Session 10 Response to Prompts

1. Identify five key concepts or themes related to eLearning Design and Development and explain what you know about each.

I want to focus this entry on five key concepts that I feel I’ve learned the most about over the last quarter:

  1. Image Copyrights
  2. Formative Evaluation
  3. Learning Objectives
  4. Teamwork
  5. Learner / Instructor / Content Analysis

Image Copyrights

  • After completing one of the reading assignments a few weeks ago, I sent a personal email to Dr. Newberry requesting more information on the usage of an image in a blog post.  I had just read the Horton copyright violation discussion on page 580 of the text, and was curious if an image I had used could be construed as having violated the copyright.  I got some great feedback from Dr. Newberry, and that started me on my journey to learn more:
     Remember there are four criteria that the courts use when determining the use of other people's work:
  1.      the amount of the original you use.
  2.      the nature of your use.
  3.      the nature or purpose of the original use.
  4.      the degree to which your use limits or restricts the owner of the right from making money from their right.
  • In my 501 Class, an opportunity arose to research copyright law as it pertained to e-learning, and I specifically focused on copyrights of images in e-learning.  During that research, I found this article which I found to be very helpful, especially regarding the term “fair use.” I also discovered that you can set Google Images to return a set of images that are free to use, share, or modify, even commercially:


Here’s an example of an unfiltered search for an image with the “copyright” search term.


Click on “Search tools” and then click on “Usage rights” to specify that you want only those items that you can  use, share, or modify, even commercially:


With those advanced parameters set, you can search for “copyright” again and now get a slightly different set of images (but the results are images that, ostensibly, you can use in your e-learning):


Now, be aware, that Google warns that you have to comply with the license on the site, and that often means attributing the image to its creator.  Here’s their direct statement: “Before reusing content that you’ve found, you should verify that its license is legitimate and check the exact terms of reuse stated in the license. For example, most licenses require that you give credit to the image creator when reusing an image. Google has no way of knowing whether the license is legitimate, so we aren’t making any representation that the content is actually or lawfully licensed.”

Here are some sites that contain images you can use:

Formative Evaluation

  • There are mainly two types of formative evaluation – “alpha tests” are meant to check media fidelity and “beta tests,” which come later, are meant to understand the appropriateness of the material.
  • 541 Group Project: In the 541 Group Project, we incorporated two Formative Evaluations within each module: one for the lectures and one for the discussions.  We wanted to give students a voice in how effective or ineffective they believed the lectures or discussions to be.

 6. Lecture Evaluation Form

  • 544 Group project: In the 544 Group Project, we incorporated a Formative Evaluation into the design of the course for each module, giving students a voice in how effective or ineffective they believed a module to be.


Connie Malamed hosted a podcast which addressed the feedback loop, and it was this podcast which inspired me to include the Formative Evaluation components into both group projects as a part of the overall design.

Learning Objectives

  • Horton spends many pages on learning objectives, with the “Teach ____ to ____ who _____” as the model.  However, I think the key element of a learning objective is missing from this definition.  The question of “How will you know that they learned _____ ” is essential to creating a test, and that test, necessarily influences what will be taught.
  • 544 Group Project: Before we could even begin the process, we had to nail down the learning objective.  In a lot of ways, that meant nailing down the test that we were going to create to see if the user had accomplished what we wanted them to accomplish.  Once the test was created, it helped to limit the scope of the information we were going to present.  In fact, once the test was created, it became much easier to decide on which activities would be most impactful.
  • Horton buries four “secrets to e-learning” on page 585 and the second one is to create clear learning objectives.


  • Both my 541and my 544 Group Projects have really made it clear just how essential it is to be able to function as a team.  As a team leader, it is important to disseminate tasks quickly so that everyone isn’t in a holding pattern.  New ideas should be recognized and valued immediately, as well.
  • I completely agree with Dr. Newberry’s assertion that an initial or early-stage synchronous meeting is preferable (and face-to-face is ideal).  Connecting someone’s face and personality with the work they’ll be submitting helps to encourage empathy and foster relationships.
  • I think it’s important to quickly identify the different strengths of different team members, and make sure they get to participate in areas that will play to those strengths.  You’ll get a better result, and each member will feel valued and that they are truly contributing to the success of the project.

Learner / Instructor / Content Analysis

  • One of the most valuable exercises was the 541 Group Project  “mock” interview role-play with the intended instructor.  In this role-play, I felt that my ability to ask questions was exercised, and I no longer have any qualms about gathering requirements from an instructor.
  • I feel comfortable now in analyzing the needs of the content, insofar as what would need to be presented to the learner in order to effectively teach that content.
  • In the same way, I am also comfortable in my ability to ask the instructor about what preferences or abilities he or she may have that might affect learners.
  • And finally, I am confident in my ability to gather requirements of the learners, and ask them questions that will lead to more effective e-learning.

2. Speculate on the future of eLearning and what your role in that future might be.

I think there will be more opportunity to consume traditional journal articles as audio files.  In the 541 Group Project, I proposed the idea that the packet of PDF files for the History of Western Civilization class could have each file augmented with an audio file.  This  idea was proposed as a solution to the instructor’s dissatisfaction with students not doing the reading.

