Course Description 

Enhancing Student Performance and Professional Development Online

1. Course Objectives

This course is designed to introduce faculty, particularly those teaching in the  AUP Intensive  English program, to technology skills that will be introduced in TLL (Technology for Language Learning), the computing  course  being designed to support the IE (new Intensive English) course. The course intends to facilitate exploration not only of Web 2.0 tools that can help students to learn, but to enable faculty to keep current with new developments in technology so as to continually upgrade their skills through autonomous professional development in collaboration with personal learning networks.

The course intends for participants to explore how learning takes place through:

2. Course Outcomes

During the course participants will:

3. Schedule

The following schedule of 4 x 1 hour labs has been coordinated with IE teachers, but all faculty are welcome (up to 20 places).

•        Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010, 12:00 noon in Arzanah computing lab 8-375
        Here’s what we’ll do in class today:

What teachers should know:

Two articles

What the students are studying


•        Sunday, Oct 31, 2010, 13:00 in Zarkuh computing lab 1-124

4.     Materials and resources will be provided in online format based at a portal URL for the course 

Participants should have, or should create, the following accounts:

Announcement, to PI faculty, October 18,  2010:

Dear all,

The AUP Computing Unit is offering a course to all interested PI faculty entitled Enhancing Student Performance and Professional Development Online

The course will take place over four computer lab sessions and will introduce complete beginners to online environments to the technology skills that will be introduced in Technology for Language Learning (TLL), the computing course being designed to support new AUP Intensive English (IE) course

This course is not limited to those teaching TLL and IE. Although it aims to give participants hands-on assistance in a lab setting in learning the tools and skills necessary to teach components of the TLL course such as Moodle, Google Docs, and Internet Search beyond Google (using Delicious, Twitter, and Spezify), the course also strives to create an environment whereby participants can appreciate some of the pedagogical affordances of a range of Web 2.0 tools that they might apply later in the IE program or in other educational settings.

The course will also put participants in touch with other teachers from the TESOL Arabia EdTechSIG and elsewhere in the world who share their interest in language teaching and learning, and will model how communication with like-minded peers through technology can help teachers develop their skills and discover heuristics for learning that they can in turn apply to students.  Some of these skills coincide with the soft skills being emphasized in the ABET Program Outcomes; in particular, ability to engage in lifelong learning, taking responsibility for developing skills the students will need so as to better prepare them for a changing job market, and touch on professional, societal and global issues through contact with peers worldwide.

There are no pre-requisites for this course apart from an open mind and a willingness to enjoy sharing with others who are themselves hoping to learn either face-to-face and / or online.

The course will take place over four 1-hour lab sessions:

Cost: AED 100.00 (for non PI registrants)

View the syllabus at, and if interested contact Vance Stevens
AUP Computing Instructor for this course, at, PI ext. 75172,

Or 02-607-5172 from outside the PI.

Notes from backed up to this space on October 27, 2010 

This is for Enhancing Student Performance and Professional Development Online

Oct 27, 2010

So that you can find this, I'll set up a TINY URL for it in class

(so I can find it, I pasted its link at :-)

Before we begin, let's set up a back channel for this class in

We can brainstorm here about parts of a computer we want to cover in the lessons we're preparing together.

Here's the plan for today, as I flesh it out in my office Wed a.m. prior to meeting everyone at noon.  The plan is essentially to Model and Demonstrate a set of spaces online where we can interact with our students, and have you Practice in those spaces, and Reflect on what you have practiced.

In order to start this I had to find an appropriate space in which to write.  I like Etherpad because I can save revisions (and revert to them) and also it has a slider to enable me to track writing process or find a previous version, so it's constantly preserving your work.  You can copy paste, link to, or download any version.  

Google Docs is a great space but it's a little difficult to set up where you can do all that.  I've noticed that students can wipe out all work up to a point inadvertently in Google Docs, and you might not be able to get it back.  Etherpad is a better tool for working on the fly with students, since it's easily revertable to almost any prior state.

Disadvantages of Etherpad are (1) that it doesn't do graphics (so you might find it convenient to move from Etherpad to Google Docs), and (2) its instability (sometimes).  First you have to find one.  To find this one, I used my delicious acct is a shared Google Doc (its greatest affordances are when used as a Web page and shared purposefully with small groups). Here we'll find the other Etherpad clone list I found and tag it in Delicious so it shows up at the delicious link above.

Now we've introduced several tools already for class interaction and cohesion:

All of these are excellent tools for conversing with your class.  

As examples of how this works with delicious, we'll look at these links: 

We'll use a delicious tag for this class esppdo10

During the course of this lesson, and afterwards, as you hit on sites you think will be useful to us as a group, please use Delicious to tag them esppdo10

Now let's try an experiment. I'll set up a Google Doc and everyone can write on it

Once we've got the groundwork laid, we'll start a new Etherpad and paste the content of the Google Doc into it.  We can then do the exercise as the students might do it in class.

Sometimes I'll do this in class, copy something from a workbook and paste into Etherpad.  You can find an example of this at this link and I wrote a blog post about it, which I'll tag so it comes up at

When I work with students, I need to broadcast URLs to them in such a way they can reach them quickly.

Before class I'll take these precautions:

The last thing during this class, I will create a Posterous Blog (later moved to here: 

Hope you enjoy it :-)

This is our transcript from on Oct 31, 2010
I announced in advance that we would be there and a student turned up about halfway into our class.  We brought him into our conversation, and it was surprisingly seamless.  Here’s the chat portion with the URLs we visited which I’m tagging at and

I’ll annotate below in red

Vance Stevens: hi, who's there?

M.Dabbagh: it's me

Vance Stevens: No one came on the hour so we decided to do my class online

Vance Stevens: where are you?

