Our school uses the Blackboard CE Learning Management System, and my online philosophy courses are heavily dependent on threaded discussions.

Rather than stare at a computer screen all day, I've taken to compiling all the discussion comments, pasting them into a Word document, then sending the document to my Kindle. In a few seconds I have the complete discussion, and I can add notes and grades from my easy chair. The e-Ink screen is easy on the eyes, too.

When I'm finished, it's a quick task to open up Blackboard and enter the grades manually from the My Clippings note file on the Kindle. I can also copy excerpts from particularly interesting posts for use in my email summary each week to the class.

The iPad may change this and make things even easier. I can still be in my easy chair, but with the iPad I can access the discussion posts directly, read them, and enter grades right into Blackboard. I can hardly wait to try the two experiences--Kindle (the 6-inch version) vs. the larger, color iPad. I suspect it'll be a "both-and" experience, with each offering something the other doesn't offer. But maybe one will very much outshine the other in the work I need to accomplish.

Either way, the experience moves us away from sitting in a hard-backed chair staring into a traditional computer.

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Tags: Blackboard, Kindle, iPad, learning, online


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