Active Learning in the Online Classroom: Examples and Ideas
MARCH 2, 2015
Someone recently told me that they heard of an approach where all the boring content delivery lecture material is put online so that more active learning can take place in the classroom. They then asked me if this was the best approach for online learning? What they were describing is blended learning or the “flipped” classroom approach. Do you have something to add? If so, leave a comment below.
MUST READ: Teaching in a Digital Age
SEPTEMBER 3, 2015
Ok - full disclosure. I'm a big fan of Dr. Tony Bates. won't go into the details why except to say, you'll be a fan of his soon. Check out his bio if you want to know more). The reason you will be a fan of his is because you are going to read his book Teaching in a Digital Age. Don't go to Amazon, Chapters, Barns & Noble, or Walmart to find the book. The book is free. See why I am a fan of his?)
7 Strategies for Building Community in Online Courses
SEPTEMBER 27, 2013
Loneliness and a feeling of working in isolation is one reason why some online students eventually choose to drop a course. You can combat this attrition by building community in your course. Building a learning community and a sense of social belonging doesn’t happen by accident, you as the designer, developer and instructor of your online courses have to plan to build a learning community.
6 to 7 minutes of instructional video - that's the sweet spot!
NOVEMBER 19, 2013
I have sat through many 50 minute lectures in my life. Notice how I wrote that sentence "sat through". was I always engaged? Probably not. Is it realistic to be engaged for a full 50 minute block? Probably not. So how does one go about maximizing engagement in a distance course with video. Well, is the best strategy to record a 50 minute lecture video? Probably not. Short is the average.
New Brandon Hall Group report forecasts major shift in 2016 online learning trends
Companies are increasingly dissatisfied with online learning tools, prompting many to reinvest in technology that supports a modern training approach. Download the report from Brandon Hall Group to see how new investments are bringing real business results.
Engage! Top 6 Best Practices that Foster Learner Engagement with Online Instructional Video
MARCH 19, 2014
I''ve been watching Philip Guo at the University of Rochester closely since I stumbled across his great research on instructional video usage in MOOCs. This month, he is publishing a paper for the Association for Computing Machinery Conference on Learning at Scale that has very useful recommendation on ways to foster learner engagement with online instructional video.
The Importance of Video in e-Learning
MARCH 5, 2013
Let’s consider distance education for a bit. First there were correspondence courses: you know – read a bunch of stuff, write a bunch of stuff, and your instructor mails you your grade. Sometimes in the setting of a correspondence course there was media involved. Things like audiocassette tapes or VHS videotapes. In my experience: No. It’s great. If so, let us know by leaving a comment below
Are you new to social media curation in online learning? [VIDEO]
MARCH 28, 2014
When you think about the word " curation ", what comes to mind? Well for me, I think about museums right away. think about the museum curators that work in museums going through collections of resources and making decision about which artifacts to collect together and how to organize them to tell a story, to emphasize a concept, or to serve a learning outcome. Go ahead re-read it.
Help your students before they are your students: Math Diagnostic Quiz
JUNE 10, 2014
If you have been to university or college recently in a science-related discipline then you may have encountered a mathematics diagnostic quiz. Some institutions use them to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their incoming students. Most institutions keep the results internal and some locations use the results to triage the students into different math course sections.
Find and use 1 Million MORE images in the public domain on Flickr
DECEMBER 17, 2013
If you are an Instructional Designer, Instructor, or Educational Developer, then you have a keen eye open for excellent free image repositories. The reason for this is because you know that a significant proportion of your students are visual learners. So you structure some of your content each week around some visual elements such as images and/or videos. Perfect! biographical sketches, etc.,
Three ‘MUST HAVE” best practices in teaching online courses
JULY 19, 2011
If you came to read this posting to find a definitive list of best practices in teaching online courses, then please accept my apology. will not be compiling the large golden list of best practices in online teaching. Why you might ask? Well – because there is no definitive list. Please describe one thing the instructor did that hindered your success in this course. It’s a must. What do you think?
Your TOP 5 Favourite EdTech Tools for Online Education
JUNE 5, 2013
I was asked recently to do a presentation about educational technology tools for online education. Before I rolled right into my Top 5 Favourite Tools, I made sure I spent some time encouraging my audience to consider the criteria for selecting the tools first. These are the criteria I use: Criteria 1. Choose a tool that allows your distance students to study anytime, anywhere. Criteria 2. link].
