Session Ten

Wrapping Up

2015-06-08_1917

Goal: Review of key concepts and topics related to eLearning Design and Development.

This class has focused on a variety of topics related to eLearning Design and Development. In this session you will have the chance to review some of what you have learned, and demonstrate your understanding of key concepts.  – Brian Newberry


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

Looking back on the lectures, readings, and blog posts I can hardly pick just five. Each week we examined important concepts, principles, and practices that I can use to create effective online learning programs for my students in the library and in my library skills classes. In this class I learned the importance of applying these concepts when designing and developing online programs. I’m grateful that we were required to blog each week, because my blog will surely serve as a reference as I move forward.

  • Interactions: In the eLearning environment, interactions are not visible and can be difficult to monitor, yet they are very important to the success of an online course. When designing an online course it’s important to make sure the three types of interactions are addressed: student-content, student-instructor, and student-student. While all three interactions should be addressed in a class, the course designer can balance the interactions based on the course level. Freshman might need more student-instructor interaction to understand the course requirements and more student-student interaction to stay motivated whereas graduate courses might be able focus on student-content interactions.
  • Content, Instructor, and Student Characteristics: These three characteristics should be analyzed up front when designing/developing an online course. The course designer must keep in mind that content, instructor, and students’ characteristics will impact the success of a course. The designer must make an effort to learn about all three. Is the content divergent or convergent? What is the instructor’s teaching style/preferences, technological savvy, risk tolerance, and comfort with interactions? And who are the students? Freshman? Graduate students? High risk? Technologically savvy? All these characteristics will help determine the design of the course.
  • Design Quickly Reliably: Horton’s 11 Step Process is just one of many systematic instructional design models that can be used to guide the development and testing of instructional materials. The ADDIE model is another. I found that following Horton’s process in particular helped me understand instructional design, break it down into manageable steps, and ultimately create a course design. Without that template I would have been at a loss. However, like most formulaic step-by-step processes, one size does not fit all. I rearranged and added steps to Horton’s model to create a process of my own.
  • Absorb, Do, Connect Activities: The Absorb-Do-Connect model of learning was outlined by Horton in our text and gave me a very good understanding of the mechanics of learning. Today most eLearning experts agree that for effective learning to take place, the important components of absorbing, doing, and connecting information should be included in the course. Ideally, for each topic in my course I will create three elements for the students: 1) have them Absorb the information (read or view a lecture); 2) have them Do something with their new knowledge (complete a guided activity); and 3) have them connect that knowledge to the real world (complete an assignment that has practical applications).
  • The Importance of Media Selection and Testing: There is an abundance of media and technologies that can be used in eLearning but it’s important to select media that will enhance the learning activity not detract from it. An instructional designer must take into consideration which media and applications will create the best learning objects and transmit the desired information most effectively. Media Richness and Social Presence theories should be taken into consideration when selecting media. When selecting media for my library activities it’s important for me to consider how the media supports the three types of interaction (Student-Content, Student-Instructor, Student-Student) as well as how well it allows me to create meaningful Absorb-Do-Connect activities for the learners. In addition, it’s important to test the media to ensure the fidelity, i.e. that there are no errors or technological issues, and ensure the instructional quality, i.e. that the content and materials result in the desired student outcomes.

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

Like technology in general, eLearning will continue to evolve and grow. A web search reveals many predictions about the future of eLearning. The following seem likely to me:

  • Mobile learning
  • Gamification
  • Social media for learning
  • Personalized learning
  • Micro-learning or chunking
  • Big data
  • Essentialism
  • More major universities adopting online degree programs

As for me, I have long realized that students no longer come into the library to check out books or look up articles. What we librarians hope is that they are using the web from wherever they are to access library online databases that give them electronic versions of those resources. But in reality, most students today just use Google. I would like to use the eLearning theories, processes, and practices I learned in this class to create learner-centered online programs and meaningful learning activities that will make the library and its resources relevant to students. I’d like to create Absorb, Do, Connect activities for information literacy and research skills so Cerritos College students will be successful in Cerritos College and beyond. I firmly believe the trends listed above can be incorporated into the library’s eLearning program as well. I look forward to the challenge of seeing it to fruition.

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

  • List all of the roles of people who will be involved in the typical development.
    This is not the typical team approach to instructional design because I chose to design a course that I will teach. However, I’ll work closely with the Cerritos College Sakai LMS administrator, the Media Services staff, and the Center for Teaching Excellence staff for technical assistance and support.
  • Identify your role.
    Instructional designer and course instructor.
  • Explain the type of courses or other eLearning development the template is for (higher education course, corporate training etc.)
    The Analysis Plan is specifically for my community college Library 100 course. However, the blank template, which lists 14 steps, can be used as a systematic instructional design model for any course in any academic setting.
  • Provide a narrative explaining how the template would be used.
    The Analysis Plan template is like any systematic instructional design model and can be used to guide the process from analysis, to design, development, testing, implementation, and evaluation. The template will help the designer stay on track and break down the process into manageable steps. In essence it’s a checklist of what needs to be done.

 

Session Nine

Other Online Learning Environments

Games

Goal: To learn about additional online and electronic learning environments.

Games, highly interactive simulations and other types of learning environments are getting more attention as the technology that supports them, or the means for creating them improves, comes down in price or becomes easier to use. It is likely that some of these will emerge as important in eLearning.
– Brian Newberry


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

“Games and simulations allow learners to practice tasks, apply knowledge, and infer principles – all while having fun.” (Horton, 2012, p.323) In the eLearning environment, games and simulations allow people to learn by playing and/or pretending in virtual worlds. Simulations tend to look realistic and immerse learners in a virtual environment, whereas games usually features scorekeeping of some kind. But in eLearning both serve the same purpose, and that is to teach. As Horton (2012, pg. 327) explains, the learner is the most important factor in a learning game/simulation. A goal is presented, usually via computer, and the learner must perform a task or series of tasks to reach that goal, making choices along the way. The choices made have consequences that provide feedback with further choices or approaches that may cycle on until the goal is reached.

While Horton tends to downplay the semantic difference between the words game and simulation, Sharon Boller posted an excellent article on The Knowledge Guru website that helped me distinguish between games and simulations. She explains that a game is an activity that has an explicit goal or challenge, rules that guide achievement of the goal, interactivity with either other players or the game environment or both, and feedback mechanisms that give clear cues as to how well or poorly you are performing. It results in a quantifiable outcome (you win/you lose, you hit the target, etc). Usually, it generates an emotional reaction in players (Boller, n.d.).

In the educational environment there’s a subset of games that are labeled learning games or serious games. According to Boller, these are games created with the explicit intent of helping someone learn a specific set of knowledge or skills. Learning games can be card games, mobile games, computer games, board games, etc. The goal of learning games is to help people acquire new knowledge or skills or to reinforce knowledge or skills learned by other means (Boller, n.d.).

In education, simulations are a sub-set of learning games. Boller explains that a simulation is a re-creation of a situation you could encounter in the real world that requires you to problem-solve and make decisions that mimic what you would have to do in the real world (Boller, n.d.).

I found this chart that accompanied the Boller article quite helpful:

games-vs-simulations

2. What are the key characteristics of a Simulation?

Learn by doing! A simulation is a replication of reality that enables users to learn through interactive experience. They are experimental, experiential, and often rigorous. They promote creativity amongst the participants. Most importantly, making decisions in a simulated environment has no real-life implications (Simulation and gaming, n.d.).

As Horton (2012, pg. 326) notes, in simulations the learner controls the sequence of events. Learners decide and act, and learning results from repeated practice and authentic feedback. Simulations are useful for educating and training because retention is greater and understanding deeper due to their interactive and repeatable nature.

Simulations provide a safe means of practice when practicing in a real-world situation would be either too costly or harmful. For example, no one starts practicing to fly in a real jet. They learn first in a simulator (Boller, n.d.).

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

eLearning professionals tend to agree that games and simulations are an effective way to learn because they engage the learner. Karl Kapp, Instructional Technology professor, author and speaker, understands the value of games and simulations in learning. “If we could leverage the positive aspects of video games—the instant feedback, the constant interaction, the willingness to practice something until it is right, combined with a little bit fun, then we could have an awesome educational platform for all types of learning and education.” (Malamed, 2009) Kate Salen, Director of Research and Design at the Institute of Play, describes learning games as “dynamic, immersive, and empowering (2015).”

William Horton (2012, pg. 328-330) notes that games and simulations:

  • enable types of learning not practical in classrooms
  • show consequences not normally visible to students because time, space, and distance are not real
  • let learners make mistakes without suffering permanent consequences such as really crashing a plane if you press the wrong button
  • encourage learners to pause, reflect, and revise, an opportunity that might not be possible in real-life situations
  • provide a laboratory where learners can test different options, tactics, strategies, ideas, etc.
  • simplify complex situations by isolating components and variables
  • give opportunities for repetition and practice
  • give opportunities for immediate and abundant feedback
  • extend the motivating effect of learning by play to adults
  • can be used to teach both subtle and complex skill
  • are cost-effective
  • make learning individualized and customizable

Kapp also notes that one of the most powerful cognitive advantages of using games is transferability. He says that “in a well-designed simulation, the learner is put into a realistic situation and he or she must act as they would in the actual situation. This makes the learning highly transferable as opposed to learning about something in the environment of a classroom which is not the typical environment in which the learner needs to apply the learning. So, ironically, an electronic simulation can be more realistic than a lecture because of the visual cues of simulations. They provide a context for the learning that can be highly realistic for knowledge transfer.” (Malamed, 2009)

In addition, there has been research to suggest that using digital games with special-needs children is beneficial. Examples include digital games having a calming effect on a seven-year-old child with autism and adolescents with attention deficit disorder experiencing improvements in grades, sociability, and organizational skills when using educational video games (Coffey, n.d.).

In summary, games and simulations can plug many gaps which conventional methods of instruction are unable to fill and they can round out the learning experience (Simulation and gaming, n.d.).

NOTE: For more information on the effectiveness of educational games, see Digital game-based learning: It’s not just the digital natives who are restless by Richard Van Eck, Director of the Instructional Design & Technology Program at the University of North Dakota.

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

Throughout Chapter Seven, Horton (2012) points out some of the weaknesses and drawbacks of games in eLearning. These include:

  • developing effective games is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive
  • getting games to work over the web can be difficult
  • there may be software or hardware issues for the learner
  • some games require high skill levels; students may not be able to keep up and may give up
  • if games are too easy students will become bored
  • most games can’t teach large amounts of detailed information
  • excessive competitiveness can get in the way of effective learning; students might spend too much time playing the game and not internalize the intended content.

Educator Heather Coffey also warns “that 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. Teachers must determine whether the content of the game is appropriate for specific age groups and whether the games are suitable for the standards-based accountability movement. Teachers must also take into account the amount of technology available to them in the school setting. If there is not enough technology to support a digital game-based learning program, some students may not have equal access to this type of instructional tool.” (Coffey, n.d.)

In general, games and simulations should not take the place of teaching. In eLearning, particularly in the academic setting, games alone won’t lead to learning outcomes. However, they can be used quite effectively to supplement and enhance the learning process.

5. Explain the term, “Gamification” and explain how this concept might apply to eLearning.

Professor Newberry provided a Wikipedia article which states that “Gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems and increase users’ contributions.” (Gamification, 2015).

The Gamification Wiki further explains that “Gamification is the concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals. Gamification taps into the basic desires and needs of the users impulses which revolve around the idea of Status and Achievement.” The article goes on to explain that “Game Mechanics” refers to the components of a game, aka the mechanisms utilized by game designers to reward activity among users. The five most commonly used mechanics in gamification are: points, badges, levels, leaderboards, and challenges (Gamification, n.d.)