I recently completed a paper for the 501 class  by reducing the text of four articles to text files for listening in the Capti iPhone app, allowing for consumption of learning content while driving, exercising, walking the dogs, cleaning my office, and searching my storage unit for an old document.

My role in the future might be to develop a learning management systems that allow self-paced learning, but whose courses are not self-contained.  Interactions with learning consultants (instructors) and cohorts that are at the same point in a self-paced course would be possible, thus creating a learning environment free to adapt to the changing schedules and various conflicts of learners.  A community of inquiry could still be present in such a hosted course, complete with social presence and teacher presence.

I also like the notion that I could develop this “create-your-own-pre-test” software tool, where you could highlight a sentence from a reading imported into the system, and then highlight key words from it in a different color.   Submitting that sentence to a question database would essentially allow such a system to provide pre-test questions with “blanks” that you would fill in.  I think it would be a quick way to create helpful study guides.  Then, the related app could send you questions with push notifications (you could control the frequency).  It would be a way to keep readings fresh in your mind as the term progresses.

Highlight Study

_____ imposed upon the bigger boys a special rule. In the very streets they were to keep their two hands within ____; they were to walk _____ and without turning their heads to gaze

3. Revise the eLearning development template/instructional design process you developed earlier for yourself.


Be sure to:

a) List all of the roles of people who will be involved in the typical development.

Typically, the people involved will just be me, the subject matter expert, and my testers.

b) Identify your role.

I will serve as the instructional designer and the course developer.  I will also make sure all courses perform as expected and are published correctly to the LMS.

c) Explain the type of courses or other eLearning development the template is for (higher education course, corporate training etc.)

The template is for corporate sector e-learning development that will consist of self-contained courses designed for users of our rigging and lifting products.

d) Provide a clear label for all included elements.

The above diagram is so labeled.  Click on the diagram to see a larger version if the labels are unclear.

e) Provide a clear description of each included element.

The elements were largely taken from Horton’s 11 steps, with some changes and some additional steps that I added.   See the narrative below for descriptions of each included element.

f) Provide a narrative explaining how the template would be used.

The template is used like so:  Upper level management decides what they want to see courses on, and those ideas are communicated to me.  I work with the subject matter expert, a retired luminary in the rigging and lifting industry.  He decides what should be taught in the course to meet the underlying goals, and he and I hash out what the needs of the resulting content will be.  Meanwhile, I am trying to figure out his needs while also trying to understand the needs of the learners that will be taking the course.  He has familiarity with those learners, and is therefore able to contribute to my understanding of their needs.  He does a first pass of the content, setting the learning objectives (he has a degree in adult education).  I work together with him to understand his intent for the learning objectives and provide input.  He then decides what prerequisites would be required in order for the learners to use the course.  As the instructional designer, it is my responsibility to pick the approach to meet each objective, however, our SME is also qualified to do this, so he typically will do so during the first pass.  The SME suggests the sequence for teaching the different objectives and I give input.  Together, he and I create the learning objects to accomplish each objective, and with the help of the SME, I develop tests and non-graded assessment activities.  He and I then select learning activities that will allow the user to learn the material upon which they will be tested.  With input from the SME on appropriate photos, videos, audio and other media, I populate the learning activities with engaging multimedia, making sure that our learning objects are free of copyright violations.  I do some preliminary testing of the product at the end of the development phase and get several individuals involved who will be helping to test the product.  I add in a formative evaluation component that will allow learners to communicate back to us if there were any difficulties, or if they have ideas for improvement after the course is published.  I then publish the evaluation version of the self-contained course and let the testers do some alpha testing.  After making any alpha revisions required, I then identify participants for a beta program and release the product to them.   I then further revise the course based on the beta tests and release the course.

Posted in Assignments

Session 9 Response to Prompts

1. Define the terms “Game” and “Simulation” as they relate to eLearning.

According to Horton (2011), the two terms can be used almost interchangeably, and are defined as interactions that allow a learner to practice tasks, apply knowledge, and infer principles while having fun.  Games may have an emphasis on score-keeping, and can be thought of as a simulation combined with a “personally challenging task” (Horton, 2011, p. 325).  On the other hand, simulations may look more realistic, and may be designed to more accurately reflect the interactions and/or work environment they are designed to simulate, providing familiar context for the learning.

2. What are the key characteristics of a Simulation?

In contrast to a demonstration, a simulation allows the learner to control the sequence of events.  Instead of being passive, learners are actively deciding and acting within the simulation.  A simulation stimulates learning through the practice of “doing,” not just watching or listening to an explanation, and the authentic feedback in response to that “doing” is what provides the learning experience.

3. What are some of the strengths or advantages of Games and Simulations in eLearning?

Here’s a great PDF on the strengths of games and simulations in e-learning.

