Entries from 2010

Blog Entry

Reporting Progress to Administrators

One comment

The year-end is a common time for finalizing some reports. (The academic year does not align with the calendar year, so other reports fall on different dates.) There are the individual performance reports due early in the year. There are the reports all the way up the chain, all the way to the regents that oversee the universities and colleges in a state. In academia, the act of reporting to administrators is a reason for really pushing hard on projects ...

Blog Entry

Hardening a Wiki Target

Four comments

One returns to a project hosted on wiki software with a sense of sheepishness—after having been away for weeks at a time because of other projects with more pressing deadlines…to find that the site has been marred. Someone has come and created an account and posted some information to online pharmacies and then somehow managed, too, to delete the original page.

Whoever had posted the information clearly had to be human and wasn’t a ‘bot. The MediaWiki ...

Blog Entry

Getting the Approvals up the Chain

0 comments

“Everything is political,” said the PI. She was looking at me from across the table, and a couple other sets of eyes were looking at me as well. What brought us to this fine moment? In my view, it was nothing more than a basic offer of a favor to help a middle manager set up a course that was being inherited by a new faculty member. From other perspectives, it apparently seemed like an end run and a failure ...

Blog Entry

E-Learning Quality and Workplace Competitiveness

Four comments

We are all continuing to see signs of the flat earth phenomenon, with jobs continuing to go to where the talent is.
Many U.S. companies are hiring…overseas When the competition is not just local—say, in one’s small town—then it means that we all have to amp up our skill sets and actually compete based on merit.

The Need for “Actuals”

My sense of this is that the work of teaching is a lot tougher than ...

Blog Entry

New Terminology

One comment

For new learners to a particular field, one of the fastest ways for them to start gaining traction is to understand some of the domain terminology or lexicon. This phenomenon is very clear in foreign language learning classrooms, where the words are a central part of the early learning. This basic approach seems to apply to most other fields as well—at least in the projects that I’ve worked on.

Even domain fields that are quite well defined will ...

Blog Entry

Working with a Client Abroad

Three comments

It’s a testament to how much instructional design work is done using mediated communications to realize that one of my faculty clients on a project is a faculty member who lives abroad. She is many time zones away from where I am, but the work is uninterrupted and constructive.

Laying the Groundwork

In the interests of full disclosure, I will add that I’ve worked with this faculty client on smaller projects before we started a full course build ...

Blog Entry

Switching to Open-Source

One comment

The academic publishing industry seems somewhat bifurcated into the for-profit and the open and free. To generalize, the for-profit book publishing companies build to a defined user base. They put in a lot of effort to gauge the potential interest in a possible book before working with writers and investing all those resources into editing, peer critiques, book design, marketing, publishing, and distribution. The clear structures that are used to answer a range of marketing questions show not only the ...

Blog Entry

Self-Investing in the ID Work

One comment

People in all fields invest in their work. They may put in extra free hours to complete a project. They may engage in self-improvement trainings in order to be better at their jobs. They may take courses. Back in the day, one could get reimbursed for all sorts of professional development trainings and endeavors. That is so much more rare now. However, to stay effective and competitive, it seems like a good time to continue with investing in the work ...

Blog Entry

On Second Thought…

Two comments

With the speed of design, we don’t often leave room for reconsideration or second thoughts. We often assume we got it right the first time. We’re in a rush to be done-with-it. That quick design and development approach has the benefit of speed, but it may mean lost opportunities for a more nuanced curriculum and for more learning.

Instructional designers do a lot of due diligence in order to avoid reconsiderations. We put in thorough research, vet the ...

Blog Entry

Exploiting the Cloud while on the Go

Two comments

Instructional designers spend a lot of time at various work stations. They also spend a fair amount of time on the move working with various faculty, administrators, and staff. More and more, we are turning to the cloud to archive our digital contents—whether these are forthcoming blog entries or video files uploaded to a course shell or emailed attachments on various projects.

Just the other day, I was at a branch university library waiting for a client meeting and ...

Blog Entry

Transition to Billing

0 comments

Most offices where I’ve worked have always charged moneys for the services rendered. However, in academia, based on the structures of instructional design services, some offices are only recently moving over to a for-pay model. This change in culture can be tough for some who are used to having various social networks of quid pro quo through which work is done. Addressing money issues can be tough for many staff members if they don’t have prior experiences in ...

Blog Entry

An Instructional Design Approach to Updating an Online Course Curriculum

Blog Entry

"On the Z-Axis: Research into Immersive Learning"

Tuesday January 11, 2011 @ 11 a.m. EST

Blog Entry

Trained Fastidiousness

One comment

The people that I know are not generally naturally fastidious. It’s a learned skill—to have that deep attention to details. For people who are creative, fastidiousness seems to come at a price—of squelching that creativity. That is in part why we encourage widespread drafting and brainstorming and other sorts of creativity tools to help a person get past the critical thinking parts of their minds.

Concentration

A couple recent projects have brought this to the fore. One ...

Blog Entry

Giving Away Book Royalties

One comment

I read a blog entry recently that indicated that an author of a text had decided to give away his royalties to charity. Every cent of it. Only once prior have I read about such an approach, but that author was only giving away 50 percent. How much is actually given away really depends on book sales and the popularity of the topic. I am not very convinced that any of these endeavors will necessarily make a topic more popular ...

Blog Entry

Virtual Immersive and 3D Learning Spaces: Emerging Technologies and Trends

Blog Entry

Allowing Light Frictions for Creativity

0 comments

Different PIs on different projects all have their own senses of how things should go, what the end product should look like, and the role of the instructional designer. The most successful projects seem to be those where the principal investigators’ (PIs’) needs are met in the way that they expect. Well, the projects should go in the way that the PIs envision but also in how the grant funders expect the work to go.

One other small piece to ...

Blog Entry

Long-term Attention and Persistence

0 comments

People who are motivated to pursue a particular topic often have no problems maintaining long-term attention and persistence in their learning. They cannot get enough of a certain topic. They are held in the grip of the work for many years and even decades. I know of people who’ve maintained lifelong interests and who continue growing in their expertise over the years. Such passions are not the norm, though.

It seems more common to have people make professions of ...

Blog Entry

Information Wants to be Free?

Seven comments

Peter Apps (A Political Risk Correspondent with Reuters) offers an astute analysis today in “Analysis: WikiLeaks stirs debate on info revolution”. I usually try to avoid the bandwagon with such timely news, but his analysis does bring up the nature of information and its uses.

The Media View of Information

Mass Media 101 suggests that all information is purposive. It is acquired and packaged and delivered to a particular audience. Information virtually never just accidentally finds its way to one ...

Blog Entry

Not Going beyond the Data

0 comments

Authors and editors all have different relationships based on each other’s working styles. Plenty of such relationships last over time because a certain level of comfort is created in the interactions between these two groups, and there’s less of that necessary level of work in feeling out the work styles and standards of others.

A recent endeavor involved working with a new editor on a very short deadline. There was a call for drafted chapters on a set ...

Blog Entry

Instructional Design Mentoring…from a Distance

0 comments

The occasional email arrives with a request from a stranger who wants some instructional design insight. These go beyond the requests for responses to surveys and doctoral-level research work. One of these end badly—such as one respondent who felt that the emailed responses and professional references I gave were insufficient and were maybe even a waste of his time. I gave him sufficient information to proceed with his research, but he seemed to want me to conduct some of ...

Blog Entry

Staying in the Running

0 comments

Every so often, as an instructional designer, I get a glimpse of some of the tough work of faculty research and publishing. I hear snippets about the challenges of pursuing grant funds to support the research. And even more rarely, I hear a little about the competition and jealousies and politics. Those generally do not spill over into my work, which is a service-level job. These realities though have been highlighted with my reading a book on inventors who contributed ...

Blog Entry

Fomenting Change to Maintain Human Attention

One comment

Virtual communities are notoriously hard to maintain. It’s hard to attract talent, and it’s hard to keep that talent active over time. Part of the problem is that the initial rewards of participating may no longer continue offering the same rewards. There may be a point of diminishing returns. There’s also that element of human nature, of boredom, and of changing expectations.

Hedonic Adaptation and Virtual Communities

The “hedonic adaptation” research in psychology suggests that people acclimate ...