The gamification of learning is “an educational approach to motivate students to learn by using video game design and game elements in learning environments. The goal is to maximize enjoyment and engagement through capturing the interest of learners and inspiring them to continue learning.” (Gamification of learning, 2015)

There has been much research on gamification in education and most scholars agree that gamification is an effective way to engage and motivate students and thus promote learning. The five common mechanics in gamification (points, badges, levels, leaderboards, challenges) can be used quite successfully in eLearning.

6. Pick a topic and describe a game or a simulation or gamification concept that would be effective.

I can imagine quite a few games that would be effective in an academic library:

  • An online orientation to the library can be a gamified quite effectively. Students can travel through virtual rooms and stack areas learning about resources and services as they go. Badges or points can be awarded to motivate them to continue exploring.
  • A game that allows library patrons to earn points and badges through their usual library transactions and to display their badges in their social networks.
  • An online or mobile scavenger hunt that challenges patrons to find information or artifacts for points and offers varying levels of difficulty.
  • A game that challenges patrons to arrange books in call number order and assigns points based on the time to complete that task and accuracy.

References

Boller, S. (n.d.) Games vs simulations: Choosing the right approach for learning. The Knowledge Guru. Retrieved from http://elearningfeeds.com/games-vs-simulations-choosing-the-right-approach-for-learning/

Coffey, H. (n.d.) Digital game-based learning. Learn NC. Retrieved from http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/4970

Gamification. (2015). Wikipedia. The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamification

Gamification. (n.d.). Gamification Wiki. Retrieved from https://badgeville.com/wiki/Gamification

Gamification of learning. (2015). Wikipedia. The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamification_of_learning

Horton, W. (2012). E-learning by design. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley and Sons.

Malamed, C. (2009). Games and simulations. The eLearning Coach. Retrieved from http://theelearningcoach.com/elearning_design/games-and-simulations/

Salen, K. (2015) Why games & learning. Institute of Play. Retrieved from http://www.instituteofplay.org/about/context/why-games-learning/

Simulation and gaming. (n.d.) EduTech Wiki. Retrieved from http://edutechwiki.unige.ch/en/Simulation_and_gaming

Van Ecyk, R. (2006). Digital game-based learning: It’s not just the digital natives who are restless. EDUCAUSE Review. 41/2: 16–30. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/digital-game-based-learning-its-not-just-digital-natives-who-are-restless

 

Session Eight

Development – Testing Online Learning Materials

testing

Goal: Examination of some methods and the importance of testing online learning resources.

An important part of the development process is testing what has been created. These tests include the steps taken to ensure that all of the objectives in the class are addressed, ensuring that the materials and activities created to address objectives actually do address the intended objectives and have a reasonable chance of making sure that student learn, and the tests needed to ensure that the quality and functionality of the delivery mechanisms are sufficient to ensure that students can reliably access the learning materials as they are intended to be used. – Brian Newberry


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.

In the Session Eight lecture, Professor Newberry (2015) notes that online learning materials must be tested for quality assurance. Testing must be done to ensure both the fidelity of the media and to ensure the instructional quality. Simply put, testing the media ensures that the materials are 1) well produced and user friendly (e.g. that they work properly) and that they 2) lead to the desired student outcomes.

  • Ensuring Fidelity of Learning Materials – Fidelity testing addresses the technical aspects of the media. The first level of fidelity testing is done by the media creator, who should make sure the media is of a high quality, complete, and generally functional pre-release. However, since the creator’s desk and computer aren’t the “real-world” setting in which the media will be used, it’s important that additional levels of fidelity testing take place before release. Newberry (2015) states that outside reviewers should be enlisted. These reviewers should approach the material as an end-user and looks at things such as links, navigation, coding, ADA compliance, bandwidth, and operating system/browser compatibility. Some of these things can be tested with web-based checkers and most CMS’s have built-in checkers as well. In ETEC 674 we examined and used several reliable online checkers such as The WAVE Accessibility Tool and W3C Markup Validation Service. These checkers are easy to use and often free. However, nothing beats live testers with different types of computers and devices, in different locations, using the media in a variety of ways, to ensure the fidelity of learning materials. And, as hard as one might try to avoid post-release errors, once the media is released the students themselves will serve as testers. It’s not uncommon for students to point out technical issues, problems, and errors as the course progresses.
  • Ensuring the Instructional Quality of Learning Materials – Content testing addresses the instructional quality of the media. As Newberry (2015) notes, this is a much more complicated aspect of testing, as it examines how well the materials result in the desired student outcomes. If the media creator is not the instructor/subject expert, the creator must, at the very least, understand the purpose of the lesson. This will involve working closely with the instructor/subject expert. Transcripts, outlines, ideas, and revisions will come from these experts. The media creator will package them into a usable learning object that accomplishes the objective, working with the experts all along the way. Instructors and students should be asked to actively test the learning materials prior to release to see if the outcomes are met. In our text, Horton (2012, pg.49) said that “Each objective leads us to create a learning object that completely accomplishes the learning objective and can prove it.” Testing the learning materials is a way to prove it.

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

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 “prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life – to enjoy employment opportunities, to purchase goods and services, and to participate in State and local government programs and services.” In short, this important civil rights legislation makes it illegal for organizations to discriminate against individuals with disabilities. Section 504 of that act requires that school districts provide a free appropriate public education to each qualified student with a disability who is in the school district’s jurisdiction, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability. Section 508 of that act requires that all government agencies, public schools and universities, provide accessible technology and web content.

In ETEC 501 and ETEC 674 we discussed ADA and accessibility in detail. I learned there are four main categories of disability that may require special accommodation in an e-learning environment:

  • Visual disabilities such as blindness, low vison, color blindness
  • Hearing disabilities such as deafness and hard of hearing
  • Mobility disabilities such as the inability to use hands, hand tremors, slow muscular movement, immobility
  • Learning disabilities caused by reading disorders, attention deficit disorders, etc. (Waterhouse, 2005, p. 172)

However, in an online environment, it is not uncommon for instructors to be unaware of their students’ disabilities. That’s why it’s important to keep ADA in mind when creating course content. In the introduction to ETEC 674 Session Four, Professor Newberry noted that “The American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides directives for how to properly accommodate the needs of individuals with various disabilities. This includes things as diverse as curb cuts and online materials. As developers of or instructors of online courses we need to be aware of these requirements, and how to achieve them.” To that end, the ADA website provides not only the law and regulations but also design standards and technical assistance materials. As instructional designers in eLearning we should all become very familiar with this resource.

Some examples of accommodations that can be made in eLearning materials include:

Blind students

  • Make sure LMS and other course content is compatible with the reading device and provides suitable alternatives to mouse clicks, long index columns, frames, etc.
  • Make time accommodations in the LMS for exams and other assignments to make up for the delay in the screen reader processing time.
  • Descriptive alt tags should be applied to all images.
  • Column and rows in tables should be labelled so they are machine readable.
  • Create audio files as alternates to text files.

Deaf students

  • Add captions to all videos and audio files.
  • Create text files as alternates to audio files.
  • Add signing to videos if appropriate.
  • Use highlights, underlines, and other textual indicators to provide emphasis on important words and phrases.

Note: While investigating ADA for ETEC 501, I learned that ADA, accessibility, Universal Design, and Universal Design for Learning are inextricably linked in e-learning. As educators we must keep in mind all abilities when creating courses and content. Today, accommodating the online needs of individuals with disabilities is part of larger movements called universal design and universal design for learning which emphasize the need for material to anticipate the diversity of all students, with or without disabilities. The goal of Universal Design in the academic setting is to design instruction, learning content, and learning activities that are usable by all. In this way learning objectives will be achievable by student with different abilities, language skills, or learning styles. There are many websites and guidelines to help instructors insure that their course is accessible to all and that it adheres to the principles of Universal Design and Universal Design for Learning. I’ll re-post this useful information here.

Universal Design
According to The Center for Universal Design, “The intent of universal design (UD) is to simplify life for everyone by making products, communications, and the built environment more usable by as many people as possible at little or no extra cost. Universal design benefits people of all ages and abilities. It’s the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.” (Center, 2008)

Universal Design for Learning
One aspect of UD that is of particular importance to educators is Universal Design for Learning (UDL). According to the educational research and development organization CAST, “Universal Design for Learning is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn. UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone – not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs.” (CAST, 2013)

The following websites provide valuable information on UDL:

3. What is your institutions (You may use CSUSB’s) policy towards ADA and eLearning? Explain what this means in practical terms and what you think the strengths and weaknesses of the policy.

Disabled Student Services at Cerritos College
At Cerritos College, Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS), oversees disabled students and services. They assist all disabled students (on-campus and distance) in all courses (traditional, hybrid, online). I must admit I had never really examined their website before this class assignment, although I’ve referred students to their office on several occasions. I’m pleased to say I was very impressed with the depth and breadth of their program. They offer a wide variety of services and assistive technologies including:

  • Notetakers
  • Materials in alternate format
  • Sign language interpreters
  • Real time captionists
  • Assistive listening devices
  • Kurzweil reading machine
  • Priority enrollment
  • Assistive technology training

The DSPS webpage includes an Academic Accommodations for Disabled Students Policy as well as a Section 504/ADA Complaint Policy, both of which are informational and thorough.

They also have valuable information for faculty on their website, including information about individual consultation to support faculty efforts to accommodate a student with a disability and find solutions to specific issues. It seems clear to me that the Cerritos College DSPS understands that there are times when a faculty or staff member may be struggling with how to assist a student in the most effective manner. On their webpage they note that “having a better understanding of a disability and what the educational limitations are, as well as which accommodation are recommended will help all involved.” (Cerritos, 2015) They have a page called What are Accommodations? which helps faculty understand disabilities and identify appropriate accommodations.

DSPS Mission Statement
The mission of D.S.P.S. is to assess, address, and provide reasonable accommodative service and referrals to students with disabilities, enabling them to equally access and fully participate to the best of their abilities in the curricular and related activities of the Cerritos College community. (Cerritos, 2015)

Cerritos College Universal Access
Cerritos College is committed to establishing a barrier free learning community, or Universal Access, to all individuals. This includes a partnership of Information Technology Department, Disabled Student Programs & Services, Purchasing and Human Resources.  Below are the major categories of services we support:

  • PROCUREMENT – We assist in the assessment for purchasing software, hardware, telecommunications, video, and multimedia products and other electronic miscellaneous technologies across the campus.  As an entity of the State of California receiving Federal and State funding Cerritos College is bound by Federal and State laws.
  • ALTERNATIVE MEDIA – We provide assistance for the creation of textbooks, instructional materials, and other printed information converted to another format such as Braille, large print, or electronic text.
  • ASSISTIVE Technology – We purchase, install, and support the computer programs provided by Cerritos College for use on the campus.  This software includes screen readers, screen magnification programs, and text to voice programs. Software Locations:  Where assistive software and hardware are located.
  • CAPTIONING – We establish standards and oversee the captioning process (words superimposed on television or motion picture frames) that communicate or translate audio dialogue.
  • JAWS AIDS – Shortcuts and strategies for using JAWS for Windows with the MyCerritos and SchedulePlus websites. (Cerritos, 2015)

ELearning and ADA at Cerritos College
Cerritos College has a faculty committee that oversees online and distance education. The Senate Committee on Technology-Based Learning:

  • Recommends policies and procedures on distance learning
  • Develops and recommends the specifications for electronic classrooms
  • Develops and recommends the specifications for professional development for
    participation in technology-based learning
  • Develops and recommends the specifications for course/learning management
    systems
  • Monitors trends and practices on issues in the field and communicates them to the college

ADA requirements for eLearning fall under this committees’ mission and responsibilities. They work closely with DSPS to make sure eLearning students with special needs are accommodated.

