Saturday, January 13, 2007

Counting down...

EVOnline begins tomorrow with an opening ceremony at WorldBridges at 15h GMT, or 10 a.m. EST! Last year, I completely missed the opening webcast (didn't yet know what a webcast was!) and only listened to it a couple of weeks later. This time I feel more like I am on the same page as everyone else.

The BaW07 Yahoo Group (YG) has been very active in the past weeks, over 300 messages; most of them are self-introductions from some of the 200+ participants and responses to them. I remember how overwhelmed I was last year when I first visited the YG and found hundreds of posts already there; I never found the time to go back to the beginning and read them all. I am sure many people will have the same experience this year, but I suppose it can't be helped. People are excited and anxious to start interacting, and those who are less proficient at web tools and need a little prompting will not figure out what to do until the course actually begins on Monday.

The B4B group has been more patient, waiting to begin until the official starting day.

In the meantime I have been playing around with wikis for my 005 class. First I tried a WYSIWYG editor in pbwiki, but I had trouble with the sidebar: it looks fine in editing mode but once saved, looks awful. From Dafne, I learned that this is not my fault: it's the editor. She has the exact same problem! So I created a second pbwiki using the classic editor. However, it took me forever to get my pages looking the way I wanted them to, since I am just learning WikiStyle. Then I tried a wikispaces wiki, but that too was not easy to do quickly, so finally I decided to go with the first one and try to ignore the ugly sidebar. I've complained to pbwiki though. Maybe they will fix it sooner, rather than later. One can always hope!

Anyway, becoming proficient using wikis is one of my goals for this year (learning more about podcasting is another one). I found out last year that trial and error is the way to learn.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


I've just learned that running words together with a capital letter somewhere in the middle, as I have done above, is called (among many other things) CamelBack. I learned this because it is one way to create a new page on the wiki I am creating for my UMEI 005 class this semester. Today I spent a lot of time adding pages of handouts I have created on general topics, such as "Extra Listening Practice" and "How to Study Spelling" (actually that one isn't there yet). For each page, I added a link in the sidebar. However, the sidebar, which looks sort of okay in editing mode, looks completely different and very weird on the wiki itself--not at all like the one in the BaW07 wiki, for example. I can't figure out where I went wrong! I emailed Daf to ask for her help, which was very selfish of me, because Daf is up to her ears in EVOnline (which she is coordinating), BaW07 (which she is moderating) and her job (oh yeah! She's a university professor in her spare time!). Everyone I could think of to ask is busy getting ready for EVOnline at the moment. Only 4 more days!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A New Look for a New Year

To celebrate my first year as a blogger, I just changed the look of this blog! When I first set it up, I was overwhelmed by all the choices of templates, so I picked a completely bland, boring one. Now that I am more adventurous, I have selected a brighter color scheme, green to honor the environment!

Gearing up for EVOnline 2007

Participating in Becoming a Webhead 06 was a pivotal event in my professional (and personal) life. Before BaW06 was even finished, I was already planning on signing up for it in '07 in order to explore all the neat tools I didn't get a chance to investigate in '06. (I meant to do this on my own, but--without that incredibly supportive community pushing me to do it, it did not happen.) Now 2007 is here and I am not only taking BaW07 (I officially signed up yesterday) --I am also co-moderating the week on Building an Online Presence. I am thrilled to be part of the BaW07 team and excited about the course itself.

I have also signed up for Blogging for Beginners (B4B)! This course is being moderated by my webhead friends Carla, Erika, Claudia, and Gladys (with Silvana as co-mod). Although I am not exactly a beginner at blogging, the course syllabus has several things I want to explore further (such as really understanding about RSS feeds!). There is another course targeting more advanced blogging tools, but I don't want to overload myself. Last year, BaW06 took up all the time I had to give it (and then some).

The courses don't start for two weeks, but I have already begun by visiting the wikis, Yahoo!Groups and blogs that each has set up, putting myself on the maps, leaving comments, etc. (Maybe I have too much time on my hands!)

Today, I also added a cbox to this blog. Wonder how I will know if anyone leaves me a message (other than checking it daily, yuck!)??

I also checked out Chinswing (, a new site for spoken "conversations". It looks promising for both listening and speaking practice! I have not downloaded it because apparently in just a few weeks there will be a web-based version with nothing to download. :-) This computer is so full of stuff already....

On another note, our replacement printer arrived today. My HP printer, just a year old, has been acting very grouchy since the summer. I finally got HP to replace it! I must unpack the new one (I hope it works better than the one we have now!) and return the defective one.