Blog Entry

Journals and publications reflect the editor in differing degrees. Some editors see themselves as caretakers of a fair process for peer evaluation and publishing. Others see the publication as an extension of themselves. I’ve had the pleasure to work with a range of different editors, and I must say that I respect people with skill sets that are well beyond my own.

In this entry, I’m appreciating an editor (with whom I’ve worked for several years now ...

Blog Entry

Interruption Overload

Two comments

At the work station or at the laptop, one’s work is constantly interrupted. And this is not necessarily only in reference to a cubicle environment where people are stopping by to chat or people are calling on the work line. The computer itself has all sorts of interruptions built in—email notifications, IM-messages, system alerts, agent requests (such as for software updates), probes for electronic mailing lists, emergency notices on the cell phone and the work phone and the ...

Blog Entry

Handling Criticism

One comment

In one version of IT history that I read recently, the author mentioned how criticism of various theories (of attention) had evolved the field. It had pushed the progress forward and improved human understandings of the finer aspects of human attention.

The new discoveries were engaging, but what struck me was the very utilitarian aspect of criticism. Criticism is there to improve a work. It is there to evolve a work to fine-tune theories and to make it more applicable ...

Blog Entry

Dr. Roger McHaney discusses the risks of unintended negative learning in online simulations and ways to mitigate these risks in this Q & A blog entry.

Avoiding "Negative Learning"...

Blog Entry

Designing for Computational Expense

0 comments

A truism about design is that one designs to an environment of constraints. There are limits to connectivity speeds (for streaming videos or downloading objects or rendering 3D imagery); there are limits to screens in showing pixels for resolution; there are limits to what software can create and depict.

One that is less noticeable than many involves “computational expense.” This term refers to the amount of work that must be done by the computer to deliver a particular learning object ...

Blog Entry

De-linking Course Builds from Textbooks

One comment

A recent short task brought to mind a truism in online course builds. The task was the work of reworking a generic syllabus and directions for assignments to accommodate the selection of a new textbook in a multi-institutional course build. The subject matter experts (SMEs) had already expressed reservations about the textbook at the initial build. Sure enough, a year into the use of the course, all the original curriculum development team and lead instructors were ready for a new ...

Blog Entry

Engaging Student Reluctance to Read Directions

Seven comments

Online instructors struggle fairly often with getting students to slow down sufficiently to read the directions for assignments. Part of this may come from the assumptions that students have that they already understand the work or that the work is just a small incremental difference from past work that they’ve done. Others may just see reading the directions as unnecessary, something along the lines of not reading assigned textbooks. Many just skim by with the minimum amount of work ...

Blog Entry

Useful Void

Three comments

The WWW is a great tool to use to jog one’s memory. Just recently, I was remembering a snippet of a song I wanted to hear, put in a line, and the artist and title of the song appeared in milli-seconds. The electronic collective memory that we have around us has made it near impossible to forget anything. Viktor Mayer-Schönberger makes this point thoughtfully in “Useful Void: The Art of Forgetting in the Age of Ubiquitous Computing” (2007) (available ...

Blog Entry

It is rare for an academic to be able to draw a huge crowd, but there it was, Forum Hall filled to the maximum and spillover crowds in two other venues and many others from around the world logging on to a live webcast (Nov. 9).

The speaker? The plainspoken Dr. Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, and high-functioning autistic, who speaks for accommodation and support for different ways of thinking. Her audience was a ...

Blog Entry

Some Common IP Questions (Part II)

0 comments

In line with the questions, we discussed resources that would help instructional designers field copyright and IP questions. Given how vague the laws seem to be and the limited case laws we’ve read about, I thought it would be wise not to push my luck—but I also have an ambitious streak, so I went for it.

What Would Help?

It would be great to have a decision-tree for copyright decisions. People don’t often have a sense of ...

Blog Entry

Some Common IP Questions (in Two Parts) (Part I)

0 comments

A new cross-functional team on campus is working on the thorny and elusive issues of intellectual property to support faculty in their teaching work—particularly their online teaching. The idea is to both protect the institution against copyright infringement accusations as well as support faculty, with their immense research, teaching, and social support roles. This bureaucratic structure has been a long time in the making and is a critical part of the university’s work.

Meeting to Share Insights

As ...

Blog Entry

Many grant funders are requiring oversight for the quality of the e-learning being created. This all makes sense because of the importance of having return on investment (ROI). People want to be assured that the money that they’re spending is going to a capable group that will execute on what they promise and that there is evidence for the quality of the work.

The challenge comes when this piece of the work is not funded. Many organizations will fund ...

Blog Entry

Professional Journaling through a Blog or Wiki

0 comments

It is always with some leeriness that I start a project that involves using a structure for capturing information. I always should know better. It is hard work to create information and knowledge. It is tough to articulate ideas. The muse is only active occasionally, and the rest of the time spent involves plenty of simple hard work.

Blogs capture both the petty and the profound (much more of the first than the latter). Wikis tend to be much more ...

Blog Entry

Supercomputer Use for Non-Pros

0 comments

A recent presenter on campus discussed a recent strategy in another state university to open up its supercomputers for statewide use to crunch various data, create simulations, project into the future, and solve large problems. He said that such openness to the state enabled his university to go after grants more competitively and did not cost much—only 1% of the processing of their machines. There clearly involves some work in training new users, but he pointed out that many ...

Blog Entry

Decorating Information

0 comments

Sometimes, when instructional designers are in the heat of a build, they will not realize that there are certain overall effects of the materials they’re building. This came to mind recently after I revisited n knowledge site that had been launched a couple years ago and realized that it was indeed very text heavy.

While the text was clearly labeled for headers and body text and so on, and there were clear knowledge hierarchies and categorizations, the text was ...

Blog Entry

Crowdsourcing and the Power of Audience

0 comments

So I spent a part of the afternoon at a lecture by a renowned expert on using Web 2.0 technologies for teaching and learning. He had founded digital ethnography and made his reputation via the Web. In person, he’s articulate, smart, funny, and amenable to handling pretty much any question which comes his way.

This day, he was speaking on “Crowdsourcing.” He went through a litany of ways that people collaborate around music—by singing to a man ...

Blog Entry

Building to Academic Standards (vs. Professional Ones)

0 comments

New program development involves a range of considerations that are fairly complicated. The many facets of program development are well beyond the scope of a short blog entry, but it’s helpful to think about the curriculum development piece.

What sparked this musing? A colleague from a local community college has been working on building a physical biology-based research lab to support student learning. She has a challenging task of working with freshman and sophomore students to train them for ...

Blog Entry

Machine-Speak (for Web Display)

One comment

It’s surprising how long one can work in IT and still really know so little about different types of code. I own up. I have always had the support of great site designers who’ve built sites that are usable and which have a back-end piece which allowed me to upload textual and visual contents directly. Or I would use wikis that used a very simple mark-up or markdown syntax that really didn’t require much work. After all ...

Blog Entry

In a recent talk, the presenter (a proponent of open-source contents and a copyright expert) discussed how open-source journals are in competition with so-called toll-access journals. For her, as a young librarian going through tenure, she was interested in getting as much exposure as possible for her work, and that meant going to open-source journals. While she said she wouldn’t risk tenure to push for open-source publishing, she saw it as a valid way of publishing. There is plenty ...

Blog Entry

Publishing After Signing Away CC Rights

Eight comments

The invitation came, as many do, via email. The “ask” was, would you submit a chapter on a particular topic? There were a page and a half of ideas, but as I perused my portfolio of work for possible chapter ideas, I realized that I had already published the work using Creative Commons copyright releases. The work had already appeared in open-source journals.

My first response was to just try to get more ideas of possibilities from the editor…and ...

Blog Entry

E-Learning Faculty Modules

0 comments

K-State is doing a soft roll-out of their E-Learning Faculty Modules to help faculty who want to teach online.

K-State E-Learning Faculty Modules

Blog Entry

A Tour of the Invisible (Deep) Web

12 comments

So the concept of the Invisible Web has been around since 1994…when the term was first coined by Jill Ellsworth (as cited by M.K. Bergman in “The Deep Web: Surfacing Hidden Value” in 2001). But as with much of cyberspace and life, one can be a late-comer to terms. The changing sophistication of search engines is making the invisible Web much more findable…but first, a little more about this term.

So the Invisible Web (or Deep Web ...