Cerritos College instructors are required to include information on their syllabus and their course web/LMS page about DSPS and the services they provide. However, in regard to online content being used in classes, it’s my impression that instructors who use the campus CMS and LMS generally don’t think too much about accessibility due to the built-in accessibility checkers. For instance, when a page or other content is added to the campus CMS, the system will prompt the user to check for accessibility before publishing or updating the page. A report is returned that lists any accessibility problems. The page can’t be published until the problems are corrected. Instructors who don’t know how to correct accessibility errors, must contact he campus web master or his assistant for help. However, many faculty create webpages outside the CMS and they may not be aware of the accessibility requirements or may not know how to make appropriate accommodations.

Sakai is the Cerritos College LMS. According to the Sakai website, all core features of the Sakai project are accessible and usable by the greatest number of potential users, including people with disabilities. However, instructors have to be aware that content they add to the LMS, such as documents, videos, links, etc. must be accessible.

Last but not least, Cerritos College has recently adopted Quality Matters, a faculty-centered, peer review process that is designed to certify the quality of online and blended courses. The QM process includes ADA and accessibility in its checklist. In addition there are many online course checklists that accessibility and usability. It would be useful if Cerritos College had such a checklist for faculty to use.

In addition to the above, the Cerritos College Library CMS provider, LibGuides, has taken many steps to ensure that their code is accessible and that librarians understand how to add content that is also accessible. However, LibGuides staff recommend that librarians pass their guides through one of the web-based accessibility checkers to be certain they are in compliance. In fact, this is good practice for all web pages used in courses and in libraries.

Conclusion
Overall, Cerritos College has a very strong, inclusive policy and practice towards ADA issues. The college serves a large population of disabled students on campus who benefit from the DSPS services. And while eLearning does falls under the DSPS umbrella, I do wonder how well they connect with distance students who need their services. It seems to me that off-campus students are probably being served by services closer to their actual location even if they’re taking online course through Cerritos College.

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.

I actually like this process a lot. I was at a loss as to how to start the design process for our assignment and these steps helped me organize my ideas and create a pretty thorough outline for my course. However, I would like to rearrange the last four steps. In my library research course I tend to come up with the idea for learning activities first, based on the objectives of the assignments. After that I would choose the media, and then create the object and tests.

In addition, given what we just discussed in this module, a major step is missing from this process. As Professor Newberry (2015) points out, testing online learning materials is crucial. Yes, identifying, recruiting, and acting on the feedback of beta testers may be time consuming, but it’s an important step in the process. As Benjamin Martin of Learning Solutions Magazine points out, “The purpose of the Beta Test for an on-line course is to simply check the effectiveness, usability, and functionality of the course from a typical user perspective.” (Martin, 2010)

I would also add a Final Checklist step. It may seem simplistic, but I like having an authoritative list to which I can compare my product. In ETEC 674 I came across the very thorough Online Course Readiness Checklist created for the San Diego Community College District. (Gustafson, n.d.) All the components listed are worth addressing for every online course. The major components of the Online Course Readiness Checklist are:

  • Instructional Design – the organization and architecture of the course
  • Navigation – how students access the course content and tools
  • Pedagogical Effectiveness – the instructional techniques
  • Accessibility and Usability – course meets ADA compliance and universal access standards
  • Copyright Compliance – adherence to the institutional copyright compliance policy.
  • Technology – use of technology tools and multimedia elements, hyperlinks
  • Schedule – updated time-sensitive items, schedules, calendars, announcements

Last but not least, I’d include a step that encourages follow-up with the instructor and the students who taught and took the course. In this way the course designer can ascertain whether the course and the learning objects were successful and make changes as needed. An online survey that addresses the functionality, ease of use, layout, and effectiveness should be sent at the end of the course to both instructor and students. Encourage user suggestions by including open ended response options, not just ratings scales or yes/no responses.

A 14 step instructional design process based on Horton’s 11 step process as presented in the text:

  1. Identify your underlying goal
  2. Analyze learners’ needs and abilities (Add an analysis of content and instructor needs/abilities/preferences.)
  3. Identify what to teach
  4. Set learning objectives
  5. Identify prerequisites
  6. Pick the approach to meet each objective
  7. Decide the teaching sequence of your objectives
  8. Decide which learning activities you’d like to include
  9. Choose media
  10. Create learning objects to accomplish objectives
  11. Create tests
  12. Test all media
  13. Checklist comparison
  14. Follow-up and revise for next time

References

CAST. (2013). What is universal design for learning? Retrieved from http://www.cast.org/udl/index.html

Center for Universal Design. (2008). About UD. Retrieved from http://www.ncsu.edu/ncsu/design/cud/about_ud/about_ud.htm

Center for Universal Design. (1997). The principles of universal design. Retrieved from http://www.ncsu.edu/ncsu/design/cud/about_ud/udprinciplestext.htm

Cerritos College. (2015). Disabled student programs and services. Retrieved from http://cms.cerritos.edu/dsps/

Gustafson, K. (n.d.) Assuring that the online course is ready for prime time. Retrieved from http://www.sdccdonline.net/faculty/resources/SDCCDAssuring_that_the_Online_Course_is_Ready_for_PrimeTime.pdf

Horton, W. (2012). E-learning by design. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley and Sons.

Martin, B. (2010). Beta testing an online course. Learning Solutions Magazine. January 11. Retrieved from http://www.learningsolutionsmag.com/articles/299/beta-testing-an-online-course/pageall

Newberry, B. (2015). ETEC 541 Session Eight Lecture. [Word document]. Retrieved from CSUSB Blackboard ETEC 541.

Newberry, B. (2015). ETEC 674 Session Four Introduction. [Web page]. Retrieved from CSUSB Blackboard ETEC 674.

United States Department of Justice. Civil Rights Division. (n.d.) Information and technical assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act. Retrieved from http://www.ada.gov/

Waterhouse, S.A. (2005). The power of eLearning: The essential guide for teaching in the digital age. Boston: Pearson.

Session Seven

Development, Media Choices and Considerations

social-media

Goal: Examine media choices related to the development of online learning resources.

There are so many different media choices available to eLearning developers today. Each media, each technology has its own characteristics that need to be understood so that the designer of the eLearning environment, and the users of the eLearning environment can make the best media choices, and use the power of the available media to its best effect. – Brian Newberry


1. Why is media selection important in eLearning?

When selecting media it’s important to consider how the media under consideration supports the three types of interaction (Student-Content, Student-Instructor, Student-Student) that we have been discussing in this class as well as how well it allows the instructor to create meaningful Absorb-Do-Connect activities for the learners. Not all media is created equal in these terms. An instructional designer must take into consideration which media and applications will create the best learning objects and transmit the desired information most effectively. For instance, media that supports games is different from media that supports hands-on activities, or media that simply conveys information, or media that supports collaboration and sharing, or media that supports creations. Horton (2012, p. 399) notes that one must take into account the ability of the media to promote social learning situations as well as deal with issues and situations that may be faced by learners such as limitations of their devices and the environment where their learning will occur (p. 538). In addition, in his Session Seven lecture, Professor Newberry (2015) notes many other important factors to consider, from both the instructor and the learner perspective. These include software needs and expense, hardware needs and expense, file size, portability, accessibility, ease of use, synchronicity, flexibility, etc. Most importantly, the instructor and the learners must be able to understand and use the media effectively or learning objectives will never be met. In eLearning, media is a means to this end.

In ETEC 674 (Newberry, 2015, Session 3) we learned about Media Richness, which is a very important consideration when selecting media for eLearning. Media Richness Theory was developed by R.L. Daft and R.H. Lengle and states that every media used to transmit information can be rated objectively according to four criteria. This enables communicators in a non F2F environment to determine which communication medium will best reproduce the information sent in any given situation without loss or distortion of the content and meaning. This is crucial in an eLearning environment. Media richness is determined by examining the mediums ability to:

  1. Provide immediate feedback
  2. Send multiple cues such as voice intonation, body language, facial expression
  3. Support natural language and language variety
  4. Allow personal nature to be communicated.

Note: For more information on Media Richness in eLearning see this article by Jill Schiefelbein entitled Media Richness and Communication in Online Education.

Another theory we learned about in ETEC 674 (Newberry, 2015, Session 3) is Social Presence, which is the ability of students to identify with others in their learning environment. This theory, which was developed by John Short, Ederyn William, and Bruce Christie, and looks at the degree with which different media and types of interactions create an awareness among individuals in a communication interaction. It is an attempt to determine the ability of a particular media to transmit “realness” in an online situation. Social Presence can also be viewed as how an individual represents him or herself online. This representation often indicates how willing the individual is to engage with others. By selecting the appropriate media the instructional designer can insure that this important type of engagement takes place.

Note: For more information on Social Presence in eLearning see this article by Susan Copley Cobb entitled Social Presence and Online Learning: A Current View from a Research Perspective.

2. Define “new media”?

This is a term that I was first introduced to in ETEC 674. The important difference between traditional media and new media is the digitization and nesting, or hyperlinking, of images, words, and sounds. (Socha & Eber-Schmid, n.d.)

“New media is a concept that incorporates all the technological devices and programs that have made the change to digital information and distribution. It includes Twitter and Facebook and YouTube, but it is also about e-books and downloading movies and paying your concert ticket on-line and using Bluetooth to swap photos and having your own website, things that may not necessarily social at the outset. “ (Pridmore, Falk, & Sprenkels, 2013)

Today, new media is often defined as an umbrella term for digitized information that can be produced, shared, reused, commented on, and linked to electronically in real time. The Internet, Web 2.0, online games, streaming videos, informational web pages, podcasts, screencasts, blogs, wikis, cloud-based applications, email, eBooks, Facebook, Twitter, Smartphones, and Smartphone apps, are all new media. However, some of these new media applications are more interactive than others. This interactivity is the key in “social media”, which today is a very important and vital subset of new media. Social media focuses on the sharing of user-created content. An important aspect of social media is the interactive group of users who communicate and share digital information regularly. Social media allows users to share information, thoughts, knowledge, and ideas. Daniel Nations aptly describes social media as a two-way street. (Nations, n.d.)

3. Choose a “new media” and explain its strengths and weaknesses for supporting eLearning.

Facebook is one of the most popular online social networking sites. I use it personally and have often wondered if it would be beneficial in an eLearning situation.

Strengths:

  • Most students already have accounts and are comfortable using Facebook.
  • It’s easy to learn how to use it.
  • It offers the ability to create groups or pages. A group or page can be created for a specific course.
  • It’s free.
  • Instructors can quickly push information to students such as links to news, class related announcements, documents, videos, pictures, etc.
  • Students can comment and share information/ideas in an informal manner.
  • Increases student communication and collaboration.
  • Promotes Student-Student and Student-Instructor interaction.
  • Students will be connected to/engaged in the class FB page more often than the class LMS page.

Weaknesses:

  • Students must have a FB account in order to participate.
  • Some individuals refuse to use it.
  • Course FB posts can become buried in students’ personal posts.
  • Students can be distracted by non-course FB posts.
  • No way to organize content.
  • Can’t archive content.
  • Advertising appears on pages, even in private groups and pages.
  • Cyberbullying potential.
  • Privacy issues.

Note: Here are two useful articles on using Facebook in the classroom from OnlineCollege.org:
100 Ways You Should Be Using Facebook in Your Classroom (2009)
99 Ways You Should Be Using Facebook in Your Classroom [Updated] (2012)

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

According to Horton (2012, p. 501), mobile learning has two meanings:

1) Participation in conventional learning by mobile individuals using mobile learning techniques and technologies.

2) Learning from the world in which we move. Not just using mobile devices to learn, but learning from objects, experts and fellow learners that are encountered on the move.

