--IF the students are interested, a series of
conversations go on; if they aren't, then it's just individual students
writing some "off the cuff" comment about x and it falls flat.
For the sending of drafts, email may suffice..For more informal tasks,
invovling a larger group, conferencing is the answer. Depends on what task
you want students to collaborate on. m-l
(sorry, if i've been too cryptic...m-l)
> Doug Brent
>-- End of excerpt from Doug Brent