Blog Entry

There’s a lot to be said for attending conferences purely to learn and without the need to focus on either organization work or presentation logistics. A recent conference (“Frontiers in Mobile Learning”) sponsored by the C2C organization highlighted some of the challenges to the uses of mobile devices in education.

Some Extant Challenges

The most fundamental challenge has been the wide range of mobile devices available—from smart phones to laptops to iPads to netbooks to e-readers. These devices ...

Blog Entry

A Live Second Life Presentation

One comment

If it weren’t for the publicity guy at the press that I occasionally write for, I probably would have taken a pass on the invitation to present at a weekly training session held in Second Life. The winning query was, Would I be willing to present on any topic of my choice related to immersive online learning? The other half of that that worked was that I could explore a particular topic further—on the immersive parasocial—which I ...

Blog Entry

The Annual Campus IT Security Conference

0 comments

On campus, we’ve again had our engaging annual security conference, with a fine mix of cautionary tales of risky social mixing online; free security tools; mobile device security; email and Web security; a required security training, and equipment (printers, copiers, and scanners) security.

Basic Principles

For a regular computer user, the security principles are straightforward:

  • Don’t click on emails from people you don’t recognize.
  • Be careful about the sites you visit. (Even some reputable sites though can ...

Blog Entry

Avoiding Stubs in an Evolving Wiki

Two comments

Just recently, I was feeling a little pressured to prematurely post contents on a wiki site. I wanted to even up the page with contents by adding a clean 12th module. The module itself wasn’t quite ready. I had the sources that I wanted to site. I had done the research. I had a basic structure for the information. It was all ready for a full vetting and actual hands-on work…but I hadn’t done the hands-on work ...

Blog Entry

In a recent conference, I was chatting with a small group that had stayed after, and one asked about a small notation I’d made about digital “slow fires.” We were talking about a wiki project and the collecting of information…and then later that day, I was talking about value-added digital imagery, and the issue of slow fires came up again. I was asked to talk a bit about this issue, at some later date, and I realized that ...

Blog Entry

“Swag” for Instructional Designers

One comment

In different fields, there are different perks to the various jobs. For some, there may be different types of “swag.” I hear of scientific conferences where tables are full of nifty flashlights, pens, t-shirts, stress-squeeze objects, and other types of memorabilia for advertise certain companies. Long gone are the days when we could all go to a number of conferences and pick up new ideas, contacts, and freebies, but there are still perks. The equivalence of “swag” for instructional designers ...

Blog Entry

A Learning Organization

Two comments

One of my favorite readings during my most recent graduate school stint involved Peter Senge’s The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization (1990). Here, the author combines his ideas of a successful learning organization with the paradoxes of systems theory, which shows how organizations are resistant to change. His idea came up recently on a project.

The Fifth Discipline

Senge’s concept of the “fifth discipline” is a synthetic theory about leadership. The five elements ...

Blog Entry

The concept of problem-based learning stems from the learning-by-doing movement, which focuses on applied learning. The idea is that in the solving of a practical (or even theoretical) problem that various types of complex learning may be employed for helpful real-world uses. Problem-based learning is a kind of cognitive apprenticeship, where learners are supported in their decision-making, research, analysis and troubleshooting, and design.

Some Basics of PBL

In PBL, the problem that is being solved serves as a motivating and ...

Blog Entry

Keeping the Peace

0 comments

In an academic environment, every so often, the social and power equilibrium gets tipped, and people’s hackles are raised, and then it takes a while for the dust to settle. Slight kerfuffles can get turned into turf battles at a fairly high level. Battles can escalate into “wars” in resource-poor environments. In general, these do not result in major power shifts, but they can result in long-term memories and some hurt feelings.

Decreasing Tensions

No matter what one’s ...

Blog Entry

Informal Learning on Instructional Design

One comment

I’ve been thinking about informal learning of late, from the serendipitous running across information to the focused problem-solving and wondering how much of my own time and life goes into informal learning that feeds the instructional design. It’s not that many of us consciously take our work home with us—although many of us do. Sometimes, pressing design issues or particular topics really catch our attention and then spill into our personal time.

The Easy Stuff

Many of ...

Blog Entry

Complimentary Copies of Textbooks

0 comments

For faculty members, it’s a fairly easy process to get complimentary copies of textbooks. They just have to call up or email their book rep, and the new books arrive in crisp packages and with zeroed out invoices. Running books by faculty members is a huge part of the work of book companies, and they can often find that faculty can be quite loyal to a text that they enjoy and which they’ve built plenty of assignments and ...

Blog Entry

Gumming up the System

Two comments

In instructional design, some hurdles are seen as “gumming up the system” with inefficiencies and maybe with considerations that are not necessary. No one wants to be seen as gumming up the works, but one also doesn’t want to set up projects in ways that they end up turning out risky or unusable contents.

Legalities

One of the largest hurdles has to do with adhering to legalities in copyright and intellectual property. Many campuses, based on their websites, seem ...

Blog Entry

Instructional Design Freelancing

One comment

Media reports about the economy are still quite dismal. The jobs market is lackluster, with plenty of business and industry fear of what the costs of the new healthcare will mean. With unemployment at around 10%, that means that the job cuts have well cut into the meat and bones of various operations. This also means that a lot of talented people are on shaky ground or are cut loose and on their own.

The Freelancing Market

This means that ...

Blog Entry

A Sharp Learning Curve all Around

One comment

One constant reality in instructional design involves the knowledge that information constantly dates out. One’s skill set, no matter how recently gained, has severe limits. The strategies learned in the higher education degrees—both general and specific—need honing right from the beginning. The strategy then is to learn continually.

Being Dissatisfied

A job requirement for an instructional designer means being constantly dissatisfied with one’s own skills. This is not meant to be a negative or to be ...

Blog Entry

An “Ethical” Course Build

0 comments

For years now, I’ve been reading about values-laden game design, with values-based messages embedded into games. For many educational games, the values are clearly defined in terms of the pro-science or pro-learning or other aspects. Others may be more subtle. In that context, I started thinking about what would make for an “ethical” course build. How would one know if one is veering into unethical course building?

This is not a topic that has ever directly come up during ...

Blog Entry

Protecting What Needs Protecting

0 comments

“Knowledge is power” intoned the professor during class. And he was certainly correct. In his field where sensitive information is handled, accurate and privy knowledge is power… Just earlier in the day, though, I was speaking with a project lead, and she was suggesting that it would be important to protect the design information for a certain type of course structure. In that spirit, she was leery of knowledge management systems that were publicly available. She wanted a tight lid ...

Blog Entry

Improving Knowledge Spaces

0 comments

A recent project whose inception I was involved in a few years ago ended up in my portfolio for a couple weeks, so I could move forward some endeavors and create some fresh contents to refresh the site. I was able to return to the project with new eyes. I also learned the importance of re-acclimating and revisiting the contents on the site in order to identify information gaps that could be addressed.

Metadata

One helpful strategy in this work ...

Blog Entry

Journalist Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink has been out in the world for a half-decade. In this widely read work, he popularizes psychological research on the power of the subconscious mind and how it affects human decision-making.

The Adaptive Unconscious

He shows an experiment of a nuanced physical awareness of the rules of a card game (with one stack more rewarding than another stack, which is costly to the players) many plays before the conscious mind catches on. He attributes this ...

Blog Entry

The late Garrett Hardin proposed the term “tragedy of the commons” early in his career to describe a situation in which multiple individuals, acting independently and in their own interests, will deplete shared limited resources. (He was arguing for limited international aid to poor countries that could not sustain themselves, and in later essays, he compared the US to a lifeboat. He suggested that having excess capacity would be important in terms of resources.)

Real-World Resource Management vs. Digital Resource ...

Blog Entry

Designing Information Inequalities for an Assignment

0 comments

The thinking is that instructors teach from the persons they are. They teach from their personalities and bodies of professional experiences. One of the great strengths of the American educational system is that it draws from expertise globally, and it draws from a variety of individuals.

Information Imbalance

A refreshing approach to an assignment involved the conscious building in of an information imbalance in student-led teaching. The various individuals in a class each were assigned to teach a particular lesson ...

Blog Entry

Entering a PR Universe

Two comments

A university is a public relations universe. This is a universe where perceptions make reality, and people spend a lot of time honing perceptions—both for the internal publics and the external ones. In this universe, numbers do matter—but so do appearances.

