3.6 Diversity of Learners

Candidates foster a learning community that empowers learners with diverse backgrounds, characteristics, and abilities.

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.

#3: Haiku Deck

https://haikudeck.com/p/f0f56694b9

I recently created a brief presentation using Haiku Deck, a Web 2.0 presentation tool that limits the amount of text that can be placed on a slide.  I had used Haiku Deck before, but it had been about two years since my last usage.

The free trial allows a subscriber to create three slide shows.  I decided to make a short presentation about learner-centered instructional design, given a recent experience where I was encouraged to provide feedback on an online learning course.  I focused on only one component because the presentation was meant to be short and sweet.  In all actuality, I could talk about learner-centered instructional design for probably 60 slides.  But, that would not be an effective use of the modality principle!

I decided to use only five slides, one being the title of the presentation.  I included speaker notes throughout the presentation.  The key point was the consideration of cognitive load while designing the navigation of an online course, so I introduced the key point, showed a “before” example of a course, explained cognitive load, and then showed a “redesign” with justification as the last slide.  The only thing I wish I could have been able to do on Haiku Deck is add arrows and captions as I wanted to highlight the areas on the redesign rather than use directions in the speaker notes, such as “The right hand side has a calendar…”.  If I had been able to use arrows and captions, it would have improved the continuity principle, but I accept the tool as it is.

Ultimately, I think I will stick to using Google Slides while considering the modality, continuity, and modality (among many others!) principles.  I have already gotten away from the “wall of text” presentations, so I feel comfortable that I can make my presentations learner-friendly.  Haiku Deck would be excellent for students that are first learning to give presentations with visuals, however, and I wish I had used it when I was an elementary school teacher!

CARP Principles & Designing a Course for Online Educators

social-presence-tools (The PDF has clickable links)

social-presence-tools

My experience in EDTECH 506 has allowed me to work on a large unit of instruction project.  Each week I am challenged to create a graphic using proper design methodologies, principles, and processes. This week was no exception, and the assignment required use of CARP while creating a graphic for my course.

The justification for my project is as follows:

Justification of CARP-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?

I have used CARP from the beginning of my Edtech career, so I feel quite familiar with the principles of contrast, alignment, repetition, and proximity.  In the graphic I created to provide information and suggestions regarding social presence in an online classroom, I used the four principles.  Contrast was used through color choice, although I am uncertain of my final course color-scheme.  Therefore, the colors could change.  I enjoyed the dark background against the colors of the icons.  I also liked the white background with dark orange, which is very striking.  The orange and white really helps the headings stand out.  Alignment was considered, and attempts were made to ensure the alignment is consistent with the paragraphs and bullets (left aligned), and with the top of the icon and the top of the heading.  Repetition was used as the format is always the same: icon, heading, bullets of information.  The colors are also repetitive in the body of the graphic.  Finally, proximity was utilized by keeping the content related to each particular icon grouped together.

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

My user-test was performed on the same individual from last week’s assignment.  He did provide the suggestion of adding bullets to the list, as I had previously created the list in paragraph form.

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

I agreed with the addition of bullets to make the design cleaner, but also add to the repetition.  Each bullet is a stand-alone portion of information, so it does make sense.

CARP is an effective and easy way to remember the best practices of graphic design.  I’ll continue to use CARP in every design I create.

Moodle Course Design

Photo: Blackfeet Indian Reservation, Montana, 2003 Attribution: Rmhermen at the English language Wikipedia

Recently I created an online course in Moodle.  I chose a topic that is pertinent to educators in Montana: the implementation and history of the Indian Education for All (IEFA) act.  The creation of the course required me to locate quality resources, videos, and to develop tasks, assessments, and rubrics to measure the level of understanding my students have achieved after completion of the modules.

My understanding of andragogy and adult learning theory was the primary foundation in regards to the various decisions I had to make when designing my course. First, I wanted the course to be asynchronous.  Students in the course would be people already familiar with education, and therefore would likely prefer a  course that is completed within their own timelines.  Additionally, I wanted to incorporate videos that invoked an emotional response, as transformative learning theory is a theory I consider whenever I make an educational decision.  The inclusion of the TED Talk called “Changing the Way We See Native Americans” by Matika Wilbur was deliberate as the emotional response invoked while watching the video will help educators change their frame of reference in relation to Native Americans.

As usual, I considered CARP design principle when designing the course.  I used the orange/blue theme available in Moodle as the contrast was sharper than the other themes. Alignment was mostly centered and left-justified.  Repetition was important to me, so each module begins with a little introduction, the objective of the module, and the tasks necessary to complete each module.  Finally, proximity was considered by choosing the left-to-right navigation model in Moodle rather than the vertical navigation model.  Often times, educators that use Moodle have difficulty with their courses looking like long overwhelming text-only documents, but I was able to adjust my proximity to avoid this.

I evaluated my use of cognitive, social, and instructor presence, as well.  I included resources that were cognitively-challenging, but integrated those resources in with other types of resources, such as timelines.  Social presence was included by implementing the use of forums for each module.  Finally, instructor presence was considered by including a teacher introduction block.  If the course were actually live, I would ensure that my presence is included by responding to students in the forums, and providing feedback on assignments.

Moodle can be a challenging program to learn, but I had some experience from using it in my blended learning sixth grade classroom.  As problems came up, such as glitches with not being able to use certain “assignment/resource” selections, I simply used a different option and made it work by using a link to the site I was needing the student to go to.  Moodle tutorials are available from a variety of educators, so simply Googling my problem was sufficient enough to bring up many resources on how to fix certain issues.

The most beneficial part of developing this course was the selection of quality resources and videos.  I did not realize just how much time it can take to evaluate resources thoroughly.  Sometimes it seems as if educators just link to resources without considering the amount of time it will take a student to read the resource, but I had the unique understanding of what it is like to both a graduate student and an educator with a limited time frame.  Because of my unique perspective, I was able to look at the resources I found and ask myself “What is really critical for my students to improve their understanding of the objective(s)?”, and select only the resources that are mandatory.

Out of all of the assignments I have completed in my Master’s program, I have enjoyed developing courses the most.  It is a beautiful blend of graphic design and content selection, and it makes me that much more passionate for my future career in Educational Technology.