UNESCO (n.d.) states that “Mobile learning involves the use of mobile technology, either alone or in combination with other information and communication technology, to enable learning anytime and anywhere.” They go on to note that today over 6 billion people have access to a connected mobile device and for every one person who accesses the internet from a computer two do so from a mobile device. Mobile technology is changing the way we live and it is changing the way we learn.

To me, this is the most exciting aspect of mobile learning. It can not only free people to learn at the place and time they choose and to learn from a world of teachers, as noted by Horton (2012, p. 501), but it can bring educational opportunities to a much wider population. Mobile learning can supplement and enrich formal schooling and in general make learning more accessible, equitable and flexible for students everywhere (UNESCO, n.d.).

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

The virtual classroom is an online version of a physical classroom. Interestingly, not all online learning experiences as considered virtual classrooms. According to Horton (2012, p. 539) virtual classrooms use collaboration tools to re-create the orderly structure, rich interaction, and learning experiences of the traditional classroom while eliminating the need for everyone to be in the same place. An important aspect of the virtual classroom is that it uses technology to provide a social learning experience, aka learning by interacting with other people and in groups. Technology can be in the form of the LMS, discussion forums, chat, audio/video conferencing, polling, etc. But it seems to me that the most important aspect of a true virtual classroom is real time interactivity. As Horton (2012, p. 540) notes, virtual classrooms require a teacher who can lead learners and learners who can attend online meetings. While there are both asynchronous and synchronous aspects to a virtual classroom, the synchronous sessions are crucial. The students and teacher are logged in at the same time and can exchange knowledge and ideas in real time. The virtual classroom provides an online Community of Inquiry where students and teacher “collaboratively engage in purposeful critical discourse and reflection to construct personal meaning and confirm mutual understanding.” (CoI, n.d.)

A webinar is a form of virtual classroom that is used in eLearning quite successfully. In a Library Skills class, a webinar can be used to give a live presentation on the use of a database. Live chat and online polls can be used to get learner feedback and opinions.

6. Thinking about the class you have been designing, what are some ways you could potentially use some new media?

In Step 11 of my Course Analysis Process (Session Five blog post) I listed several ways that I can incorporate new media into the Library Research Skills class I’m designing.

  • New media technologies such as content management systems and cloud-based productivity programs can be incorporated into this class quite effectively. As I mentioned before, Cerritos College uses Sakai as the LMS and the Library uses LibGuides, so those two content management systems would form the basis of my course. I’d also use screencasts, created with Jing or Screencast-O-Matic, to show students how to use the various online catalog and databases and to have the students capture their own search sessions. Slideshows can be enhanced by using Prezi, a cloud-based presentation software that make slideshows come alive by zooming, flipping, and otherwise animating the slides. Prezi presentations are much more interesting to watch, thus making them more memorable and motivating. I would use Google docs have the students create shared documents. These are all production applications that can be used to create and manage content and learning objects for any course. In e-learning situations such as a Library Research course they can be used to provide demonstration videos and interactive lessons that engage students in a way that simple text files or straight audio files can’t. These tools enable instructors to be creative in their approach to teaching without having to be a web master or have media production skills. They not only allow instructors to think outside the box, but they also give them tools to empower their students to be creative and technologically adept. Students can use these tools to create or collaborate on a project, share them with their classmates, and provide comments and feedback. All these tools except LibGuides offer free versions. All provide cloud storage once you set up an account. All provide linking, sharing, and embedding capabilities.
  • Social media applications such as blogs, wikis, YouTube, Facebook, etc. can also be incorporated into the class as well. These types of media are especially important in the CoI framework because they focus on and enhance what Friedman and Friedman refer to as the 5 C’s communication, collaboration, community, creativity, and convergence by allowing students to work together to create their own new knowledge. (Friedman and Friedman, 2013) Students can be asked to create screencasts and upload them to YouTube so others may comment. Students can collaborate on a works cited list or annotated bibliography by sharing a Google document. Students can create avatars using Voki and give a “lecture” on a resource of their choice. Students can create a wiki for book or article reviews. Students can be asked to create a blog to submit all assignments and thus make them shareable and permanent.

References

Cobb, S.C. (2009). Social presence and online learning: A current view from a research perspective. Journal of Interactive Online Learning. 8:3, Retrieved from http://www.ncolr.org/jiol/issues/pdf/8.3.4.pdf

CoI model. (n.d.). The Community of Inquiry Website. Retrieved from https://coi.athabascau.ca/coi-model/

Friedman, L.W. & Friedman, H.H. (2013). Using social media technologies to enhance online learning. Retrieved from http://184.168.109.199:8080/xmlui/bitstream/handle/123456789/2163/EJ1004891.pdf?sequence=1

Horton, W. (2012). E-learning by design. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley and Sons.

Nations, D.(n.d.) What is social media? About Tech. Retrieved from: http://webtrends.about.com/od/web20/a/social-media.htm

Newberry, B. (2015). ETEC 541 Session Seven Lecture. [Word document]. Retrieved from CSUSB Blackboard ETEC 541.

Newberry, B. (2015). ETEC 674 Session Three Lecture. [Word document]. Retrieved from CSUSB Blackboard ETEC 674.

Pridmore, J. Falk, A. & Sprenkels, I. (2013). New media & social media: what’s the difference? Academia.edu. Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/1122278/New_media_and_social_media_-_whats_the_difference_v_2.0

Schiefelbein, J. (2012). Media richness and communication in online education. Faculty Focus. April 10. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/media-richness-and-communication-in-online-education/

Socha, B. & Eber-Schmid, B. (n.d.). What is new media? New Media Institute. Retrieved from http://www.newmedia.org/what-is-new-media.html

UNESCO. (n.d.). Mobile learning. ICT in Education. Retrieved from http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco/themes/icts/m4ed/

 

Session Six

Development Process Overview

ADC

Goal: Examine topics related to production processes used to develop online learning materials.

After you know who you are teaching, what you are teaching, how you will know that you taught them, and have ironed out a system for communicating about your work, it is time to start developing the actual resources that your learners will use. It is time to assemble or structure the learning environment and test it all to make sure that it works.

In today’s eLearning environment you will likely be creating stand-alone learning objects and using a Learning Management System (LMS) or Course Management System (CMS) to structure the way your learners see and use those learning objects. In some cases you will use features of the LMS/CMS to create the learning objects, quizzes or other resources. – Brian Newberry


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

Horton (2012, p.67) defines Absorb activities as those that pass information on to the learner and allow the learner to comprehend knowledge from that information. He notes that Absorb activities inform and inspire.

Two common “Absorb” activities that can be used in a library skills course are readings and presentations.

Lesson Three: The Library of Congress Call Numbers

Objective: Understand the LC Call Number System and know how to find books on the shelf.

Absorb Activities:

1) Students will be given an explanatory reading (posted as a PDF as well as an audio file) of the Library of Congress call number system that includes links to the Library of Congress webpage. All formats will outline the system and provide in depth breakdown of the way call numbers are assigned.

2) A slideshow presentation that gives an overview of the Library of Congress Call Number system and explains the parts of a call number, how to read a call number, and how call numbers are arranged on the shelf.

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

Horton (2012, p. 129) defines Do activities as those that transform the information absorbed into knowledge and skills. Do activities allow learners to apply their knowledge and, as Horton notes, “doing begets learning”.

Two common “Do” activities that can be used in a library skills course are practice activities and discovery activities.

Lesson Four: Using the Library’s Online Catalog

Objective: Master the theoretical and practical skills necessary to use an online catalog.

Do Activities: 

1) Students will practice searching for books by completing a guided search in the library catalog. The guided search will be in the form of a worksheet that they can print out or use online. They will be given three specific search terms that correspond to the three main search options in the catalog – Author, Title, Subject. They will be guided, step by step, in the use of limiters such as year of publication, format type, etc. Each guided search will lead to a specific result screen where students will find information to fill in the worksheet with the remaining information about the book.

2) Students will be asked to find three books in the catalog on a topic or by an author of their choice. They will be required to list their search term(s), provide the number of results, explain any limiters they used, and note the complete bibliographic information for each book.

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

Horton (2012, p. 163) defines Connect activities as those that integrate what is being learned with what is already known. Connect activities allow learners to apply what they have learned in real life situations. It’s this ability to tie together the new knowledge with previously learned knowledge that leads to higher level of understanding about the world.

Two common “Connect” activities that can be used in a library skills course are research and producing an original piece of work.

Lesson 10: Periodical Literature and Finding Articles

Objective: Understand the significance and use of periodical literature and periodical databases in the research process.

Connect Activities:

1) Students will be asked to gather five scholarly articles on a topic that they are researching for another class or that is of interest to them personally. They will be required to define the topic in both broader and narrower terms and list keywords they used in searching for articles. They will be required to explain which database(s) they used and why. They will be required to outline their search strategy including keywords, Boolean operators, and limiters. Students can elect to create a screen capture or slideshow to show their process or they can write it out. Processes will be shared on course discussion board or blog.

2) Students will be required to create an annotated bibliography using the five articles they found on their topic. This bibliography will be posted on the course discussion board or blog.

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.

There are three stages in the creation of elearning resources – preparation, production, and delivery (Newberry, 2015). I know from experience that creating user-friendly digital learning objects takes time and effort, and always much more time and effort than expected. In addition, the storage and delivery of these resources requires good organizational skills to insure easy access for students and instructor alike. I’m a librarian, so I know all about the organization and storage of data, even if I don’t know that much about media production!

In ETEC 674 we investigated a variety of tools for the production of presentations. One I particularly liked for screen captures was Screencast-O-Matic. In my example above, Lesson 10 Periodical Literature and Finding Articles, this application can be used in two ways. I will use it to demonstrate the database search process. This is an Absorb activity for the students. I will also ask the students to use it as a Connect activity to capture their own searches.

Process to Create Screencasts

First, determine the content. In Lesson 10 that entails selecting the database I wish to demonstrate, as well as the search terms and limiters I’ll use. I must also decide which database features to include – print, email, citations, etc. I would then develop a script and plan the screen flow, cursor movement, mouse clicks, dropdowns, etc. I’d practice several times to make sure my screencast is in sync with my verbal instructions and that I avoid incorrect clicks or other screen flow errors. Even though I can edit the screencast to remove mistakes, it’s worth it to do a few test runs of the screen movement and verbal instructions to make sure the recorded session will be as free of errors as possible. Since I have a script, I can simply upload it to create the captions but I must insert the time stamps. This is a very tedious but important task because it insures that the captions correspond to the action in the video. Last but not least, name, save, upload, and/or share via a link or embed code.

Since I’m asking the students to create their own screencast I’ll also create a screencast tutorial that shows them how to create an account in Screencast-O-Matic and how to create their own screencast. I’ll also provide a link to a PDF document outlining the steps. I’ll offer online or Skype assistance to help them get started.

Process to Create Audio File

Interestingly, I looked at my ETEC 674 blog and realized I had nicely outlined the creation process for a podcast. I am re-posting it here because I can use this process to create the Absorb activity audio files that are going to be alternatives to the PDF readings for this course.

I would use Audacity to create my podcast since I’m a Windows user. It’s free, simple to download, and easy to use. Contrary to what we often imagine when we hear the tern “podcast”, podcasts don’t have to be serial in nature. In online education they can be used as a stand-alone introduction to a course, for weekly lectures, or even to convey important news or course information as needed. Podcasts are an effective means of communicating because students can not only listen while they’re on their computer, laptop, or tablet, but they can also download the file and listen on the go via their smartphone or MP3 player.

