Welcome to my EDTECH Learning Log!

My name is Carli Cockrell, and I’m currently pursuing my Master’s degree from Boise State University.  I chose to create this site to catalog the various projects I will be creating.  I’m excited to learn more about educational technology, coding, and online education.  Technology is a true passion of mine, and I believe we need to teach the youth to understand the inner-workings of technology, as they live in a world where self-propelled learning is at their fingertips.  You can read more about me in the “About Me” section of the site.

eLearning Strategies for a F2F Classroom

Currently, I am an instructional designer for a local university. I am in the process of redesigning our semester long Desire2Learn (D2L) Brightspace (a Learning Management System that we use) faculty courses that newly hired faculty take during their first semester of employment.

I have found that D2L is a little bit difficult to navigate at first, so I have purchased Clarify-It for our eLearning team (we have four staff members, a director, and student workers). I have used Clarify-It to make tutorials on how to use D2L and the tutorials are housed in our helpdesk portal called Freshdesk. I have also embedded the html code directly into the courses so the steps are right there for the faculty members. Having adequate troubleshooting and tutorials helps eliminate the cognitive load required to develop online courses, which in turn can provide more opportunity for the creation of BETTER online courses. However, I have a lot more work to do with this process, which I’ll explain in the rest of the paper.

Interactivity between students and faculty is a frequent issue in all education institutions. My plan is to provide a certification program teaching the faculty members about the Community of Inquiry (CoI) Framework (Garrison & Arbaugh, 2007) . I created a course on this topic in a different class I took, and therefore, I already have a lot of the graphics and content ready. I’d like to propose including the CoI Framework in the optional Mastery and Leadership level D2L courses we already teach for continuing education unit or college credit. But, most importantly, I have to model what the CoI Framework and optimal course design looks like.

Faculty members may also struggle with accessibility, and many may refrain from doing videos in their online courses because they do not want to caption the videos. I plan on having videos available that demonstrate the process I go through to caption the videos I create for them. I’ll demonstrate creating the script, filming, editing, and captioning. I’ll keep the videos under 10 minutes. I’ll then place the videos in our helpdesk portal, but also email the videos, as many of the faculty cannot attend face-to-face trainings. I also plan to provide trainings face-to-face, film them, and place them in a location for faculty access. I want to demonstrate that it is possible to caption a lecture, as many of the faculty may feel it is impossible. It does take time, but it can be done.

Overall, I want to continue my practice of taking face-to-face faculty members and demonstrating how many of the same things they already do can be transitioned into an online environment. Essentially, I have the exact opposite task of what was asked for this paper, but I wanted to offer a different perspective.

References

Garrison, D.R. & Arbaugh, J.B. (2007). Researching the community of Inquiry
Framework: Review, issues, and future directions. The Internet and Higher Education, 10(3), 157-172.

Project #8: Worked Example Screencast

This week was a bit difficult for me as I was tasked with creating a worked example screencast for one of my courses.  Worked examples are not a foreign concept for me, and are often created by the math faculty at the university in which I am employed.  I was initially going to create a worked example on how to use the Lightboard technology we have, but I needed more training on the process.  Therefore, I asked my co-instructional designer her opinion on what we needed a worked example for, and we decided I should create one on how to create an accessible syllabus.

I was lucky that I already had so many technology options at my disposal because of my job.  I decided to use Camtasia to record my screencast and audio.  Before I could even begin recording, I had to revise the syllabus template we were using previously and send it off for approval.  Then, I had to write my script.  I wanted to use the quizzing feature within Camtasia, so I wrote a brief quiz for the video.

Finally, it was time to record.  I had difficulty with my mic, but eventually figured it out.  I was able to use my mic, but not my headphones as I only have on plug-in, but two cables for my headset.  I recorded the video and audio in sections, spliced the sections together, and then added call-outs, captions, a title screen, and arrows to show where I was clicking in the video.  All in all, the entire process from start to finish probably took about five hours.

I’d like to describe my video in greater detail.  One of the things our eLearning department requires is for instructors to create an accessible syllabus.  We are looking for the syllabus to be properly set up for a screen reader to easily relay the information to the screen reader user.  Headings and blank characters have been the main problems in the syllabi we have reviewed in the past, therefore those two areas became my focus, along with how to run an accessibility checker.  For the purpose of this assignment, I will not be providing the documents shown in the video as I do not have permission.  The content within the video is meant for GFCMSU faculty only, but could become Creative Commons if I pursue it.

I thoroughly enjoyed creating this worked example.  It provided me with the understanding of just how time consuming it can be to create excellent content.  I can further empathize with the instructors I assist because of this assignment.

Photo of instructor Alyssa Finch using a light board to teach math

Project #7: Google Slides Presentation

Click here to view slideshow

This week I was tasked with creating a static multimedia slideshow using Google Slides.  I have used Google Slides for a few years, and I appreciate the simple templates that, if used properly, tend to meet the best practices for multimedia design.  I also like that you can view the speaker notes when presenting, which is how I recommend you view my slideshow that I have linked to above.

