Thursday, November 19, 2015

I attended an all-day Learning Summit hosted by Association for Talent Development (ATD) Pikes Peak Chapter in Colorado Springs on October 20, 2015. There were panel discussions, breakout groups, and demonstrations of Captivate content authoring tool. Captivate is a popular content authoring tool that is useful in building software simulations and mobile delivery and is one of the most affordable authoring tools on the market. There is a fair amount of learning curve for this tool. However, it is well worth the effort since it has the ability to build graphics, animations, interactivity, and quizzes embedded within the activity/lesson. This in turn could be embedded within an Learning Management System (LMS).

There are other content authoring tools out there like Articulate Storyline and Lectora. Storyline has become the most popular in the last couple of years. Lectora is pricey and requires a significant amount of time to learn this tool. If you have time and money, this could be a good tool for you but be sure to check out how well it delivers on mobile devices.

Speaking of mobile devices. Are we building courses that can be delivered on any mobile device? What? Crickets...... Perhaps this needs to be a focus as we move forward with course development and authoring tools.

One of the trends in Instructional Design (ID) is that "programming is back." We've had the luxury of using some very helpful tools to design our webpages such as Dreamweaver. Using Dreamweaver tools for development will not be going away but now there's HTML5 to consider. HTML5 allows for mobile delivery on any device. We, as Instructional Designers, need to seriously consider updating our programming skills to include HTML5. The former popular tool of Flash programming doesn't work on Apple products therefore, you can imagine how long it will last as we all move forward with the millennial generation. Flash does a lot of fun interactivity and snazzy animations.

Bottom line, we all need to update our skills and considerations for delivering content to maximize learning. For many in the marketplace that means mobile delivery. We need to get on that wagon.

Please feel free to contact me with comments or questions. I'm happy to talk with you.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

2015 Teaching and Learning with Technology Symposium

I appreciate the opportunity I had to attend this one day conference. The fact that is free, is icing on the cake.  I wanted to share some of the highlights and takeaways from the sessions that I attended.

Just-In-Time Teaching A Strategy For Success

Opening Panel: Arlene Sgoutas, MSU Denver: Jeff Loats, MSU Denver; Courtney Rocheleau, MSU Denver; Randi Smith, MSU Denver 


  • Helps ensure students prepare for class. 
  • Increases Engagement 
  • 70% of students admitted that sometimes they don't purchase the textbook in one study
  • Pre-Class assignments are called Warm-Ups.
  • Instructor has to read through responses prior to class and taylor the class to the responses. 

Takeaways: I think we all have heard a lot on this, and I think it is something that does make a positive difference in student learning. This was a pretty basic presentation but still good. It requires extra effort on the part of the faculty for this to be successful.     

Enhancing Student's Achievement by Interactive Virtual Learning Environment

Presenter: Mohammed Khojah, University of Colorado


  • Research in progress, no results yet. Online Education, and Interactive Learning, Computer related courses. 
  • A VLE  allows interaction and knowledge sharing while expanding boundaries.
  • Skills Assessment Manager (SAM) is a software to help with student learning, engagement, perceived learning, academic achievement.
Takeaways: Presentation was given very much from the standpoint of a researcher. A little disjointed. Slides were so small they were hard to read, and very text intensive. I think the results of the research will be very valuable.  

Zap! (tion) Making Video Valuable

Presenter: Cory Pavicich, University of Colorado (Learning Experience Designer)


  • There are one button studios, and everyone is using videos, but we don't know what we can do with video.  
  • Zaption allows you to make all videos interactive by adding text, quizzes, comments/discussions. You can draw on the video. It integrates with an LMS, with Canvas grades can be pushed straight to the gradebook, this doesn't work so well in D2L. Integrates with Kaltura.  
Takeaways: I find his job title interesting. Best presentation so far. I think this might be something worth researching to see if we think the cost is worth the value add. There is a free version.