I would take the advice of Professor Newberry (ETEC 674, 2015) and keep in mind some common characteristics of good educational presentations:

  • brevity
  • accuracy
  • topicality
  • production quality

Some other good advice comes from Jason Van Orden (2013) in his Podcast Tutorial: Four Basic Steps

  • Plan
  • Produce
  • Publish
  • Promote

To use Audacity, simply download the program and make sure your microphone functions properly. Before getting started, it’s important to think of a good topic and create an interesting script. It’s best not to “wing it” when recording a podcast for a class or instructional session. A script will keep you on track, minimize dead air, and also give you a transcript to easily create captions or a text file to insure ADA compliance. I’d practice reading the script a few times before getting started but after that I’d simply record the session, re-record and/or edit the recording if necessary, save the audio file, convert the audio file into MP3 format, and upload the file. The file can be shared via a link or an embedded

5. Discuss how 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.

If I had the luxury of working with creative media professionals and a web master I would give them an outline and/or storyboard that included the content and the objectives of the lesson. I’d use their expertise to help me determine the best format and delivery method for my goal. I’d find out what else they need from me. For instance, am I going to create the screencast or will they? Do I need to read the script? I would coordinate tasks with the team and keep an ongoing dialog. I’d set a time frame for completion of specific tasks along the way as well as the final product. I’d expect to see drafts and be able to request alterations while in production. I’d expect a quick turnaround because they have expertise with the applications and technology. Yet I’d be mindful that there could be delays because they would most likely be working on productions for other clients at the same time. But in the end I’d expect a much more polished product that had a professional look as opposed to my own “home video” style production.

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 you planned in the previous session.

A test is any activity that indicates how well learners meet learning objectives (Horton, 2012, p. 215). However in certain courses practice activities work better than formal tests. I think this is especially true in a library skills class. Library skills activities can measure the learners’ progress, certify their research skills, motivate them by giving opportunities to master new knowledge about resources and the skills they need to use them, and encourage critical thinking. In ETEC 648 we learned about authentic assessment in which students are asked to perform real-world tasks that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills. To me this is similar to the Connect in Absorb-Do-Connect. In my class I generally like to use these Connect activities as authentic assessments.

However, Horton has outlined some very interesting test options and examples in his book and I can use several of them in my class. For example I would like to make sure the students read or listen to the “lecture” each week so I plan to create weekly Reading Quizzes in Sakai. These will be short, objective multiple choice (aka pick-one) and True/False tests that are automatically graded. All questions will come directly from the lecture and the tests will be open-book.

I appreciate Horton’s mention of the pre-test (p.278). This is something I use not only in my library skills class but in my one-shot library orientation sessions. The opportunity for the students to think about what they know going into a library session and to compare it to what they know coming out is always rewarding to all.

References

Horton, W. (2012). E-learning by design. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley and Sons.

Newberry, B. (2015). ETEC 541 Session Six Lecture. [Word document]. Retrieved from CSUSB Blackboard ETEC 541.

Newberry, B. (2015). ETEC 674 Session Five Lecture. [Word document]. Retrieved from CSUSB Blackboard ETEC 674.

Van Orden, J. (2013). Podcast tutorial: Four basic steps. How to podcast: The definitive step-by-step guide on how to podcast without breaking the bank. Retrieved from http://www.howtopodcasttutorial.com/00-podcast-tutorial-four-ps.htm

Session Five

The Instructional Design Analysis Project

wordle 2

Goal: Complete design plan.

Instructional Design is fun! It is also a lot of work. One of the things that surprises new Instructional Designers is the amount of work done that doesn’t directly show in the final product. Instructional Design is not just about the final product. Good Instructional Design is a process, and a series of events and actions that serve to organize the efforts of a whole team of people. In addition, Instructional Designers often have to work in an environment where they must document their actions and decisions and communicate those to the people or organizations that fund the work. – Brian Newberry


My Course Plan

To develop an online version of Library 100: Introduction to Library Research

My Analysis Process So Far

Horton’s Eleven Step Process – Design Quickly and Reliably

1. Identify your underlying goal

  • As stated in my Session Four blog post, the ability to conduct research is an essential foundation for college success. The Cerritos college library offers a research methods class that typically reaches only a handful of students each semester due to the F2F format. There are generally only 5 sections of 30-45 students each offered each semester. In the past, several librarians have experimented with offering an online section of the course but the results have been disappointing. The retention and completion rate was much lower than the F2F classes. As a result it has not been offered online for several years. I would like to develop an online course that will offer content in such a way to keep students interested and motivated.

2. Analyze learners’ needs and abilities

  • Student Needs & Abilities – Most students in the F2F Library 100 class are freshmen. That’s because four of our five sections are part of the First Year Experience Learning Community Program. I have taught both the LC section and the non-LC section. While there’s always a mixture of student ages and technological savvy in the non-LC section I’m always impressed with the generally high level of technology skills of the students overall. I foresee a non-LC online version of Library 100 being appealing to a very wide spectrum of students, many of whom will have already taken online courses or who have taken online courses exclusively. Some students may have disabilities that must be taken into account in the design of the course framework on Sakai as well as with the documents, media, and activities posted there and via the open web. As Horton notes, abilities and attitudes matter more than age, gender, nationality, and economic class (p.13). In general an instructor can’t know specifics about the needs and abilities of individual students until after the first class. An introductory survey or bio piece by each student can give more of this information than the class roster can provide. The course should be designed in such as way to allow easy alterations to take into account unforeseen needs.
  • Instructor Needs & Abilities – Instructor preferences and comfort levels with media, activities, and student interactions must be taken into account (Newberry, Session Two, 2015). The librarians at Cerritos College are comfortable with Sakai and a wide variety of media and technology but I will keep in mind instructor satisfaction when designing the course. Instructors will spend a lot of time emailing and checking discussion board posts. The course should not be overwhelming in this regard and it should allow the instructor’s personality to come through as well as the students’. Learner-Instructor interaction is an important component of a successful learning environment (Moore, 1989). By creating a variety of communication options, both learners and instructor will experience a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Newberry describes this as Instructional Presence. He contends that it’s important to make sure the instructor is “seen” as guiding class interactions and meeting student needs. (Newberry, Session Four, 2015)

3. Identify what to teach

  • In general terms, the Library 100 content is designed to introduce students to the wide variety of information resources available in print and online through the Cerritos College Library. It is a one-unit, 18 week course that guides students through the process of becoming information competent individuals. In the class they learn how information is organized in libraries and online, how to search for and retrieve information, and how to evaluate information. They learn to use traditional reference sources as well as online tools. They also learn how to constructively search the Internet. One of the main features of the class is learning the steps required for doing a research paper. This includes the choosing a topic, narrowing a topic, selecting keywords, creating a search strategy, preparing a bibliography, and properly citing information resources from a variety of sources in a variety of formats.
  • There might seem like there’s a lot to teach in this class, but I think each individual lesson lends itself very well to online activities. In fact, I think it can be argued that essentialism was used in the original design of this course. Horton notes that essentialism streamlines education eliminating unnecessary content while still accomplishing goals (p. 14). In the F2F class we meet in the computer lab each week so the precedent has been set for using very specific online activities to reach the goal of each lesson. The most difficult task in designing the online version will be to develop interesting activities that can be done without the instructor being present but that still get learners to get the information they need.

4. Set learning objectives

  • Although each lesson has a specific objective as indicated on the course plan the overall learning objective of this course is how to conduct college-level research and to develop information skills that can be applied in all classes as well as in the learner’s personal and professional life. I think this course objective, as approved by the Curriculum Committee, transfers well into the online environment because guided hands-on use of online resources is an essential step in learning to use them.

The Expected Course Outcomes

* Understand the Library of Congress Classification System which is used in the libraries of most institutions of higher education
* Comprehend a Call Number and know how to find books on the shelf
* Master the theoretical and practical skills necessary to use an online catalog
* Understand the significance and use of periodical literature and periodical indexes (print and online) in the research process
* Develop an awareness of the Internet as a major information network and develop the ability to conduct a simple search using various search engines
* Identify basic and discipline-specific reference sources available in most medium to large libraries
* Develop an awareness of the steps involved in writing a research paper, including preparation of a work-cited list for both print and electronic resources

In addition, students will master the following information competencies:

* State a research question, problem or issue
* Determine the information requirements for the research question, problem, or issue
* Locate and retrieve relevant information
* Use appropriate technological tools for accessing information
* Evaluate information
* Organize and synthesize information

5. Identify prerequisites

  • There are no prerequisites for this course according to the college curriculum but as Horton (2012) notes, prerequisites can also specify the abilities, knowledge, beliefs, and feelings the learner must possess before they can even begin to accomplish the main objective (p. 26). In this course there are three important prerequisites to consider – 1) the students’ knowledge of information organization, 2) their understanding of the research process, and 3) their technology skills. Each lesson should be set up in a way that builds the knowledge base and the technology skills that become the prerequisites to the next lesson.

6. Pick the approach to meet each objective

  • As Horton (2012) states, this is the “how” of accomplishing the learning goals (p.35). The objective for each individual lesson can be met by requiring one reading or viewing of a podcast, video and/or screencast, the completion of one reading quiz utilizing the Sakai Tests & Quizzes module, and one active learning activity per week using a variety of media depending on the content of the lesson. In addition there will be a weekly discussion question or blog post that students must respond or react to.

7. Decide the teaching sequence of your objectives

  • According to Horton, bottom up is the most common teaching sequence (2012, p.43). When teaching in a learning community I have often used the sideways sequence to meet the assignment objectives of my co-classes. For instance I might have the students learn to use a periodical database to find journal articles before learning to use the online catalog to find books. In the non-LC section however it makes the most sense to stick with the bottom up sequence. Each lesson lays the foundation for the next and as the semester goes on the research process is completed step by step. The final project, the annotated bibliography, is the culmination of all the lessons. This is when the students put together all the resources they’ve gathered throughout the semester.

8. Create objects to accomplish objectives

  • Learning objects are chunks of electronic content that can be accessed individually and that completely accomplish a single learning objective. (Horton, 2012, p.47)
  • There will be at least three learning objects for each lesson – 1) a Word version of the lecture which includes images such as screen shots of the online catalog or database, 2) a podcast or video version of the lecture, and 3) a screencast tutorial demonstrating the procedure such as finding a book in the catalog or using an online database.

9. Create tests

  • At the start of the course an ungraded pre-test will be given using the Sakai Tests & Quizzes module. The same test will be given at the end of the course.
  • There will be a sort Lecture Quiz each week. The quizzes will be created in Sakai and will be multiple choice or fill in the blank. The quizzes will be open book. In a research class I don’t mind if the students look up the answers. The ability to look up (aka search for) information is part of the process. However, having the quiz each week will give the instructor some assurance that the students are looking at the content.
  • Students will be asked to create screencasts of their search strategies and share them with the class for comment.

10. Select learning activities

  • There will be one active learning activity per week using a variety of media depending on the content of the lesson. In addition there will be a weekly discussion question, blog post, or media creation that students must respond or react to.

