CAU – the final days

I’ve just done my last session at CAU – yesterday I’d got the students to present their websites -which went very well, and the level 2 students to show me their group research projects – explaining what they’d discovered.

Clearly the research project was quite difficult for them, as quite a few had inadvertently plagiarised, though they did realise their errors. Others, doing their best not to, had said things like “The author said” .. before they’d told me who the author was!

Today was much more relaxed, we talked about Portsmouth & what to expect. The SL model of Liongate was v. useful – though I wish I’d discovered before today that they actually have SL on their machines! The main drawback was that I couldn’t get my laptop online, so had to run it from a memory stick on the teacher PC. Which meant that 90% of the menu items were in Chinese. I’m not familiar enough with SL to just know where they are!

I’ve put some more photos in Flickr – I was a little tired when I uploaded them, so had a little bit of difficulty with the tagging … I managed to re-tag some Egypt ones with “Beijing” & missed most of the Beijing ones. Today, however, I’ve even managed to get the ones I took at the CAU in roughly (I hope!) the right bit of the map.

Blogging in China

I’m getting some of my students to use blogs as part of their work while I’m here. We have a unit in the second year in which the students (in Portsmouth) have to use Eduspaces (Elgg powered) to create a “blog carnival” of their research. I’ve not got the time for that & also the students I have haven’t had the same background, so I’m getting them to find 1 academic (a fairly loosely applied term!) paper on their group’s subject; then to summarise it (quoting / referencing properly), in their blogs; to read the rest of their groups posts & then to use Google Docs to create a simple lit. review of all of the papers their group has found.

Some of the problems we’ve run into are simply things like lack of eJournals, difficulty accessing open journals inside China; others focus more on how to find key points in articles, how to reference properly. Hopefully, though, we’ll get there!

The other issue I ran into today was as I was adding all their blogs to Google reader, it must have decided that I can read Chinese! So, I suddenly had a lot of the buttons etc., in Chinese.

China

I’m now in China, visiting the China Agricultural University. I’m doing some teaching with some students who’re going to be coming to Portsmouth University next year/the following one.

It’s been a little different – teaching in rooms that have limited & patchy internet access; using Chalk rather than whiteboards (chalk has a lot going for it; easy to see when it’s about to run out, clearer, easier to write with, but really rather dusty!). It’s rather difficult teaching research skills with no access to journals etc., & web design, without being able to demonstrate live sites. Thank goodness for SnagIT!

I have, however, discovered that quite a few blogs (inc. ReadWrite Web) have mirrors in China, so that’s handy & I’ve got them all to set up blogs for their work – they already have Google docs, and Google Scholar has a Chinese version (with an English option!), and that links to ChinaCat, so perhaps I might be able to get the students to find some academic papers they can get hold of. (In English!)

I’ve just spent today visiting the Forbidden City & had fun getting home. Firstly we rather muddled up the subway map & went the wrong way at one point, then arrived at the last station in a downpour (which had started just as we’d decided we’d about had enough of the forbidden city). I’m not quite sure if the taxi driver didn’t understand us, or didn’t know where the hotel was, but he took a much longer route than they had before (still only £1.40 though!) [Photos in Flickr]

Off to China

I am in the process of getting ready for my trip to the China Agricultural University in Beijing, where I will be teaching some students who are on computing courses there – and hoping to come to the UK next year.

I am not quite sure what to expect!