[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his page contains information that is necessary for students at Virginia Commonwealth University who are registered for UNIV291 “Complementary & Alternative Medicine: Health, Hype, or Hocus Pocus?”. If you are an open participant not enrolled at VCU and not registered for the course, you may find some of this information does not apply to you, but it will help you understand how the course is working. Open participants may choose to engage at any level you would like. You may choose just to read the story. You may choose to do a few blog posts, comment on other learners’ posts, and/or join us on Twitter with the hashtag #vcucamh3.

[toggle title_open=”Course description & structure” title_closed=”Course description & structure” hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”default” excerpt_length=”0″ read_more_text=”Read More” read_less_text=”Read Less” include_excerpt_html=”no”]As stated in the welcome message on the Home page, you will be following a story. Each part of the story will introduce a concept or CAM therapy. We may hear details about a particular therapy, including training required for practitioners, origin and history of the therapy, theory about how it works, what science says about its use or other aspects. We may also just be introduced to a concept, or group of therapies, such as energy therapies or biological-based therapies, and be given examples. You may use the suggested prompts for a post or creative activity to complete, which will allow for further exploration of a topic or concept. You may choose to work with another student or group of students to create something, or you may choose to work alone. As your work is posted, it will be aggregated on the course blog site. From there, you may see your work, the work of fellow learners, and give and receive comments about the posts. By following the #vcucamh3 hashtag on Twitter, you will know when new material is posted, when other participants post, and be able to ask questions and join in conversation.

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[toggle title_open=”Blog post guidelines” title_closed=”Blog post guidelines” hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”default” excerpt_length=”0″ read_more_text=”Read More” read_less_text=”Read Less” include_excerpt_html=”no”]In any given week or module, there will be several topics from which you may choose to create a post. Topics will be added as the course continues. You may choose to create more than one post in a week. The exploratory nature of this course and its material is non-linear, so you may find yourself coming back to a previously introduced topic that interests you enough that you choose to create a post about it, and that’s alright too. While there is a lot of leeway given to number and format of posts, please be sure to do the following things to each post:

  1. Mark the “vcucamh3” category, so that your post will show up on the course website.
  2. Add the following disclaimer to your post: “Disclaimer: This was created by students for a class and is not intended to provide any medical advice.”
  3. Tweet a link to your blog post and use the hashtag #vcucamh3

You may have noticed that I continue to use the word “create” instead of “write.” Blog posts may take many forms. You may choose to write, reference and hyperlink. You may create images or videos to deliver your message. Blog posts will be aggregated to the openly available course website.

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[toggle title_open=”Blog & Twitter tips” title_closed=”Blog & Twitter tips” hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”default” excerpt_length=”0″ read_more_text=”Read More” read_less_text=”Read Less” include_excerpt_html=”no”]VCU students who are officially registered for the course: We will use Twitter as one of our communication tools, so you will need a Twitter account. You will also need to have a creative space on the web. If you already have a blog or website, you may use it. If you do not, or do not wish to use your current site, you can sign up for a free Rampages account and begin building your own website here: http://rampages.us. A few things to keep in mind when setting up your account:

  • Remember that this course is openly available on the web. You may choose to use your real name or a pseudonym, but either way, you should consider that what you are posting is available to a public audience. Conduct yourself accordingly. When you set up your website, make sure that your blog is not made private in any way, or your posts will not aggregate to the course website.
  • Choose the URL for your website with some thought, as it cannot be changed. You can, however, change the name of your site. For example, the URL for this website is http://rampages.us/camh3, and the site name is “UNIV291 CAM: Health, Hype, or Hocus Pocus?” The “camh3” part is what I chose for the URL. You should choose something reflective of you, not necessarily just this course. I have a personal website separate from the course site at http://professorfigment.net, and some of my blog posts will be fed into our course blog hub.
  • Keep in mind that you may use your site for other purposes. Because of that, please create a category for your course posts called “vcucamh3” and check it every time you create a post for the course. You may add other categories and/or tags as you see fit (e.g., tai chi, mind-body medicine, TCM, etc.) Please note that there is a difference between a “category” and a “tag” in WordPress. You will need to use the category “vcucamh3” in order to have your posts show up on the course website. You may tag your posts in additional ways as you see fit. For example, if you’ve done a post on Tai Chi, you will use the category vcucamh3, and you may choose to tag it with mind-body, tai chi, martialarts, meditation, and anything else you see fit. Make sense?
  • For VCU students using rampages, you can find video tutorials right in your Dashboard. You may also contact VCU Help IT. And very definitely help each other!

One of my colleagues, Laura Gogia, has created some great documents with tips on how to get the most out of your blogging and tweeting:

You may also find my blog post on how I use Twitter useful.

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[toggle title_open=”Grading” title_closed=”Grading” hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”default” excerpt_length=”0″ read_more_text=”Read More” read_less_text=”Read Less” include_excerpt_html=”no”]I don’t love giving grades; however, we are at an academic, degree-granting institution, and therefore I must find a way to be creative inside the box. Rather than come up with a bunch of assignments you must do and grade each of you on each assignment, you will truly determine your own grade in this course by how much you choose to engage with each other and the materials you all make. For each blog post you create, you will receive 3 points. For each useful comment (you will help define this) you make on another’s post, you will receive 1 point. Your grade will be determined by the number of points you earn over the duration of the course.

Posts: 3 points each
Comments: 1 point each
Final post (required by all registered VCU students): 3 points

A: 35+ points
B: 25-34 points
C: 20-24 points
D: 14-19 points
F: 0-13 points

All students should be aware of VCU policies that apply to all VCU courses, as well as the VCU Academic Calendar for important dates.

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To connect your blog to the course site, begin here:

[altlab-motherblog category=”vcucamh3″]