Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Personalized Email in WebCT

I've devised a way to embed thumbnail portraits of myself and my students in our WebCT email. WebCT should really do this by itself, but since it can't, I thought I'd help it along.
We do it by pasting an image tag into the top of each message we send or discussion post we post inside WebCT. The (html) image tag looks like this:

I took the trouble of snapping digital pictures of all my students and placing the images online. Then I gave each student the URL of his or her image and left the embedding up to them.

I find it helps to see the image at the top of each message. It helps to remind me not just which student's words I am reading; it helps to remind me that there is a person behind each and every one of those words.

1 comment:

J. Blessinger said...

One of the earliest "features" of the web was its anonymity. Certainly this contributed in to the less-happy aspects of internet life, such as flame wars and crap forwards, but that same anonymity encourages many people to express more and more often than they do in person. I'll be very interested to see if you notice any change in the qulaity or quantity of your students' posts. I can imagine that the inclusion of the students' images into WebCT posts would help me learn their names better, something with which I've struggled with in a more pronounced fashion once we began to solicit and return assignments digitally. Without that contact of placing the physical assignment in a student's hands and looking at him or her, I have lost what little ability for name-recall that I might have fostered in years preceding.