If I had more time for this project, I would have integrated some higher-level thinking questions to improve the transfer of learning.  While the presentation itself is not an example of the Worked Example principle, I can definitely integrate some of the principle’s recommendations into the presentation.

I felt it was important to include some of the ways the college I work at uses the Worked Example principle, and I think I explained the Lightboard technology rather well.  I plan to utilize the Lightboard to create next week’s project.  Interestingly enough, the Worked Example I will be creating is “How to Use the Lightboard” as many instructors are not aware of how to use it.

Although this is included in the first slide of the presentation, I want to note that the presentation was based upon the following book:

Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2008). E-learning and the science of instruction, 2nd                           edition. Pfeiffer: San Francisco, CA.

Project #6: Digital Story

I recently learned about the Personalization Principle, which promotes the use of conversational scripts as a way to present content.  I was able to practice implementing the Personalization Principle by creating a digital story.

The process I followed to create my story was creating a script, selecting media, arranging the media to follow the script, recording narration, exporting the final product, uploading the product to YouTube, and then applying captions.  The most time consuming portion of the whole project was creating the script as I initially had difficulty coming up with a story.  But, then I remembered a story I always told my students in the Introduction to Statistics section of the courses I have taught.

The story is about a friend I had growing up named Mode.  He was always there to help me, and he truly lived up to his name, given that mode is the piece of data that appears the most within a set.

You can view my digital story by clicking the video below:

Effective Use of White Space in Graphic Design

The Community of Inquiry Framework

As I continue to create the graphics needed for my online course about the CoI Framework, I remembered that I needed a banner for my website.  I focused on how to effectively use white space as I created my banner.  White space does not have to be “white”, per se.  Essentially, white space can be described as negative space, or the portions of the screen that are not filled with text or graphics.  White space is used effectively between lines of text and paragraphs, if you’d like to compare white space to something you commonly see.

The justification for my graphic above in relation to white space demonstrates the variety of ways white space can be effective.

Justification of White Space-Considered Design

  1. Describe your users (people that will see the typography in the unit).

The users of my unit will be educators, either undergraduate or graduate level, that are learning the Community of Inquiry (COI) Framework in relation to online course design.  It is assumed that they are adults with at least one student experience in online education.  The users would be capable of reading college-level material.

      2. Why does your design solution work?

Lohr (2008) describes white space as a way to draw attention to important content.  The white space and symmetry used in the heading are to help the user focus.  Initially, I was concerned about using the graphic I selected because I was afraid that it was causing trapped space.  Trapped space can draw the user’s attention to parts of the page that are unimportant (Lohr, 2008).  I decided that trapped space was not a problem in the graphic because of the angle at which the graphic is, thus almost giving it a three-dimensional effect (not flat on the page, or only two-dimensional).  Also, the lightness of the dashes between the people helps to not create a trapped space effect.

3.  What did you learn from the “user-test”?

My user-test was performed on the same individual from last week’s assignment.  He said that the white space was adequate.

4.  What changes did you make to the design after the user-test?

I have not made any changes because the feedback was positive.  I will if my classmates indicate a change needs to be made.

References

Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle                    River, NJ: Pearson Education

Organization Principle in Graphic Design

 

Steps to get started COI (2).png

The organization principle recommends the use of “chunking” information in order to make the most important information the primary focus of the graphic (Lohr, 2008).  For this project, I selected the top three “take-aways” that I want my students to focus on when they begin to design their courses using the CoI Framework.  In order to create my “chunks”, I had to review the three presences in their entirety and focus on the big ideas, rather than the small considerations made throughout the section.  The process was time consuming, but will help the learners get started in their CoI Framework course designs.

Justification of Organization-Considered Design

  1. Describe your users (people that will see the typography in the unit).

The users of my unit will be educators, either undergraduate or graduate level, that are learning the Community of Inquiry (COI) Framework in relation to online course design.  It is assumed that they are adults with at least one student experience in online education.  The users would be capable of reading college-level material.

      2. Why does your design solution work?

The most important information regarding the three presences are chunked into sequential lists.  I considered the “seven to nine” rule while determining what information was going to be presented.  All of the presences are have something that is difficult for the learners to create, therefore I did not represent the information hierarchically.   I had the information horizontal instead of vertical, but I want the learners to be able to easily print this graphic, and the text boxes when horizontal were too large.  I did my best to make the sections the same distance apart in order to create represent equal importance.

3.  What did you learn from the “user-test”?

My user-test was performed on the same individual from last week’s assignment.  He viewed the horizontal version and agreed that the information should be vertical.

4.  What changes did you make to the design after the user-test?

I have not made any changes because the feedback was positive.  I will if my classmates indicate a change needs to be made.

References

Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle                    River, NJ: Pearson Education

Project #6: Coherence Analysis

What is the Coherence Principle and its most important constraints/criteria?

