November 2, 2010

The Anatomy of a Referred Site

This text was initially published by Profweb under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International licence, before Eductive was launched.

Call it a service, call it an annoyance, teachers at Dawson have been receiving emails about items that included new developments in teaching technology around the world since I became an IT Representative. Initially, if I found anything of note, I would send an email to all faculty. Some people have a word for these files which sounds like a certain luncheon meat.

In November of 2009, I finally got the message: Not everyone was delighted with my news, and a number of colleagues gently suggested that I compile the information and send a weekly newsletter. In this way, teachers could read about a topic and link directly to it. On November 27 2009, the first DawsonITE newsletter was released. Every newsletter was created using Google Docs and saved in pdf and then sent to all faculty. Not only was there less SPAM, but back issues could be saved for future reference.

In solving a problem for my teachers, I created one for myself. I began getting emails from teachers asking me to find links that had appeared in earlier issues. This is not an easy task! I began wondering if there was a way that I could put this information on the web with tags where I could search for it or better yet, where my teachers could search for it themselves.

I asked my boss Barbara Freedman, the Dean of Instructional Development if she would approve a blog as a project and with her support, this idea came to fruition in August of this year. It was such a success that I decided to put everything that I had produced in pdf earlier into the blog. I did it manually, and I added the tags, but now teachers can really easily find anything that I have ever sent out as a resource.

DawsonITE in its new blog version is a repository for information on educational technology, but it is also evolving into more than just a list of links :

  • Every week I post on the blog.
  • There is also the presentation of the week which is usually from Slideshare.
  • The video of the week is always related to information technology.
  • The tag cloud automatically visually links readers to the most popular articles.
  • A link to the IT Rep Twitter account at @nperreault/reptic allows reader access to the posts of 23 IT Reps.
  • There is a feed from the Moodle news website at
  • There is a section for guides on Moodle, Facebook, Twitter and Educational Technology.
  • There is also a listing of all of the IT Partners in Quebec in alphabetical order, and
  • There are also direct feeds in English from Profweb and La Vitrine.

People have been sending feedback saying that they really like DawsonITE. All Dawson teachers receive the newsletter, and some people outside of Dawson who have been added to the mailing list extend the reach of the site to locations in New Brunswick, Brazil, the United States and Spain. People can subscribe to an RSS feed or the weekly mailing list for DawsonITE . DawsonITE is distributed under a Creative Common license and can be reused.

This September I became aware of the referred site feature of Profweb’s personal space. I really liked the idea of extending the reach of DawsonITE to readers around the Quebec College Network. Although my mission is to focus on areas that are of particular interest to the Dawson community, many of the resources on my site will be useful to readers province-wide. I feel that the site referral feature of the Personal Space is a true expression of Profweb’s mission to create a community of practice for teachers around Quebec. I’m proud to have become a part of this trend and invite you to make a DawsonITE visit. Please leave your comments below .

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