The internal publics that matter include those who are decision-makers in the power structure. The external publics that matter include the general public and then specific funding agencies.

Fitting In

The price of fitting in to a ...

Blog Entry

The Theoretical Question of Designing Addictiveness

0 comments

The question brought up years ago by a presenter at a conference that I attended has come back up again—the question of how to create addictiveness in online spaces, to benefit from people’s uses of their own free time to enhance the development of their own skill sets—for the benefit of a workplace. A further question which the presenter didn’t quite get to was how the ethical basis for creating addiction. When would it make sense ...

Blog Entry

SIDLIT 2010 Presentation Archives

One comment

SIDLIT 2010 Presentation Archives http://www.c2conline.org/sidlit/archives

Check out...

Academic Writing and Publishing in a Digital Age

Building the Knowledge of Human Perception into E-Learning

Blog Entry

Gleaning Free

0 comments

The growing costs of the development of digital contents means that instructional designers (IDs) are that much more motivated to identify and download royalty-free open-source contents. Various WWW search capabilities make that strategy so much more effective.

One common strategy is to do an image search and include the words “Creative Commons” or “Wikimedia” or “public domain” some other term that might indicate the release of the contents into the public domain or the release of those contents for non-commercial ...

Blog Entry

Sometimes, ideas have a way of remaining in the subconscious for a while until it is ready for a more public debut. Some overseas colleagues had asked if I wanted to write a piece for their forthcoming book. I perused it, and really, nothing came to mind. Ironically, it wasn’t as if I had no background. Months later when they asked again, I suddenly realized that the topic they were engaging was something I’d dealt with for the ...

Blog Entry

Strategic Program Use of Electronic Mailing Lists

One comment

The email messages would show up in the email box—about various services on campus…the recreation center, the student union, the performance hall, the grant research resources, the PR wing of campus. A university of a middling size will have thousands of electronic mailing lists from many entities on campus.

There will be many electronic mailing lists for particular projects and groups, with many activated and live only for the life span of the project. The more silent electronic ...

Blog Entry

Sometimes, it takes seeing a lot of “bad” examples to begin seeing what makes a particular learning object—like a slideshow—“good.” A recent project involved some work perusing videotaped graduate student presentations on a range of public health issues. These were captured by tapping into a tech classroom’s audio feed (which resulted in some strange electronic fluctuations that added noise and “gain” to the audio feed) and the room’s camera…and then the slides portrayed on the ...

Blog Entry

Project Call-Backs

One comment

A call-back for an actor is a good thing. It means that he or she has another chance to win a particular role. This is the same for a day laborer. It means more work. To be called back as an instructional designer (ID) may mean any number of things, some positive, others not quite so.

Instructional Design Work Trajectories

An instructional designer does the work that is required, ideally, and wants the projects to be independent and stand-alone in ...

Blog Entry

In various faculty offices, I’ve been offered lots of things from various stashes. There’s the professor with a stash of semi-sweet chocolates. He is unfailingly generous whenever I visit. Once when there was a staff party, he came back with a giant paper plate laden with all sorts of goodies, half of them for me. There are journal stashes with all sorts of domain-specific research and articles, and instructors will often dip into those to share some interesting ...

Blog Entry

The Q&A

One comment

To an extent, instructional design requires the packaging of information for sharing and delivery to a range of learners. The information collected from subject matter experts (SMEs) is delivered in a variety of forms—one of which is the Q&A (questions and answers). This is an interview form that respects the voice and direction of the respondent in a way that interviews do not (because these latter forms allow interviewers to select and frame information from the interview). Q ...

Blog Entry

Positioning for the Next Grant Funding Cycle

Two comments

In these past five years working as an instructional designer, I’ve worked on a number of grant-funded projects. I’ve seen well handled projects that went in on budget and under deadline, with powerful deliverables that benefited the many stakeholders to a project. I worked on an out-of-state grant project that finished strong, added new insights to the literature and new bureaucratic structures to enhance learning for a particular demographic of learners…and then scooped up nearly two million ...

Blog Entry

Sequencing a Learning Object

0 comments

For all the nuances that go into the building of a digital learning object, the concept of sequencing is one of the most common. Sequencing applies to slide decks (slideshows), photo albums, stories, teaching and learning cases, games, and simulations.

Natural Trajectories

It is said that the oldest organizational structure would be that of a story—where a story may be told chronologically, in continuous (or selective) and linear time. In case studies, there may well be a natural trajectory ...

Blog Entry

Brainstorming Contents

Two comments

People who work in the so-called knowledge industry can relate to the constant challenge of finding relevant information. It’s a matter of not getting left behind. It’s a matter of knowing what is relevant in order to train others. It’s also about repurposing information and contents to different audiences. What this means is that we are subconsciously perusing the environment for information fairly continuously. We are on a continual scrounge mode.

The News Hole

For instructional designers ...

Blog Entry

Critiquing What isn’t There

0 comments

In critiquing writing, one of the struggles that my students have to get past is their inherent socialized politeness. There are some things that many do not feel able to express in a writing course. For their commentary to have any usefulness, they have to be able to see with clarity and express with clarity (and civility). They also have to get past certain mental models. Many will limit themselves to responding to the work that is present. They’ll ...

Blog Entry

Data Trawl

Two comments

People who teach online put up with the usual low-level and idle perusing online by students to understand their instructors. They understand that students rate them on various websites and have various opinions that they share. Occasionally, learners will call with some personal questions because they are curious. Theirs is a generation where all sorts of information is considered public, and their need-to-know is pretty broad.

Several recent events though have really enhanced my sense of caution about any sharing ...

Blog Entry

A new resource for immersive learning will be released by IGI-Global in late August 2010.

Blog Entry

Setting up a Digital Poster Session

Three comments

In a recent online conference, one of the “sidebars” dealt with poster sessions. Those were my first exposures to creating poster sessions…and it was also my first exposure to a range of different types of poster sessions. These do add plenty of value. Those whose presentations did not get accepted into the main synchronous presentations are sometimes offered slots in the poster sessions in live face-to-face conferences. That is so here, too. In online conferences, the live presentations are ...

Blog Entry

The Selling of Academic Information

Five comments

Recently, I reviewed an article that was fairly light in information. The writing was based on a wide-ranging report of research, but the article itself was insipid and not very complete. My suggestion was to find more compelling information from the report and to offer more quantitative data from the report—to make the writing worthwhile for readers. The answer that came back was that the author was unwilling to update further. The other information was part of a for-sale ...

Blog Entry

The Conceptualization and “Building New”

0 comments

When I first started working in instructional design, I didn’t think much about the implications of instructors’ conceptualizations of the online course builds they were trying to create. And as I mull this further, I realize that many of the initial conceptualizations were more about transferring face-to-face courses to the online format. They were not about creating wholly new experiences in online learning. Even now, a majority of the instructional design work is based on the idea of “transfer ...

Blog Entry

A core principle of writing non-fiction involves revision, revision, revision. A novice will be in a hurry and will not revise much. The first draft is what goes in, limitations and all. The instructional feedback involves meticulous line-by-line critiques of the writing—along with encouragement—for the work.

Back to the Drawing Board

What happens then when students learn the lesson too well and ask for another couple shots at revising the work? What if they start wanting to apply ...

Blog Entry

For years now, I’ve wanted to try my hand at building an applied digital lab in the science field. Everything seems to have its time, and I’m hoping that now is it. A confluence of events has brought this possibility up. One event was a project that involved supporting the building of a course that had an analytical lab piece—but which the instructor cut (because that was not part of the funded build). We have an application ...

Blog Entry

Tending a Public Wiki

One comment

This entry is based on very thin experiences…just about a year of work tending a public wiki. During that initial year, I spent most of it conducting research and creating contents to offer lures for site visitors to explore the site more deeply. I was interested in setting a baseline for quality. I also wanted to share relevant information with a larger public. In that first year and a half, now, tens of thousands of visitors have come to ...

Blog Entry

Effective Discussion Questions

Two comments

Most courses that involve asynchronous interactivity between learners will use some sort of effective discussion question or prompt. What is considered effective is different depending on the discipline. Still, there are some quality indicators that may be addressed at this broad level.

The General Purposes of Online Discussion Questions

It may be argued that online discussion questions have a very formal and formative learning role. They help learners integrate or synthesize information. They help surface learners’ own opinions and ideas ...

