Special Tools on Classcaster



This week we’ve been spotlighting CALI’s Classcaster in our weekly webinar series.  If you’re not familiar with Classcaster, at its heart is a blogging tool powered by WordPress.  But, as we’re showing in the webinars, it can be used for so many  more things, such as:

  • Personal website, CV and professional repository
  • Library guide
  • Podcast host
  • Alternative to TWEN, Blackboard or other CMS
  • Casebook or Casebook supplement

And so much more!  Really, the only limit on how you would use Classcaster is your imagination.  It’s a great tool for when you need to put something up on the web and don’t want to (or can’t) spend any money on outside web hosting or creation.

(If you missed the earlier webinar, don’t worry!  We’ll have a live encore presentation Friday, November 1 at 3pm EDT)

The webinars show all the great options for customizing a Classcaster site, but in case you weren’t able to attend or take the time to watch, I wanted to take a moment to highlight two of the really cool tools available to Classcaster users.

As I mentioned, Classcaster can be used as a podcast host.  Don’t have a microphone or audio editing software?  No problem!  My colleague Elmer Masters has developed a really cool tool that makes podcasting as easy as making a phone call. phonepost

Classcaster Phone Blog is a wordpress plugin that can be installed with the click of a checkbox. After setting up an account (see above), all you need to do is call the specified number, speak and it will automatically create a blog post and turn your phone call into a podcast.  You can see this plugin in action on our Course Website Demonstration site.
Another neat tool with Classcaster sites is the CALI Lesson Short Code. Say, for example, I have a classcaster website for my course and I would like for my students to take the Anatomy of a Case CALI lesson. Of course, I can always just link to it as I did in the previous sentence. However, if I wanted to create an entire website of CALI lessons for my students to take – and in some subject areas, you could a have an entire supplement eBook on Classcaster of CALI lessons – a series of titles and links doesn’t look that exciting, plus if you wanted to have the title and description, you would have to do a lot of cutting/pasting or retyping.

Doesn’t sound fun? Try the short code! By simply typing [*lessonview nid=XXX*] where the x’s are the CALI lesson number and removing the *, you can get instead something that looks like this…

[lessonview nid=834]

To get that number, look at the number in the URL of the Lesson or, if you are creating a LessonLink, we automatically generate the lessonview text that you put into your Classcaster blog post. This feature will work with any Classcaster site, no special plugins needed.

If you are looking for a website service, or are simply looking for a place to teach yourself some technological skills, I encourage you to give CALI Classcaster a try. If you are a registered CALI user, you can log in with your CALI username and password and have a website in 2 minutes. And it’s totally free for you to use with your institutions CALI membership.

If you have any questions about using Classcaster or suggestions on features you’d like to see, please contact Sarah Glassmeyer, CALI’s Director of Community Development at Sarah AT CALI.org

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