11. Choose Media

  • In a research methods course such as Library 100, demonstration and hands-on skills activities are very important. New technologies will enable me to create lessons and activities that fully engage and connect students no matter where or when they login to the course. As D. Randy Garrison points out, “technological innovations should be first and foremost about improving the effectiveness of the educational transaction.” (Garrison, 2011, p.65) In the library these innovations have increased not only our effectiveness but our reach.
  • Web 2.0 technologies such as content management systems and cloud-based productivity programs can be incorporated into this class quite effectively. As I mentioned before, Cerritos College uses Sakai as the LMS and the Library uses LibGuides, so those two content management systems would form the basis of my course. I’d also use screencasts, created with Jing or Screencast-O-Matic, to show students how to use the various online catalog and databases and to have the students capture their own search sessions. Slideshows can be enhanced by using Prezi, a cloud-based presentation software that make slideshows come alive by zooming, flipping, and otherwise animating the slides. Prezi presentations are much more interesting to watch, thus making them more memorable and motivating. I would use Google docs have the students create shared documents.
  • Social media applications such as blogs, wikis, YouTube, Facebook, etc. can also be incorporated into the class as well. These types of media are especially important in the CoI framework because they focus on and enhance what Friedman and Friedman refer to as the 5 C’s communication, collaboration, community, creativity, and convergence by allowing students to work together to create their own new knowledge. (Friedman and Friedman, 2013) Students can be asked to create screencasts and upload them to YouTube so others may comment. Students can collaborate on a works cited list or annotated bibliography by sharing a Google document. Students can create avatars using Voki and give a “lecture” on a resource of their choice. Students can create a wiki for book or article reviews. Students can be asked to create a blog to submit all assignments and thus make them shareable and permanent.
  • In ETEC 674 Professor Newberry advised us to keep in mind the following common characteristics of good educational presentations:
    • brevity
    • accuracy
    • topicality
    • production quality

References

Friedman, L.W. & Friedman, H.H. (2013). Using social media technologies to enhance online learning. Retrieved from http://184.168.109.199:8080/xmlui/bitstream/handle/123456789/2163/EJ1004891.pdf?sequence=1

Garrison, D.R. (2011). E-learning in the 21st century. New York, NY: Routledge.

Horton, W. (2012). E-learning by design. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley and Sons.

Moore, M.G. (1989). Three types of interaction. Editorial. Retrieved from http://aris.teluq.uquebec.ca/portals/598/t3_moore1989.pdf

Newberry, B. (2015). ETEC 541 Session Two Lecture. [Word document]. Retrieved from CSUSB Blackboard ETEC 541.

Newberry, B. (2015). ETEC 541 Session Four Lecture. [Word document]. Retrieved from CSUSB Blackboard ETEC 541.

Newberry, B. (2015). ETEC 674 Session Five Lecture. [Word document]. Retrieved from CSUSB Blackboard ETEC 674.

Session Four

Instructional Design For Online Classes

addie

Goal: Learn more about instructional design for online learning.

Instructional Design is a systematic process used to guide the development and testing of high quality instructional materials. There are many Instructional Design models and all have their strengths and weaknesses. One of the weaknesses of most Instructional Design models is that they are presented in the abstract, separated from actual use. No matter what Instructional Design model an Instructional Designer begins with, over time each Instructional Designer develops their own approach, and their own toolkit of Instructional Design techniques.   – Brian Newberry


ADDIE Instructional Design Model

Horton’s Design Quickly and Reliably Eleven Step Instructional Design Process

  • Identify your underlying goal
  • Analyze learners’ needs and abilities (Add an analysis of content and instructor needs/abilities/preferences.)
  • 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 (Add other methods to determine whether or not objectives are met as appropriate.)
  • Select learning activities
  • Choose Media (Add a discussion of activity structures and interactions.)
For more information about instructional design models, here’s an overview of Instructional Design Models and Methods from Instructional Design Central.

In this set of activities you will be working either individually or in a small team of your choice to conduct an analysis for developing an online class. This will be a quasi-simulation in which you will develop a course plan using the 11 instructional design steps presented in chapter 1 of the text (Design Quickly and Reliably). Create a blog post to discuss your process so far.

My Project

I’ll be conducting an analysis for developing an online version of Library 100: Introduction to Library Research. This is an exciting proposition for me because I’ve long considered teaching the course online but was never quite sure how to make the transition from F2F to online. Until I started taking ETEC courses here at CSUSB I had no idea how to go about it. Now I understand the importance of characteristics, presences, interactions, motivation, media and accessibility in e-learning. I know I must consider the content, the learner, and the instructor in all these areas. I see the usefulness of having design models such as ADDIE and a step-by-step process such as Design Quickly and Reliably as well as using best practices checklists such as Quality Matters. I’m glad I have this opportunity to take what I’ve absorbed and do something that connects it to my role as a librarian at Cerritos College.

In our ETEC 674 text, The Power of eLearning, Waterhouse (2005, pg. 23) identifies six steps for getting started with eLearning. These steps helped me create an overview of this analysis project.

  • Step One: Ask Yourself Why
    The ability to conduct research is an essential foundation for college success. The Cerritos college library offers a research methods class that typically reaches only a handful of students each semester due to the F2F format. In the past, several librarians have experimented with offering a section of the course online with disappointing results. The completion rate was much lower than the F2F classes. As a result it has not been offered online for several years. I would like to develop an online course that will offer content in such a way to keep students interested and motivated.
  • Step Two: Make a Commitment
    I have been wary of teaching this course online but I’m committed to making this course more widely available. Online sections will reach distance students who never come to campus and will give them the same opportunity to learn this essential foundation of college success. I feel confident I can now undertake this endeavor. I’ve acquired much new knowledge about eLearning theories, philosophies, and methods that will be useful in creating this course. But more importantly I now understand the need for and usefulness of analysis before jumping into design and development. To tell you the truth, I’m not much of a planner or very analytical. I’m more the “just do it” type. So this will be a new experience for me.
  • Step Three: Develop a New Vision for Your Course and How You Teach
    I want to make my online Library Research class as interactive and meaningful as possible. I want to present the class as a Community of Inquiry in which the students are motivated to learn, enjoy active learning activities, engage in interesting discussions with their peers and instructor, and relate what they’re learning to real-life research situations.
  • Step Four: Determine the Resources Available to You
    Cerritos College uses the Sakai LMS and the library has Camtasia, LibGuides, and several other production programs available. The Cerritos College Center for Teaching Excellence offers workshops on a variety of products, programs, and best practices. Last but not least Cerritos has a robust Media Division to help in creating professional quality media in a variety of formats.
  • Step Five: Acquire New Technology Skills and Develop New Instructional Methods
    I’ve already learned how to use a variety of new media in my courses here at CSUSB. In addition I’ve been introduced to many more through the blog posts of my classmates.
  • Step Six: Plan
    That’s what this project is all about. I am planning and conducting an analysis for the development of a great online version of Library 100!

The Plan

In his Session Four lecture, Professor Newberry notes that there are two levels of development to think about when structuring an online class. It’s important to start with the course level analysis such as objectives, delivery methods, assessment methods, etc. The activity level analysis follows. Will I use lectures, presentations, discussions? Which technologies will work best? I’ll use these and other considerations presented by Professor Newbery in his lecture as well as Horton’s (2012, pg. 8) Design Quickly and Reliably Eleven Step Process to help me outline my plan. Moore’s (1989) Content-Instructor-Student characteristics and interactions will also be analyzed in order to determine which teaching and learning modalities that may lead to best possible outcome.

References

Horton, W. (2012). E-learning by design. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley and Sons.

Moore, M.G. (1989). Three types of interaction. Editorial. Retrieved from http://aris.teluq.uquebec.ca/portals/598/t3_moore1989.pdf

Newberry, B. (2015). Session Four Lecture. [Word document]. Retrieved from CSUSB Blackboard ETEC 541.

Waterhouse, S. (2005). The power of eLearning: The essential guide for teaching in the digital age. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Session Three

Interactions

interaction

Goal: Examine issues related to student and instructor characteristics and the possible impacts of these characteristics on design choices.

When teaching in a face-to-face setting, we are subconsciously aware of the interactions that take place. We can monitor these interactions with most of our senses in ways that we monitor interactions with others in our daily lives. When we teach online these interactions are hidden from us. As a designer of online learning, and as an instructor, it is helpful if more overt attention is given to understanding, monitoring and shaping the interactions in the class. It is important to balance the interactions to be respectful of student time, and to ensure that the planned and likely interactions are adequate (or even optimum) for ensuring learning.  – Brian Newberry


1. The interactions matrix is a table listing the three types of interactions at the top, with some sample activities on the left. Place an X in the cells to indicate which activities correspond to which interactions.

In an Introduction to College Research class, it’s possible to incorporate all three interaction types into the class regardless of the class format – F2F, hybrid, or online. However, in the Session Three lecture, Professor Newberry notes that one should be careful about including too many different types of interactions in an online class, especially if different types of technology are required. It’s important not to allow the learning of technology to overshadow or displace the learning of course content. That said, here are just a few examples of activities that can be used in a library research class and the interaction types they address. As you can see, in a library research class, most of these activities can successfully address multiple interactions depending on how they are used.

Interactions Matrix

Learner-Content Learner-Instructor Learner-Learner
 Video X  X  X
 Lecture  X
 Chat  X  X  X
 Discussion  X  X  X
 Screen  capture  X  X  X
 Prezi  X
 Email  X  X
 Blogs  X  X  X
 Google docs  X  X  X
 Resource evaluation  X  X
 Podcast  X  X X
Skype  X  X  X

2. Discuss of the types of interactions that are most often used in the content area for which you expect to design instruction. Be sure to explain the content area, the types of students and types of objectives with which you will be working.

In his Session Three lecture, Professor Newberry notes that course designers must be careful to create the most effective ways for learners to successfully reach the objectives of the course. He advocates the Interaction Approach to online instruction design to insure that students learn what we intend for them to learn. Like Newberry, Bouhnik & Marcus (2006) state that one of the most important factors relating to e-learning is the element of interaction. In his 1989 editorial, the noted distance education scholar Michael G. Moore outlines three types of interaction that can affect learning in online courses:

  • Interaction with content (Learner-Content)
  • Interaction with the instructor (Learner-Instructor)
  • Interaction with classmates (Learner-Learner)

It’s interesting to note that these three interactions seem to correspond nicely to the three presences in the Community of Inquiry model of instructional design:

  • Cognitive Presence/Learner-Content
  • Teaching Presence/Learner-Instructor
  • Social Presence/Learner-Learner

Moore (1989) states that Learner-Content interaction “is a defining characteristic of education. Without it there cannot be education, since it is the process of intellectually interacting with content that results in changes in the learner’s understanding, the learner’s perspective, or the cognitive structures of the learner’s mind.” However, he also notes that Learner-Instructor and Learner-Learner interaction are valuable if not essential in reaching the learning objectives of an online course. The course I proposed in Session Two is a good example of a course that can successfully incorporate all three types of interaction.

  • Course Content: Introduction to the EBSCO Health Source database.
  • Students: Students are undergraduates who have completed at least two semesters of general requirements and are in the first semester of the Associate Degree Nursing program.
  • Objectives: Teach students how to access the database. Introduce them to its features and content. Teach them how to search, limit, retrieve, save, and cite medical journal articles.
  • Interactions:
    • Learner-Content: lecture via podcast and Word document; screencast tutorials; Prezi online presentation; LibGuide webpages; guided search worksheets; resource evaluation
    • Learner-Instructor: email; chat; Skype; office hours; open door policy
    • Learner-Learner: discussion board; video and/or screencast creation and comment; collaborative bibliography; Skype; F2F computer lab sessions

3. Chapters 2, 3 and 4 of the Horton text discuss three categories of activities: Absorb, Do, and Connect. After reading these chapters you are to locate one or more online classes and identify one Absorb, one Do, and one Connect activity.

According to Horton (2012, pg. 51), there are three types of learning activities that can help students accomplish learning objectives:

  • Absorb: Read, watch, listen. In these activities the learner is physically passive but mentally active.
  • Do: Practice, play, answer. In these activities the learner practices, explores, and discovers.
  • Connect: Relate knowledge to the real world. In these activities the learner connects what they are learning to what they already know.

Online Course One

URL: http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rul/lib_instruct/riot/

Course Content: Rutgers Beginner’s Guide to Research

Intended Students/Probable Student Characteristics: University undergraduates in the Google generation who are comfortable with electronic media but unaware of college level research requirements and information resources.

