Monday, June 28, 2010

Teaching in ANGEL training for Summer

We have a new session of ANGEL training beginning June 30. The course is entirely online. There are two sections.

The Full Section (159F) is
• for people who are new to teaching using course management systems.
• 6 weeks long (June 30 – Aug 10)
• Based on designing a course from scratch
• Covers basic online pedagogical theory

The Express Section (160F) is
• for people who are experienced using Blackboard or other course management systems
• 4 weeks long (June 30 – July 27)
• Based on converting an existing course
• Explores more advanced online pedagogy
This is the last time I am offering the express session

Both Sections
• Have weekly graded work (the work is graded pass/fail)
• Take 4 – 6 hours a week to complete
• Have flexible time schedules – if you fall behind, it’s ok. You can continue on whenever it works for you
• Will have you ready to use ANGEL for Fall Quarter
Are free and open to anyone in the community college system

To register, visit the WAOL instructor training page at Please note that this is the only session that I will run online Summer quarter. I will offer a hybrid session (4 hour face to face session + 6 weeks online) before the quarter starts in September.

If you started the training previously and would like to begin again, please email Stephanie Delaney and we’ll get you going so you can start where you left off.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

ANGEL Tip of the Day #47 - Re-Uploading Files

It’s been a while since I’ve sent out a handy ANGEL tip. I’m sending this to the whole ANGEL list. If you have not gotten ANGEL tips from me and would like to, just reply to this email.

Re-Uploading a File

I imagine it’s happened to you – you’ve uploaded a file to ANGEL and then needed to edit it. You delete the file and have to try and get it uploaded again. ANGEL has a handy link to avoid the deleting part of the scenario.

Directions: Rest your cursor on the file in question and click on the Utilities link. The first option is Re-upload File. Just upload your updated file and it will replace the old one. Pretty nifty!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Keynote on the future of eLearning

Keynote speaker Bobbe Baggio is presenting on the future of eLearning, a meta analysis of meta analyses.
She's looking at a lot of reports, including the Horizon Report and Online Nation.

Her key points - here's where we're going

  • mobile (see San Franscisco Art Museum Online, North Carolina State Library, University of Utah Human Anatomy course)
  • globalization
  • It's not about the technology - whatever you love today will be gone tomorrow.
  • learner participation is extremely important
  • ubiquitous learning - lines between work and life are blurring
  • intelligent searching will eclipse tagging and metadata

Her slides and resources are on her website -

She is using Google Wave to teach a class - have to find out more about that. . .

This is a very good keynote - we should get her for something in WA.

Mentions Wikitude as example of augmented reality -

Conference Observations

The conference is coming to a close. There will be a luncheon and keynote and then we'll be done. It has been an excellent conference. A great location, generally very good presentations and very interesting people.

Most of the people here are instructional designers. When I saw the name "Distance Learning Administration" I was thinking other administrators like myself. The other "back office" creators of elearning did not come to mind. There have been some administrators - deans, other directors. It was great to be somewhere that did not focus primarily on faculty and that did not focus on foundational eLearning - everyone here is assumed to be an elearning professional, so the level of content was high.

I'd love to come again and hope to be able to manage it. The other alternative is finding something similar on the west coast. The fabulous location would certainly be an important part of the success.

Its all about Me: Adding Digital Personality to Online Courses

This workshop is talking about letting the instructor personality shine through in a course to increase student satisfaction. They are presenting this in the context of the requirement that all of their courses have to pass a checklist based on Quality Matters before it can be taught. So, they are saying that a quality course is not enough for a quality student experience, the instructor personality needs to shine through.

Informal text based approach

  • quotes
  • jokes (humor)
  • news flash
Audio, video (keep at 1 - 3 minutes) and avatars.

SitePal - makes avatars, but pretty expensive at $9.95 a month or $2500 for a site license.