It includes a discussion of the following ten pedagogic reasons for including games in e-learning:

  •  Motivation
  •  Learner-centricity
  •  Personalization
  •  Incremental learning
  •  Contextualization
  •  Rich media mix
  •  Safe failure
  • Immediate feedback
  •  Lots of practice and reinforcement
  •  Lots of collaboration

4. What are some of the weaknesses or disadvantages of Games and Simulations in eLearning?

Dr. Heather Coffey from The UNC School of Education, in this page states:

“games may be more distracting than a typical learning tool and that the goals of the games do not necessarily always align with the learning goals of the classroom.”

I think another perceived weakness of learning games and simulations is their necessary simplification.  Often, creating an activity that is fun requires the glossing over of certain details that must be dealt with in reality.  Those details are often extremely important to the task, but would be hard to design into a game or simulation, and so therefore they may not get the attention they deserve.

5. Pick a topic and describe a game or a simulation that would be an effective learning activity.

At the convention where I was working the booth this past week, a question came up regarding the positioning of our products, and how, under certain circumstances, the capacity of our products must be de-rated by 30% or even 50%.  I would like to create a simulation of a job site where a user has to attach our products to a variety different fasteners.  Supplied with the load weight, the learner would have to measure the fastener’s dimensions (pad eye, or lug nut, or swivel hoist ring) and then, using our catalog, determine the appropriate shackle to use.  For scoring, I would use the visual of a truck driving from the yard to the job site, with points being subtracted for every trip (gas + time).  But then a bonus would be paid out if the choice was correct.


6. Describe the development process you would use to create the game or simulation described above.


Rather than try to do all of this in 3D, I think I would choose a 2D approach.  I’d hate to use Flash, because I’d like learners to be able to play this game on an iPad.  So, I’d probably program it in GWT (Google Web Toolkit) or straight JavaScript.

1) I would write out the different scenarios, with the load weights and fastener types, noting which shackles should be used.

2) I’d create the graphical assets:

  • the truck
  • the different job site environments
  • the front, top, and side views of the shackles and the fasteners
  • any other objects that would be populating the different job site scenes

3) I’d build and program interactivity into the interface

4) I’d program the scoring mechanism

5) I’d record voice-over narration for the activity

6) I’d get some formative evaluation to see what I should change

7) I would revise it.

8) I would release it.



Horton, William. E-Learning by Design (Second Edition). (2011) San Francisco: Pfeiffer.

Posted in Assignments

Session 8 Response To Prompts

1. List the two levels of testing as outlined in the presentation and discuss each one in turn. Then describe the types of testing activities for each level of testing.

  • Testing for Media Fidelity
  • Testing for Effectiveness of Media Delivery

If you record an audio file for a podcast, videotape an interaction, or even want to post an image, these two levels of testing are necessary to ensure that your message will be delivered to the learner.


Let’s take, for example, a recent project I did for another class.  We wanted to create 4 videos of interactions between two people – two that would supply examples of ideal interactions showing active listening techniques, and 2 that were negative examples.  On the day of the filming, I needed to make sure that there was as little background noise as possible so that the sound quality would be as high as possible.  Before starting our filming session, I did some tests to see what the audio would sounds like.  By taping for a bit, having the participants speak, and then playing back the video, I was able to have confidence that what I would record would be of an acceptable quality.

Ideally, after each “print” take (the ones you want to use), you would play back the take to make sure that everything was recorded, however, time constraints often don’t allow this.  So, I examined the fidelity of the video clips after transferring them to my computer for editing.  After editing, I examined the video once again to make sure that the audio, fade-in, fade-out, titling, and editing had been captured in the final output video file.


The second level of testing came into play after I uploaded each of the videos to YouTube.  I could view the videos in YouTube, but in actuality, the videos would be playing inside an Articulate Storyline shell, so the right way to do this second level of testing was to create my Articulate Storyline file, upload it to the website, and then test the video within that environment.  Even testing the video on my local machine was not as good a test as viewing the Storyline file from the web site, because the learner would be viewing the instructional material from the web site (not as a downloaded program running locally on a laptop, for instance).

If you’d like to see what this instruction looks like, you can interact with it here:


2. What is ADA and how does it apply to the design and development of eLearning materials?

ADA is the American Disabilities Act of 1990, designed to protect the rights of persons with disabilities.  ADA defines who a disabled person is, and this is particularly relevant to e-learning materials created for or by the federal government.  The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design don’t specifically address electronic information systems, such as those that would include e-learning, however, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was amended in 1998 to state that “all electronic and information technology procured, used or developed by the federal government” must be made accessible to people with disabilities (Section 508).  Creators of e-learning limit the applicability of their product if  they do not design their e-learning to be Section 508 compliant.

I thought this site was helpful in explaining not only what Section 508 compliance means, but it also discusses the design techniques that we as e-learning designers should be cognizant of when trying to accommodate learners with less obvious disabilities, such as Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder, Dyslexia, and others:

Here’s a quote from the article on ADA:

ADA prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation. ADA states that a disabled individual is a person who meets at least one of the following tests:

  • He or she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of his/her major life activities
  • He or she has a record of such an impairment
  • He or she is regarded as having such an impairment

I also found this PDF which addresses section 508 as it applies to e-learning:

It gives a quick visual overview of features that can make something ADA and Section 508 compliant, such as readable narrative text, captioned videos, etc.

