Thursday, December 16, 2010

Google Lab's Body Browser

Google has done it again. The Body Browser is an application that can only be described as the Google Maps for the human body. The app is still in beta and can be found by going to Google Labs at and then searching for body browser or go directly to

Note: Body Browser only supports browsers using WebGL which, at this time, include the beta versions of Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. The easiest way is to install the beta version of Google Chrome.

Body Browser is an infinitely viewable model of the human body. Toggles and slides allow the viewer to seamlessly view muscles, circulation, skeletal, organs, and so forth. The model human form can be rotated horizontally or vertically. Tags point out each body part, or the tags can be turned off. The viewer can zoom in or out, and the tags will follow based on location within the body.

The application must be seen and interacted with to be fully appreciated. It has potential as a supplemental tool for students to brush up on major body systems and/or a great synchronous or asynchronous teaching aid. And it’s also a lot of fun!

Watch this YouTube video of Body Browser in action. I've also included several screen shots of various aspects:

Remember that you'll need a browser supporting WebGL to use this app, available in the latest beta versions of Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.
Controls for zoom, rotate, and system on left.

The slider controls will move you into or out of the various systems.

You can also tilt the body for better views of areas.

Zoom and pan controls allow for specific views of areas.

Views can be with or without labels.

Google does it again!

Keeping Current with Technology

Without fail, when talking with colleagues at conferences and networking events, one of the most common questions asked is how each of us keeps current in the field. With the plethora of information resources available these days, there is certainly no shortage of information on learning technologies, educational technologies, and instructional technologies (and believe it or not, each of these has a different meaning).

So how do those of us at RHCHP Learning Technologies stay current? Each of us seems to have a different method. Some use Delicious, a social bookmarking site that provides a way of sharing bookmarks with others. A promising site is placed on the Delicious site, making it available to anyone.

Others use RSS feeds. When a worthwhile site is found, they find the URL of the feed (look for the RSS feed logo). The RSS URL is then added to a feeder page. Voila! Any new content from the site is then captured and sent to the page. I use My Yahoo as a home page. My portal contains feeds to news, sports, weather, computer news, family blogs, and various technology sites. Personal favorites include the Chronicle’s Wired Campus, Mashable, Lifehacker, Gizmodo, and CNET News.  

I also have a number of ed tech resources that are followed in the same way. Some of my personal favorites include a couple of compilations by Ray SchroederEducational Technology is a listing of links to selected news; Online Learning Update contains links to the latest in online learning news. I also have a feed set up through ProQuest at the Alvin Sherman Library at Nova Southeastern University. ProQuest sends any new research articles based on search criteria, in this case using the terms “instructional” and “technology”.

GPS-Don't leave home without one!
The field of technology changes incredibly fast. A technology that is cutting edge one minute becomes an also-ran in the next. Take GPS systems. Just a few short years ago GPS systems were fascinating toys for the tech savvy and VERY well-to-do. Today, GPS systems are one of those ubiquitous technologies that are built into automobile dashboards and cell phones. Rental car companies hawk them as an expensive add-on to rental contracts. And electronics stores such as Best Buy have entire sections dedicated to GPS units with varying levels of functionality. Some even display images and play mp3s while talking you to your destination. I couldn't find my way around Denver without one, and it’s certainly helpful when the urge for a Subway strikes in an unfamiliar part of the city.

But you can’t remain current with the latest and greatest if time isn’t allowed to read, review, examine, and play. What good are resources if time isn’t made to investigate what's available? Making time to keep current in the field is essential for maintaining an understanding of the current climate of technologies and the significant overlaps they have with learning and student success. All too often we get caught up in the daily activities and put off precisely the activity we need to maintain a fresh perspective on what we
do. I allow the last hour of each work day to browse the latest news and information and make mental notes to investigate particular items of interest. It's one of the best ways I know for keeping pace with an ever-changing landscape of trends and information.

Happy holidays from Learning Technologies. 

 Smiling Santa Hat Dog courtesy of CALS Career Services, NC State University, December 16, 2010, Creative Commons License

Monday, December 13, 2010

A free HTML editor: Kompozer Review

What is it?
“KompoZer is a complete web authoring system that combines web file management and easy-to-use What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG)
web page editing. KompoZer is designed to be extremely easy to use, making it ideal for non-technical computer users who want to create an attractive, professional-looking web site without needing to know HTML or web coding.”
  • KompoZer is Free. It is open-source.
  • It is something that you would download and run on your computer.
  • It can be used on Windows or Mac.
  • KompoZer may be a free alternative to using Adobe Dreamweaver.

