Update from Team Betsy

As part of her TLT project Betsy Sigman decided to redesign the OPIM 257 course she teaches. In addition to serving as a broad introduction to the field of databases, OPIM 257 (Development and Management of Databases) serves to give the OPIM (Operations and Information Management) majors an introduction to technologies that are important for them to be exposed to before they go into the work world.

Betsy is using a few new applications to enhance the database course. Team MSB (made up of Marie, Susan and Betsy) has been busy getting students up-to-speed on some of these tools, which include Google+, Dipity and Zotero.


One of the first changes Betsy wanted to implement was to have a back channel for the course. This would be a space where students can share interesting links with each other and also post questions/comments on the material covered during class. After some initial discussions, it seemed that Twitter and Google+ were the big contenders and the final decision was to go with Google+. It just seemed a better space to create a community. The “Circle” feature allowed us to create a  “OPIM 257” course and updates shared in this circle would only get to members of this circle. This allowed students to continue using Google+ for other purposes without worrying about unnecessary updates to the “OPIM 257” Circle. Betsy has a written up an excellent blog post on how to create a circle with multiple users. This is very useful if you are looking to use Google+ in the classroom, as the instructor you can just create the circle using Betsy’s method and then “share” the circle with your students. Also, here is a link to some of Google+’s new features.

Zotero and Dipity

For their first assignment, students will need to do some research on the history of database technologies or database infrastructure changes in companies. The goal is for them to understand the past and also think about how it relates to the current scenario and future directions. They are using Zotero and Dipity to complete this assignment. Zotero will be their primary research tool where they will be collecting and organizing their sources and the Dipity timeline will be the final product. Some of the things that we are trying to get at are for students to explain their decision on why they chose to display a particular “event” on the timeline. This particular assignment also gives them the opportunity to think about the data they are presenting (albeit in a particular format).

On September 29th, Susan and I visited Betsy’s class and presented Zotero and Dipity to the students. After the initial presentation we gave them some time to use these tools in combination. A lot of the students were able to get set up and they started their work. This assignment is due on October 13th, so we are looking forward to hearing about their experiences.

We’re off to a great start! Stay tuned to see some of their completed work and also get some information on the next assignment.

About Marie Selvanadin

Marie Selvanadin, Web Application Developer, CNDLS
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