Welcome to my world. Every class I teach has some common elements. If you start with these and get them taken care of early, you’ll have a leg up for the rest of the course.

Blog: You need one. If you don’t already have one, make one.

I recommend going to WordPress.com and starting up there. If you already have one, you can use that.

Feed Reader: Sometimes called an ‘feed aggregator’ (a ‘gator, for short), this is a tool where you put the addresses of all the information sources you want to keep track of. When new information gets posted on any of those sources, that new information appears in your reader. You don’t need to go looking at each source to see if there’s anything new. It gets delivered to you like your own private newspaper.

I recommend Google Reader. Log in with your google/gmail credentials and add all the feeds you want to keep track of. You can even organize them into folders for easy prioritization.

Bookmarking: As you meander around the net, you’ll be finding interesting stuff and keeping track of it is sometimes awkward, particularly if you work on more than one computer.

I recommend Diigo. Make an account (free), install the tool bars, and then when you find something you want to remember, use the tagging tools to grab it, add a note to it so you know why you wanted to remember it, and you can even use widgets to display interesting content on your web page. (See the right sidebar on my site for a list of things I found interesting enough to want to share with the class. That list is generated from my tagging and reloads automatically every time I add something new.)

Add me. Now that you’ve collected your basic tools, add my feeds to your reader. The feeds are

http://durandus.com/phaedrus/feed for the main posts

http://durandus.com/phaedrus/comments/feed for the comments that others leave for me.

Tip: Subscribe to both feeds for everybody in this class.

Note: There’s a threaded discussion post in our Blackboard session for you to tell us what your blog address is. Now that you’ve set up your space, go post your address there so we can find you. Check back often so you can keep up with the conversations as we get ramped up.

MP3 Player – I don’t care if it’s your phone, an iPod, or something else so long as you know how to use it to listen to podcasts. You’ll want to know how to subscribe, listen, and manage the files. If you don’t, you need to contact me ASAP to get this resolved.

eBook Reader – Two of your books are available as ebooks. One is a free download. Learn how to use this tool now. I highly recommend the Kindle App for whatever platform you have, if you don’t already have a kindle device.