Toolbox Tips for Innovative Online Engagement: The Online Instructor as Social Director 

Presenter: Jequita McDaniel, Naropa University, DeVry University


  •  Group Brainstormed:
    • Challenges - technology issues, getting to know the students, creating community, retention
    • Successes - learn technology, focus on outcomes, hear from all students, equity in the classroom.
  • Model - Community of Inquiry is worth looking at. 
  • Social Director - getting students engaged. She addresses good nutrition, have a stress ball, door hanger to say do not disturb, spend an allotted amount of time, paddle ball to unfocus on computer screen. 
Takeaways: I think it is more than being a social director. I think that is important, but also need to be actively involved in the learning aspect and should be a value add on the content.  

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

2015 TLTS Conference Takeaways

I had the opportunity to attend several engaging and thought provoking sessions at this year's TLTS conference. Below are a few sessions that were particularly interesting and my takeaways from each. 

Empowering Student's Self-Management Behaviors Online
This session focused on a discussion about how to help students manage themselves when working in an online course. It was interesting to hear what other programs were doing and the primary idea that stuck with me was simply putting the responsibility back on the students to consider their own strategies.


  • Engage students online in a discussion about their strategies for success.
  • Create accountability teams in the online environment to help students stick to their study plan or goals for any given week.
  • Encourage students to use a goal app on their phone to keep them on task.
Talking About Taboo Topics in Online Courses 
Our courses are designed to push students to learn about new ideas and topics and sometimes include topics that are traditionally seen as taboo in mainstream society like gender, politics, sexual orientation, religion, etc. This session focused on how to have these types of discussions online in a constructive and safe way. 

  • Set boundaries for a safe environment.
  • Allow multiple viewpoints or sides of a story to be shared for additional perspective.
  • Use videos and animations in the course.
  • Encourage students to take an issues centered approach.
  • Provide glossary of terms that will be used in the course.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Applied Archaeology and Social Media

Consider a job description this specific: skinny scientists with caving and climbing experience who could fit in a space spanning 18 cm, with no claustrophobia, don’t panic easily, work cooperatively under difficult situations, with experience in archaeology, paleoanthropology, physical anthropology, ophiology, or evolutionary bio mechanics who can be ready to travel to South Africa within the next 3 weeks. Describes half the population of any major university. Right?
The writer of the job description, Professor Lee Berger of the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa figured there might be 100 people in the world who could approach the qualifications, but how to get the message of need into their hands? In this particular case the intended audience was already connected Berger as members of his Facebook page. Social media has created avenues of connect that us with people of like interests. In Berger’s world his Facebook page isn’t used for sharing family pics or cat videos, it’s dedicated to forwarding the science of Anthropology and as a rock star in the world of rock research, he already had the people he needed. He just needed them to come forward.
Within 10 days of posting the position 57 people applied, within a week of that he had 6 people, all women, hired and heading to South Africa. The specific task was to access a chamber some 90 meters down a cave that contained thousands of bones which turned out to be a previously unidentified species fitting somewhere in the early hominid category.
The story is fascinating and can be watched at . As a fan of science I love this stuff, but being the technology field what struck me as most fascinating is the way this expedition utilized social media like Skype and Facebook to keep the rest of the community up to date on the project.  Live reports were shared directly to classrooms around the world as this wondrous new discovery unfolded. An opportunity for students and teachers not able to be there to participate in the experience to learn right along with the onsite scientists. How can you innovate technology in your teaching today?

Friday, August 28, 2015

iPadagogy, Heutagogy, and 3D learning environments

The iPadagogy wheel
I'm a tech gearhead; always have been; always will be. Technology is what got me into the ed tech field over 16 years ago, and its effective use for teaching and learning is what continues to fuel my passion. That's why it's always a treat to attend pre-conference workshops hosted by the University of Illinois-Springfield and their Center for Online Learning, Research and Service. And their workshop titled Emerging Technologies for Enhancing Online Learner Engagement did not disappoint.

QR to session resources
The workshop was held in conjunction with the 2015 U. Wisconsin Distance Teaching and Learning conference in Madison and was focused on demos of the latest tools and techniques for enhancing engagement and improving learning. The session began with an introduction of the ipadagogy wheel, which takes the cognitive domain of Bloom's taxonomy and suggests apps that focus on each of the six areas. Also discussed was the little-known (for me, anyway) term of heutagogy, which is the study of self-determined learning. Heutagogy takes the concept of andragogy one step further by making learning student-centric rather than instructor or curriculum-centric.