Instructor Characteristics: This course is presented as a video using avatars. The “instructor” is a graduate student in Library and Information Science who has been tutoring at the university library for two years.

Identify the Type of Activity: This tutorial touches on all three of the activity types. It’s primarily an Absorb activity because the student watches and listens to information presented by an avatar librarian about the research process. The tutorial designer has successfully integrated Do activities into the tutorial by requiring the viewer to make selections along the way and “help” avatar students with their research. The selections the viewer chooses dictate the direction of the tutorial. The overall objective of this tutorial is to promote the Connect activity wherein the student can internalize the knowledge gained and use it in their own research project.

Identify and Discuss the Interactions in the Activity: This is a very interactive online tutorial on conducting research but the interactions are primarily Learner-Content. The learner views the content at their own pace and is given choices throughout. However the viewer must “interact” with the avatar and gets feedback upon selecting answers so perhaps, in a stretch, you can say there’s Learner-Instructor interaction. There’s a Feedback option in survey format but there’s no place to add your name or contact info so if you actually had a question this is not the place to ask it.

Online Course Two

  • URL: http://www.classzone.com/books/research_guide/page_build.cfm?state=none&content=web_eval&u=1
  • Course Content: Evaluating Web Sites
  • Intended Students/Probable Student Characteristics: Middle school and high school students. These are students who were born digital and who use Google as their search engine of choice.
  • Instructor Characteristics: Created by the staff of publisher McDougal Littell to enhance the content of their text books but these tutorials can be stand-alone as well.
  • Identify the Type of Activity: Like the previous tutorial this one touches on all three of the activity types. It’s primarily an Absorb activity because the student reads information on the webpage. The tutorial designer has successfully integrated Do activities into the tutorial in the form of quizzes and activities. The learner can select from a variety of tutorials, quizzes and activities. The overall objective of this tutorial is to promote the Connect activity wherein the student can internalize the knowledge gained and use it to determine the value of websites.
  • Identify and Discuss the Interactions in the Activity: This tutorial is a Learner-Content interaction. Its sole purpose is to impart information. The content and the activities promote this interaction.

References

Bouhnik, D. & Marcus, T. (2006). Interaction in distance-learning courses. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 57(3):299–305. Retrieved from http://www.bar-oriyan.com/portals/0/%D7%A0%D7%99%D7%94%D7%95%D7%9C%20%D7%99%D7%93%D7%A2/interaction%20in%20distance%20learning%20courses.pdf

Horton, W. (2012). E-learning by design. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley and Sons.

Moore, M.G. (1989). Three types of interaction. Editorial. Retrieved from http://aris.teluq.uquebec.ca/portals/598/t3_moore1989.pdf

Newberry, B. (2015). Session Three Lecture. [Word document]. Retrieved from CSUSB Blackboard ETEC 541.

 

 

Session Two

Content, Instructor, and Student Characteristics

analysis

Goal: To examine issues of design related to content, instructor and student characteristics.

One of the most important parts of the Instructional Design process is “Analysis”. Analysis refers to the process used by an instructional designer to learn what they need to know about the content, the learners, how to assess learning and how to effectively deliver instruction. – Brian Newberry


Your blog post assignment this week is to address each of the following three scenarios in light of the information presented in the podcast and then discuss your instructional design process described in chapter 1 of our text. Then you will be asked to reflect on a development project of your own and identify the steps in an instructional design process presented in the text.

1. Scenarios

To address these scenarios, identify the major characteristics or issues that would impact or influence the design of the described online class. Be sure to indicate which of the characteristics you identify would be your prime concern. Also be sure to indicate how each of the major issues you identify would influence your design of the online class.

You have been asked to lead the team that is developing a series of courses for an online University. Explain some design decisions or issues that you would have to deal with for each class given the characteristics of the content, instructors and students as presented. Note: Pick the most salient characteristics and issues and explain why the ones you have chosen are key. Don’t try to cover every possible issue in each scenario!

Course A

Content: This course will cover beginning college algebra.

  • Issues: Since I’m not a subject expert, and admittedly suffer from math anxiety, content would be a primary issue for me in designing an online algebra course. In his lecture Professor Newberry describes math as a typically convergent subject with right and wrong answers. Therefore it should be a little more straightforward to structure an online class for this subject matter. However I would have to work closely with the course instructor to identify what to teach (Horton, 2012, p. 14) and to set clear, precise, and worthy learning objectives (p. 16 & 18). This type of course lends itself nicely to Tests & Quiz modules in the campus CMS.

Instructor(s): This course is taught by various adjunct and full time professors who are very familiar with the content who have differing degrees of tech skills and online teaching experience. The same class has to serve for all instructors.

  • Issues: In his lecture Newberry notes that instructor characteristics are an important part of the design process, so having various instructors with varying tech skills and time restraints is indeed a challenge. Is there a course outline that all instructors follow? As illustrated by Horton, this should be used to create the lessons, topics, and activities for the class (p. 6). Designing a simple, clear and easy to navigate course framework that’s based on the curricula is best. At the same time it would be useful to allow for customization by instructors with higher degrees of sophistication.

Students: All students in this course are college freshman and sophomores with good technology skills and each has successfully taken an online orientation to online learning course.

  • Issues: Horton suggests that the designer analyze learners’ needs and abilities. (p. 13). This appears to be a homogenous group of students with similar skills and prerequisites. However, it’s important to present the information in an organized manner that’s easy to navigate and allows for different types of interaction in order to motivate students and maintain their interest. As Newberry notes, students differ in their need for interactions.

Course B

Content: The course is a philosophy of leadership class.

  • Issues: Like most humanities courses, this philosophy course will probably feature a lot of reading, critical thinking, discussion, and writing. This type of course content is what Professor Newberry described at divergent and lends itself to open-ended questions and answers. The online course framework must allow for creativity on the part of the students but also allow the instructor to manage the students’ input without difficulty. This can be done by selecting the appropriate tools within the CMS. Key issues will be knowing what concepts the instructor wants to teach and designing objectives that will accomplish that (p. 14 & 16).

Instructor(s): The instructor is an experienced face-to-face instructor with good tech skills and prior online teaching experience. This instructor prefers lecture and discussion classes.

  • Issues: The holistic nature of most philosophy classes, where the students and their instructor have long discussions on various issues, might seem like a tough fit for an online course, especially if the instructor prefers lecture and discussion classes. However, since this instructor is tech savvy and has previous online teaching experience this could be a very fun class to design. The key issues here would be to gage the instructors comfort level with the CMS capabilities, various other media formats, and even social media sites. Select the appropriate media (p. 61) and create learning activities (p. 51) that include all types of interaction. The designer can strive to make the online experience as rewarding for the instructor as the F2F experience and perhaps change the instructors thinking about online courses.

Students: Graduate students who are well motivated and with a broad range of technology skills, from average to very advanced.

  • Issues: These are graduate students all with adequate technology skills therefore it’s important to create learning objectives and learning objects that challenge the students. However, a course such as this might have students with varying undergraduate degrees such as the sciences or social sciences. Research, writing, and critical thinking skills could vary as well so the learners’ needs and abilities should be taken into account when creating online content for the course (p. 13). As Horton also notes, it’s useful to have the students apply their knowledge in real-world situation to determine if they’ve met the learning objective (p. 24). The designer must create learning objects that allow students to meet this objective (p. 49).

Course C

Content: This course is an introduction to college success. It teaches study skills, communication skills, and tries to help students learn how to fit into the college community.

  • Issues: This course is typically offered to first-semester freshmen. At Cerritos College several sections are part of the First Year Experience Learning Community so students have a group of 30 cohorts in three different classes with a single theme running throughout. The content is a combination of convergent (e.g. facts about the campus, degree information) and divergent (e.g. time management techniques, interpersonal communication). A big part of this course is introducing students to the college’s online presence and insuring that they are comfortable navigating those resources, so utilizing the campus webpages and the campus CMS are key design elements. This course tends to involve much instructor interaction, because students are often investigating unique topics such as their own career goals. Newberry notes that in this scenario the online course framework has to include proven ways to provide “appropriate guidance and support”.

Instructor(s): This course will be taught by various instructors all with good tech skills and prior online teaching experience but who have never taught this content before.

  • Issues: At Cerritos College this course is taught by the counselors and there’s are a very specific course objectives and course outline. This should make it relatively easy to design an online course that can be used by new instructors who have the same objectives and follow the same outline. As Horton notes, make sure you know what is being taught (p. 14) and understand the main objectives. Even though Horton warns against working with a “content committee” (p. 16), in this case I would work with someone from the department to insure the design is adequate, that the sequencing makes sense, and that it can be manipulated if needed since some instructors teach out of sequence. You might not be able to design to every instructor’s preferences, but by creating a customizable site you can address different instructor needs.

Students: Students are incoming freshman who have been identified by advisers as high risk for drop out.

  • Issues: In this case the learners’ needs and abilities have been noted, but as Horton points out there are many sub-factors to consider, such as motivation for learning, attitude, communication skills, social skills, etc. (p. 13). In a class with this particular demographic, i.e. at-risk students, it’s very important to engage and motivate utilizing all three types of presences of the CoI module – social, teaching, and cognitive. Interactions between students, teacher, and content are crucial. Selecting the best approach and best media to reach the course objectives is key. Besides using the campus webpage and CMS, introduce social media sites since students are probably already familiar with these popular applications. I’ve also found that interactive learning activities work well with this population of students. The course design should include “Absorb, Do, Connect” activities that are both fun to complete as well as educational (p. 51).

2. Now, think about an online learning experience that you might someday create. Describe in detail the content, instructor and student characteristics. What are the design issues or features that these suggest? Explain your answers.

Title of My Online Learning Experience: Finding Journal Articles Using Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition

Content: This learning experience is an introduction to the EBSCO Health Source database. It teaches students how to access the database and introduces them to its features and content. It will teach them how to search, limit, retrieve, save, and cite medical journal articles. This is a one-shot F2F learning experience conducted in a computer lab. In addition there’s 24/7 online learning object available.

  • Issue: It seems to me that teaching database structure and search strategy is a combination of convergent and divergent content. It’s important that students understand how a database is constructed and understand its features as well as the concepts behind Boolean logic (convergent), but it’s even more crucial that they understand how to select keywords and create a meaningful search (divergent). The usual and customary practice of a live online demonstration followed by hands-on practice works well for the F2F session in the computer lab. A key issue will be choosing the best media for the interactive online learning object (Horton, 2012, p. 61).

Instructor: This course will be taught by the Nursing liaison librarian who has taught completely online and is also comfortable with hybrid or flipped classrooms.

  • Issue: The designer might or might not be the instructor, however both the designer and the instructor are experienced librarians. Instructor preferences and comfort levels with media, activities, and student interactions must be taken into account (Newberry, 2015).
  • Issue: The designer must select learning activities that can be completed successfully in the computer lab in order to enable discovery (Horton, 2012, p. 51). After absorbing knowledge presented in a live, online demonstration by the instructor, students must be given a chance to do something with that knowledge in order to connect it with their nursing program success. Again, a key issue will be choosing the best media for the 24/7 interactive online learning objects and creating learning objects that enable discovery even when the librarian isn’t present.

Students: Students are undergraduates who have completed at least two semesters of general requirements and are in the first semester of the Associate Degree Nursing program.