3. What is your institution’s policy towards ADA and eLearning? Explain what this means in practical terms and what you think the strengths and weaknesses of the policy.

Crosby provides self-paced online learning for distributors of its products, and soon, we hope to provide training for end-users.   While we don’t have an official policy, we do make the narration text available for learners to read.  We do not provide captioning for our videos.  We also do not allow the learner to increase the font size.  These are weaknesses that we should address in our next round of e-learning development, especially as we target the larger pool of end-user learners.  We have many older individuals in our industry, and their failing eyesight could really be an impairment to learning if we don’t allow them to increase the font size to their liking.  In addition, some of our end-users may be hard of hearing due to prolonged exposure to loud construction sites and the operation of heavy equipment.  Allowing the learner to read the text is one thing, but if the font size in which it is presented is too small for them to read, then our carefully constructed e-learning course will be reduced to nothing more than a slide show.

4. Revisit the 11 instructional design steps presented in chapter 1 of the text (Design Quickly and Reliably).* Revise this 11 step system using what you now know about development and testing. Try to create your own instructional design process/template that you might actually use. Briefly explain your modifications.

  • Identify your underlying goal
  • Analyze learners’ needs and abilities
  • Analyze instructor needs, abilities and preferences
  • Analyze content needs
  • Identify what to teach
  • Set learning objectives
  • Identify prerequisites
  • Pick the approach to meet each objective
  • Decide the teaching sequence of your objectives
  • Create objects to accomplish objectives
  • Create tests and assessment activities
  • Select learning activities
  • Choose Media, with care taken to respect copyrights
  • Test Media fidelity in development environment
  • Add formative evaluation survey component
  • Publish version for evaluation
  • Test Media (alpha test)
  • Identify participants in evaluation and perform formative evaluation (beta test)

I created specific steps to identify the needs of the instructor and the content, added two steps for media testing, added a step for publishing the media for evaluation, and added two steps for formative evaluation (alpha and beta testing).  I also modified the “Choose Media” step to pay careful attention to copyrighted material.

Posted in Assignments

Session 7 Response to Prompts

1. Why is media selection important in e-Learning?

Without an instructor presenting the material, as is done in a traditional classroom, the media takes the place of the instructor. This is particularly important in light of research done by R. E. Mayer and others as outlined in this article on the Six Principles of Effective E-Learning: What Works and Why.

In particular, that research found that using gratuitous visuals, text, and sounds can hurt learning, and that the use of conversational tone and “pedagogical agents” can increase learning:


This research also gives key insights in how to use text, graphics, and sound in the right ways to increase learning, and how to avoid using them in ways that impair learning.


(Both images above are from the aforementioned Six Principles of Effective E-Learning article.)

2. Define “new media”?

New media is an umbrella term that encompasses everything from simulated real-time environments, like Second Life, to ubiquitous video sites like YouTube and TeacherTube, to web sites like Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, and many other “social media” sites.


3. Choose a “new media” and explain it’s strengths and weaknesses for supporting e-Learning.

I actually investigated Second Life several years ago, and just recovered my login and username tonight to take another poke around. Originally, I was intrigued by the opportunity to create an environment limited only by my imagination. However, even though I didn’t have to worry about physics in Second Life, the ability to build and create was constrained by another Real Life element – money. In order to build a place of my own, I had to use real money that could pay bills or buy food, and I just wasn’t able to bring myself to pay for “virtual’ real estate.


I spent lots of time flying around, looking at the buildings that others had made, but at the time that I visited, there were no other people with whom I could interact. It was as if the world had ended, leaving the husks of several domiciles, and I was the only one left alive, and gifted with the power of flight.

While my experience could use some updating, I see the following weaknesses and strengths:

Weaknesses include the necessity for each participant to create an account and master the user interface. This requirement also holds for Blackboard or another LMS as well, however, Second Life provides some navigational challenges that are not as common as the interface elements used to navigate an LMS in a web browser.

Another challenge is the cost of generating learning content. In order to do so, real estate must be purchased and resources must either be constructed or purchased. Either way, the cost to create something is in either the objects themselves, or in the time paid to the individuals to create them.

Yet another challenge lies in the learner expectations of the activity. Part of the unique experience of Second Life is the exploration of the environment. Even if you were to get all of your target learners to create accounts and log in, and you had the money to buy your educational real-estate, your learners might get bored very quickly if they were asked to “stay in one place” and absorb the instructional material that you wanted to present.

Instead, a “scavenger hunt” type activity might be more appropriate for the environment. However, creating such an activity would make the complication of mastering the interface even more of an issue, and such an activity would necessitate the purchase of multiple locations for learning content, increasing the expense. Plus, there would have to be a “learning-relevant” reason to spread out the information to multiple locations, otherwise, it would just make the information more difficult to consume, not “more fun”.


