26 February 2013

Create an Effective eLearning Environment with Confidence

Create an Effective eLearning Environment with Confidence

by Dr. Tami Moser and Ms. Karen Sweeney


Join us as we build confidence in effective eLearning instructional design. As instructors we have subject matter expertise and that does not necessarily translate into an effective eLearning environment without coupling the expertise with sound design knowledge. This presentation offers attendees an opportunity to learn about the fundamental principles of sound e-Learning design.

Opening thoughts: 

The hard part is engaging students and helping them understand what the "rules are that you've set up for online learning."

Creating a Class: 

When you create an online class, use the instructional designer. (that's ME!)
Start with a template that's been created by a competent designer. There's a stigma associated with "online rigor." At least in F2F courses you know that students were "there." They were in the class (physically). 


These are the 5 things you need to do to be successful in this class.  
  • partcipate
  • turn in all assignments on time (can't proceed until they have, even if it's not for credit)
  • apply feedback to future
  • ask for help
  • read all instructions carefully 
(JB - these are all included in our template under online expectations)
PDFs of everything are included. This could be more comfortable for students. 
Lay the course out linearly. It should be in chronological order. 
If you put dates in the course (and we don't at SNU) do so only in specific places so that you can update later.
Standardize dates for assignments. Plan ahead!!
Create a syllabus quiz that ask questions about the things listed above. 

Each module should include: 

  • Outcomes - Goals of the course/module
  • Objectives - what you will do to meet the goals (activities must tie to this!!)
  • Assessment and Activities 
  • Planning for disaster? (What to do in case of emergency, aka Life Happens) - Staying on track is key. Setting high expectations is key. 
  • expectations for assignments - it's okay to say these things over and over
  • Optional - what does it look like to think critically in this course? Maybe a link...
  • Communicating with the prof (set up virtual office hours - think about setting an expectation for weekends - so include an expected response time) What if the student doesn't get a response? What then?
(JB - Think carefully about the process for opening a course. Maybe encourage an email from faculty to students? What would that look like?)
  • Engagement by students - Build a foundation for good discussion in your instructions. Give examples like: "Based on xxx in the reading by xxx, I see that XXX and this is what I think that means..." or "I also read xxx, but what I take that to mean is XXX..."
  • Assignment Checklist
Consider putting resources from the library in the course (instructor loads them in to the course and students can download without going to the course)
  • Module Introduction (consider this as a video instead of reading), include resources here
  • Activity Instructions - maybe tell them what you are specifically looking for in the assignment (think about that this looks like in a live classroom - instructions lead to questions, which leads to more questions, so anticipate)
  • Include rubrics for SELF ASSESSMENT
  • Module Wrap-Up (what we are calling weekly transitions) (JB - I like for this to be fresh for each iteration of the module. That way it can be personalized). 
Action Items for JB: From our online template, create a word document that has all of our components of that template and have it for faculty to use for development. Then they can use that to go in and put it on Moodle. Split it up into sections: Syllabus, Week 1, objectives, assignments (tie to objectives), instructions. 

Mapping Media to the Curriculum

Mapping Media to the Curriculum

by Wes Fryer

First Thoughts

Students as well as teachers, need to be creating media. Irrespective of what you teach, students can have more options to show what they know through media. 
Won't spend as much time on the why, but maybe more on the what and how. (check out his book for more on the "why")
We need, as teachers, experiences as students. It's important to be the learner, as well as the instructor. 
"Narrated slideshow" - screencasts
"Video" - it's the killer app. Video is easy to put online.

Pioneer Spirit

We are venturing into unknown lands as it applies to digital learning. Do you have the pioneer spirit? Why or why not? 
Be a digital pioneer. Would you have left New York? Or St. Louis? It's important to have people to lead you, but be willing to go into the unknown. 
Instead of having students answer "What do you want to Learn today?" have them answer "What do you want to Create today? Digital portfolios for students. These are for students to be able to show what they have done. Have a digital footprint. What do people find when they google you? What would people find if they googled your students? 