Ease of use:  Although it was easy to download, it doesn’t show up as a program under the “start” button. Each time you want to open the program you would click the KompoZer.exe file. So as long as you keep track of where this folder is (that contains the .exe file) or if you make a shortcut to it, you are ok. (However, this might be problematic if you can’t install programs on your computer without the intervention of ITS)
Using the scale indicated below in the table, KompoZer ranks a 4 on general ease of use. If you simply are using the product to make clean edits to your course pages and that is it, then it is ranking a 5. There are some features that may seem a little complicated for a ‘non-tech’ person, such as using style sheets or the site manager but are not necessary to use if you are only making edits. In other words it has the capacity to design an entire website if you wanted to.

Please NOTE: It is still not advised that you copy and paste from Microsoft Word as this program will not clean the code for you.

Availability of tutorials/help/support:
There is a “Help” knowledgebase located inside the program. The knowledgebase includes a search feature, an index, a glossary and a beginner’s tutorial. There is also a web-based user-guide that was created by a user.

Rating scale:  Excellent (5) Very good (4), Good (3), Fair (2), Poor (1)

Feature or task
Downloading the product and launching the program
General ease of use
Editing an existing page
Creating a new page
Creating a link to open in a new window
Ease of working with tables
Ease of working with ordered lists
Quality of tutorials or help

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Notes from Sloan-C Conference, November 2010

Pre-conference workshop: Blended Learning: Frameworks, Models, and Big IssuesModerator: Mary Niemiec
University of Illinois at Chicago

The workshop featured a whos-who of DL industry leaders providing comment on different areas of blended learning. Included in the panel wasThomas Cavanagh (University of Central Florida); Chuck Dziuban (University of Central Florida); Joel L. Hartman (University of Central Florida); Tanya Joosten (University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee); Stephen Laster (Harvard Business School); Patsy Moskal (University of Central Florida); George Otte (City University of New York); Anthony Picciano (City University of New York, Hunter College); Karen Swan (University of Illinois Springfield); Norm Vaughan (Mount Royal University, Canada); and Karen Vignare (Michigan State University).

The session began with a panel discussion on key areas of blended learning. The panel consisted of Tony Picciano, Stephen Laster, and Tanya Joosten. The session was then divided into table groups, with moderators facilitating table discussions. Key points from each topic and table were then shared in open session. Key points included:

Research is indicating higher student success rates using blended versus only f-2-f or only online
  • Institutional drivers 
    • Educational opportunity 
    • Increase education level 
    • Resources 
    • Learning effectiveness 
    • Mission 
  • Issues facing higher ed 
    • Access 
    • Cost to degree 
    • Community outreach 
    • Assessment 
    • Graduation rates 
    • Improving learning for diverse student populations 
  • Issues for institutions 
    • Land-locked 
    • Access to courses in general 
      • Courses 
      • Better pedagogical opportunities 
      • Better meet student needs 
      • Students demanding better access 
      • Access to busy urban professionals 
        • Minimizes campus trips 
        • Provide a balanced life 
      • Students can better control their time 
  • Students 
    • Don't see themselves as online or campus but as students 
    • Blended courses offer better opportunity 
    • Need to maximize access 
    • No reason to assemble a class to listen to a talking head 
    • Emphasize community of learners 
      • Instructor not the hub 
    • Think of the cost equation 
  • General 
    • Cannot skip on faculty development 
    • Must have strong faculty knowledgeable about pedagogy of blended model 
  • Issue: Community outreach 
    • Should be basic part of all programs as well as mission 
    • Develop programs in conjunction with community businesses and organizations 
    • Blended can assist in saving travel between institution and organization 
    • Provides way of building connections across borders 
  • Issue: Improving learning for diverse student populations, remediation, general student population, lifelong learners, technological skill development 
  • Issue: Graduation rates, retention, attrition 
    • Blended ensures engagement, 
    • Requires upfront investments in pedagogy, faculty development 
    • Setting up students to be lifelong learners 
      • Education never "fnishes" 
    • Using different mediums can accomplish different tasks 
      • Accomplishing organizational tasks using different mediums 
    • Place some of the assessment activities online 
    • ePortfolios can be used to 
      • Show student progress 
    • Show class progress 
    • Students can use for future employers 