There’s a great book called “Ready Player One” which, in essence, is built around the idea of an environment like Second Life being the main educational and entertainment medium in the future. I think it’s an amazing book, and really enjoyed it, which is one of the reasons why I chose to discuss this form of “new media” in this blog post.

In the book, students can interact with the environment using a tactile interface, allowing them to manipulate objects in the virtual world as they would in real life. While that may provide a more intuitive way of interacting with instructional material, the real benefit is the immersion into a visually rich and engaging virtual environment.

It’s clear that just as a video or animation must be designed with sound instructional principles, so would an interaction in Second Life. Not all instructional material is going to be right for that environment, but for certain topics, an immersive virtual environment might be ideal. But in order to generate enough content to make the environment rich, sophisticated yet easy-to-use tools would have to be developed that would allow such things to easily come to life. For instance, let’s take Moby Dick. A Second Life environment could show you images of artwork inspired by the book. It might be more immersive than a web page with the same pictures, but would it really help the reader understand the themes of the book and their significance? A 3D Whale swimming violently through the 3D environment, while a narrator narrates a particularly moving passage from the book, might be exciting to watch, but I question whether this would be regarded as a “seductive detail” – one that is flashy, but doesn’t really enhance learning.


On the other hand, a Second Life virtual environment that reproduces the Periodic Table of Elements exhibit that can be found at the Griffith Observatory (pictured below) might be fantastic. Instead of these elements being locked behind glass, perhaps touching each one could load another virtual environment representing a location where the element was first discovered, complete with its own learning activity. With a traditional web page, you could launch a video, but perhaps the interactive virtual environment has an immersive “seek-and-find” activity. Each activity could let the learner see things from the perspective of the men and women who discovered the elements, giving the learner more context for each element, and more opportunities to reinforce the encoding of knowledge for each one.


4. Explain the term “Mobile Learning” and discuss the importance of “Mobile Learning in the current e-Learning environment and in future e-Learning environments.

“Mobile Learning” refers to the the interaction that a user might have with a mobile device, such as a mobile phone, or small tablet, for the purpose of consuming instructional content. In the current learning environment, mobile learning can involve the use of device-specific technologies – a GPS, SMS text messaging, integrated camera, and email – as tools for engagement. As an example, there’s a site called scvngr ( that provides a framework for creating scavenger hunts that could be used for mobile learning. The example in the Horton text uses a mobile scavenger hunt to teach learners about architecture. Another idea might have a new employee take pictures of several locations and people: where to go in case a fire alarm sounds, where he or she would go to get resources, and the people to whom they should turn for orientation or help.

In future e-Learning environments, I can see “Mobile Learning” extending to devices like Google Glass. ( Not all instruction is ideal for the mobile device platform, however, mobile devices can be used as the means for interacting with a community of inquiry, and can encourage a social constructivist approach, leading to higher-order learning, if used effectively. The mobile device’s importance as an instrument of learning will likely grow in the future, as new devices with new capabilities emerge. As creative instructional designers, it will be up to us to imagine innovative ways to use them. Perhaps by creating augmented reality learning modules, we can give learners a type of “x-ray vision” or “overlay vision” that can label and describe the complexities of our real-world environments. For instance, with a Google Glass type device, you could look at a stick bug, the integrated camera would pass the visual information to a computer-vision algorithm that can recognize the insect, the program would then reconcile the insect’s current position with that of a 3D model of its anatomy, and a graphical overlay could be sent to the viewing device, labeling the parts of the stick-bug’s anatomy, moving the labels in real-time as the bug moves.


5. Explain the term “Virtual Classroom”. Describe how a “Virtual Classroom” can be used in eLearning.

A “Virtual Classroom” is a synchronous virtual environment in which multiple participants are engaged within the same virtual space, explicitly for the purpose of learning.

A “Virtual Classroom” can be used in e-learning in much the same way that a traditional classroom can be used – to deliver lectures and presentations, collect feedback, and engender thought-provoking discussion. It can have some advantages over traditional classrooms, such as the ability to type in a comment to the class while the instructor is speaking, when in real life, the person might have been too shy to raise their hand. Another obvious advantage is the ability to gather multiple students in a space without requiring them to travel. An example of a virtual classroom is Blackboard’s Collaborate, or Adobe Connect, or WebEx Training Center, which I have used in a business context. All three are similar tools, and attempt to provide virtual analogs to real-life classroom participation expressions (raising a hand, expressions of agreement, disagreement of confusion, etc.) There’s a company called InSync Training that offers paid online training courses, but they also offer free “introduction” courses for the purpose of familiarizing yourself with the synchronous user-interface in which the courses will be taught. I thought this was a great idea, because it allows the learner to master the user-interface separately from the online class. When the time comes for the class, I think the familiarity with the tool would allow the content of the online training to be absorbed with less interference.

Posted in Assignments

Session 6 Response to Prompts

1. Describe an “Absorb” type activity for one of the objectives in the course plan your team developed.

The most obvious “Absorb” type activities are the lectures that Professor Hunziker would like to record.  If we take each lecture as its own objective, then I propose we look at the lecture for the Crisis of the Middle Ages.


