Your favorite online resources (or, crowdsourcing my Sunstone talk)

Apparently, I’m speaking on a Sunstone panel about online resources for LDS teaching. (I’m not quite sure how this happened, but it’s probably Kristine’s fault.) The panel is populated with familiar faces from the blogs, and the abstract is this:

The explosion of online publishing has created a proliferation of lesson helps, hints, and resources for the LDS teacher. These span an enormous range of ortho- and heterodoxies and offer a fascinating picture of how Correlation works (and doesn’t) in the 21st century. Join creators and users of some of these resources for a discussion of how gospel teaching can be enhanced by new possibilities for communication.

I’m sure that Kristine and Emily and Tresa have already prepared detailed remarks. (Emily’s blog runs on a biweekly schedule, for Heaven’s sake.) Me, I’m planning on jotting down a few thoughts on the back of an envelope on the flight over. One thought which I might jot down (oops, I’m revealing a very small, hopefully forgivable, amount of planning in advance) is “crowdsourcing” — that is, using internet forums to ask questions.

In the right contexts, crowdsourcing can be very helpful. It tends to work best for generalized inquiries (“what’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?”) rather than very specific questions (“how credible are McLellin’s claims about Priesthood restoration?”) (although the latter is possible sometimes too, especially if Ardis or Justin are in the room).

So, let me ask a few general questions to T&S readers:

-What are some of your favorite online resources for LDS teaching?

-Do you use the blogs as teaching resources?

-How have online resources changed your teaching?

and, Do you have any success stories about using online teaching resources?

Please reply in comments. I appreciate all replies; and some of you may end up being cited in my talk on Saturday morning.

29 comments for “Your favorite online resources (or, crowdsourcing my Sunstone talk)

  1. I use the bloggernacle for ideas, but rarely ever quote from it. I have found to be a great resource, and also, which cross references scriptures to talks by LDS general authorities.

  2. I recommend the Topical Guide at Keepapitchinin, especially the section on “Latter-day Saint Lives,” to find stories to replace the tired, over-exposed familiar tales, the ones you’ve heard so often that you tune out the instant you realize that this is yet another retelling of the-pioneer-who-lost-her-feet-and-walked-on-her-stumps story. My sketches make all the same points, but in shiny new colors.

    /horn blowing

  3. ZING!!! The comment in number 3 is, I think, leveled at JMS for her link-to-self in comment 1.

    J.M. Smith, your link is tongue in cheek? Right? Right?

  4. is awesome for Joseph Smith stuff.

    Kevin Barney’s Footnotes to the NT are a must for teaching the NT.

    Is Brant Gardner’s Book of Mormon Study Guide down? It was the best resource out there.

    Julie Smith’s posts are awesome for FHE

    I’ve used almost all the blogs as resources from time to time in lessons, so I guess I’d say google is really the king of resources.

  5. Brant’s taken down the draft, now that it’s been published.

    Though wary of attracting Oberver’s wrath, a few people told me this was useful for the Book of Mormon. It will have a new home eventually.

  6. #7: Tongue in cheek? Absolutely not! Julie’s lesson on teaching scripture is one of the best, most useful resources I’ve found for help with my Gospel Doctrine lessons — the history part of this year’s course I can handle myself, but teaching the scripture side of the equation doesn’t come naturally to me.

    Why in the world would anybody fault Julie for bringing that post up in this particular thread? If she hadn’t beat me to the punch, *I* would have mentioned it. In any case, only ignorance (in both the Utah and the rest of the world senses) can explain why you would hassle her for a self reference in this circumstances. Go stand in the corner.

  7. Ben,

    Worry not, I have no wrath for you, or anyone else. I think I represent a good number of readers that like it when people, regardless of their degree of expertise, don’t point exclusively to self as light on the hill. The original question was What are your favorite online resources? We can’t all be the one that is greater than all. I just like a magnanimous blogger. Ardis’ intemperate tongue-lashing in No. 10, like Adam’s militant, pre-emptive threats against dissenting commenters, surely turns off more readers than just me. If I can invoke Jim F.’s message on internet kindness, WWJ(im)D?

