Saturday, December 09, 2006

Update on invitations & move to Blogger Beta

The move to Beta version of Blogger is also complete. We will continue to use as the e-mail address for this class - lessons, individual emails to and from students, etc. However, I intend to move more class functions to the blog. More (but not all) writing assignments will be on to the blog. Handouts, class letters, study resources, and un-numbered lessons that I send everyone at the same time will be posted here rather than sent by e-mail.
  1. Introduce yourselves in a comment posted to the previous message, " Getting to know one another."
  2. Post a comment to this post. Ask a question or make a request for study materials on a specific topic, or make a suggestion about how we can use this blog in the EFI Beginner Class.
As of now, four class members besides myself are members with full posting (writing) permission. I had to re-invite several students because they did not accept their invitations before the move. I also invited a couple of the more active class members not in the discussion group. One class member has joined as

Then I changed the permission settings to make the class blog private. It is no longer open to anyone who finds it on the internet. No one can read it unless invited. I was very glad to see this feature in Blogger's Beta version because I had been worrying about the privacy. After making that change, I sent everyone in the class a "blog viewing invitation." and changed "Comments" setting to allow any readers to comment on posts

I've also been giving a lot of thought to course management. Inactive students have always been a problem in any online class. Do I drop them or keep them on the class roster and let them lurk? Sending reminders and notices is time consuming, yet inactive students should not be allowed to remain in a class indefinitely, especially when "tending" them takes course administration time away from the students who are participating.

On the other hand, I am 100% in favor of making learning opportunities as available as possible. The blog is my solution. Inactive students can follow the blog and make or not make commentsm but they won't be on any class mailing lists or receive any e-mail lessons or study materials.


  1. Hi, Vanessa,

    I have a suggestion that maybe you can give us some directions about how to read efficiently. For example, sometimes we can not understand the meaning of words or sentences, even a paragraph. How can we use reading skill to understand them. Reading is an important skill, and it can also improve our writing. What do you think?


  2. Wow! Ginyin. BIG topic & very important but not something that can be taken care of with just a comment. I'd say that series of reading lessons, links, and handouts are in order.

    And, of course, reading posts here is good reading practice too.

    What KIND of reading and for what PURPOSE? Reading is not just reading. There is so much material on reading that I hardly know where to start without knowing more.

    Here are a couple of sites you might find useful:
    Active Reading Strategies from MindTools.

    Reading difficult material.

    SQ3R Reading Method

    Reading speed and comprehension

    However, when all is said and done, reading about reading and how to read won't magically turn you into a good reader. Reading and more reading is the only sure way to develop reading skills. Start by reading what interests you and is not so difficult that you cannot enjoy it. That will always tempt you to stop reading.

    Sadamu reported good results with VOA's readings in special English and nows reads much more difficult texts. Just try to ignore the propaganda spin and focus on practicing reading

    Then, as your skills grow, read more difficult material. It won't come easy - expect it to be hard work that makes your head ache with the effort. But stick with it.

    Technical reading, which is probably what you are most interested in, is probably the most difficult kind of reading.


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