M.Dabbagh: am in lab 2

Vance Stevens: Mohammed

Vance Stevens: hey

M.Dabbagh: yes

Vance Stevens: probably a little trouble to broadcast at this point?

Vance Stevens: can you come here?

Vance Stevens: \zarkuh 124

M.Dabbagh: unfortunately no

M.Dabbagh: that's why i logged in online

Vance Stevens: I'll see what I can do

So we connect via voice and speak to Mohammed

M.Dabbagh: yes i can hear

I establish that he can benefit if I talk and we paste links into the Adobe Connect meeting room

M.Dabbagh: ok

I offer to tag sites we share in Delicious so that they will appear at the following URL: 

I show the TESOL Arabia EdTech SIG Ning: 

This is a link to an event that takes place at 5 pm in UAE on Nov 7: 

The event will introduce the EVO free professional development sessions that take place each January: 

This link lets us see what sessions there were in previous years, to give an idea of what kinds of sessions there are: 

M.Dabbagh: sir ur voice is a little bit low (so I switch to a different microphone)

Here are some example EVO sessions from 2009: 

M.Dabbagh: not really

M.Dabbagh: no new sessions?

M.Dabbagh: a little bit

M.Dabbagh: yes alot!

M.Dabbagh: thanks!

M.Dabbagh: no problem

One of the sessions is on Digital Storytelling, so I show Alan Levine’s site called 50 ways to tell a digital story (about tools for multiliteracies): 

This drills in to the tools for digital storytelling: 

M.Dabbagh: can we say like facebook and twitter are longer sort of stories?

M.Dabbagh: tools telling tools i mean

M.Dabbagh: telling story*

I’d say they are quite different.  Meanwhile in the face-to-face group Jean has asked if there is a tool that would allow students to make an oral book report of just 3 to 5 min. so I show her VoiceThread, which lets you post an image of some kind and talk about it, and others can comment on that in text, picture image, or video: 

M.Dabbagh: there is something called stumble upon 

Vance Stevens: 

M.Dabbagh: no

M.Dabbagh: it's yeah

M.Dabbagh: a random way

M.Dabbagh: hmm

M.Dabbagh: voicethread

If you wish your students to record longer passages in Audacity and post them to an audio blog you might try podcasting with a free site like Podomatic, as I do here: 

M.Dabbagh: in one way or another is similar to google wave

M.Dabbagh: yeah

M.Dabbagh: yeah

M.Dabbagh: i use it

M.Dabbagh: it's more like facebook

M.Dabbagh: that can be really useful

M.Dabbagh: many times i wish if i could listen rather than read

Yes, here’s a site that will convert blogs and other sites from text to speech. It’s called Odiogo and I’ve got it installed here: 

M.Dabbagh: adobe reader 9

M.Dabbagh: can read docs

M.Dabbagh: yeah

Vance Stevens: 

M.Dabbagh: and this could be really useful

M.Dabbagh: if someone wants to study in the car

M.Dabbagh: u could simply listen to the material

I think I have one here: 

M.Dabbagh: right

M.Dabbagh: agree

No sorry I don’t.  But there’s on here.  You access it from the right sidebar: 

M.Dabbagh: sure

Odiogo saves all the audio it converts via text to speech at what is in effect your podcast site.  For Just Curious that’s at: 

M.Dabbagh: ok

M.Dabbagh: thank you

Now it seems we’re about to break up

M.Dabbagh: i'll leave too

M.Dabbagh: i'll check it

M.Dabbagh: aha

M.Dabbagh: sure we will just send us the link

All the links I used have been copy/pasted here: 

Next week we’ll meet at Arzanah, but if you can’t go there, you can join us at this URL: 

M.Dabbagh: allright thank you sir

M.Dabbagh: thx

M.Dabbagh: later ...

I have gone through the above chat logs now and annotated in red and tagged all the URLs so they appear at and 

Notice of Final Class in this 4-part series, Nov 3, 2010, sent out to my PLN two hours before the event. The wording here is designed to invite an audience who may not know much about our work.

Posted for example at: 
Then tweeted:

For the past two weeks I’ve been teaching a course to colleagues and interested students where I work called Enhancing Student Performance and Professional Development, or ESPPDO for short.

I intend to broadcast the final session from the PI in Abu Dhabi in Elluminate,  To join us you need to register with Learning Times (the entity providing our grant to use the Elluminate room) and click on the big green Enter button.  

We are meeting there at 8 a.m. GMT (noon in the UAE) today, Nov 3, 2010. All are welcome to join us.  

If you join us from somewhere far from us on the planet you will help us put in action the concept of PLN, and of course we will all enjoy sharing with you.  We’ll record the session between 8 and 9 a.m. GMT, but you can just drop in and say HI during that time or stay as long as you like.

We’ve made ESPPDO into a tag and incorporated it into a number of URLs meant to be ‘hooks’ into the course; for example:

We broadcast the last session at and attracted one student online who serendipitously got us to share our URLs there.  You can visit that link to view the ongoing meeting and you can replay the text chat there or see an annotated version of it in the Google Doc bulleted above (soon to be at the ESPPDO Posterous blog noted below), or find all the links referenced at the Delicious link in the bulleted list above.

If you’d like to learn more about what we’ve done so far,

For our last session, our discussion will roughly follow what it says in the syllabus but will be guided by who turns up and what they would like to learn or share.  We might just review what we’ve done in the course so far and propose what might be our next step in our mutual learning journeys.

In a further effort to attract a wider audience, I'll send out tweets on Twitter about an hour from now (7 gmt). See 

If you’re free at 8 am GMT today, hope to see you at