Pearson and Google taking on Blackboard?

From the Chronicle, here. As I mentioned in a recent post, I’m getting geared up to use Facebook for the course I’m teaching next semester. But these two companies collaborating are going to present a real challenge to Blackboard.

From my viewpoint, the key advantage to using Facebook to teach is that there is virtually no learning curve for your undergraduate students and very little for faculty.

But we’ll see….

Powerpoint in teaching

I’m teaching NEUR 327 in the Spring. That’s one of the core neuroscience courses for the undergraduate major, Cellular, Neurophysiological and Pharmacological Neuroscience. I’m inclined to ignore Blackboard and teach using a combination of Facebook and Google tools. I’m also leaning towards minimizing the use of Powerpoint just because of its tendency to make the eyes roll upwards into their sockets.

Quite seriously, the use of Powerpoint for creating slides, is dangerously oversold, at least from the standpoint of pedagogy, as distinct from a research talk. I can’t decide whether it’s the formulaic slide lay-outs or the inane animations that arouse my distaste. Or perhaps it’s the ubiquitous use of images and graphics that are only tangentially related to the subject matter at hand….

As for Blackboard (the pretty much ubiquitous electronic learning platform across many colleges and high schools)…..I find it clunky–especially in comparison to Google’s collaborative tools and what one can do creatively on Facebook.