  • Issue: Students in this class are generally very motivated due to the highly selective nature of the Nursing program at Cerritos College. Previous academic success has rewarded them with acceptance in the program. Newberry (2015) notes that previous success in online classes tends to produce self-motivated, self-regulated, and self-starting students. While not all their previous course were online, many were. However, the instructor still needs to be aware of the technology skills of the students. As Horton notes, it’s important to analyze the learners’ needs and abilities (Horton, 2012, p. 13).
  • Issue: Due to the sophistication of these students, it’s important to create learning objectives and learning objects that challenge the students. As Horton notes, it’s useful to have the students apply their knowledge in real-world situation to determine if they’ve met the learning objective (p. 24). The designer must create learning objects that allow students to meet this objective (p. 49).

3. List the 11 instructional design steps presented in chapter 1 of the text (Design Quickly and Reliably).

William Horton, a leading e-learning consultant and author of the book E-Learning Design, defines e-learning simply and understandably as “the use of electronic technologies to create learning experiences.” He goes on to say that creating effective e-learning requires both design and development. Design involves the decisions about what we’re going to do, while development is the actual construction of our e-learning environment.  Design requires judgement, creativity, and decision-making and it determines the success of the technology and the pedagogy. Horton developed an eleven step design process that he maintains is a “tired and true approach to e-learning design. The steps are:

1. Identify your underlying goal. Keep the goal in mind as you make other decisions.

2. Analyze learner’s needs and abilities. You must know enough about the learners to choose appropriate learning experiences. And remember that no two learners are exactly the same.

3. Identify what to teach. Practice essentialism, a technique to focus learning on essentials needed to accomplish goals.

4. Set learning objectives. Good objectives are the make-or-break requirement for effective e-learning. They should be clear, precise, and worthy.

5. Identify prerequisites. Prerequisites specify the abilities, knowledge, beliefs, and feelings learners must possess before they can accomplish an objective.

6. Pick the approach to meet each objective. Determine how you will meet each objective. Consider all possibilities and pick the best solution for your learners, your mission, and your situation.

7. Decide on the teaching sequence of your objectives. Determine the order in which learners will accomplish the objectives. Possibilities include bottom-up, top-down, and sideways.

8. Create objects to accomplish objectives. Specify learning activities (aka learning objects) for each objective. A learning object is a chunk of electronic content that can be accessed individually and that completely accomplishes a single learning objective and can prove it.

9. Create tests. Tests gauge accomplishment of the objectives.

10. Select learning activities. Activities are necessary to provoke learning experiences and can be used to accomplish difficult leaning objectives. Absorb-Do-Connect activities enable discovery.

11. Choose media. Determine which media is necessary to implement the activities and tests and accomplish the objectives. Which medium will most directly and effectively express the ideas you want to get across?

Then redesign again and again…

References

Horton, W. (2012). E-learning by design. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley and Sons.

Newberry, B. (2015). Session Two Lecture. [Word document]. Retrieved from CSUSB Blackboard ETEC 541.

Session One

Introduction & The Current State of Online Learning: Design – Develop – Deliver

Online_Learning

Goal: The first blog post includes a self introduction explaining why I’m taking this class, what I hope to learn, relating some of my previous experiences with online learning, and anything else that will help me connect to my fellow students.

Without these student-student interactions an online class like this can feel isolating. Use the blog comment spaces to share ideas, give meaningful critique and offer encouragement to your fellow students. – Brian Newberry


My Introduction

My name is Lorraine Gersitz and I’m a librarian at Cerritos College. I’m currently on sabbatical and I’m using my leave to take courses in educational technology and e-learning. Even though librarians are notoriously early adopters when it comes to technology, and I’ve tried my best to keep current in the field, I’m here at CSUSB to take courses that will help me learn about and become expert in a wide variety of educational technologies, philosophies, theories, and practices so that I can understand how best to facilitate learning in a non-face-to-face environment. With this knowledge I hope to be able to implement innovative new services and revitalize some of the existing ones at the Cerritos College Library. I want to become a more effective, innovative, and creative librarian who can better engage today’s students.

Here at CSUSB I’m working towards the e-Learning Certificate. In fact, this is the last course I need to complete the requirements. I plan to continue taking ETEC course and complete the Educational Technology Certificate as well.

At Cerritos College I teach dozens of stand-alone research skills sessions each semester that focus on specific topics assigned by classroom instructors. I also teach a hybrid library skills course using the Sakai Learning Management System (LMS). My goal when I return to the college next semester is to create web-based tutorials on library and information literacy skills that can be taken on the student’s own initiative or incorporated into any class by any instructor. I’ve started exploring those technologies thanks to the courses I’ve taken here

Now that I’ve completed four graduate level e-courses here at CSUSB I think I’m finally getting the hang of being an e-learner. It’s very easy to fall behind if you don’t stay motivated and manage your time wisely. But, after successfully completing four courses I’ve learned that the instructors here do an excellent job of describing and laying out the course, the objectives, the expectations, the learning management system, and the time-frame. They also provide excellent examples of how to facilitate e-courses. But in the end it’s the student’s responsibility to manage their time and keep up with the assignments. I realized that the sooner I log on each week to get started, the less stress I have at the end of the week. But I have to admit I appreciate the flexibility offered by online courses.

I look forward to another interesting course with Professor Newberry and learning about some technologies and methods I can use with students in the library.

IMG_20140802_124659697_HDRWhen I’m not being a librarian and a student, I’m a very active triathlete. I swim, bike, and run – a lot. In fact, ’m going to Boston next week to run the Boston Marathon on April 20. Two weeks after that I’m heading to St George for an Ironman 70.3 race on May 2. Don’t worry Professor Newberry, I’m bringing my laptop.


Respond to the following questions based on your interaction with the session 1 podcast:

1. Explain the relationship between distance learning and online learning.

According to the lecture, online learning is the natural result of distance learning adopting new communications technologies. For me, that’s a very clear way to describe the evolution of this type of learning. In ETEC 501 we researched the history of distance education and how it has changed over the years. Indeed, most of the changes were due to new and evolving technologies – from mail, to radio, to film and television, to the internet. As I discovered in ETEC 501, most researchers agree that distance learning was born in the 1700s out of a need for educational opportunities to reach a geographically dispersed and diverse populations. To that end, the first distance learning experiences were in the form of correspondence courses. Other instructional formats emerged at the onset of the industrial age in the 1920s. Developments in new technology during that period saw distance learning opportunities grow through the use of radio, film, audio, and television. In the 70’s, distance learning entered the computer age as technological advances made distance education more sophisticated and more accessible. Completely online colleges and universities, such as the University of Phoenix and Coastline Community College, were established to give working adults flexible education opportunities. In the 1990’s, as more and more courses were being offered online, course management systems such as Blackboard were developed to help instructors create, disseminate, and manage their coursework and assessments though end-user friendly programs that would be consistent throughout the institution.

Prior to the internet age distance education was media driven but it wasn’t truly online. The online dimension changed the face of distance learning by allowing students and instructors to transmit information easily, not only between student and instructor but also among classmates. Distance learning still gives students with differing geographic and/or time constraints access to educational opportunities but online learning allows them to connect with their course cohorts even though physical distance and time differences exist.

2. Discuss the main difference between distance learning and online learning.

It seems to me that online learning is a type of distance learning but not all distance learning is online learning. The following definitions help clarify the difference.

Online learning:

  1. One of the primary applications that constitute e-learning, online learning is an interactive form of distance education. It integrates independence (asynchronous online communication) with interaction (connectivity) that overcomes time and space constraints in a way that emulates the values of higher education (Garrison, 2011).
  2. Online learning is distance learning where the bulk of instruction is offered via computer and the Internet (Poulin, 2002).

Distance learning:

  1. The term “distance education” was originally used to describe the process of providing knowledge at a distance to students who didn’t have access to education due to the geographic barriers. The distance education movement was an effort to extend the reach of the traditional university and to overcome problems of scarcity & exclusivity of academic institutions (Historical Purpose).
  2. In the mid-1990s, the U.S. Department of Education defined distance education as “education or training courses delivered to remote (off-campus) location(s) via audio, video (live or prerecorded), or computer technologies”. In the late 1990s the American Association of University Professors defined distance education (or distance learning) as education in which “the teacher and the student are separated geographically so that face-to-face communication is absent; communication is accomplished instead by one or more technological media, most often electronic (interactive television, satellite television, computers, and the like)”. Also late in the 1990s, the Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications (WCET) sought a definition that did not focus on technology and would be easy for anyone to understand: “Perhaps the simplest definition is that distance learning takes place when the instructor and student are not in the same room, but instead are separated by physical distance”. Three main concepts are common to these definitions:
  • A course of study is being undertaken involving both teaching and learning.
  • Overcoming barriers of place and/or time. Teachers and learners traditionally meet at an appointed place at an appointed time to pursue a course of study. Distance learning originally developed to overcome the difficulties of teachers and learners who were not in the same geographic location. More recently, distance learning may also serve those who might be at the same location, but choose not to meet at the same time.
  • A tool is used to facilitate learning. To overcome the distance of place or time, some form of technology is used to communicate between the teacher and learner. Originally, the technologies of pen, paper, and the postal service were used to connect them. As electronic communication technologies (audio, video, and data) became readily accessible to learners, these have been increasingly used (Poulin, 2002).

References

Garrison, R.  (2011). E-learning in the 21st century. New York, NY: Routledge.

Historical purpose. (n.d.). History of Distance Education. Retrieved from http://mysite.du.edu/~kkeairns/doc/histpurpose.htm

Poulin, R. (2002). Distance learning in higher education. In J. W. Guthrie (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Education (2nd ed., Vol. 2, pp. 589-593). New York: Macmillan Reference USA. Retrieved from Gale Virtual Reference.

3. List the three types of interaction proposed by Moore (1989) and explain each type of interaction in your own words.

In the lecture we were introduced to Joi L. Moore’s proposal that there are three types of communication interaction that contribute to success in a distance education setting. They are:

Learner-content interaction – The basis of the educational process, this occurs when the student interacts with the subject matter. An understanding of new information, the course content, enables the learner to construct new knowledge.

Learner-instructor interaction – An important component of a successful learning environment, this occurs when the instructor presents information in an organized manner that stimulates student interest and keeps them motivated. Instructors should be available to support, encourage, and counsel students with relevant feedback.

Learner-learner interaction – An important aspect of any classroom, often referred to as Social Presence in the Community of Inquiry (CoI) educational model. This interaction occurs when learners share information with their peers and receive feedback. Learners become active participants in the learning community which leads to deeper thinking and learning.

4. Discuss some of the differences between the early days of online learning and today. Then make some predictions about the future of elearning. Please include at least one good article/website/citation for this item. For example: http://tinyurl.com/8zkvedh

With the advent of the computer age, distance learning took another step on the technology ladder. No longer solely dependent on mail, radio, television, or satellite, instructors realized that “The computer was the missing piece of the educational puzzle that would facilitate the free flow of information between teacher and learner as well as introduce the previously absent interpersonal aspects of communication.” (Casey, 2008)

But even with a computer interface, the early days of online learning featured an emphasis on computer-based programs and/or documents that were “pushed” to students via email. There was little interaction other than email between teacher and students and virtually no interaction among classmates. Early online courses resembled correspondence courses in many ways. It wasn’t until 1991 when Tim Berners-Lee developed the World Wide Web and created an information superhighway that could potentially link all computers that the possibilities for fuller online learning experiences began to explode. Since then, the potential for interactive, virtual classrooms is limited only by an institutions budget, vision and course management system. (Casey, 2008)

Online learning today is no longer simply about students who are physically removed from campus. Today, online educators and students on and off campus have access to unprecedented amounts of online content in the form of books, textbooks, videos, and real-time connectivity. There’s a focus on interactive and collaborative e-learning using social media as well as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). The future of elearning is bright. As proven by the long history of distance learning, as technology advances so will elearning.

Reference

Casey, D.M. (2008). A journey of legitimacy: The historical development of distance education through technology. TechTrends. 52(2). Retrieved from ERIC.