Table discussions: Q&A
  • Faculty buy-in 
    • Incentives 
  • Gap between the expectation of technology use between students and faculty 
  • Student learning communities 
    • Cohorts for non-traditional students to support technology use 
  • Don't lock down your courses. Allow them to modify courses to integrate innovations 
  • Require all courses to have at least one hour online requirement 
  • Book: Blended Learning Research Perspectives 

Examples of Blended Learning Models

All models on the website at 

Model 1: Blended as a matter of scale

Model 2: Blended learning as a group boundary object

Model 3: Blended learning as an ecosystem
  • The technologies and environment are ever-changing 
  • Entities adapt to the environment 
Model 4: Value added model
  • What does the technology allow you to do 
  • Let the pedagogy drive the technology 
  • Don't use technology if you don't feel comfortable using it 
  • Introduce concepts using short videos 
  • F-2-f provides spontaneity 
  • Some students may need someone to talk with 
  • Strongly encourage wikis and student-generated content 
Suggested reads:

Session: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Lessons Learned from Online Service Learning
David Pratt, Purdue University North Central
Service learning in an online environment 

  • The definition of Service Learning is "Teaching and learning in an approach that integrates community service with academic study to enrich learning, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities" 
    • Benefits recipient and provider 
    • Cooperative rather than competitive 
    • Addresses complex problems 
    • Promotes deeper learning 
    • Generates emotional consequence 
    • Positive and meaningful real life experiences 
  • Many times the online instructor has no experience in technologies 
  • Must balance the two considerations of 
    • Course goals, and 
    • Community need 
  • For technology difficulties, pair up student to teacher 
    • Consult about uses of technology 
  • Process: Students learn technologies 
  • The Good 
    • Integrated as part of course 
      • Need to reformat course to make room for service learning project 
    • Goals of course must be connected to project 
    • Must be organized 
      • Course schedule and activities 
      • Timely IRB review 
      • Formative and substantive feedback 
      • Secure funding (
        • Small grants for USB drives, books, are usually available 
  • The Bad 
    • Not informing students before course 
      • Students may not want the extra effort 
    • Tension between the structure of the project and the necessary course flexibility 
    • Lack of f-2-f contact with students and sites 
    • Finding appropriate community partners with similar service learning and course goals 
  • The Ugly 
  • Legal documentation 
    • Must be signed by student and site 
  • Selection of service learning placement 
    • Ensure student and community location are compatible 
  • Assessment 
    • Students should evaluate the site as well as vice versa 
  • Communication with students and sites is required 
  • Ensure a process for problem resolution is in place 
  • Ensure a process for tracking and managing data is in place 

Session: Developing effective online etextbooks using Softchalk and Web 2.0 
Debra Runyon
Northwest Missouri State University: Digital campus

  • NMS provides textbooks to students on a rental basis 
    • Rental fees cover printing of materials by students 
  • Laptops provided on loan to students 

Pilot project
  • Phase 1: Students provided Sony eReaders 
    • Student not happy with eReaders 
  • Phase 2: Students provided notebook computers 
  • Publishers use different formats for etext materials 
    • There was no value added when using electronic versus paper 
    • To add value, began using VitalSource which allowed 
      • Highlighting 
      • Searching 
    • Ran into issue when converting textbooks to electronic format 
  • Phase 3: Full integration of eTextbooks and electronic learning resources 
    • Students charged $6/credit hour for etexts 
    • Publishers wanted an exclusive contract to create individual chapters rather than entire book 
    • Another option was a tablet PC with eReader option 
  • Midwest K-12 schools are incorporating PDF of textbook within the CMS 
    • Called the One-to-One Computing project 
  • Softchalk incorporates 
    • Web editor 
    • Learning objects 
    • Flash games and activities 
    • Pictures, sounds, text 
    • Quizzing 
    • SCORM compliant 
    • Incorporates intra- and inter-page navigation 
    • Can copy/paste document text directly into SC page 
      • Watch for copyright issues 
  • Web 2.0 tools 
    • Screen recordings, Jing, Captivate 
    • Video recording, FlipVideo, Youtube 
    • Web conferecing, Elluminate, Wemba 
    • Audio, Audacity 
    • Podcasts/vodcasts 
    • Widgets 
Presentation available at 

Session: Lights, Camera, Action: Digital Storytelling in Healthcare 
Sonya Hardin, Lucille Travis
Nov 4, 2010, 1:40 p.m.