Featured technologies

There were a number of technologies focused on 3D imaging. COLRS research indicates a significant movement towards 3D environments and immersive learning experiences. Examples of 3D cameras included the Ricoh Theta and VSN Mobil V360. Both cameras are capable of 360 degree still or video recording. And I'm talking both up/down as well as left/right panoramas. 360 apps were also demoed including PhotoSphere, available for free for both Android and iOS. Several Google Cardboards were handed out as door prizes.

Heads up

Presenters shared a couple of tidbits. The first is that the Flash platform is fading into the sunset. Adobe's well-used and much-maligned web app will no longer be supported by Adobe and should be avoided.

And totally unrelated to Flash but also mentioned was the Apple smart watch and the ease by which smart watch wearers can cheat on multiple choice exams. Instructors beware and move away from MC exams except for quick comprehension checks.

And finally...

Presenters summed up by stating that if a new app is based on a good idea but seems clunky or buggy, give it a few development iterations before dismissing completely. It may take developers awhile to work the bugs out of an otherwise great app.

Thanks once again to Ray Schroeder and his awesome crew. I've followed Ray's work for a number of years and always learn something new. Hat's off to the staff of COLRS for another entertaining and informative session.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

ASG Best in Show faculty training & development model

There was certainly no shortage of information sessions dealing with faculty training and development at the recent Distance Teaching and Learning conference, held in August 2015 at the Monona Convention Center in Madison. The development of faculty to effectively create online courses and supporting materials, as well as effectively teaching online, has always been a top priority at ID&T. But effective methods for preparing faculty have remained elusive. The primary issue with any faculty-centered development program is time. Is it possible to develop a training program that 1) respects the limited time available to faculty for attended training sessions, and 2) provide the information needed to meet the workshop outcomes.

One of the better sessions was presented by Ryan Anderson and Terry Tao, University of Wisconsin-Extension, on their faculty-centric professional development model. Developed in conjunction with University of Washington and University of California-Irvine, the model is based on faculty input on the most commonly asked faculty questions surrounding development and teaching courses for the online environment. The result is the website ASG Best in Show. The website is split into eight areas that correspond to the areas most commonly asked about by online instructors. For example, the first area is titled Orientation and deals with how a new online instructor would get started developing an online course. The section contains short videos of faculty discussing their experiences with getting started. The section also contains a video tutorial on how to get started with online course creation, learning objectives, and additional resources. Each of the remaining sections is laid out similarly, with a section overview, video lesson, lesson objectives, and videos of faculty discussing their experiences. The other sections on the website include Content, Structure, Communication, Interaction, Comprehension, Assessment, and Engagement. Follow up training on each section topic is also offered. And best of all, the website content is freely available. Well done, Ryan and Terry.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

"Awash in content and starved for knowledge"

Image result for marc rosenberg educationHad the opportunity to listen to Marc Rosenberg at the 2015 Distance Teaching and Learning conference last week. Marc is an educational consultant and author of "Beyond E-Learning", and was the Wednesday morning keynote. He presented some very practical ideas, although some were a bit pie-in-the-sky. Some of the juicier takeaways:

  • He suggests using technology tools only when they can do a better job at providing knowledge than the instructor. Seems like a "duh" but something that is easily forgotten with the ever-increasing number of academic tech tools available;
  • As the title of this post suggests, Marc coined the phrase "We are awash in content and starved for knowledge." This was a nod to the voluminous amounts of content we are surrounded with every day, but without the proper filters and methods for content delivery, we never learn.
  • He quotes Einstein saying "I never try to remember something I can look up." So why are we forcing the memorization of materials that can be just as easily Googled?
  • He suggests a redefinition of blended learning to include knowledge bases, communities of practice, performance support, easily accessed experts and expertise, and ample coaching and mentoring. That is, make it more than content delivery focused and more learning focused.
  • Rethink time. He stated that he, his parents, and his son, all went to college under the same model: credit hour, spent 3-4 per week per class in a classroom chair. The amount of time spent had nothing to do with the level of topic knowledge and learning need and everything to do with fitting into a standardized template used by higher ed for hundreds of year. Stop the madness.
  • Let's integrate but not be subservient to technology. This was a point that struck home for me as I think about how we use our LMS system, and how this requires course developers to develop courses based on the capabilities of the LMS system rather than the needs of the student.
  • If a faculty member comes to an instructional designer asking what they can do, does the designer have the latitude to suggest trying something different or will they go back to the ADDIE model and focus on the process? Hopefully, our IDTers understand that they have sufficient latitude to try different things (without going overboard!) on a small scale.
Marc also made mention of a white paper he co-authored titled Learning and Performance Ecosystems, a free download. Thank you, Marc, for the insights. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

