Sunday, December 23, 2012


Educational technology is becoming a part of every community and organization. With the world becoming more connected, educational technology is one of the fastest growing segments. A large majority of educational institutions are designing and implementing educational technology systems into their organization. For example, Cisco TelePresence Classroom Experience has helped high schools, colleges, and universities around the world get connected so learners can experience next-generation teaching, learning, and improved administrative efficiency. Apple also does a great job of promoting educational technology. A lot of schools have adopted iBooks and iTunes U. “Now easier than ever to unleash the full potential of iTunes products in your classroom by creating your own courses for iTunes products. You get to share your ideas in a powerful new way, and your students get a rich, immersive learning experience by using the iTunes U application” (Apple).
The advancement of technology over the next 10 years will help to bridge the gap in educational differences worldwide. As new technology is developed processes become more efficient which in turn makes products more affordable. In the next ten years, a school in a third world country may be able to afford a computer that they normally would not of been able to in the past.
For an educational institution to be successful, they must continue to research, create, and invest in educational technology. There are many educational technologies available but selecting the best and most appropriate technology tools for your institutions success is vital. With the constant flow of information and new technology, information is more abundant than ever. “The span of time between learning something new, being able to apply it, and finding that it is outdated and no longer useful is a key concept organizations must be aware of” (Gonzalez).  
With the implementation and advancement of educational technology, more and more organizations are beginning to invest specifically in distance education programs or are continuing to build their existing distance education infrastructure. Distance education has a tremendous amount of potential but requires a continued investment. For Rasmussen College students distance education is; cost effective, provides on demand learning, convenient, and flexible. It also provides students with the technological skills more and more employers are requiring.
The publishing community already plays a large role in educational technology; information is now available at the touch of a button. People are not now connected or wired in more than ever. It has become an expectation to be able to access information when desired. The publishing community has taken advantage of this by publishing any and all types of information. What we as consumers, learners, and educators need to be is cognizant of the plethora of false and misleading information that is being published.
As instructional designers, it is our job to not only work with our colleagues to create beneficial learning experiences for our students but to also continue to educate ourselves about new and developing learning theories and combine them with the best available technology that is appropriate for our learners and organization.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Pre-Planning Strategies

Pre-Planning Strategies

What are some of the pre-planning strategies the trainer needs to consider before converting his program?

·         Create an orientation so that effective course orientation can be achieved by students.
·         Depending on how much you need to restructure your course, you can strip the syllabus of dates, directions, goals, and requirements so that you have only content. From there you can restructure the course based on the modality (blended).
·         Make sure you have the course fully functional on the first day so that you can concentrate on teaching.
·         Make sure you have your instructions for students in a multiple locations and are clear and concise.
·         Equate your classroom/face to face activity that is currently implemented and convert & equate the activity level to online/blended.
·         Decide what your pedagogical approach will be:
o   Will it include discussions, individual, collaborative, all of the previous?
o   How much of the course will be performance based now that it is a blended modality?
·         The facilitator is responsible for encouraging individuals in the course to become thoughtful inquirers, autonomous thinkers, and constructive co-learners (Matthews-DeNatale & Doubler, 2000)
·         What constraints can you plan for before the course starts?
o   What constraints might your run into when the course starts?
§  Plan of action should your run into constraints once your course is live?
·         What new evaluation techniques should be created with the conversion of the course (blended)?
·         Align your new learning objects with the entire course.
o   Make sure it aligns with the assessment.

What aspects of his original training program could be enhanced in the distance learning format?

·         Now that all of the information is available online via a server, the instructor should make sure he digitizes as much of the content as possible. This will increase communication and collaboration between all of the students and the instructor.
·         He will also be able to add more media to the current content i.e. videos, graphics, animations, audio etc.
·         Corrections, additions, access, and delivery of the content can be made quickly and efficiently. 

How will his role, as trainer, change in a distance learning environment?

The instructor will still be in charge of facilitating effective, positive and constructive communication. Garrison, Anderson, and Archer (2000) defined teaching presence as “The design, facilitation, and direction of cognitive and social process for the purpose of realizing personally meaningful and educationally worthwhile learning outcomes” (p. 5).

The instructor will now have more flexibility and accesses to his learners with the blended course. However, he will have to learn and build other methods of communication into his course that are directly related to online learning. For example, updates via email, course mail, announcements, etc. Facilitators must engage in meaningful conversation and debate (Simonson et al 2012).

What steps should the trainer take to encourage the trainees to communicate online?
·         Create assignments that require the use of online communication tools.
·         Send updates, comments, instructions, etc via online communication tools.
·         Ensure discussion post and replies are built into the course.
·         Build group projects into the course that can occur asynchronously.
o   Students can communicate and collaborate via e-course tools such as Skype, Wimba, Go To Meeting, Meet Now, etc.
·         Remind students via announcements and tips to collaborate and communicate online.
·         Creating a culture/community is the shared responsibility of all participants, not just the instructor (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012).

Anderson, T., Rourke, L., Garrison, D. R., & Archer, W. (2001). Assessing teaching presence in a computer conferencing context. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 5(2), 1-17.
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.
Stuttard, E. (2012). Students’ Responsibilities in Online Discussions. Retrieved from

*I can not add the PDF attachment with this particular blog tool*

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Impact of Open Source

Open Course websites are one of the fastest growing segments in education, specifically distance education (DE). Typically, these websites/courses do not require a log in or registration. As a result, they generally do not offer any type of certification or credit(s) associated with it.

I have decided to explore This particular open course has an itunes feature that makes it very convenient for Apple users to organize and navigate through the open courses that are offered. However, if you don't have itunes or aren't familiar with the navigation of Apple platforms, it can be cumbersome. This is also a unique open course site because you are required to create an itunes account to use the features versus a true open course website (click and play).

The course I chose to review was The Beauty Bias: The Injustice of Appearance in Life and Law. I chose to watch this with my friend who is currently in law school to see if she could provide some additional insight to as to the quality of the course and content since she is currently in traditional law school (classroom setting).

The course was approximately a 1 hour long lecture. My experience with the course was rather disappointing. The course content was watered down, almost as if it was designed for the general population which if very well may have been. Not only was the course a flat lecture and watered down, we found several inconsistencies in the presentation. This is not something an institution such as Stanford should be putting their stamp on. This open course will entertain you but will not provide you with knowledge you would expect from an academic institution. You will find yourself searching for additional resources. Keep in mind this is a free course and has no obligations associated with it so you your expectations should reflect such.

The course does have some DE features associated with it:

* Asynchronous: The course allows learners to learn at their own pace, time, and setting.
* Technology: The technology requirement is rather standard for a student expecting to participate in distance learning courses. However, an iTunes account is required for participation.

I mentioned the course is rather flat, what I mean by that is:

*A quality course offers interaction, this course does not; it only offers a video.
* The course was not designed for a specific learning audience, therefore it is not content specific which dilutes the learners experience and take away(s).

The video I watched reminded me of content/video I have watched on Youtube, again it lacks academic substance. There was no follow up content such as tests, quizzes, or assignments that are often found in educational courses to help reinforce what the learner has learned and to aid in recall.

This course inevitably lacks a significant about of design consideration. Perhaps, ADDIE can be used in the future to increase the value of this course and future courses. To be fair this is an open course, which means it is designed to educate a very wide audience base, has no goals presented to the learner, and is free.