Digital storytelling for nursing students
  • Innovative Nursing Educational Technologies 
  • Any student can submit a digital story for competition 
  • Why use digital storytelling? 
  • Overview of generational learners 
    • Gen X self-oriented 
      • Technology is 2nd nature 
    • Millennials are also digital natives 
    • Highly collaborative 
    • Emphasize a work/life balance 
    • Need continual feedback 
    • Older generations digital immigrants and generally unfamiliar with technology 
  • The Wired generation 
    • Spend many hours on web 
    • Use cell phones, IM, and instant downloads 
  • Creating a student friendly environment 
    • Students want to be included in decisions that affect them 
    • Students want education to be multi-disciplinary and incorporate more that one thought process 
    • Students want to be entertained as well as educated 
  • Steps in a digital story 
    • Develop the storyboard 
    • Choose music 
    • Choose software 
      • Ensure it's compatible with all computers 
    • Narratation 
      • Use a good speaking voice 
    • Share the project with the class 
  • Parts of the story 
    • Need a point of view 
      • Emphasize the audience. What would they want to hear? 
    • Ask a dramatic question 
  • Technology tools 
  • Ensure that students cite resources 
  • Always provide rubrics for scoring 
  • Creativity increases when using groups of students rather than individuals 

Session: Future Metrics of Online and Blended Learning 
Patrick Szuta
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Nov 4, 11:55 a.m.
  • The nature of online/blended systems presents an overwhelming amount of student info such as 
    • Time on task 
    • Time of access 
    • Information on AI solutions 
    • Discussion posts 
  • Classifying data into 
    • Assessment data 
      • Test scores 
    • Task data 
      • Time on task 
      • Attendance 
  • At what point does elearning become innovative? He then gives the comparisons such as 
    • Computer grading vs. hand grade 
    • Electronic gradebook vs. hand gradebook 
    • LMS discussion board vs. f-2-f discussions 
  • Such are not really innovative 
  • Innovations include things such as 
    • Interactive books 
    • Electronic exams 
  • Becomes important to hone in task data to determine whether students are having difficulty with 
    • Time on task 
    • Number and length of logins 

Session: Improve Student Outcomes with Tegrity's Cloud-based Lecture Capture Service Nov. 4, 10:25 a.m.
  • Overview 
    • Improves student/faculty experience and institutional ROI 
    • Also includes eportfolios, social learning, mobile learning 
  • Attributes 
    • Cloud-based 
    • No hardware or software 
    • Makes available to students within 20 minutes of completion 
    • Real-time integration with CMS 
    • Easy to start/stop/pause 
      • Can be automated for instructor 
  • How does it work 
    • Just need mic and computer 
    • works with browser and mobile device 
    • Noting to download, can watch presentation directly 
  • Search function 
    • Captures any text presented on screen as searchable text 
    • Can search across multiple recordings within a course 
    • Scroll bar can display images of slides for searching 
  • Portability 
    • All recordings accessible through mobile devices 
  • Bookmarking 
    • Can use mobile device to bookmark a live presentation 
    • Can add comments during live presentation 
    • If student leaves session, Tegrity will restart session at point of departure when they log back in 
  • Other 
    • Students can IM between each other during sessions 
    • Live webcasting available 
    • Remote proctoring 
    • Students can submit recordings for class assignments 
    • Presentations can be edited 
    • Reporting tools 
      • Who's playing what 
      • How many times accessed 
  • Remote proctoring 
    • Students start recording and begin exam. 
    • Shows student test area via webcam 
    • Proctor can watch as student takes exam 

Session: Bringing f-2-f instruction back into online faculty development 
Michael Uttendorfer
New York Institute of Technology
Nov. 4, 9:40 a.m.

This was primarily an overview of Elluminate. Of note was the use of vRoom which allows up to three people to use Elluminate for free.
  • Provide self-service training model 
    • Using for just-enough, just-in-time modules 
    • Made available through the LMS 
  • Provide virtual, live training using 
    • Webinars (vRoom, Elluminate) 
    • Orientations, LMS support, ePortfolios 
  • Summary of user interface with Elluminate 

Session: Research on the Effectiveness of Online Learning: Insights, Controversies, and Gaps 
Barbara Means
Co-director for the SRI International Center for Technology in Learning
Nov 4, 8:15 a.m.