Voki - animated avatar (I looked at this tool recently, after seeing it recommended on Jane's elearning pick of the day - very, very cool. I'm hoping to use it in my class this summer, but as I write, the site is not coming up, hmmm.)

Green Screen video - looks cool - I wonder if we have this technology already. Not sure how, pedagogically, it is any different from using a webcam in ones office.

Suggestions from the audience:

  • Panopto - similar to Jing - capture and publish every element of a presentation
  • Tokbox - Free Video Chat - includes a video about how teachers use the tool

Effect of Quality Matters Training on Faculty Online Self Efficacy

This presentation is the report of the presenter's dissertation findings, similar to my own presentation. He did some action research on whether faculty would feel better about designing and teaching an online class if they had been trained with QM.

Attendees went to a training over 3 days and they felt significantly better about designing and teaching an online class after they attended the training.  Note that the audience was self selected and they self reported a relatively high level of skill (natural early adopters). However, he noted that this audience could be harnessed as the change agents for the institution.

His institution is experiencing attrition in online teaching as well - people do it for a while and then stop.

I think the implications for Washington is that we should actively use QM training as a way to encourage people to teach online.

Research findings and presentation are at -

Who Done It? Practices for Engaging Students in Online Groups

This workshop has started out with a poll that users respond to by sending a text message response, a la American Idol.  The service is called Poll Everywhere. Seems like a fun tool to use in the classroom and let students make useful use of that annoying phone. Also a good substitute for clickers in the classroom.  You can show live screen results coming in - cool!

She talked about WetPaint and Blogger as tools for collaborative work. She noted that their research found that students participated more using tools outside of the Course Management System (they are using Blackboard8). She also saw that students used more of the tools available (inserting YouTube videos, using color, using widgets), even though Blackboard had many of the same tools.

On a wiki project that she described, she had students that were in their late 20's to 50's and it was the first course in their curriculum. Many complained about the technology (even though they were specifically trained on how to use it) and having to use different things.

Now they are talking about VoiceThread, a technology I learned more about at a conference earlier this year. It is like PowerPoint combined with discussion boards combined with voice. It is really, really cool and if you are not familiar with it, you should have a look. Here is a blog that the presenter shared that has some research on the efficacy of VoiceThread - VoiceThread of Inclusivity.

I liked this presentation. Although they did not present any tools that I was unfamiliar with, as my summer quarter class rapidly approaches, it gave me some ideas of ways that I might use these familiar tools to build community in my class.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

End of day 2

This has really been a great conference so far. I don't imagine I'll get out here again, so I'm trying to enjoy it as much as I can. I'm getting used to the contrasts of steamy heat and frigid air conditioned cold. I've figured out how to drink sweet tea (lots of lemon).  I'm heading off on a conference organized dolphin tour soon. I hope to hit the turtle museum tomorrow before heading to the airport. In the words of the Jekyll Island motto, it's all good.

Motivating the Online Student

This presentation is in a fishbowl setting - I'll be interested to see how that plays out beyond the circular arrangement of the chairs. The presentation is being given by online instructional analysts who investigate classes to insure that quality instruction is happening. What an interesting idea!

Environment - be warm and welcoming
classroom organization - make it easy for students to find what they need to to know


  • bonus points
  • recognition
  • guest speakers (something that gets students excited about course content)
In the end, there wasn't anything new and I'm not sure what made the presentation "fishbowl" like, but it was interesting.

My presentation

My presentation was right after lunch after a busy morning. I was worried that no one would come, since it is directed at a community college audience and everyone here seems to be from universities. But there were about 6 people and we had a lively discussion. I only got through about half of my slides, but I have all of the information online, so everyone seemed happy.

There's a Teacher in your Pocket

This session is on mobile learning. George Babb, the presenter, is from Georgia Perimeter college, who is launching a pilot for this idea. They are giving their faculty iPod Touches to experiment with mobile learning.