Truth about EdTech

Zeitgeist 2012, the year in review youtube.com/watch?v=xY_MUB8adEQ A year in review video created by someone. What about using something like this in your class? What about having students research current events (related to Natural Disasters for JB) and create a video of that? Maybe have them create an annotated review of the current events related to our class? Consider this for the mid-term project. 30k neurons connect image processing to brain vs. <1k neurons connecting to hearing. 
Look into the widget effect
Find this resource at wfryer.me/map


You cannot tie simple increase in technology with the purchase of technology. It must be used effectively!!

Why Create with Media?

It should become the new normal in classrooms. Kids can be media creators! It's important to know how to use software, but that's no longer the minimum that students should be able to know. Seymour Papert - shout out. Encouraging us to view devices as pathways to learning, not JUST arcades or social isolators. 
Will this increase test scores? Did the ball point pen increase them? No. It was about what you did and how you used it. Creation is at the top of Bloom's Taxonomy. Shout out to Richard Marzano and Classroom Instruction that Works.
Using iPads and iPods to record to Audioboo. Connect to QR code. Students read, write a script. Record using iPad (audioboo), then students share the information (whether they like the book) and then QR codes will pull all of the recordings about a particular book. How could this be integrated into my classroom? QR codes posted on a resource page on moodle? 

Creativity isn't just about workforce skills. It's intrinsically valuable. (JB - how can we quantify this??)

Collaboration is positive and naturally a result of integrating media. Passive learning is easy to forget. Shout out to MIT Lifelong Kindergarten Effect and Mitch Resnick. Reconsider blogging as "writing interactively." Push your admin to change the ability to blog.  

(side note: Does Wes ever stop? It seems like he's always going and driven to innovate and push others to do so, as well.)

There is great value in having students share beyond the boundaries of their classroom. (I've been saying that for years.) Age appropriate might mean using a moderated blogging site (meaning no content goes up until the teacher approves it.) This could elicit public edification from PARENTS. That's significant. 

What's on the Menu? 

Storyboarding - start with synthesizing something down to about 5 images. (educreations - app, browser based)
Then move that into a narrated slide show. 
Then move that into a digital story. (JB - need some more exploration of this)
Powerpoint abuse! Consider the 5x5 rule. Aid your presentation, not crutch it with Powerpoint. 
(JB - consider starting a digital scrapbook for our families. We could do this.)
Explore resources more (http://maps.playingwithmedia.com)

Accessibility for All Students: Universal Design

Accessibility for All Students: Universal Design

Dr. Lisa Lawter and Beth Richard

Architects, what kind of questions do they ask when they are preparing to design a building? This is the same kind of questions we should ask when we design courses.

Brain Research

  • recognition
  • strategic
  • affective


  • Why accomodate? What's the purpose? 
  • Social skills of the students
  • Give disability students the ability to have input
  • Is the accommodation acceptable?
  • Practical: pull a student into a chat room and have a one on one? (JB - Consider adobe connect or google hangout for synchronous opportunities at SNU)

We are doing the Universal Design upfront. Consider what different students might need. That way you don't get blindsided as an instructor.


  • include written instructions, not only audible
  • one on one if needed
  • more time
  • additional instructions
  • USE THE WRITING CENTER (UTWC) (JB kind of like RTFM, right? This should be a no-brainer)
  • give options for showing content knowledge/understanding
  • stimulate student interest (JB - this is huge! think about why your students should WANT to learn. this is "just good pedagogy")


  • what disability types might you encounter? how can technology help with this? (might be LMS specific)
  • class size
  • broad range of learners (JB - this is especially important in a Gen Ed class vs. a higher level content class - students come with differing ways of knowing, with varying levels of knowledge)
  • some learners HAVE to use mobile technology so consider what your class would look like on that device - make courses platform/device agnostic

Tools and Tips

  • Visual impairment - JAWS, MAGic, Open book
  • Auditory impairment - captions, dragon dictation, ...

Tips for Design

  • Organize pages using headers - think about visual readers here
  • Captions!


(JB - everyone one of these things are GOOD PEDAGOGY! THis should apply to course design, even beyond accessibility. I'm not implying that we don't need to have this conversation, but what I mean is that if you are considering best practices for teaching, this kind of thing is taken care of - for the most part)
  • Multiple ways of knowing - oral, written, hands-on. (JB - what options can you give for students to share their understanding)
  • flexible schedule for assignments? 
  • Make connections - stay in touch
  • Make opportunities for collaboration