July 17, 2007

The Web is Us/Ing Us

What is Web 2.0?

What's the difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0?

Web 2.0 is a concept, not a technology... though a number of technologies certainly facilitate Web 2.0. In the original use of the expression by Tim O'Reilly (of O'Reilly Media), for example, he alluded to the use of XML and DHTML. What those acronyms stand for is unimportant. The important thing was that these technologies made it easy for the web to move from "sites" to "applications," with rapidly updated content, authored by anyone with a web browser.

The transformation of the web using these technologies is evident...

Web 1.0
Web 1.x
Web 2.0
Few -> Many
Many -> Everybody
Everybody <-> Everybody
Static Information
Rapidly Updated Information
Content providers and users
User-annotated content
User-created Content


When did Web 2.0 begin?

Of course, long-time web users will protest that those notions were always in place... and that, in fact, the Internet is still not as democratic as it once was. However, few would argue that the newer technologies haven't made participation easier and for more accessible than it used to be.

  • Usenet (1979)
  • Dial-up Discussion Boards (1980s)
  • Personal Websites (1992-1993)
  • Discussion Boards (1990s)
  • Blogs and Wikis (1995-1996)
  • XML/XHTML (1997)
  • Social Software (2002-2003)

Cruising the Blogosphere

Now that there are some 35 million blogs and over 30 million people who read blogs, one can safely say there is a blog out there for everyone.

Here is your assignment:

1. Open Google Blogsearch. (This link opens in a new window).
2. Use the search field to find a blog related to your field of study, or one of your interests.
3. Take some time to read a blog or two. Take note of how many comments they receive, whether or not they use a blog roll, and anything else that seems interesting.
4. Post a comment to this entry with the URL of blog you read and a few words about what it is.
5. Want to search locally? Try searching UThink for the same keywords, and see what comes up!

Listening to Podcasts in iTunes

Blogs and podcasts make use of "RSS" (or "real simple syndication"). This allows people to have new entries delivered to them directly, just like newspapers are delivered to their doorstep. People can use desktop applications or web portals to collect (or "aggregate") their favorite blogs and podcasts. They can even have them delivered directly to their email.

iTunes can be used to subscribe to audio and video podcasts. You don't need iTunes, but it makes it easier, particularly if you are going to transfer the files to an iPod for enjoying offline. Here is how to subscribe to a podcast in iTunes.

You might want to print off these instructions before you begin!

1. Copy the "feed" to your clipboard.

a. The "feed" of this blog is http://blog.lib.umn.edu/dmc/taweb/index.xml

Select the text of the feed URL, and use your browser's Edit menu to copy the feed to your clipboard.

2. Subscribe to the "feed" in iTunes.

a. Open iTunes.
b. Go to the "Advanced" menu, and select "Subscribe to Podcast."
c. Use control-v (Windows) or apple-v (Mac) to paste the URL from step 1 into the window.
d. Click OK.

3. Listen to the podcast.

a. Click the "Podcasts" button in the left menu in iTunes.
b. Locate "Digital Teaching Workshop" in the Library window.
c. You may need to click the little triangle next to the title to open the list of available files to play.
d. Select any file and click the Play button to listen or watch it.
e. If a file is listed but is grayed out, click "Get" to retrieve the file before you play it.

4. Update the podcast.

When you return to iTunes in the future, new files will automatically be fetched. If they do not, you can follow these steps to refresh your play list.

a. Click the "Podcasts" button in the left menu in iTunes.
b. Locate "Digital Teaching Workshop" in the Library window.
c. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac) and select "Update Podcast" from the popup menu.

Subscribing to other podcasts

If you are following other podcasts in UThink, look for the RSS 2.0 link in the side bar. It usually appears on the right. Do not follow the link--just right-click (Windows) or control-click (Macintosh) and select the option to copy the link from the pop-up menu. You can then proceed with step 2 above.

Other podcasts will always have a similar link that you can copy and paste.

Wiki Activity

Click here for the Wiki activity.

Sample Audio Podcast

Download Audio File

Sample Video Podcast

Download Video File

Podcasting with UThink

To podcast using UThink, see these instructions.

Hint: It may seem daunting at first, but you really can skip the "advanced steps" until you are more comfortable!