Plenary session:

  • Questions
    • Is this innovation worth implementing
    • How should we implement this innovation
  • Studies published between 1996 to 2008
  • Criteria used to select studies
    • Compared fully online or blended to face to face instruction
    • Measured learning objectively with same measure and control group
  • Evaluation of Evidence-based practices in online learning 
  • Results
    • Blended approach shows greater student success than only f-2-f
    • Due to redesigning the learning experience, not of the medium
    • Purely online courses have outcomes similar to f-2-f
    • Blended approach better than both
  • Alternative approach for implementation
    • Combine frequent cycles of design, implementation, and evaluation
      • Integrate formative assessment into courses
    • Did I get this? quizzes following a presentation of new material
    • Short essay questions call on on students to make connections between concepts
    • Muddiest Point requests asking what was confusing
      • Discuss these points in class
    • Principles for blended learning design
      • Incorporate range of online activities
    • Give options
    • Gaps
      • What is the proper blend of OL and f-2-f
    • Level and nature of instructor guidance
    • Retention and transfer of learning 
    • Cost-benefit analysis for different blended models
    • Recommendations
      • Need iterations of development delivery and refinement
    • Pooling of data across courses
    • Advantage to agreement on major challenges
" I can't create my future with the tools from your past."

Session: Colleges for the 21st century: the New Ecology of Learning 
Peter Smith
Academic Strategies and Development, Kaplan Higher Education
Nov. 3, 2010, 4:30 p.m.
Keynote address
  • Harnessing Americas Wasted Talent
    • Higher ed no longer controls the changes
    • Indicates a change in blanace of power
    • Open courseware hugely important
    • Do what you believe will work
      • May find yourself unemployed but go for it
    • Opencourseware meant that countries didn't need typical infrastructures for education.
    • Success indicated when we can be successful in tangible ways with skills needed by people
    • Many highly skilled jobs are chasing people
      • Supposed to double by 2020
    • Institutions need to create merit in students so they can be successful
    • Moodle, itunes U, opencourseware 
    • No shortage of places to learn
    • No shortage of SMEs
    • LMSs the new learning platforms
    • Unbundling of services
      • Rate of change too quick for institutions to take full advantage of benefits
    • Networks the new process
    • Burk smith, Smarthinking, had the 20 most popular courses built, had them accredited, and are now available to sutdnets for $500 each. 
      • All are self-paced
      • Don't pay attention to the mode but in the outcome
      • What works and what doesn't
    • There will be a number of new alliances
      • Don't try to invent services already existing
      • Contract with others that created needed services
    • Inevitably there will be more control and choice of learners
    • Wiki-ization of knowledge
      • Groups of people creating knowledge
    • Tremendous opportunities for research in blended and online learning
      • Try something and throw out if it doesn't work
    • "You don't have to wait to get a seat at the table of opportunity"

Session: Top Gear: Driving Your LMS Transition for Student Success 
Diane Chapman
North Carolina State University
Nov 3, 2010, 3:15 p.m.
North Carolina State University
  • 90% of students uses the LMS
  • flickr:webmove
  • All LMSs have the same tools
    • (Look for SOP)
  • Used Moodle before selecting for pilot course
  • This is first semester for all Moodle
    • 62 students, 8 instructors
  • Compared Moodle with current system (BB)
    • Surveyed both instructors and students
    • Students preferred Blackboard Vista
    • Needed an orientation (mandatory training not required)
  • Most importat factors for students
    • Instructor feedback
  • Least important factors for students
    • Ability to collaborate with other students
    • Didn't want LMS orientation (may have been age-dependent)
  • Student advice to other students
    • Be patient
    • Check into class often
    • Contact the instructor for course information
    • Student advice to faculty
      • Get some training on LMS and learning technology use
      • Streamline the courses across disciplines
        • Use similar interface so students aren't relearning navigation each term
      • Template the course design
      • Be patient with students

    Session: Sloan-C Effective Practices 
    This session featured award winners for effective practices.