At COLTT 2015 at CU Boulder campus, Josh Bernhard, CU Denver, spoke on the topic, "Must-Haves in Your Classroom: Qualtrics, ZOOM, and YouTube.

Josh uses the survey tool, Qualtrics ( for his classroom as a learning tool but this tool could be used to enhance online learning as well. This tool can also be used for quizzes in which learners can take it multiple times, thereby creating a learning opportunity. There are "back-end" metrics that the instructor has access to. I'm going to give this tool a try.

ZOOM is a web meeting tool that use frequently. An annual cost of under $100 provides a reliable meeting tool option. The only draw back at Regis U. is that it is not currently integrated with Outlook so once I schedule a meeting, I need to copy and paste (not hard right?) into an Outlook meeting invite.

YouTube - we all know about. I learned that YouTube now allows uploads of videos longer than 15 minutes. It's easy to set up. Here's an excerpt from YouTube's Help:

Upload videos longer than 15 minutes

By default, you can upload videos that are up to 15 minutes long. To upload longer videos, verify your account with the following steps.
  1. On a computer, visit the upload page
  2. Click Increase your limit at the bottom of the page, or visit
  3. Follow the steps to verify your account with a phone. You can choose between receiving the verification code through a text message (on a mobile phone) or an automated voice call.

Monday, August 17, 2015

COLTT Conference 2015

Guest post by:
Deb Bennett-Woods, Ed.D.
Professor, Health Services Education
Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions
Regis University

I attended the COLTT Conference last week with the specific intent to learn more about universal design.  If I understood the various presentations I attended, we have a fair challenge ahead of us, not to just  make courses accessible, but to make them both accessible AND remain engaging. 

In the many years since I have been teaching in the online and blended environment, I have worked hard to find ways to re-create some of the level of personal engagement and entertainment that is possible in the face-to-face environment.  Whether it is the addition of well-crafted audio slidecasts (with transcripts of course!) or the last minute link to a breaking news story or YouTube video that is just perfect for this moment in the course, I have looked for ways to diverge from fully text-based content.  Others have been far more creative than me in incorporating interesting technology apps into content delivery and student assignments. 

What struck me in the various presentations, which included a range from a general overview of accessibility tips to highly detailed workshops on making Word docs and PDFs accessible, was the sheer technical effort, awareness, and potential cost required to make every instructional element of a course fully accessible, especially prior to delivery.  Not only is there a steep learning curve for instructors like me whose technical skills rise just to the level to be dangerous, but the time and cost factors seem daunting.  I worry about having to adopt longer time frames for content development at the same time we are being pressed to move ever more quickly.  I worry about having to move more and more content back into a plain text format that students seem less and less inclined to read. I don’t want to lose the spontaneity of being able to post new content as soon as I find it.  I will worry that incorporating new and interesting applications into assignments and learning activities, such as the really cool polling software I saw in another session, will unwittingly create new barriers. 

I know there are ways around my concerns and I embrace the need to have courses be fully accessible to meet student needs.  Just as I made the transition from face-to-face to online, I will make this transition.  However, it will require a measure of support and the time to do it.  I’m interested to hear what strategies my own institution can bring to bear so faculty are using what time we have efficiently to meet necessary standards. 

The task could also benefit from some cooperative effort.  It makes little sense to have instructors all over the country closed-captioning the same video or creating audio files of the same texts and accessible pdfs of the same journal articles.  I hope that we quickly find a way to share accessible resources and application work-arounds so we can focus out time where it is best used – interacting with our students.    