    Intrusion over. Worthy discussion Kaimi, I hope more good resources are suggested.

  8. Observer’s skin is so thin a butterfly would bruise it, if he reads my #11 as a tongue-lashing rather than as praise for Julie’s fine post.

    How about a little of the charity that you demand for yourself, Observer?

  9. Observer, I think I represent a good number of readers that like it when people like you keep comments like #3 to yourself. Can’t you be pleased with your clever snarkiness in the privacy of your own mind? Or do you need to draw attention to your cleverness by devoting a comment to it on a thread that is supposed to be about internet resources?

    By the way, Julie, I used that post you linked to within the last month in preparing a lesson, so thanks.

  10. May I second Mike Parker’s mention of the saints without halos website? The Doctrine and Covenants pages deserve especial mention as a fantastic resource. Each section is annotated to show what words have been added/deleted/changed with notes about what edition the changes happened in. Very useful.

  11. While I’d love to keep this going since New Cool Thang upped the ante with some fine animal noises, unfortunately a butterfly just landed on my finger tips, causing terrible, terrible bruising. Really bad off here. Can we just call a truce? I like each of you for who you are inside. What do you say?

  12. I would enjoy seeing the question addressed of how one includes online material while also respecting the church’s desire to have us stick to the manual in teaching, because I feel that this is an issue that many teachers struggle with. What are the stakes in terms of authority or unity as we have a much wider array of sources to draw from?

  13. Natalie #19:

    Count me as one of those who find the manual pedagogic and puerile. I’ve taught Gospel Doctrine in two different wards, and am now teaching a weekday evening course in a third, and I’ve been fortunate all three times to be able to ditch the manual and still stay in the good graces of my file leaders. Consider it my personal way of applying 1 Corinthians 13:11.

    FWIW, my notes to the 30-week Doctrine and Covenants class I just finished are linked here:

  14. I’ve found that LDS Gospel is an excellent aggregator of lessons: . They provide a set of links to lesson preparation material for each of the lessons in the manual and it lets you do a bit of browsing. For my young people’s D&C class I have found Kurt Neumiller’s resources awesome. By the way, thank you Ardis for comment #6, the pioneer-who-walked-on-her-stumps line is just SOOOOOOO true and can Correlation people really think it is a good thing to send us all through the cycle for the fourth time, don’t they know that some people actually listen in class and have memories????

  15. When I taught EQ (over 4 years, 2 different stints), I received the same charge both times to focus on the material in the book and stay away (generally) from bringing in outside resources.

    I still used commentary from the Bloggernacle — I just slipped it in as conversation pieces in the quorum discussion without citing it explicitly. So, invariably, we would end up discussing things Kaimi, Adam, Julie, Steve Evans, or Ardis had written, just within the context of the lesson from the book.

    If I know what a topic is going to be for priesthood, sometimes I’ll go look for Bloggernacle posts to further my knowledge, and those ideas will sometimes surface in comments I made in class…

    So basically, I go the sneaky route of incorporating uncited material.

  16. I really like BYU Speeches for references. Thay have a large database and the talks are a little bit looser than It is organized by topic and speaker and you can download a copy of just about anything for free.

  17. Has anyone else had a problem with Relief Society and Mel Priesthood lessons being so similar? How can we NOT use other resources?

  18. Just because PH and RS lessons are similar/identical, doesn’t mean you can’t employ a different focus for your audience. I’ve never taught RS, but I outside of providing a tablecloth and flowers, I’m not sure it’s that different from teaching PH. The manuals provide enough source material. They really do.

    As I mentioned, I often cite Bloggernacle thinking as a way to foster discussion. But we’re still sticking with the source stuff…

  19. I’m sorry I wasn’t clear – the RS and PH lessons are from the same manual – but many of the lessons themselves are very similar – ie: Lesson 35 – Redeem the Dead Lesson 41 – Saviors on Mount Zion (baptism for the Dead)

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