The focus is not the mobile device, but is the mobile learner.  The instructor notes that there are lots of devices, but he is really focusing on the smart phone. Also it is not about the device, but what you are doing with the device.  The main hopes:

  • engagement/inclusion
  • collaboration
  • instant responses
  • personalization
  • fun

Some suggestions:

  • data collection and facilitate sharing content
  • give options - if the students want to use it, they can, but don't have to. Students often teach each other the technology.
There are lots of great resources at the end of his presentation -  Click on the Conferences link.

Social Media and Academic Space

There were two sessions on social media during this hour. The other one talked about what kinds of limits we needed to set on students, so I decided to select this one. The presenter, Jeff Miller, is from the Univ. of British Columbia, the only other person I've seen from the west coast.

The presentation is really talking about the digital divide between students and faculty, with faculty seeing learning as linear and solitary.

The presenter is talking about the variety of spaces he uses in classes. His ideas seem good for graduate classes, but I'm not sure how well this would apply for entry level community college courses.

He makes useful comments on balancing out experimenting with new stuff without torturing your students. He encourages discussions about private vs. public exposure of the information.


It's not our fault: Debating faculty complicity in Textbook Costs

Most people reading this know that I am into affordable textbooks and open educational resources. Interestingly, this is the least populated session that I've been to. There are only about 4 or 5 participants and most sessions have had at least 20. I hope this is not a foreshadowing of my session this afternoon.

The session is in a formal debate format with argument, rebuttal, etc. I didn't learn anything new, but was highly entertained. The debaters were very clever and fun.

Although the debate didn't present anything new, I did get to meet Pete Shapiro who is part of the Sirius Education project. They are doing something very similar to the Open Course Library. We had a lively talk and look forward to additional discussion later in the day.

Using Text Expanders to improve feedback and Save Time

As I start this session, I don't know what text expanders are, but I'm all about improving feedback and saving time, so this session seemed like a good choice. It is being presented by Jan Flegle of Kaplan University, a fully online institution.

She recommends a program called "Texter" which seems to be similar to using a macro. Texter can support coding which she describes as "slicker than snot" (yes, I am in the South). She notes that there are dozens of free text expanders out there, but that this is the one that works for her.

It works in all Windows programs.  It allows you to type a keyword or keyboard combination and, as long as Texter is running, it expands to your pre-written feedback. I'm seeing this as being really useful for email as well. I currently use signatures for this purpose, but this seems more flexible, since it works in all programs.

One person in the audience recommended that one be careful that the text expander keywords are something that you would not normally type. Since Texter runs in the background, it might put in language that you don't intend. The presenter noted that Texter can be set to make a sound when it inserts text and that she highly recommends that setting.

Here is a Lifehacker article explaining how it works, including handy videos and linking to the download.

This seems very handy. I'm all over it.

Monday, June 7, 2010

From Consumer to Innovator: Defining the Next 20 Years of DL

I'm really interested in future thinking about DL and how we can position ourselves to be prepared for the inevitable changes, rather than constantly running to keep up.

The presenter, Bucky Dodd from the U of Central Oklahoma, has created a Distance Learning Innovation (DLI) model.

Semantic Structure: finding a way to categorize and use information.
* include internet services in the LMS
* incorporate data sources in the LMS (ie Wolfram Alpha)
* students continue to have access to inactive courses - continue to make use of the rich conversations students had in the class, student added content, etc.
* distance educators have to

Redistribution: how do we share this information?  
* he mentions open software, open resources, creative commons, but does not delve into any depth. Asked questions, but no answers.

Learner Interaction
* Mobile learning
  * the "learning" phone? phones are more for instant interaction whereas instruction is meant to be more in depth, reflective interaction. Is mobile learning eroding the time expectations of students (makes me think that I need to add a section to my orientation about anywhere/anytime learning).
  * Augmented Reality -
  * Adaptive learning - we should take lessons from Amazon - you've bought this book, maybe you should get this book too. ie. Other students who missed this question found these resources helpful. . .  This is the kind of intelligence in the programs advocated by Candice Thille at Carnegie Mellon.