Blog Entry

A Mobile Learning Resource

Two comments

There is a free e-book available through Athabasca University Press on mobile learning that sets a clear baseline for this possible new direction in e-learning in higher education. Dr. Mohammed Ally's "Mobile Learning: Transforming the Delivery of Education and Training" is available at the following URL.

Mobile Learning: Transforming the Delivery of Education and Training

Blog Entry

Several months ago, the query came in to the office. A colleague wondered if I’d be willing to present a live webinar to a conference with approximately 70 people in the room and possibly others logging in online. The webinar would be recorded. The default for me has always been, “Sure,” particularly if the work has its own fresh challenges.

The Lead-up Work

First, I spoke to a couple of the representatives and got a sense of the audience ...

Blog Entry

Digital Preservation

0 comments

Online learning work does involve digital preservation albeit not in ways that one might generally imagine. So many works are “born-digital” and need to be protected in multiple digital formats and proper storage. Another method for digital preservation, though, involves taking from-world artifacts and storing them in digital format. This issue arose recently with a history course in a hard science field.

Up Close and Clear Imagery with Text

A conversation with the instructor illuminated this situation. He featured digital ...

Blog Entry

A Fully Open-Access Scholarly Press

0 comments

The following is a link to an article about an open-access scholarly press which makes all of its contents available in .pdf form from their site.

A Fully Open-Access Scholarly Press

Blog Entry

The Need to Update Software

0 comments

Two hours into the meeting with the faculty member, we finally got around to doing a desktop lecture capture using his brand new computer and his new headset. We had tested his equipment, reset his computer settings, deleted and re-installed his software…and finally did the piece that was probably the initial problem. We updated the lecture capture software we’d just installed. We’d gone on the false assumption that an update that we’d done based on an ...

Blog Entry

Slideshow Consistency

0 comments

Every so often, there is a push for some mind-numbing work. A colleague of mine had to render a bunch of contents from DVDs in order to repurpose them for a new client who wanted all the contents on a website. (This was done with copyright permission.) And recently, I worked on several projects just to get some slideshows rendered for some online courses. No ID really goes into this field in order to have to format slideshows, but this ...

Blog Entry

When to Formally Publish

0 comments

The faculty member had brought a professional magazine with him to the meeting that he’d scheduled. The article was a professional magazine in his field. It was about a fairly creative modular course design to teach an introductory freshman-sophomore level course. The modules had some opt-in interactivity using Flash objects. The idea was that this course would support a college-wide endeavor to create digital learning objects that could be used in a number of scientific fields—with this course ...

Blog Entry

Hrrrrmmm. The student was clearing his throat again. We were looking at him through a large screen. He was several hours away taking our shared course. And he was alone in a classroom, just him, his readings, and his laptop. He was clearing his throat because he was looking for a way to jump into the conversation without seeming rude. The really cool upside was that he was well prepared for class every day even though the class was an ...

Blog Entry

A New EQ Issue on Cloud Computing

0 comments

Educause Quarterly has a riveting new issue on cloud computing

This is an issue which affects a number of aspects of instructional design work but seems like an issue only about hardware, software, and where data resides.

Blog Entry

There it was on the cover of our local newspaper on a Sunday when the largest issue of the week came out: the above-the-fold article (yes on paper) reported that a university committee tasked with analyzing what it would take to make our university one of the top-50 research institutions in the US wanted a change in culture. They wanted a greater conceptualization of relevant research and then the pursuit of grant funds to support those endeavors; they wanted rigorous ...

Blog Entry

As students move into more sophisticated graduate courses, they are working on project-based learning work that may result in truly original and executable ideas, ideas that have value in the field. This is also when students may be writing papers that may be publishable and have intellectual property value in the world. This results in a kind of quandary.

Ownership

Years ago, I read about a case of a student who was funded under a grant to do research work ...

Blog Entry

Service Learning for Online Students

One comment

For many fields, particularly in a tough job economy with employers holding new job applicants to high standards of background checks, skill sets, education, and social skills, the role of service learning has become more important to differentiate job applicants. Service learning involves students going out into the larger community to work as “apprentices” in order to learn the field better, to make professional contacts, and to contribute to the larger society. These experiences enhance the depth of knowledge for ...

Blog Entry

Repeatable Revenue Streams

Two comments

Repeatable revenue streams are important for companies that want to survive. They want to differentiate in the marketplace through brands. They want to build loyalty with customers, so that the company may ensure its continuing survival. This concept is a useful one, but in practice, in academic environments, service units like those dealing with instructional design seldom have repeating revenue streams. Rather, the revenue streams are often new and sporadic.

Unless there are long-running grant projects, instructional designers do not ...

Blog Entry

Arriving at In-Field Understandings

0 comments

Starting a new project often involves immersion into the understandings of a new field. For an instructional designer to be able to contribute constructively to the curricular build, it helps immensely to pick up on some of these core understandings.

These understandings emerge from the conversations between the subject matter experts. People who have immersed deeply into a field get into a certain mindset, and those ideas and attitudes become clear in the nuanced comments. They emerge from the contents ...

Blog Entry

After years in higher education, I have learned that it is very important to maintain student trust. Trust comes when students know that you have a benevolent approach to them—and that you care. Trust means showing up. It also comes when students know that you’re truly investing time and energy to the course; you’re not just there to free-ride the system and run off with a paycheck. Trust may be maintained with consistent quality. That all sounds ...

Blog Entry

Checking the "Cloud" for a Missing File

One comment

Usually, when students reconnect with me out of the blue after years have passed, it’s because of a fairly big event in their lives. They have gotten a challenging job at a multilingual journal. They have published in a journal. They have started writing a romance novel, and they want feedback. They have been accepted into a competitive degree program. Recently, though, a student contacted me in order to find a missing essay that she cared a lot about ...

Blog Entry

The Allure of the Anti-Pattern Concept

0 comments

While probing the research for an automated module build on a separate unrelated topic, I ran across a very useful concept in software design: the anti-pattern. I’d like to use this concept colloquially. As explained in the work: “An anti-pattern is something that looks like a good idea, but which backfires badly when applied” (Cockburn et al., 2004, as cited in Biljon, Kotze, Renaud, McGee, & Seffah, 2004, 177 – 178).

Patterns and Anti-Patterns

In a broad sense (and I’m ...

Blog Entry

A Project Spin-out

0 comments

In retrospect, maybe it should have been a clue that the inspiration for the virtual project came from party chatter between two high-powered administrators. (I was imagining something from a reception.) The idea was simple—how about bring together some universities to collaborate on shared online learning resources to train faculty and staff? The schools themselves were powerhouses with a variety of online learning endeavors. We would all start with some basic phone calls and then web conferences. This would ...

Blog Entry

Social Network Effects

One comment

Working in IT leaves one with a bit of a systems view of the world. A “systems view” is one in which there are interaction effects based on how entities in the system interact with each other. This view tends to be more complex and more holistic.

A recent book touches on some of the research on social networks and their effects. Drs. Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler, in “Connected,” address the relative closeness of people in terms ...

Blog Entry

On the surface, people might assume that multimedia development skills are a critical part of instructional design. I would also tend to agree. However, underlying those skills is an even more critical one—and that would be writing. In terms of skill sets, it would seem like writing is more difficult to acquire and takes more time and has a higher learning curve than multimedia development. I am not talking about high-end multimedia work—which probably is very tough to ...

Blog Entry

Transcoding Work

Three comments

As an instructional designer, I work with at least a dozen (or two) different software programs that are used for the editing of raw digital files and the authoring of born-digital files—for e-learning. Plenty of this work involves “transcoding” between different digital file types in order to add value to a particular text, image, slideshow, audio file, or video file.

Transcode: A Basic Definition

A transcoding effort involves the digital-to-digital conversion of one digital file type to another (http ...

Blog Entry

by Konrad Kociszewski (konrad.kociszewski@gmail.com)

(No contents are verified by IDOS. This is an unvetted announcement.)

Indigo Productions invites Kansas State University students to compete for its video production scholarship. The entries should be a Public Service Announcement video related to any health or safety issue affecting the public or a community of interest to the students. Applying for the scholarship is an opportunity for a student, or a group of students, to make extra money to pay for tuition, books, or other expenses. The videos will be judged by a panel of video production professionals ...