Humanline - more free images for educational use
APRIL 20, 2012
I know I have written about free photo repositories before ( here and here ). Here’s the new kid on the block: Humanline. It’s an image library of arts, history and science that is mainly focused on licensing images for use in education ( your ears should perk up now ) and for commercial use. The usual credit-line requirement is there; much like a Creative Commons-type license. grin*).
One of the secret ingredients in online courses: TAs!
APRIL 25, 2014
I’ve just spent the morning thinking about Teaching Assistant (TA) roles for a large online course that I am designing and I thought I would take a moment to share. It''s a second year university course and I have a vision to dseign it such that it can be effective with large enrollment numbers between 200 and 1000 learners. It''s not a MOOC per se, it''s just a large online course. This will also be a customized model that is tailored to this particular course''s subject matter as well. TAs could perform other tasks that are specific to the particular course design? (to be determined?)
CHANGE is the Future of Higher Education? Tony Bates' Vision.
JANUARY 15, 2014
Question: What can a person who is in their mid-seventies and 3 months from retirement offer the field of education as a whole? Answer: A lot; especially if that person is Tony Bates. Read it - don''t skim it. After you read it, how does it make you feel? Did he miss anything? Is he off-base with one of his ideas? Leave a comment below if you like
Don’t police plagiarism! Instead design assignments that cannot be plagiarized.
JULY 22, 2011
Who says Facebook is a useless waste of time? This morning on my ride to work I was checking my Facebook on my iPhone (don’t worry - I was not driving!). I saw a post by a friend of mine on my news feed who was sharing a post by a friend of his entitled “NYU Prof Vows Never to Probe Cheating Again – and Faces a Backlash.” You just have to read it before you continue on with this post. Bonus!
Transform YouTube into an ACTIVE learning tool for your students
DECEMBER 16, 2010
Nina Arjarasumpun, from Knewton Inc. , was kind enough to write me an email out of the blue earlier this week. In her email she wanted to introduce me to a novel way in which the GMAT Prep team at Knewton was leveraging YouTube’s free video hosting service. She likened their work to the classic ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books that are popular with kids. It’s awesome. Very cool!
Storyboarding for eLearning
Storyboarding is a very important step for creating eLearning courses. But don’t you feel it’s a waste of time to start creating the courses from scratch and copy-paste text and other objects from the storyboard to the eLearning tool for course development.
Must Watch: The best Prezi of the Year!
DECEMBER 9, 2011
A colleague of mine, Dr. Jean-Marie Muhirwa, recently returned back from the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE) E-Learn 2011 World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare & Higher Education held in Honolulu, Hawaii on 18-21 October 2011. If you are new to Prezi, then check their website out. There you go! If so, leave a comment below.
Dear Professors: Please think like a Student sometimes. Thanks!
FEBRUARY 6, 2013
We are changing Learning Management Systems (LMS) at my school. Lately I have been very busy transferring content from one LMS to another and prettying up courses. You must envy me right? smile*). Anyway, I am working on distance courses where the instructor and the students never meet face to face. feel that professors often (inadvertently?) What a waste of time. If so, leave a comment
Re-thinking assignment late penalties in distance courses? Is it time to think outside the box or not?
FEBRUARY 22, 2011
David Truss recently posted a fantastic commentary on a blog post by Tom Schimmer entitled: Enough with the Late Penalties. The subject is about late penalties in school. Essentially the argument they both make is that if you examine the objectives of most courses, rarely is there an objective that relates to punctuality or ability to meet deadlines. Cheating. How about instructor marking?
Authentic Learning in Online Courses
OCTOBER 9, 2013
The library at my school has a book entitled A Guide to Authentic e-Learning by Jan Herrington. Unfortunately, it is currently signed out. However, Jan had a brilliant idea! She made a series of short videos that describe each of the steps in her authentic learning model: Authentic context, Authentic task, Expert perspectives, Collaboration, Articulation, Reflection, Coaching & Scaffolding and Authentic assessment. The website contains more than just videos. Great idea. like it a lot. Do you have experience conducting authentic tasks in e-Learning contexts? tomooc #tomooc13 tomooc tomooc13
Evaluating Training - Capturing the Benefits Aspects of ROI
Training evaluation is necessary and, in many ways, critical to the success of a business. But because short term priorities always seem to take precedence, it is typically something we plan to do better in the next course, or maybe next month, or even next year. After all, we’ve managed pretty well up to now, so surely another year can’t hurt!