Move beyond consumer-driven decisions to innovation-driven perspectives.

This seemed to me more like a keynote than a regular conference presentation. It tossed out a lot of things to think about, but didn't have any actual information to take away.

How Strategic Planning Keeps you Sane when Delivering DL Programs

I'm at a session on strategic planning, as it is something that I need to tackle this summer. It is being presented by 3 administrators from the University of Alabama's College of Continuing Studies.

The scope of what they are talking about are completely different than what I'm accustomed to. They are an administrative support organization at their college. This standard plan is adjusted for each of their department clients. It seems like a great plan, but I don't think the information that they are presenting will apply to my program at Cascadia or other community colleges.

3 part strategic plan
1. Program Plan - research based
2. Marketing Plan - includes a SWOT analysis
3. Financial Plan

Visual Instructional Design

I'm at a presentation by the company ThinkingCap. I have not heard of ThinkingCap, but the description said it allows users "to produce content consistently". Since we are thinking about buying some licenses to SoftChalk, which has a similar goal, I thought this would be good.

However, a mere 5 minutes into the presentation, I can tell this is no threat to SoftChalk. What I'm seeing would be wonderful for folks who are comfortable with code. Although no knowledge of code is needed, just seeing the code (which this does) would freak people out.

Ah - he has just revealed that this is not intended for faculty, but for instructional designers. Their theory is (reasonably) on cannot expect eLearning to be created in a quality manner by a single person, but should be a team effort. However, since this isn't our model I'm not sure how helpful this will be. And I am at the far end of a tightly packed room and can't escape to another presentation. Oh well.

Post Script - I'm glad I stayed. Although this isn't something that works with our Cascadia model, it could be pretty cool for the Open Course Library. Actually, it could work for Cascadia as well - I wonder how much it costs. . . .

Pecha Kucha for classroom presentation

My first workshop (after a tasty buffet breakfast) is introducing a presentation style that is supposed to be fun and fast paced called Pecha Kucha (pronounced Pe-cha-cha by the presenter, Wikipedia notes the pronunciation is peh-cha koo-cha). It means chit-chat in Japanese.

Started in Japan, now a way for creative people to interact all over the world. Pecha Kucha Nights are found in many cities

Based on showing presentation slides (like PowerPOint) and moving through them quickly. Very visual, using photographs and images.

Rules - 20x20 - Allowed exactly 20 slides and exactly 20 seconds per slide for a total of 6 minutes and 40 seconds

More of a graphical presentation - no bullet points
Can be used in the face to face environment - use as a model for presenting - no one needs know it is being used.

This seems like a great structure for presenting PowerPoint. The presenter is in the process of showing a full one of his narrated PowerPoints. It seems relatively mundane, but is moving at a nice pace. Although 20 seconds sounds fast, seeing it, it did not seem rushed and, indeed, 6:40 seemed rather long and I was wondering why he didn't just show a clip.

This seems like a perfect match for Jing, but one would not be able to stick to the classic Pecha Kucha

Microsoft Photostory 3 - this is what the presenter used to create his presentaion - I've never heard of this. It allows for the creation of slideshows using photographs with narration. The program makes all files in Windows Media Player format, but these files can be converted using other software into MP4 software. It allows for recording slide by slide, so if you mess up on one slide, you don't have to start all over again (sweet!)

He recommends Keynote for Mac users.

Creative Uses - he has seen it at conferences, Trainings (uses it as a model for his own training). He also allows students to use it for submitting assignments. During the question times

Presenter: Richard Schilke from Florida State College at Jacksonville.

Wikipedia -

DLA 2010

I'm in Jekyll Island Georgia at the Distance Learning Administration conference. I'm going to blog the workshops that I attend in hopes of sharing what I learn.