    Practices reviewed for
    • Replicability
    • Supporting evidence
    • Impact on the field
    • Based on faculty meetings or round table for discussion and sharing of ideas that worked in classroom
    • Check on Sloan website for award winners and more resources
    • Award #1
      • Kaye Shelton
        • Tool to evaluate online administration programs
        • Standards found
          • WCET, CHES, IHEP
        • 24 standards from IHEP/NEA identified
        • Also idnetified additional 80 quality indicators
          • Approved 45
        • Final instruments has 70 indicators
        • Next steps
          • Benchmarking
        • Support materials
        • Determine minimum scores for each category
        • Community of practice website
    • Award #2
      • Dabbagh-George Mason University
        • Developed the Learning Asset Technology Integration Support Tool (LATIST) 
        • Identify processes and methods for using innovative learning technologies and delivery tools within current learning modalities
        • Advanced learning technologies
        • LATIST website
        • Decision trees
        • Suggested technologies based on several criteria such as development time, usage (daily, weekly, etc)
    • (Missed remainder of session)

    Session: Second Life Viewer 2.0: Additional Potential for Virtual World Platform 
    Dana Willett
    University of Southern Indiana
    Nov 3, 2010, 1:45 p.m.

    SL introduced new viewer (Viewer 2)

    • New viewer much different than previous version
    • Several new tools
      • Shared media (Media on a Prim)
      • Drag and drop media onto a primitive object
        • Create an object
        • Select your content (web URL, media, etc)
        • Drag it onto object
        • Others in the room see in real time when instructor clicks "play"
        • Must use Firefox
        • Doesn't support Java or Java applets
        • Audio and video
        • Everyone gets personal login if prompted
          • Generates a Notepad
          • Public notepad
          • Color codes each persons contributions to the document

      Session: Rethinking Faculty Development: Shifting from Product to Process 
      Linda Merrilat

      Arkansas State University

      Nov 3, 2010, 1:00 p.m.

      • Identified number of software apps available and used by faculty
      • Push to do more online
      • Began rethinking focus from the course to a learning environment
      • Resuted in a three-fold increase in interactions with DLT and faculty
        • Integration of best practices of teaching and learning
      • Developed a Course Dvelopment Life Cycle (CDLC)
        • Focus on properly building a course

      • CDLC is a continuous process involving continuous learning
      • Each phase has 1-7 steps
      • Quality measured by rubrics from 
      • Helps to shift emphasis from assessment to quality improvement
      • Have an institute each summer
        • Improve technology skills
        • Two times per week for four weeks
        • Faculty work on course while attending
        • Most of course developed by end of institute
      • Developed the ITTC Institute Online
        • Developed in Blackboard
        • Provided to all new faculty when BB account created
        • Serves as exemplar course
        • Includes
          • Learning guides on specific tools of BB
          • Resources
          • Department contact info
          • Feedback
      • Learning Centers
        • Kiosk-style
        • Buttons representing various areas
        • Short(1-2 hours)
        • Self-paced
        • Workbook included
        • Integrated technology and best practices for the classroom
        • Encourages skill building
      Learning Center topics
      • Course development life cycle
      • Learning Expereince
      • Coruse planning and design toolkit
      • BB boot camp
      • Designing courses in BB
      • Work smarter not harder
      • Using rubrics for student assessment
      • Creaing online tests using respondus
      • Working with large classes
      • BB communications
      • Cppyright fair sue and teach act
      • Detecting plagiarism

      Arrival at Caribe Royale and Sloan-C conference: This should be fun!
      We arrived last night around 8 p.m. at the Caribe Royale in Orlando. Beautiful hotel but what a change from Denver! Waterfalls, palms, and from what I could tell (it was dark when we arrived) lots of beautiful landscaping. Conference is well organized but was disappointed there wasn't a breakfast available. I almost hopped over the ropes to grab some of the food that was reserved for the conference staff. Thought better and grabbed coffee instead. Bumped into Burks Oakley on the was to the pre-conf workshop. Great to see him again and was floored that he remembered the DMC Discussion in Distance Learning blog. He has a great memory!

      Tuesday, November 9, 2010


      Kaltura is a storage and streaming server to house videos. (Similar to YouTube.)

      At this point, it is up and running, however, you need to get the video to Greg Hatayama so he can upload to the site. After it is uploaded a URL is generated and then can be shared with the students.
      There also is a way to embed the video into a PowerPoint, website or into a course directly if needed.
      Currently, Regis has a starter contract with Kaltura to host up to 300MB a month.
      (Eventually Kaltura will replace the Helix server.)