The Coherence Principle refers to the elimination of extraneous and unnecessary materials within a designed lesson.  The principle focuses on what the instructor can eliminate from the lesson design, such as extraneous audio, extraneous graphics, and extraneous words.  The question that instructors should ask themselves when designing a lesson is “Is this graphic (music, word, etc.) essential for the understanding of the lesson objective?”.

Describe and/or include one example of successful and one example of unsuccessful attempts to apply the Coherence Principle in actual instruction and training you have experienced, especially as it might be implemented in PowerPoint-based instruction and training.

One successful training I have taken that aligned with the Coherence Principle was the Powerpoint, discussion, and performance task training I took entitle “Active Shooter”.  The presentation portion only included information that we were going to use in the active shooter scenarios.  I have also seen unsuccessful trainings in relation to the Coherence Principle.  One training course I took to learn a student information database had pictures and paragraphs of information.  In truth, it should not have been a presentation, but probably a step-by-step .pdf format.

Have you ever seen this principle violated or abused? Identify the violations, including citations as needed from your textbook.

I have seen this principle violated frequently with the use of background music.  Many of the presentations that I have viewed in this program have had extraneous background music.  These were generally created by students, and I do not believe they were aware of the Coherence Principle.  Clark and Meyer state that “…evidence points to the mental toll that can be levied by extraneous sounds” (2011, p. 158).  After reviewing a variety of studies, Clark and Meyer (2012) noted better learning transfer when extraneous sounds and music are not included.

Discuss the relationship of the Coherence Principle to other Multimedia Learning Principles examined thus far in your readings.

The Coherence Principle easily aligns with the Contiguity Principle, as both consider the careful selection of both graphics and words.  Instructors are encouraged to think deeply about the wording and graphic selection in order to convey their message easily.  Additionally, the Modality Principle and Coherence Principle are related as the Modality Principle recommends narration for complex-graphic presentations, and does not recommend music or sound effects as part of the narration.  The Redundancy Principle directly relates to the Coherence Principle by recommending the use of audio OR text, not both, thus aligning with the reduction of extraneous audio and words.

Discuss the relationship of the Coherence Principle to fundamental theories of psychology as described by Clark & Mayer in your textbook.

The reduction of extraneous elements is supported by the cognitive theory of multimedia media learning in which deeper learning occurs when presentation-based distractions are reduced.  The arousal theory is contraindicated, however, and evidence seems to be stronger toward the reduction of extraneous elements, rather than the inclusion as a method to increase arousal.  It should be noted that additional research is needed in relation to learner interest and cognitive load.

What do you personally like or dislike about this principle? Present a coherent, informed opinion and explain why you hold this opinion.

I appreciate this principle because I am a learner that is often distracted by elements that are meant to arouse, but are not necessarily required to understand the content.  I remember when I learned PowerPoint many years ago and we were encouraged to add slide sounds effects.  Whenever I viewed a PowerPoint and heard the random sound effects, it would almost always result in a class-wide discussion of the sound effect selected, not the content.  I have seen this occur now that I am an educator, as well.  Sometimes I use presentations that were designed by others, and I have found that the presentations with sound effects are going to completely “derail” any content-based discussion I am hoping for.  Therefore, I am for the elimination of extraneous effects, specifically for objective-based learning.

Are there any limitations or qualifications of the principle (caveats) which the authors did not consider and, if so, what are they?

Although this was briefly discussed in the text, game-based learning theories contradict a lot of the information found in many of the multimedia principles.  I think a designation of objective-based versus “casual”, or informal learning should be made.  Casual learning could be playing a video game with historical elements, for example, and extraneous effects may be added when considering motivation, arousal, and flow theories.  Kapp (2012) explained that game research proves games are beneficial for learning, especially when the content is objective-based.  The multimedia principles discussed in this particular book seems to focus more on online/face-to-face instruction where the learning is more formal.  Considerations should be made for game-based learning in relation to the various multimedia principles.

Furthermore, as more research is done on multimedia theories, researchers are finding evidence that does not directly align with these principles.  One example is the study conducted by Schweppe and Rummer (2016) where they determined that “combining pictorial information and written text is beneficial for long-term learning, contrary to what has been suggested in the modality principle of multimedia learning” (p. 135).  If the modality principle is found to be questionable, then it is likely that the coherence principle will also be questionable.  Additional research is indicated, especially as society continues to learn more about the brain and memory.

References

Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2008). E-learning and the science of instruction, 2nd                           edition. Pfeiffer: San Francisco, CA.

Kapp, K. M. (2012). The gamification of learning and instruction: Game-based methods and                         strategies for training and education. San Francisco: CA: Pfeiffer.

Schweppe, J., & Rummer, R. (2016). Integrating written text and graphics as a desirable             difficulty in long-term multimedia learning. Computers in Human Behavior, 60,                           131-137. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.02.035