COLTT Reflections

Guest post by
Fabrice Jotterand, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Health Services Administration
Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions
Regis University

It was my first time at COLTT and I came back with many ideas but also questions about how to use these various learning technologies. One of the issues in the back of my mind is how to make asynchronous classes more interactive so in some ways I was "shopping" for ideas. Some of the technologies presented provided some hints although I found some presentations very technical. 

Two sessions stood out. One was a plenary presentation that questioned the use of technology in teaching. More precisely the presenter pointed out that sometime we quickly jump to the acquisition to a new technology but we don't know exactly the nature of the problem we are trying to address in the classroom. The second session I very much enjoyed concerned the challenges of cyborg learning (how devices become integrated in our learning experience and its challenges, especially in the clinical context (the two presenters were from CU). 

All in all it was a good experience.

Monday, August 10, 2015

2015 COLTT Conference Carl’s Takeaways
With the low entrance fee and being in Boulder, I have to say this is a conference that is a good return on investment.  The organization and signage for the conference is great. It once again makes me realize that we really are ahead of the game in a lot of aspects when it comes to student learning.  I have to warn you, after seeing Jill’s and Jeff’s posting, by update may be boring.  There are no pictures, but I will share the highlights for me from the sessions that I attended:
Your Slides are Terrible
Jill also attended this session, and did a great job of capturing the highlights.  I will try to not repeat what she had captured.  But will emphasize that he was very big on simplicity being king.  He mentioned that for him, Prezi can be more of a distraction.
My Thoughts:  I think the presentation was very interesting, and was as much around presentation as it was around actual slide development.  Good presenter. 

Mobile Ready Course with Universal Design
·         11% of all college and university students have some type of disability
·         45% use tablets to access and 37% use smartphones to access information and this is on the rise. 
·         9 tips for better UD
1.      Use color and style responsibly
2.      Use Headings
3.      Use tables only for tabular data
4.      Have fallback options for media – text alternative
5.      Add descriptive text
6.      Reevaluate uploading outside documents
7.      Link with descriptive natural language
8.      Take your course on mobile test drive
9.      Keep it simple yet effective
My Thoughts: I really like the quote for Steve Jobs “Some people think design is how it looks, but it is how it works.”  I agree and how it looks is more the development side.  This presentation confirms that our department is on top of this and definitely headed in the right direction.  

Keynote Speaker Michael Feldstein
· is a site he and a partner created that is worth visiting.
·         Identified that all too often we start with here is what we are going to do, without first starting with, what do we need?
·         Mentioned that as an expert, you forget what it is like to be a novice learner (Doug after this weekend, this can be an inside joke for us).
My Thoughts: I really like him bringing to our attention that all too often we start with a solution, without first really understanding what is needed. 

One Weird Trick
So, the one weird trick is “Feedback”. 
·         Definition for feedback is timely intervention.
·         Feedback cannot fix bad design.
·         Various forms of feedback: Objective, 1 on 1, formative, summative, etc.
·         Feedback doesn’t have to come from an expert.
·         Feedback should be goal based.
·         Feedback needs to be timely.
·         Students want to know: What can I do?  What can’t I do? How am I doing? How can I do better?
My Thoughts: I like that he mentioned feedback cannot fix bad design, and I will add that bad design increases the need for feedback that wouldn’t be needed with a good design.  Feedback is critical to learning, and we aren’t real good at this.  I think this is an area of where we have an opportunity for improvement.  I think having it be a conversation loop and goal based is critical.

Tales from a MOOC, and How It Changed My On-Campus Courses
·         By week 5 of 8 week course had 21,268 students
·         Students do care about getting the certificate for completing the course.
·         6% completion rate, tut this doesn’t take into account the number of students who learned something
·         He spent a lot of time getting the MOOC ready:
o   370 hours general work
o   200 hours programming party game
o   100 hours for interactive course information web app.
·         He ran it again, but changed it to 12 weeks.  He added no new content, but had a 4 week recovery time where students just practiced what they had learned.
My thoughts: I went to this one since I’m not sold on MOOCs, and I wanted to see if this might change my mind.  It didn’t, but it was interesting. I like the idea of having recovery weeks. 