      ITS has plans in the near future to see if they can get funding to host something called MediaSpace so that Regis University instructors and students can register and upload themselves. (very similar to YouTube). I guess they will know by May if they are able to get funding to expand the contract and obtain MediaSpace. When they upgrade our limit for storage and bandwidth will expand to 2TB.

      One more interesting tidbit, Erich Declamp indicated that all three of our potential LMS candidates have plugin that works directly with Kaltura so we could have a ‘video dropbox’ right inside the course.

      The following site provides more information about Kaltura and demos.

      Monday, November 1, 2010

      Where do good ideas come from?

      I stumbled upon something interesting today.... (something you'll hear me say a lot)
      I think it is worth noting exactly how I stumbled upon this.  Whenever I have a moment or two during my day I like to take a look at my Delicious (social bookmarking) site and investigate what my network is bookmarking. This is where I found this link to a YouTube video: 
      "Where do Good Ideas Come From?" by Steven Johnson. It is a topic worth pondering and certainly Mr. Johnson provides some visual insight. 

      The video would lead me to wonder how I might express my 'hunches' and match them up with other people's hunches to make a good idea actually happen. Perhaps hosting the "Big Hunch Conference in Higher Education," where it would be more than just a sit and listen to brilliant people talk about the big ideas that they executed. This would be different. It would be a series of round tables, networking and discussions that would gather folks with similar 'hunches' and 'ideas' to help foster those connections.

      I don't know. Just a hunch I have. Post a comment to this blog post if you have any thoughts, comments or hunches you'd like to share.

      Monday, September 27, 2010

      eLCC Meeting Notes-September 2010

      An organization I've heard mentioned since my arrival at Regis University in late August is the eLearning Consortium of Colorado, or the eLCC. Regis is a member of the consortium but apparently has not been actively involved for a number of years. The eLCC is a group of mostly Colorado higher education institutions whose mission is to enhance educational opportunities through distance learning. The eLCC is very similar, although much smaller in scope, to the Texas Distance Learning Association, or TXDLA. I was associated with the TXDLA for a number of years and found the collaborative and networking opportunities of great benefit. The TXDLA also had a phenomenal annual conference. 

      The eLCC meets monthly except for August and December. September’s meeting was held this past Friday, September 24th, at the University of Denver’s new education building (beoooootiful building BTW). 

      Technology Demo
      The meeting started with Lydia Gil, DU Spanish Lecturer, presenting on her use of media in an intro Spanish course. DU uses Blackboard Learn, the newest iteration of BB, and Lydia provided input on a number of ways she was able to incorporate media. First, she explained how students used FlipCams to create video introductions of themselves, in Spanish. This proved to be quite effective for the participants, who were forced to speak in a non-native language, as well as classmates, who could then see their classmates as well as hear the language being spoken. Lydia also used video Skype to bring in guest speakers for an interactive class discussion. Again, the ability to hear and speak the language was especially helpful to students. 

      There was an issue when using the BB Voiceboard. It turned out to be a Wimba issue that was easily fixed but only after the conclusion of the exercise. Lydia summed up her presentation with some lessons learned, such as
      • Preparation is key when using technology in the classroom; 
      • Explore the classroom technology setup prior to class to become familiar with the buttons, switches, and other key workings of the equipment.

      Professional Development
      A number of institutions discussed their professional development activities. One in particular was Front Range Community College who put on a 3-day conference for faculty. The mini-conference was designed similar to a conference, with breakout sessions, keynote addresses, and lunch provided. Faculty could attend some or all of the activities based on time and interest. I like this concept and may try something similar.

      Summary of July Meeting
      The July meeting was summarized. Participants agreed to try a virtual meeting on November 19th. The October meeting is being held at Pikes Peak Community College. There is no meeting in December.
      The annual eLCC conference is in April. A location has yet to be decided. There was much discussion on locations and the degree to which many member institutions could participate. Money is tight, and travel funds are even tighter.

      Annual Report Format
      The format for annual reports received from member institutions was discussed. A template was placed into Google Docs. The format will use SurveyMonkey, with the link being sent to the institutional representative of each member. The survey should be sent the week of September 27th.

      The proposed Journal of the eLearning Consortium of Colorado (JeLCC) needs peer reviewers. Many meeting participants expressed interest but didn’t receive the initial call for reviewers. The request will be resent.