This lecture would probably consist of a 45 to 50 minute verbal lecture by Dr. Hunziker, wherein he describes the impact of the Great Famine, the Black Plaque, the decline of church authority and the Hundred Years War.

2. Describe a “Do” type activity for one of the objectives in the course plan your team developed.

A short “Do” type activity would be the Post-Test that we created after each set of lectures, as a way to stimulate recall of the lecture, but that’s not a very powerful way to transform learning into knowledge.  Instead, I would suggest a good “Do” type activity would be the  writing of one of the papers.  The second paper is a 4-5 page paper that incorporates the thinking of two different authors and discusses the differences in their individual pursuit of truth.

3. Describe a “Connect” type activity for one of the objectives in the course plan your team developed.

A “Connect” type activity that would allow the students to draw connections between what they have learned and then apply it to their lives would have to take place in the discussion activity, I believe.  I found an article on “Deep Conceptual Learning” that talks about the importance of creating connections, and I think this is a heavy responsibility on the graduate students.  As this is where learning is cemented, I think that Dr. Hunziker should be heavily involved in the discussion topics that are chosen for each of the discussions.

4. Choose one of the above activities and discuss the process you would use to create this presentation. For this task assume that you have no additional assistance other than the instructor who would be able to write content as you describe it and perform for a recording as needed.

I am going to choose the production of the video lecture.

  1. Initial phone conversation with Dr, Hunziker.  Discuss appropriate wardrobe (single color shirt, no green, no stripes), and firm up date to film. Go over the three pre-test questions I will be asking for on the day of the lecture, as well as the electronic lecture notes we’ll need. Also go over a request for him to gather links for any artwork that he’d like to link to in the lecture.  (Some links are provided on the introductory web page, but there may be more).
  2. Meet with Dr. Hunziker three days before initial filming.  Show him the equipment I’ll be using.  Load up all of the graphics and lecture notes on the “silent laptop”, in the defined order, for his lecture, just as if he would be projecting the artwork onto a screen behind him using a PowerPoint presentation.  Explain that as he does his presentation, we will be recording only him, while he can see his running PowerPoint at eye level, with “record timings” set to “on” for his artwork that he would want to display to the students.  He’ll be in front of a green screen.  Explain that, when the student is watching the lecture, the video will be on him the entire time.  When he switches to a graphic that he wants the user to see, the visual cue of his background changing will occur, showing part of the graphic as if it were being projected on a massive screen behind him.  The student won’t be able to see all of the artwork, but explain that when watching the video, the student will be able to click on an icon on their screen to show the artwork that is being partially displayed, and they will be able to zoom in, pan, etc., while listening to the lecture.
  3. The night before filming, charge camera batteries, check lenses, gather tripod, camera, sound, and lighting equipment.  Get extension cords, video cables, sound cables, and external HDMI monitor.  Check camera settings to record in the appropriate resolution (HD 1080P).  Gather “silent laptop”, Bluetooth clicker, and fresh batteries.  Gather dry erase markers, clapboard, cinefoil, lighting filters, clothespins, reflectors, diffusion gel, powder (make-up), lavalier microphone and fresh batteries for the mic.  Check green screen and stand.  Bring an “emergency shirt” just in case – a neutral gray sweater roughly Dr. Hunziker’s size.  Pack all equipment in the vehicle, including snacks and bottled water.
  4. On the day of production, arrive 3 hours before Dr. Hunziker.   Set up green screen and check to make sure it is uniformly lit.  Set up lighting equipment.  Set up camera on tripod.  Check sound.  Make sure there are no air conditioners or soda machines making ambient noise.  Set up “silent laptop” and make sure it is out of frame but is elevated at a good eye line.  Pair Bluetooth clicker with laptop and load up his PowerPoint with artwork.
  5. Have Dr. Hunziker arrive at the pre-arranged recording location.   Check his wardrobe.  Ask about any additional artwork we need to load up, or any lecture notes he’d like to see as he is presenting.  Get him into position for lighting.  Light Dr. Hunziker so that that no shadows fall on the green screen.  Make sure he goes to the bathroom.  Attach the lavalier mic to him.  Powder his forehead if he needs it.  Check framing.  Check and adjust height of “silent laptop”.  Allow Dr. Hunziker to practice with the clicker.   Turn laptop into “record timings” mode.  Start back-up video recording software which will also record timings.
  6. Get the three pre-test questions from him.  Ask if he’s ready to begin.
  7. Put on headphones, do a mic check.  Speed.  Roll camera.  Use clapboard to mark scene.  Action.  Record the lecture.  And cut.  (Do a quick take to check all equipment and the quality of the recording, then begin in earnest and repeat as necessary).
  8. Mark which takes are the best, changing the clapboard each time.  Tail slate any takes that are an immediate go.
  9. Thank Dr. Hunziker, check the laptop, turn off the recording software, spot check that all media was recorded correctly, break down the equipment and go home.
  10. Load raw footage into video editing software.  Add university splash logo and introductory text.  Set chroma key.  Remove green background.  Download all artwork and save to local files.  Load in artwork on a new visible video layer behind Dr. Hunziker, applying blur filter.  Make timings match by reviewing timings as recorded on the “silent laptop”.  Perform any necessary color correction or editing.  Use cross-fades when splicing two different takes.
  11. Host video within an Articulate Storyline frame, using the timings to display artwork icons that link to the different pieces of artwork shown in the lecture, giving the video an “interactive” feel.
  12. Call Dr. Hunziker and arrange for review of editing lecture before publishing.  Send email of lecture on private Vimeo site.
  13. Apply any changes, or set a reshoot date (redoing any appropriate steps above) then send secondary email for approval of edited lecture.
  14. Once approved, publish to location where lectures will be hosted for the course.  Note the video  link and add it to the appropriate Trello card.  The lecture is now available.