The future of online learning for higher education is here today. and it's FREE!
APRIL 5, 2013
How did this slip under my radar? Posted to YouTube on the 1st of August, 2012, Computer Science professor Daphne Koller of Standford University talks about the Coursera project. Massively open and free course-ware that enables learners from anywhere to study online. It''s not computer-based training. It''s group-paced web-enabled learning. Check out Daphne''s intriguing TED TALK below.
Key Trends, Challenges, and Developments in EdTech - 15 years into this century
FEBRUARY 17, 2015
1999 seems so far away. remember we were so scared about the Y2K problem and how it might impact our educational systems. Those 1999 problems are long gone. There are new challenges now. The EDUCAUSE Horizon 2015 report on Higher Education is out now. The Report is a very valuable read because it not only provides a summary of each issue but also provides further reading resources for each.
What are you waiting for? Start a MOOC today!
AUGUST 14, 2013
Massively Online Open Courses (MOOCs) is a term coined by Canadiens eh. Yup – and now it’s all over the place. These heavily subscribed courses marry the best of both worlds: FREE and EASY ACCESS. You don’t have to take out a student loan to enrol in a MOOC, and you don’t have to show up in class at 8:30am on Monday morning either. Have you tried a MOOC yet? If not, what’s stopping you?
Consistency vs Variety in Online Assessments: is the balance important?
DECEMBER 19, 2012
I received an email last week from a college professor who had a good question. She is designing her second online course and was wondering what my opinion was on the types of assignments that work best online. Specifically, she wanted my opinion about whether predictability and variety were important facets in good assessment schemes for online courses. Assignment 2: Due Sunday of Week 6.
Seven Simple Secrets to Off-the-Shelf Course Success
Off-the-shelf elearning is applicable for a wide audience, but it won’t address your organization’s unique situations or distinctive content. So are these courses all that helpful? For sure! Read on for 7 secrets to make off-the-self learning your own.
The magic bullet? Reducing costs with online courses in Canada
FEBRUARY 26, 2014
There’s no magic bullet. Stop looking for one. The simple fact that a course is offered online, or at a distance, does not equate with automatic cost savings when compared to the cost of developing and delivering a traditional onsite course in a higher education setting. Being an online course is not a magic bullet to cost reduction. Read it in detail here. Share them with a comment below
Your Online Teaching Dream Team - Pick their brains HERE!
NOVEMBER 1, 2013
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could meet with an online distance teacher “dream-team” and pick their brains about the broad topic of interpersonal interaction in online learning? Well – your wish has come true! With a combined 68+ years of experience teaching online, please allow me to present your dream-team: Zane Berge (University of Maryland, Baltimore County).
How To Teach Online - MOOC - Week 1
SEPTEMBER 3, 2013
The MOOC for How To Teach Online (#tomooc) has begun. Naturally, the 1st week’s activities are pretty general. They have questions for learners to answer on their blog, so I’ll do it below: What is your intention for this course (why are you here)? What issues do you think are important? How will you contribute? How would you like to see community develop among participants? These types of courses are new for most people. In fact about 90% don’t even participate. How will you overcome the fear of learning in the open and the frustration of using new technology? Learning is fun. Bring it on ;-).
Student-to-student interaction in small distance courses
JULY 5, 2011
I have been asked several times about ideas for injecting student-to-student interaction into distance courses when the enrolment numbers are likely to be low. Some instructors feel that with low enrollment numbers that it might be better to design an assessment scheme that contains only individual work. However, I feel differently. To have a community student-to-student interaction is required.
Move Beyond Learning to Applying: A Modern Management Development Program
A better way to develop front-line managers !It’s well documented that people leave managers – not companies. Download this guide to learn how to shift the perspective from event to journey and how to take learners through Proficiency Journeys to get results.