      What's Hot (and not) in Conferences 
      Members then discussed which conferences of the past year had been of most interest. The Professional and Organizational Development (POD) conference was mentioned as an excellent resource for faculty development ideas. The National University Telecommunications Network (NUTN) conference was also mentioned as being exceptional. I mentioned the Distance Learning Administration (DLA) conference as being a small but exceptional resource for those involved with distance learning administration. I also brought up the Sloan-C College Pass. This provides for 100 seats in any of the myriad online workshops put on by Sloan-C throughout the calendar year. A great resource and a great bargain.

      Second Life was brought up in discussion, with one institution (didn’t catch which one) beginning development of an area. A good resource for getting started with SL is Cheryl Comstock of CCC Online

      This was an excellent sharing of resources and I look forward to the next meeting.

      Wednesday, September 15, 2010

      Magnets, magnifying lenses, and winter

      Okay. I admit it. I’m a technology geek. I love any and all technologies: large and small, portable and stationary, efficient and horribly designed, electronic or mechanical, it really doesn’t matter. If there are lights that flash, buttons that push, icons to click, or mechanisms that clatter, I’m there.

      I recall a cold, wintery day growing up in northeastern Iowa. I was all of eight years old and looking for something to do.  It was then that I spied an old tube-type radio housed in a chest-high wooden console (you Boomers know what I’m referring to). The radio worked great. There were large dials for volume and frequency, push buttons for stations, and shortwave bands for listening to broadcasts from around the world. My curiosity pushed me to take this magnificent example of cutting edge technology (for the 1940’s anyway) and remove virtually every moving part to see what made it tick. Out came the vacuum tubes, dials, and push buttons. There went the string attached to the tuner for station changing (I never knew how a tuner worked until then). And finally, out came the huge, heavy speaker that made the wires and tubes come to life. By the way, to a kid, a speaker magnet can be just as much fun as a magnifying lens on a sunny day, but that's another post. When finished, I sat back and gazed at this pile of wires, metal, tubes, and wood fragments. My curiosity had been satisfied and I now had a working knowledge of radio guts. But there was no way this pile of junk was ever going back together again. 


      I don’t recall my parents ever questioning the reasons for dissecting a perfectly good radio. Maybe they understood the curiosity of the young mind. Or maybe they simply chalked it up to keeping me occupied for a couple of hours. Either way, this kinesthetic learning experience was the beginning of a lifetime fascination with technology. Although I no longer take apart TVs or iPods, my home computer does get the internals tweaked on occasion in the name of “preventive maintenance.” And I’m sure my son was surprised when, years ago, after disassembling the lawn mower to get at the wheels for a homemade go-kart project, I simply smiled and nodded my head. Well done, son. Chip off the old block.

      Wednesday, September 1, 2010

      How might we define an Emerging Technology?

      I recently attended the 26th Annual Distance Teaching and Learning Conference in Madison, Wisconsin. Great conference, chock full of innovative ideas and practices. I purchased a book while I was there by George Veletsianos, "Emerging Technologies in Distance Education" and although I haven't quite finished it yet, I highly recommend it.

      What I would like to share from the book that I found to be valuable is the idea of an emerging technology and how might we define it. There are 5 basic points, according to Veletsianos in designating something an 'Emerging Technology.' (ET)
      Read the book for more details and explanation but here is an overview:
      1. ET may not necessarily be "new". Which leads to a question to ponder- when would a technology cease to be considered new? 
      2. ET are evolving and exist in a state of 'coming into being'.
      3. ET commonly go through hype cycles
      4. ET satisfy two 'not yet' criteria: a) ET are not yet fully understood and b) ET are not yet fully researched
      5. ET are potentially disruptive but their potential is mostly fulfilled.
      Another part of the book that I look forward to reading is regarding a model for evaluating and determining if a given ET is right for a learning context. Because isn't that what is all about in our field? Technology A might be the best thing ever for University X but is it a good fit for our students in our courses? How will it engage our students and help them meet our learning objectives? But at the same time this evaluation can be shared with the larger audience to contribute to the research and add to some best practices in the field. When I hear about a new learning technology I can be skeptical at first until I read case studies or reports about how educators are using it and how effective it has been. We, as instructional designers, need to continue to contribute and share our experiences and findings.

      What are some emerging technologies that you are curious about? Please share in the comments box below.

      I'm anxious to see what will happen to Google Wave and what it might melt into as it's new form? I thought it was quite innovative and was surprised that Google has decided to phase it out. I do believe there is much potential there for use in the context of distance education.