5. Discuss how would your approach for the above task would be different if you were directing the development efforts of a team that included a graphic designer, a video editor and a web programmer along with all of the tools that such a team would typically use.

Oops.  I guess I cheated.  I would still make sure we did all of the above tasks and would just disseminate many of them to other people.  I suppose I would ask a graphic designer to look for even more artwork that we could use for each lecture, and I would ask him or her to design the opening sequence for each lecture, and be the one to design all of the graphic overlays.  The video editor would do pretty much the same as I described above.  A web programmer might not be able to add much more to the above process, but if we didn’t have Articulate Storyline, he could help us make sure we could create an interactive video that could link to the artwork.

6. The text presents test types and presents a list of common types of test questions. In light of these, describe a test that would be appropriate for the class your team planned in the previous session.

On page 242 of the Horton text, there’s a table that suggests that for this type of content (Know X about Y), the pick multiple question type is best suited.  I think a test, then, that contained such questions would be appropriate.  These tests could be electronically scored, making feedback to the learner immediate, however, care must be taken in forming the questions so that simple Google searches will not reveal the answers in the blink of an eye.  If the emphasis of the test is to check the breadth and depth of the learner’s knowledge, and the tests will be taken completely online with no supervision, then a test consisting of composition questions might be better.  It would require human grading, but is more likely to reveal the degree to which each student has comprehended and synthesized the material.


Horton, William. E-Learning by Design (Second Edition). (2011) San Francisco: Pfeiffer.

Posted in Assignments

Session 5 Response to Prompts

1) Discuss your role in the group project

This week, I’m going to post a video for you!  Sit back and relax for a minute!  (Or nine…)

541 Group Project.

Team projects are always a massive undertaking.  Even if you can clearly delineate tasks, there still has to be a consolidation phase.

Our team met in person on February 4th.  We wanted to get started immediately, knowing how much work we had to accomplish in a week.

We used the hour and a half meeting to come up with a design for the course, and quickly hit upon some key elements that stayed in our design: the use of pretests and post-tests with lectures, and the realization that synchronous discussion meetings would be the best way to go to keep the time-commitment down for the students.  (Posting to boards asynchronously takes an enormous amount of time, if you are going to do it right.)

We started the meeting at 9:00 PM after ETEC 544.  Here’s a shot of the board before we left the CSUSB campus at around 10:30 PM on Tuesday:


We spent the time going over the assignment and coming up with a design, but we decided we would divide up the tasks later over email, after everyone listened to the Talkshoe podcast a second time.

When that division of labor came up, I became the editor and owner of the process of consolidating the course design document (created by Hye su) with the development plan document (created by Tsai), and was going to start the Trello prototype cards (which I would then hand off to Meng to complete), and would create the mock-up web site pages that would describe how the students would interact with lecture pretests, post-tests, submission forms, evaluation forms, and the synchronous discussion forum.  I’m also well-versed in using Microsoft Visio, so I would be helping to create some of the diagrams and timelines.

I’m actually pretty proud of the flow chart I created for the creation of media for this course, which you can view here: Resource Flow Chart

For the mock-up web pages, I used Mockingbird. (  For $9 a month, I figured I couldn’t go wrong!  I am now using this site for work, and for my 544 class as well, and it’s fully collaborative.  You can see all of the mock-up pages I did for our 541 project by clicking through the different pages, if you are curious.

To create the rough-in of the course calendar, I used this site (, and then added in all of the information from the UNC Chapel Hill Academic year and the specific tasks for the course using Adobe Acrobat Pro.  Here’s the result: Course Calendar

And, of course, our entire course Prototype was made with Trello. (

2. Discuss your thoughts on the instructional design process in light of this project

I have to envision what I am going to build before I build it.  That’s the engineer in me.  I think, in this case, having a working prototype made it very easy to walk through the design from the student’s perspective, and get a feel for how it could work.

I had a blast creating the diagrams, creating the mock-up web pages, imagining how we could address the needs of the students, and found myself coming up with some cool ideas through this process.  (One of which is allowing the students to create their own question banks from the readings, allowing them to create their own mock quizzes as a study aid for the final exam.)