Week 1 Teaching Online is Critical - A Recipe for Making the Connection with your Learners
SEPTEMBER 16, 2013
Connecting with Learners is the topic of Week 2 for the Teaching Online MOOC. It''s a very important topic in technology-mediated distance education. Setting the tone from the beginning is an effective way to close the transactional distance between the instructor and the students, who many never meet each other physically during the semester. How do you do it effectively? Part 2. Part 3. Rule #1.
The Big Current Issue in Educational Technology - how to fix it?
MARCH 7, 2013
Michelle Marshall, a student at the University of Texas, asked me a question for her project involving talking to some people who work in the field of Instructional Design. She asks my opinion on what the “biggest current issues or controversial topics are in relation to Educational Technology”. Great question Michelle. There’s no magic bullet in the educational technology realm so there are always ‘issues’. The absolute biggest one in my opinion is how quickly educational technology changes. Teachers have always been very busy people. So what’s the solution that will overcome this big issue?
Educate the Mobile Generation: Convert WORD documents to ePub and MOBI
AUGUST 5, 2011
You’ve seen the headlines and heard the buzz as much as I have: smartphones are taking over the planet, e-books are selling like hotcakes, and, tablets like the iPad are cannibalizing laptop and desktop computer sales. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to conclude that Mobile computing in the hottest trend in technology since electricity was invented. Well, I was a bit embarrassed by my answer.
Should I buy books about technology in education? Answer: NO!
JANUARY 10, 2011
I received a great question over the weekend asking if I could “ help finding a good book about technology in post secondary education ” and I had to take a couple of days to think about it. have some fantastic books on the shelf about Instructional Design but I have very few about Educational Technology. Technological tools and strategies change faster than print. Do you just give up?
5 Unknown Ways You're Wasting Your Training Budget
In the US alone, companies spend over $70 billion on corporate training and about $1000 on individual employees according to Bersin by Deloitte. When it comes to training budgets, leaders struggle to pinpoint what impact (if any) their training programs are having. So what's the result? Companies end up wasting millions of dollars each year on ineffective training practices.
Quality Matters is Cool
FEBRUARY 21, 2014
The university that I work at just purchased an institutional membership to the Quality Matters (QM) Program. If you are not familiar with QM, it''s basically a quality assurance program for online courses that is faculty-centered, grounded in research and rubric-based. As someone who has been working in online education for a dozen years, I am excited! It was a great.
Top Four HOT Concepts in Distance Learning
JANUARY 11, 2012
Distance Learning itself. At my institution, we are scratching our heads a little bit wondering why we have an above average number of enrollments in our distance learning courses. However, if you do a quick Google search and read a few reports it is clear that the pundits have been predicting that distance learning enrollments will rise. So called ‘anytime, anywhere’ learning. Mobile learning.
Sneak Peek: Best Practices in Online Course Design for Higher Education
SEPTEMBER 9, 2013
I am assembling a set of best practices for online course design in a higher education setting. It’s hard to do. started about two weeks ago and almost every day I add something to it. It now measures about four pages in length. Now I find myself wondering if the document is getting too large? Will people read it if it is that long? will have to think about this. Section 2. Course Outline.
Calling all Canadian Instructional Designers
JANUARY 22, 2013
I recently learned that a new association has been created that seeks to assemble all Instructional Designers in Canada. Appropriately called the Canadian Association of Instructional Designers (or in French: Association canadienne des concepteurs et des conceptrices pédagogique). various types of training and education settings) and promoting the profession in general. That's great for networking!
Workbook: Gamification and Your Enterprise Learning Strategy
This workbook is a response to your need to understand how to strategically incorporate gamification into your learning strategy, in order to drive real business results. It’s designed to be printed, written in and used as a guide.
Undergraduate Students and Technology 2013 [INFOGRAPHIC]
OCTOBER 11, 2013
The Educause Center for Analysis and Research (ECAR) have released their Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology for 2013. They surveyed over 100,000 undergraduate students at more than 250 college/university sites in 14 countries. The full text of the 49 page report can be found here. What do you think about this information? Does it resonate with you in your profession
Try Experiential Learning in Your Courses
SEPTEMBER 10, 2013
Scott McLean, History professor at the Queen’s Bader International Study Center at Herstmonceux Castle in England recently gave a talk entitled “Sites, Sources and Assessment in an Experiential Learning Environment.” I was there. It was a fantastic talk. For some students this is the first time they touch and work with primary sources! Be sure to check it out