community of inquiry framework

Best Practices for Color and Depth in Graphic Design

Instructor Profile (1)

 

This week I had the opportunity to experiment with color and depth while creating a graphic for my Community of Inquiry Framework course.  A few pieces of information stood out to me when I was learning about color and depth.  I was not aware of the three color attributes; psychological, physiological, and learning related (Lohr, 2008).  In my past studies, I had only learned about the psychological impact of color, so it was interesting to learn more about how color can represent meaning, such as white and the connection to purity.  I immediately thought of a design documentary I had watched a long time ago (the name escapes me now) that discussed how the Diet Coke designers deliberately chose a whiteish hue to for the main part of the can and red for the logo to indicate a “reversal” from the sugary regular Coke’s red with white logo design.  It was a psychological color choice, for sure, but the white hue also made consumers associate Diet Coke with words like “clean” or “pure”.

As far as instructional design for online learning is concerned, color and depth have to be used with a purpose in mind.  As Lohr (2008) indicated, color has the ability to enhance the learning process or detract from the learning process.  Additionally, depth, especially with text, has the ability to make words stand out from the page or screen.  Knowing this, I set off to create another graphic element for my course with color and depth in mind.

Note: The instructor profile infographic serves two purposes: 1) it introduces myself to the students that are taking my course, and 2) it is an example of the instructor profile I will be discussing in the teaching presence portion of the third unit.

Justification of Color/Depth-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?

 

Color: The infographic I created uses contrast to separate portions of the infographic.  My website for the course will use various blues, grays, whites, and blacks.  I created the infographic with the overall color scheme in mind.  Gray, white, and black look professional and provide a good contrast for most users.  The blue color was added for the color’s ability to invoke feelings of serenity and tranquility.  The Community of Inquiry Framework is supposed to help educators connect easier with their students, but it can be a huge change for some educators.  I wanted to reduce the feelings of stress as the students (educators) learn about the CoI Framework.

Depth:  When I attempted to use drop-shadowing, I did not like the appearance.  Therefore, I used bold fonts in all caps for the heading categories to improve learner focus on the headings.  The adjustments made in regard to scale ensure that the headings do not blend in with the text.

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 not have any suggestions and noted that the colors really “pop out” when he views each section.

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

 

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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.

Design Process Models and the Development of a Graphic Organizer

community-of-inquiry-framework-graphic-overview-page-1-3

This week, I had the opportunity to read about various design process models and how to use them.  I was already familiar with the instructional design process called ADDIE (analysis, design, development, implement, and evaluate), but the design process I learned about this week went a step farther.  Essentially, I learned that within the ADDIE process, there are additional design processes to consider.  When developing graphics for instruction, the instructional designer must also follow ACE (analyze, create, evaluate) during the design and development portions of the ADDIE model.  While following ACE, the instructional designer must also consider PAT (principles, actions, and tools) to enhance the design of the graphic (Lohr, 2008, p. 91-94).

I practiced my newfound knowledge by creating a graphic organizer that segments the entire unit into “chunks”.  I had to use ACE while considering PAT.  Here is an overview of my process: 1. Analyze: I thought about the goals for my graphic.  Essentially, I wanted the learner to be able to see each of the three presences within the Community of Inquiry Framework, and the individual subsections and descriptions.  I determined the purpose was organization.  2. Create: I considered principles, and I knew with the large amount of text that I did not want any decorative graphics to detract from the information.  The actions of CARP (contrast, alignment, repetition, and proximity) were considered as I thought about the design.  Finally, I thought about what typeface I wanted, if I wanted to use color, and what shape the bubbles should be.  3.  Evaluate:  After I created the graphic using LucidChart, I reviewed my design.  I then conducted a user-test, which you can read the results of below.

Justification of Graphic Organizer 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?

This graphic organizer takes the entire COI Framework and divides it into sections.  The colors help to divide the organizer into three evident sections according to “presence”.  The lines help the user navigate through the subsections, with each bubble becoming more specific in relation to the parent section.

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

My user-test was performed on the same individual from last week’s assignment.  He stated that it was evident that there were three distinct categories, but also a variety of subcategories.  He stated that the organization chart was easy to follow.