As a team, we really stuck to our original design that we came up with together, and I think that really helped.  It never felt like we were “changing horses in mid-stream”.  We added to the design with some neat ideas, but we didn’t switch from synchronous discussions to asynchronous discussion boards, for instance.

I really enjoyed working with my team.  Building a prototype was beyond the scope of the project, but it was so helpful to really envision the project.  I wish that we could have made our presentation to Dr. Hunziker, to show him our vision of how the course could work and to get his feedback on our design proposal.

Maybe you could play the role of Dr. Hunziker and give us feedback?

Posted in Uncategorized

Session 4 Response to Prompts

Each individual member of the team will make a blog post this week discussing their role in the group project and their thoughts on the instructional design process.

1. My Role


I like this graphic of teamwork.  To me, it expresses the notion of equal participation in pursuit of a solution.  As a member of a team, I have never been afraid to embarrass myself, nor am I afraid to fail.  So, it stands to reason that I am usually foolish enough to offer up my services to lead teams, committees, and group projects.  It’s just who I am.  It’s a trait that often gets me into hot water, but it is also a skill that I believe is valuable to exercise.  I function as a manager in my organization, so leadership is an ability I hope to strengthen through frequent and deliberate practice.

In our current team project, I offered to be the primary contact, and stated that I would be present for the synchronous Skype meeting. Since English is a second language for each of the other members of our team, it seemed natural, and when I asked the other team members via email, there were no objections.

I quickly set to creating a Trello board for our project, which you can view here:

In an effort to create team cohesion, I looked for pictures of each of the team members, and created separate cards for each of us showing our picture.  On these individual cards, I then created links to each of our introductory blog posts so that all team members could easily visit the blogs of the other members.  I read each of their introductory blog posts again, and left a comment on each.

I then created individual cards for each of this week’s 5 tasks and sent out emails to the team, providing a link to the Trello board, to the Talkshoe link from the synchronous meeting, and I asked for each of their Skype addresses so that we could do a synchronous meeting, per Dr. Newberry’s suggestion.  We were able to pull a synchronous meeting together for most of the team, however, while I was able to explain the tasks we needed to accomplish, it became clear that the language barrier was going to prove too significant to allow synchronous brainstorming, or the negotiation of individual roles and responsibilities.  So, I took Dr. Newberry’s suggestion of dividing up the 11 steps and asking for participation via email with my set of questions already filled in to provide examples.  When the language barrier was more significant, I provided some suggestions for re-phrasing and for additional questions.

If found this link on overcoming language barriers to be helpful in my communication with my team:

As I write this, I am expecting to receive the last of the contributions to arrive via email, and will submit the team assignment when that occurs.

2. My Thoughts On the Instructional Design Process

In an attempt to address this part of the post in a creative way, I’m going to express my thoughts as a possible business opportunity that I see, as it relates to a statement that Dr. Newberry made in his podcast this week:

It takes a considerable amount of time to develop content for presentation in an online mode in comparison to delivering a lecture in a face-to-face class. There is a lot of work in the development and testing of that content before it is ever seen by a student. … All of this can be a very time intensive process and time is something that we in higher education tend to value and want to conserve.

Two weeks ago, another of my classes met with Takiya Moore, an instructional designer at CSUSB who believes that CSUSB will not have the predicted 50% of courses be e-learning based by 2019, largely due to the resistance of the faculty to put their classes into an online format, and in light of all of the additional effort it would take, it is not hard to see why.

Enter the business venture named “Student ID” – a mash-up of “21-Jump Street” and the process of creating learning objectives!Image

So, the company “Student ID” (“Student Instructional Design”) places “students” in a traditional face-to-face classroom who are not actually enrolled in the class for a grade.  Instead, the “student” is a professional instructional designer, placed in the class to see, hear, and experience the course with their full will bent on creating an online course version of the class, but not on learning the content itself.  (Of course, the professor would know this, and so would the other students, but I couldn’t resist the 21 Jump Street reference!)  The “Student Instructional Designer” would then meet with the professor to acquire the details on all of the content, reflect on how that material (or alternatives) might translate into an online environment, and bring to bear his or her experience to express how additional online discussions might be utilized and how that would affect the curriculum.

In this way, instructors would not have to take on the additional burdens on their time.  The training of an instructional designer who specializes in this activity, and has a vast support network, would allow for the efficient creation of an online course while avoiding common pitfalls.  I imagine the same instructional designer taking multiple classes in a given term, so several classes could go through this process concurrently.

What do you think?

3. There’s another question from this week’s podcast that I’d like to answer:

Do you think of the Internet as a means for delivering content and online learning or as a means for fostering communication between individuals engaged in online learning?

As a proponent of the social constructivist approach, I see the Internet as a means by which we can create communities of inquiry.  I know that even in just the 4 weeks I have spent in the online classes I am taking, I have learned many insights from the blog posts of others, so I believe it really works.  As a vehicle for the delivery of content, its utility is undeniable, but  I think the Internet offers a profound opportunity to connect with each other when doing so face-to-face is impractical or impossible.

Posted in Assignments