Course design and objectives

September 22, 2009

multimedia_slideshowOne of the main goals of online instruction is to have students participate and interact successfully — instructor involvement is a strong factor affecting this participation/interaction, as well as instructor feedback.  Therefore, the better the instructor is at utilizing the tools in their toolbox, the better the course design will be.  Does this mean as an instructor you have to use every available ‘tool’ in circulation?  No.  We learned in Chapter 3 that email, the most basic element of online education, can provide excellent interaction among teachers and students and meet the basic goal of a successful online course.  But if multimedia is added then the course design is expanded.

There is a theory in psychology called “good enough parenting” – meaning that a parent adapts as needed to the changing child as it ages.  Apply this to online education and we get that the instructor adapts to the changing needs of its students (which is essentially what Kearsley is saying in the book) — whether that be student’s needs are meet with just an email course design or with multimedia course design (Web, Blackboard, FTP’s, groupware, etc.) it is the good instructor who is aware of their student’s needs.


September 17, 2009

SixthSenseYet another tool on the horizon for our toolboxes: Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry demonstrating SixthSense which is a wearable device with a projector that allows you to interact with the real world and the data world. FASCINATING!!!

Advanced Toolbox

September 17, 2009

When I think about constructing my advanced toolbox I think of it in terms of:  How do we make education relevant? One way is through utilizing technology.  How do we utilize technology?  By utilizing multimedia to create content, organize documents,  provide assistance, etc.  What are some ways I would use multimedia?

1.  Web sites — One of my favorite web sites to utilize in the classroom and out is  I probably spend at least 8-hours a week on this site listening to lectures and gaining access to information that up until now I would have had to either be at an ivy-league university or paying conference fees to attend the event — much less being able to distribute the information to students!

2. Streaming audio/video (media) —  real-time or on demand distribution of audio, video, and multimedia on the Internet.  One of the ways I use this is to listen to specific radio programs that my local station does not carry and to subscribe to iTunes U –  a collection of free educational media available to anyone who can download iTunes (free software).

3. Teleconferencing — whether it be Skype or another program, realtime video (conferences) is a good way to keep students “in their seat” but allow for interaction and an exchange of ideas.

Breathe Blackboard

September 17, 2009

This week technical difficulties with Blackboard have caused me the most angst. I spent a good deal of time writing a thread for the discussion board only to have it disappear when I hit save — I tried to go “back” but alas I wasn’t able to salvage anything. I also had the same difficulty with another posting, but was smart enough to write it in Word and copy/paste into thread.

Another issue I encountered was when taking a test on Blackboard this week – this was 100% my error.  The test was a match-the-definition with the correct word and some how I managed to have the correct answer on my paper version of the test, but accidently entered the incorrect answer on the electronic test; I even double-checked my work!  I was furious with myself because of this error — instead of a perfect score I received 18 points (out of 20 points).  Just goes to show that technology is wonderful but at times expressionsit’s only as good as the person utilizing it.

The link issue with Morehead didn’t cause me any grief fortunately.


September 17, 2009

Working in higher ed, every time I blink it seems  that there is some new form of lecture-ware (multi-media); in the last week I have attended meetings via iChat and Microsoft Live Meeting.  I’m not sure that one application is better than the next, but what I appreciate is that I can have meetings and a transfer of ideas with people from different countries in realtime without stepping foot out of my office.  I think this is a tremendous asset to my professional career – and can see it being a benefit to the educational classroom in connecting classrooms, gaining access to the best minds and expanding knowledge.

The technology has grown tremendously in the past decade — how has it changed?  I remember in undergrad taking a biology class where teleconferencing was used — the professor was at one university teaching the class and I was at another university participating in the class.  It was a bit cumbersome technologically — each participating university had to have a telecom unit (for audio) and a video camera that linked to a satellite.  However, today, my computer has a built-in camera and microphone; I just log in to the software on my computer; and I’m ready to communicate with others.

(This paper was interesting and discusses the application of Multimedia in Geographic Education

Skype, skype, skype, skype

September 16, 2009

skype_logoSkype is everywhere!!!  From “Oprah” to Who Wants To Be A Millionare?” to the Chinese Government… everytime I turn on my television, it would seem that everyone is using Skype — except me.  I’m sure you’re probably tired of reading this, but I’m a MAC; iChat has provided me the capability to do all of the things Skype [evidently] does, for years now, so I just haven’t gotten around to trying Skype out.  I’m not likely to use it any time soon, however, it does intrigue me a bit because the software is free and you can communicate with anyone else who also has the software for video chats — iChat limits you to those people with specific IM accounts (Yahoo, Mac, AIM).  My parents are computer illiterate and I have tired for a year to get them to acquire an AIM so that we could chat; but for some reason they just have a mental block and get caught on the registration process.  The way I figure is if Oprah can do it anyone can do it.  So prehaps I’ll suggest this to them.

Oh, another aspect of Skype is that you can make telephone calls to regular phone lines/cell phones — but there is a cost associated with it.

3D Worlds

September 16, 2009

I’ve been a member of SecondLife (SL)for about two years; although, it has been about a year since I actually logged into the site.  What a dramatic difference.  From the tremendous growth of SL  (even though I did hear a short report on the radio a week or so ago saying because of Twitter and Facebook people are not using SL as much as in the past) to the tremendous leaps in graphic technology I was impressed at the changes.  I flew around SL for about three hours (and yes I said flying) my first day back using the site.  I checked out Science Friday, because it was one of my original groups; I wanted to compare-contrast the changes.  The information was essentially the same but the world was amazing — a theatre for attending the show on Friday’s; billboards with science information; links to Nobel Prize winners; etc. Another item of note, is that it would seem that the monetary aspect (buying land, making clothes, etc.) has become significantly different — people are actually making a living on the site (  I did have to download some new software; it took less than a minute.  The one frustrating aspect was that controls are geared toward PC’s — the software works on a MAC but you just don’t have all the same functions as with a PC.

Personally, I am not a fan of simulations, I become bored — why would I want to simulate a life when I can live one?  185px-Second_Life_logo.svgIf I can’t gain something intellectually I lose interest quickly, and I have no desire to feed or sleep an avatar.  But with SL there appears (from the map) to be enough to keep me interested for a while.

I also checked out ActiveWorld, but it is Windows based — I’m a MAC.  I tried to download the software and run it on Parallels, but it crashed every time.  Oddessey was Internet Explorer supported only, so I had the same problems trying to run it on Parallels as well.