Blog Entry

Invariably, a new socio-technical system will run into first technical problems, then structural problems, and then social ones. This truism has implications for the design work.

Throwing Content at the Technology

For an instructional designer, to get a system to fully “stand up,” it is important to make sure that all the layers of technological dependencies actually function. The only way to discover where problems are is to push the system. For me, this has meant creating a variety of ...

Blog Entry

"Data Doubles" in Online Courses

0 comments

The concept of a “data double” is a person’s digital doppelganger, albeit not the self-created identities per se. Rather, the data double includes the inferred identities of a person’s digital trail—including recorded behaviors that may not be particularly flattering or honed for public consumption. A fast way to get a “data double” profile put together is to gain the interest of law enforcement. Another way is to simply raise a person’s or business’s curiosity. There ...

Blog Entry

Creating Structure from Formlessness

0 comments

The nature of work is that there are often needs that are not directly met by existing technologies. In cases where the needs exist sufficiently close to the existing technologies, there can be work-arounds and the imposition of an artificial structure around the technologies to achieve particular aims.

One common example is the use of learning / course management systems as virtual teaming work spaces. Hiring committees will use L/CMSes to share privy documents and to exchange information and to ...

Blog Entry

Textual Feedback in the Grade Book

0 comments

Learning / course management systems (L/CMSes) usually collect quantitative grade information for students. This is because of a tradition regarding the use of grades, and this is also because numbers are very easy to manage, handle, and calculate. Qualitative feedback and critiques are usually sent to students via email or private messages in the online classrooms.

Rarely do online grade books include textual feedback. However, one of the L/CMSes I use does include a text window next to the ...

Blog Entry

Protecting Work

0 comments

Topics for this blog sometimes arise after a few related events occur, and I suddenly see a pattern. This recently occurred around the salvaging of work. One workplace reality is that sometimes work is rejected for one reason or another, and work then that doesn’t make the cut for one project can sometimes be used for another.

Not Making the Cut

For example, sometimes brief news articles for the in-house technology newsletter is held because of the need to ...

Blog Entry

Setting up a New Digital Calendar

One comment

It was with trepidation that I thought of manually moving over a couple months’ worth of scheduled events over to a new calendaring, email, and collaboration system. There were enough horror stories of problems batch-moving all the events, and repeating events apparently do not show up at all. The smart money was on physically moving events and then removing the old calendar client.

Ramping up to the Move

Moving to a new laptop without the old calendaring system was one ...

Blog Entry

With wages stagnant and no space for real upward movement for many in instructional design, there is talk about trying to keep employee loyalty through building room to innovate. This idea is that if people can find particular satisfaction for their intellectual needs, they may continue working at an institution of higher education for a longer period than they might otherwise.

What ID Innovation Looks Like

That got me thinking about what instructional design innovation looks like, and even more ...

Blog Entry

Building the Business Case

19 comments

I was packing to leave for a multi-day conference when the email came in the email box. A faculty member wanted free help building a website that was nominally related to a face-to-face course. She had no budget, but she wanted advice, work, and references to other talent to help build the site. When I shared the rate card for various IT services and clarified that instructional designers do not generally build websites (although many of us can do a ...

Blog Entry

Jason Maseberg-Tomlinson, Tech Specialist with Disability Support Services at K-State, recently presented “Online Content Accessibility: It’s Not What You Know; It’s Who You Know” at CHECK (Conference on Higher Education Computing in Kansas) in late May at Ft. Hays State University. As only one of about ten people in the US who work as technology specialists focused on online learning in higher education, he first began with a general review of the guidelines for online accessibility.

Some Basics ...

Blog Entry

A common concept has been floating around for the past couple weeks…in any number of webinars and face-to-face presentations. That concept is “the total cost of ownership.” This has applied to acquisitions of IT equipment and software. This has been applied to lecture captures and digital learning objects. This concept has become popularized in the context of severe budgeting and holding programs together in a time of a lot of “unfunding”.

The basic idea is thinking through the lifespan ...

Blog Entry

Winging It

0 comments

It probably helps to have a little desperation to drive some risk. Here it was the day before the launch of an intensive intersession course, and the two faculty teaching the course were not fully ready. They had captured an interview using one (desktop lecture capture) technology but had switched to another technology because they felt more comfortable using that technology to edit out some repetitive comments. They also wanted to add in some annotations.

What happened was that they ...

Blog Entry

Tech-Savvy SMEs!

0 comments

In any number of fields, SMEs come to work with a range of tech savvy. Many now seem to have a basic understanding of learning / course management systems (L/CMSes). They may not grasp the more esoteric and complex tools, but they have the general gist. A majority also have a firm general grasp of the office suite of tools, particularly word-processing and slideshow building (but not so the Excel-sorts of files). A few have a grasp on lecture capture ...

Blog Entry

Breaking Trust in Academic Publishing

0 comments

The most extreme case I’ve heard of of an academic author protecting his work involved the professor of a recent course I took. He described how he and a colleague wrote a 30-page single-spaced line-by-line defense of their article as a defense against criticisms by their peer critiquers. 30 pages. Yes, this professor was serious, and he reveled in the back-and-forth and in the ultimate publishing of his work debunking a colleague’s theory. He had a gleam in ...

Blog Entry

The Shadow Work of Project Documentation

0 comments

Those engaged in full-fledged e-learning course builds will end up with extra and very necessary files. These are necessary documents: copyright (and media) release contracts, draft templates, planning and decision-making documents, cited research, extra photographs, raw audio and video captures (not in the compressed formats), grant documentation, and other aspects. In a small sense, looking at the varied back-end pieces of a project is like looking at the back of a hand-embroidered work—with the rough and raw stitching that ...

Blog Entry

Decommissioning a Laptop

Five comments

The endgame for the laptop started the moment I got a new one, and my new office decided against putting in any work to maintain it. I thought I could nurse this machine through by keeping it ensconced in a home office. For me, it was worth protecting it even though it was some four years old…because of the huge amounts of authoring tools and software loaded on it. I could easily get a new machine, but replacing the ...

Blog Entry

Virtual Office Hours

0 comments

Virtual office hours have made the transition from face-to-face courses to online ones in two general ways. One way is by having scheduled online hours when an instructor may be available by web conferencing software, chatlines, or telephone, or a combination of these technologies. The other way is the presence of “rolling” office hours or the semi-24-7 availability of the instructor—in terms of postings on a message board…or email responses to students.

The Uses of Online Office Hours ...

Blog Entry

Planning "Exit Strategies"

0 comments

One course build wrapped a year ago, but students still email me from the course. One of the coordinators still asks for help publicizing the course with flyers. I get called into meetings, one to revise the course and then also to debrief the virtual communications experiences.

On another project, the faculty member who is spear-heading the work has gotten channeled off in another direction. The work is languishing. Should I continue in my silent partner role and continue to ...

Blog Entry

Adding Value to Screen-Based Lecture Capture

0 comments

Recently, several of us instructional designers presented to faculty working on a graduate degree project. One of the early presentations involved training the faculty on some technologies for screen-based lecture captures. That involved lowering the learning curve on those technologies and encouraging them to be comfortable with the experimentation, the fumbling, and the way they sound to themselves online. We showed that it was okay to show themselves as human, and we showcased some endeavors for telepresence.

Comfort with Experimentation ...

Blog Entry

Promoting Informal Learning

Two comments

A majority of the course builds done by instructional designers at the university and college levels seems to involve formal learning. There are the course objectives, the assessments, the segues between courses in a sequence, and the transferability of courses between institutions.

Informal Learning

Informal learning refers to the learning that does not entail credit-based learning. Such learning occurs in a self-motivated way and may not even result in any formal recording of the learning. It would seem that online ...

Blog Entry

A truism in learning suggests that metacognition may give learners the self-awareness and potential control over their own learning experiences. (This is the concept of the brain’s frontal lobes—where the executive functions lie—to enforce a kind of order and discipline.) Taking this a step further, one could study further about the findings of neuroscience and the brain’s tendencies towards certain types of perceptions, cognition, and ultimately decision-making and action.

Decision-Making as a Competitive Differentiator

People make ...

Blog Entry

Templating for Quality

Six comments

Sometimes, simple tools can add an outsized contribution to the overall quality of a curricular build. Dr. Atul Gawande, in The Checklist Manifesto, showed the application of checklists to a variety of fields—medical, flight, and others—that added plenty of value.