Presence +Experience Purposeful Design of Presence in Online Courses
·        With online dynamics of communication is different.
o   Community of Inquiry Model – a descriptive model of how we communicate with technology: 3 types of presence:
§  Social
§  Cognitive
§  Teaching
o   Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle
§  Experience
§  Examining
§  Explaining
§  Applying
o   For P+E you need to combine the two.
My thoughts:  This was a really good session.  I think we are trying to do this, but I like how this brings attention to it.  High touch can require getting hands-on experience.  In most cases this would make it a blended course.

Just-In-Time Teaching – Make It Shine
·         One issue is students can tell you the answer but not why that is the answer.
·         1/3 of students do the prep-work.
·         JITT involves online pre-class assignments (warm-up). The teacher reads through the responses to the assignments and uses this information to adjust what goes on in the classroom. This allows for active engagement in the class.
·         Readings are pre-work to warm-ups.  Warm-ups are 10% of their grade.
·         Need to make sure students know this is a partnership and helps the learning process.
·         Good resource:
·         Use LMS, email will drive you crazy.
My thoughts:   If students can’t tell you why, are they really learning? Really good concept. Only works as good as the facilitator makes it.  Would be interesting to discuss, can this concept be used for online?  I think this definitely should be considered for blended and classroom. 

Online Education Without Borders
·         Online education impacts the world.
·         Jesuit Commons Higher Education at the Margins
o   Sites (refugee camps)– may be solar, generator, or commercial electricity
o   Weather conditions impact when and how
·         Started in 2010 with 2 sites Malawi and Kenya, and now there are 10 sites.
·         Their culture, context, and time have to be incorporated into courses.
·         1,974 have enrolled in either a Diploma or CSLT programme.   328 have completed the diploma program.
My Thoughts: I really liked in the video a student saying, “We love learning, and hopefully we never stop.” I’m proud that Regis plays a major part in this type of program. This truly is making a difference.  I hope we are never the reason they stop learning.

Selecting Accessible Web-Based Learning Tools
·         CU leveraged outside expertise, built relationships, developed policy and standards.  Built capacity by creating positions to support the effort.
·         They audit services to determine issues
o   D2L is a star
o   Voice Thread is flash based so it isn’t.  Workaround requires typing it in and this isn’t an equivalent experience.
· standards – has their policy and standards
·         Recommend working with IT and Disability Services
·         Ask the right questions:
o   Is using the tool required for all students?
o   Is the Web Content Accessibility Compliant 2.0 AA?
o   Are there know accessibility issues with the web-based learning tool?
§  If yes, what are the workarounds and when are you fixing?
o   Have you done accessibility testing?
o   Is documentation for students that use assistive technology available?
·         Enterprise tools are not the responsibility of the faculty.
·         Quick test – if you can’t use it without a mouse, you have an issue.
My Thoughts: Good presentation.  I think we (Regis) needs to determine how we are going to build capacity.   I think CU maybe goes beyond what is required with external sites.  The list of questions is extensive.  I would hope that it is enough to ask are you ADA compliant and they respond in writing that they are, we have done due diligence.  Good contact person:

Active+Collaborative=learning: An online approach
·         Active learning is the combination of learning through reading, listening, seeing and having experiences – with a strong active component (focus on experience).
·         Assignments need to actively challenge students and encourage them to collaborate with their cohorts and instructor for increased engagement.
My Thoughts: I think our online courses could improve with collaboration and active learning. Regardless, with collaboration, I think we need to make sure we don’t force it in order to say we have it.  I watched a Ted presentation recently that did a great job of saying that group work may be overrated.  We need to create curiosity for learning.  I think making it relevant is critical. 

Winning the Student Engagement Game
·         Engagement is evidenced by working hard, persistence, attention, satisfaction, etc.
·         Active learning requires engagement
·         3 Things Needed
o   Collective Goals
o   Assigned Roles
o   Clear Communication
·         Give students a purpose for being in the class.
My Thoughts: The assigned roles are really important in any group activity, and I’m not sure this is stressed enough in our classes.  This was geared for the classroom, but the clear communication is even more important in online courses. 

I’ll end with this is a very good conference and the price is right!