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

I did not make any changes to the graphic after the user-test.  When I initially evaluated the graphic myself, I did not have three colors to help divide the graphic.  I knew color would help create distinction, so I added color prior to the user-test.

In summary, the ACE with PAT process incorporated into the ADDIE process definitely works.  It is easy to get overwhelmed with the big picture, and ACE helped to isolate a portion of the curriculum development that is a necessary “part of the whole”.

References

American Public University System (2016). The Community of Inquiry. Retrieved                                    from http://www.apus.edu/ctl/faculty/community-of-inquiry/

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

The Community of Inquiry Framework and Online Learning Tools

As I reflect on the past two weeks of learning, I realize that there are so many web 2.0 tools out there that I have never even heard of before!  I consider myself to be pretty savvy technologically speaking, but I was blown away by how many learning tools are out there that I have never had the pleasure of playing around with.  Additionally, I had never heard of the community of inquiry framework, although I am quite familiar with John Dewey and his work.  We live in a very exciting time for education, and I cannot wait to experiment with some of the new learning tools I have discovered thanks to my edtech peers.  Most importantly, however, I now know how to evaluate learning tools in reference to the community of inquiry framework, thus ensuring I choose the correct learning tool for the task.

The community of inquiry framework refers to three presences within a virtual classroom.  The three presences are: social presence, teaching presence, and cognitive presence. Social presence references the discussion and communication portion of the course, teaching presence references how the facilitator helps students meet the learning outcomes, and the cognitive presence references how students generate the knowledge throughout the course (Borup, 2014, YouTube community of inquiry).  A blend of the three presences is more effective than a classroom with only one or two presences (Stavredes, 2011).  Additionally, selecting the right online learning tools that can be used to meet the community of inquiry framework is key.  As a future online educator, I do not want to increase my student’s cognitive overload by introducing too many online learning tools.  If the tool is able to meet the needs of all three presences, that is the tool I will most likely choose.

I found myself somewhat overwhelmed with the number of various blogging resources out there, but I do believe blogs are an effective learning log/portfolio, especially at the collegiate level.  I want to remember to allow my students some choice in how they create their blogs.  It seems as if certain blogs are used frequently, but could Twitter even be considered a blog/learning log?  Many social media tools are really blogs with character limits (Hsu & Ching, 2012).

The fact that many of the web 2.0 tools used to meet the needs of the community of inquiry framework are publicly available to anyone searching for it concerns me.  Personally, I am a bit of a private person, and I do not like having to put all of my learning “out there” for the world to see.  Even having a WordPress like this one is out of my comfort zone.  I think anonymity and collegiate blogs are possible, but random people can still find the blog and comment.  I prefer to use something like Google docs to create blog posts as I have the choice regarding access to the blog.  I will allow my students to preserve their online anonymity by providing choices such as Google docs.  And, if I do require social (public) media as a portion of the course, I will allow students to use some kind of “tag” or screen name if they so choose.  Maintaining a social presence in a course should not require students to forfeit their online privacy.

In summary, the community of inquiry framework helps me narrow my choices regarding web 2.0 tools, and I would like to share some of the tools I plan to use in my future classes.  Feel free to check them out yourself, as all of these tools are free.

  1. Kaizena – a Google docs add-on for commenting (text and voice) on documents, record lessons, and monitor skills of students.
  2. VoiceThread – a presentation tool that allows voice, text, and visual aids.  Great alternative to PowerPoint.
  3. bubbl.us – free mind-mapping tool that is simple to use.
  4. Twitter – follow and view comments from a variety of sources, while posting about your education.  Name does not have to be public, and a unique tag can be used.

References:

Borup, J. (2014). Community of inquiry. YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=273WuFa6Z04&feature=youtu.be&list=PLyRut5mNtP9mgWrxMyu5uNLe_ScfJTrP9

Hsu, Y. & Ching, Y. (2012). Mobile microblogging: Using Twitter and mobile devices in an online course to promote learning in authentic contexts. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 13(4), 211-227. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v13i4.1222

Stravredes, T. (2011). Effective online teaching: Foundations and strategies for student success. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.