In the same way, templates may be pedestrian, but they can offer efficiencies and competitive advantages that are quite surprising.

What’s a Template?

A template is a form that is used to create other objects of a ...

Blog Entry

Habituating Learners to Domain Standards

0 comments

Virtually all learning domains have visible and invisible, and spoken and unspoken standards. These may refer to professional practices in the field. They may be ethical guidelines. They may be habituated practices in terms of using particular equipment. They may be safety regulations.

A large part of a university education involves training in the knowledge, analytical thinking, and skills necessary for complex workplaces upon graduation. This is done through a mix of rote learning, practice, critical analysis, experiential simulation, and ...

Blog Entry

Being the Naive Learner

0 comments

An instructional designer comes into most projects as the person in the room that knows the least about the particular subject matter. He / she may have done some general mainline reading, but he / she was building a different skillset while everyone else in the room (generally) was working on something else. This reality can be leveraged to enhance the instructional design work.

Building for Novices

For those of us who are continually engaging in new learning experiences, one knows what ...

Blog Entry

"I'll Pay You...in Fame"

One comment

The age-old system of barter has very much come back to the fore in the academic environment. Here, it’s all quid pro quo albeit not with money.

The Byline Dangle

The instructional design “space” is not one with plenty of bylines. The work requires public invisibility because bylines really would be counter-productive to the support work of the team. If anything, those with bylines would be the star faculty, but even they often will demur and subsume their identities ...

Blog Entry

Enhancing the Informational Value of Imagery

0 comments

If it is true that most of academic education is still fairly text-based, at least many more instructors are integrating imagery into their work. There are many ways to enhance the value of imagery in an e-learning context.

Not for Decorative Purposes

Plenty of practitioners in e-learning emphasize the importance of not drawing attentional resources to decorative imagery which does not have informational value. While others argue that there is a benefit to breaking up the “gray” of a text ...

Blog Entry

Commercial Muddying

0 comments

In academia, in a service role such as instructional design, there’s very very little temptation towards commercial muddying of roles. There’s no high-value research per se. There’s very little high-profile work. There’s little outside-work temptation. I thought that until this morning when a confluence of a couple events highlighted the small temptations that exist.

Sponsorship to a Conference

First, there was an email from a maker of a strong authoring tool that I’ve used for ...

Blog Entry

Instructional design is a support service, often on the periphery of academic endeavors. The heart of academic endeavors are generally conceptualized as three-fold: (1) to teach and train up professionals in various fields, (2) to forward various learning domain fields through research and debate, and (3) to contribute to the larger society. Too often, the service component of instructional design seems to cast a pall over these other ways for instructional designers to contribute in an academic environment. In that ...

Blog Entry

Designing for Facilitation (vs. Automation)

0 comments

A recent project involves a range of automated learning. This type of learning involves stand-alone modules for individual learner navigation. There are some pieces of automated interactivity. There are opt-in self-assessments. These types of learning seem much more objective and less subjective—there’s certainly a lot less personality in the teaching and learning. There are greater uses of so-called “autotelic” learning—or self-rewarding learning—to motivate learners to continue in their learning endeavors.

Then, during a conference presentation, I ...

Blog Entry

Building Online Short Courses

One comment

The following is a blog entry in the recently-launched IGI-Global blog series. The topic here is Building Online Short Courses

Blog Entry

Debriefing Projects

0 comments

Most instructional design projects are never debriefed. Usually, projects just wrap, and people move on to other work. There may be occasional little snippets of information shared about the fate of a project, but there’s no official follow-up.

A Definition of Debriefing

Recently, I participated in a formal debriefing of a project. The purpose was to understand the strengths and the weaknesses of the local virtual collaboration in the project and to understand what worked and what didn’t ...

Blog Entry

The State of Play: Law, Games, and Virtual Worlds by Jack M. Balkin and Beth Simone Noveck New York: New York University Press 2006 304 pp. hardcover

“I always knew what virtual worlds promised: freedom. Freedom to do, to be, to realize. I like this kind of freedom, it’s a good thing; virtual worlds are a force for good. Furthermore, what we have at the moment is just a foretaste of the wonders that idealists like me believe are ...

Blog Entry

Second Call: Constructing Self-Discovery Learning Spaces Online: Scaffolding and Decision Making Technologies

Editors: Dr. Shalin Hai-Jew, Kansas State University, USA

Call for Chapters: Proposals Submission Deadline: May 25, 2010 Full Chapters Due: September 1, 2010

Introduction Plenty of information has now been made available through the Internet and WWW, digital repositories and libraries, virtual communities, immersive virtual worlds and spaces, and simulations. A number of universities have made their learning contents widely public through open courseware and open learning endeavors ...

Blog Entry

Two Angles on Educational Social Networking

Four comments

"While Internet users claim to be concerned about online privacy, their behavior rarely reflects those concerns." -- Julia Gideon, Lorrie Cranor, Serge Egelman, and Alessandro Acquisti in "Power Strips, Prophylactics, and Privacy, Oh My!" (2006)

A greater sense of sobriety seems to have seeped into discussions of social networking sites used for higher education. Two recent webinar presentations addressed this issue. This seems appropriate given that social networks and blogs are the fourth most popular online category for information sharing, and ...

Blog Entry

Polite Clapping on Live Webinars

Two comments

It’s easy enough to maintain a sense of niceties for short webinars. Then, it’s easy to know when to activate the polite clapping button. It’s easy to know when to put one’s marker on a world map to show one’s location. It’s easy enough to annotate a whiteboard or a slide. It’s fairly easy to type in responses in the chat window at the behest of the presenter.

However, what exactly is different ...

Blog Entry

Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games By Edward Castronova Chicago: The University of Chicago Press 2005 332 pp. hardcover

The way Dr. Edward Castronova tells it, he was an economist minding his own business some years ago when he got blindsided by the phenomena of virtual worlds.

Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games then is his intelligently written foray into MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games,” pronounced by some as “mor-pegs”) and metaverses, which ...

Blog Entry

A recent project evolved into an intriguing conversation. I won’t go into the specifics of the project, but the conversation involved the use of Second Life avatars to tell a story and to create a sense of loyalty among a defined set of learners. The idea would be to use four central characters around whom particular stories would be told.

All the planners at the table are attuned to the needs to be inclusive, to avoid stereotyping, to “mirror ...

Blog Entry

Ludology: Some Cultural Aspects of Online Gaming

Two comments

Game Cultures By Jon Dovey and Helen W. Kennedy New York: Open University Press 2006 171 pp. hardcover

The Players’ Realm: Studies on the Culture of Video Games and Gaming By J. Patrick Williams and Jonas Heide Smith Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers 2007 308 pp. softcover

Gaming as Culture By J. Patrick Williams, Sean D. Hendricks, and W. Keith Winkler Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers 2006 224 pp. hardcover

What actually goes on inside the minds of players? And ...

Blog Entry

Control and Constraint in e-Learning: Choosing when to Choose By Jon Dron Hershey: IDEA Group Publishing 2007 340 pp. hard cover

“The most interesting potential for a virtual environment for learning is that it is itself far more plastic and malleable than physical space—the computer is the medium and tool as well as the environment. Through e-learning, it is therefore possible for the context to actively shift, playing a role in changing both the intrinsic and extrinsic constraints that ...

Blog Entry

E-Learning and the Science of Instruction By Ruth Colvin Clark and Richard E. Mayer Pfeiffer, A Wiley Imprint 2003 322 pp. hardcover

For many, multimedia evokes splashy effects and the best that digital technology can offer. Yet, when multimedia is applied for learning purposes, a more grounded approach is effective. Ruth Colvin Clark and Richard E. Mayer’s E-learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning have created a handy topic-based text for ...

Blog Entry

E-Book Packaging Trends

Two comments

A recent webinar addressed issues of electronic content collections for brick-and-mortar libraries. These collections are used to not only enhance on-campus students but to enhance services for wholly online learners.

Slicing Contents

Many publishers offer large-aggregated packages of contents based on subject matters or domain fields. They also slice up contents in a number of ways—such as offering book titles and teaching cases on a piecemeal basis. This slicing enables librarians to avoid paying for duplicate materials.

Titles may ...

Blog Entry

e-Moderating: The Key to Teaching & Learning Online by Gilly Salmon London: RoutledgeFalmer 2004/2005 2nd Ed. 242 pp. softcover

Dr. Gilly Salmon’s e-Moderating: The Key to Teaching & Learning Online focuses on a particular support role in online learning that may be crucial for the larger, higher education, online classes with professors, teaching assistants, research assistants, and now e-moderators.

Early on, the role of the e-moderator seems to be a culmination of mediator, online facilitator, teacher, trainer, and digital friend ...

Blog Entry

The Outsider with a Tough Message

0 comments

On the face of it, the invitation was simple enough. Would you be able to attend a staff meeting to talk to faculty about basic intellectual property guidelines? In particular, would you focus on student rights and responsibilities in terms of IP—particularly in design courses where students would be originating new contents? (The actual focus had to do with supporting faculty understandings of IP in order to ensure that the students (as budding professionals) are protected?)

Selling the Angle ...

Blog Entry

Integrating Technology for Meaningful Learning (5th Ed.) by Mark Grabe and Cindy Grabe New York: Houghton Mifflin Company 2007 431 pp. softcover

The next big push in eLearning may occur in K-12. The acceptance of distance learning is at an all-time high. K-12 instructors are training in the online curriculum development and instruction methods. And there are strong texts supporting such endeavors, as with Mark and Cindy Grabe’s stellar Integrating Technology for Meaningful Learning (5th ed.).

These two authors ...

Blog Entry

Reconsidering Global Virtual Teamwork

0 comments

Dr. Richard Dool presented on “Managing Conflict in Online Multi-Cultural Student Teams” at a recent online conference. His real-world and can-do attitudes have started me rethinking engaging in virtual student teams again. The conventional wisdom is that these are challenging endeavors to coordinate people virtually, particularly learners who have little prior experience in online learning. But maybe it would be a good idea just to take heart and proceed. This topic has become more relevant as one works with classes ...

Blog Entry

Cramming for a Midterm

One comment

Ah, the price of empathy! I have just spent the past couple days cramming for a midterm in a graduate course that I’m taking as a non-degree-pursuing student. Our professor had dutifully made some very useful handouts for our study. He made a lot of suggestions of things to study. And I had spent days or parts of days with the textbook and stacks of handouts and online notes. The buildup to a midterm is different for a semester ...

Blog Entry

Choosing High-Risk Projects

One comment

Occasionally, there are opportunities for high-risk projects. These are ones with a lot riding on the work: grant funds, public reputations, and long-term endeavors. Even more important, there are the implications for a vast number of learners—who may or may not be able to fully benefit from the course or training materials.

Novelty or proceeding without “proof of concept” can be high risk. This means treading ground that has been lightly explored or potentially not explored at all.

Grant ...

Blog Entry

"How are You Feeling Today?"

Two comments

“Where nothing ever is felt, nothing matters.” -- Susanne Langer

The presenter opened his webinar with the above quote as an epigraph. Dr. Marc Brackett (of Yale University) presented on “Creating Emotionally Literate Schools: A Skill-Based Sustainable Approach” at the International Online Conference / 8th Annual Online Conference for Teaching and Learning, which was held online in late March.

He used a four-quadrant table to assess how his online audiences were feeling. On the x-axis were the feelings, ranging from unpleasant (-5 ...

Blog Entry

A Classy International Online Web Conference

One comment

People who’ve worked for a time in a field become harder to impress. I’m no different. And yet, last week, I participated in a two-day online web conference that left a strong positive impression.

First, this featured a range of presenters and keynote speakers. These had been culled from a competitive list of presenters. Many who didn’t have a chance to present offered online poster sessions. The live event was scheduled with a fine choice of seminars ...

Blog Entry

Instructional Design for Web-based Training By Kerri Conrad and TrainingLinks HRD Press 2000 280 pp. soft cover

Kerri Conrad and TrainingLinks’ formulated Instructional Design for Web-based Training through their various projects as a small Web-based training (WBT) company. As happens with many texts, they’d looked for one to use, and when they couldn’t find the one, they decided to write a book themselves.

The final product is a highly-accessible conversational text that starts readers off with an assessment ...

Blog Entry

The Discipline of a Professional Blog

Two comments

Recently, a writing opportunity brought up the concept of professional blogging. This blog has been around since 2006, and it has its small contribution to the blogosphere. In these years, the nature of blogging has changed, and the heat of interest in blogging seems to have cooled. The length of this blog’s life may make it one of the older ones around. I’ll have to check around to see what the stats are about the blogosphere.

One source ...

Blog Entry

"Should We be Using Communities for Learning?"

0 comments

Nancy White of Full Circle Associates opened the International Online Conference (8th Annual Online Conference for Teaching and Learning) with her question: “Should we be using communities for learning?” Like a wise questioner of fads, she asks when online communities actually exist, or when “community” is just a network of disconnected people…and when to engage with online communities and networks to achieve particular aims.

During her presentation, her ideas were illustrated vividly by Dan Porter, a visual graphic facilitator ...

Blog Entry

Function ask Q (): Interactive Multimedia 101

Three comments

An Introduction to Interactive Multimedia by Stephen J. Misovich, Jerome Katrichis, David Demers, and William B. Sanders Boston: Pearson Education 2003 212 pp. softcover

“…computers are literal machines. That is, you must include all of the marks and words that you see in the scripts in this book. Even a tiny difference can cause a script to fail.” --An Introduction to Interactive Multimedia (p. 165)

Instructional designers working in interactive online courses would do well to approach their craft with ...

Blog Entry

Please consider this call for chapter proposals for a book titled "Constructing Self-Discovery Learning Spaces Online: Scaffolding and Decision Making Technologies".

Call for Chapters: Proposals Submission Deadline: April 25, 2010 Full Chapters Due: Sept. 1, 2010

More information is available at the URL below.
Call for Chapter Proposals

Blog Entry

"You're supposed to be skeptical all the time!"

0 comments

Academics have taken various stances on the changes to their respective fields with the popularization of the Internet and the WWW these past couple decades. Dr. T. Mills Kelly, of the Department of History and Art History at George Mason University, swung by K-State for a presentation titled “Building a Better Yesterday, Bit by Bit or What hurricanes, communism and pirates can do for your teaching” on Mar. 9.

He described a course that he teaches to undergraduates that is ...

Blog Entry

Domain-Specific Quality in E-Learning

One comment

Various astute administrators have long discussed the importance of quality in e-learning, and they will put their funds and efforts and encouragements in this direction. In an environment of academic freedom, they walk lightly and collaboratively with the faculty—and so they should. That all works.

Stuck in Low Gear

What I’ve realized though is that the conversation is caught in a particular gear—we’re stuck in the low-range issues of quality in terms of minimums. Is there ...

Blog Entry

Chasing Chapters

0 comments

So it’s a second to midnight, in a manner of speaking. At this moment, the last element of an important project has to be submitted. The work has taken about a year to evolve. And there is really and truly only one more piece that needs to be finalized and submitted before we can all call it “good” and proceed.

This project is a book, and after many long months of work, it is finally coming together. Except for ...

Blog Entry

Sharing Academic Resources? Yes or No

Two comments

Every so often, the issue of the sharing of academic resources arises. In a week, I had a group discussion about this issue with a group of faculty on campus, had an article forwarded to me by a library administrator about challenges to existing copyright laws and practices, and talked to a professor who’d allowed one of his students to translate his book and sell it overseas (to the tune of 8,000 copies) with the professor’s byline ...

Blog Entry

Starting the Design of Digital Short Courses

One comment

There’s been a slow move towards building commercial learning from academic courses. Our campus has looked at ways to create such short courses and ways to transition from situations of “fair use” to commercial…with some very effective ideas. Now that some of the early thinking work has gone in, we have a theoretical template that now needs actual building work.

The Basic Concept

A short course then consists of one to two hours of study on a particular ...

Blog Entry

Building Learning Communities in Cyberspace by Rena M. Palloff and Keith Pratt San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Company 1999 206 pp. soft cover

Lessons from the Cyberspace Classroom: The Realities of Online Teaching by Rena M. Palloff and Keith Pratt San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Company 2001 204 pp. soft cover

The Virtual Student: A Profile and Guide to Working with Online Learners By Rena M. Palloff and Keith Pratt San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, A Wiley Company 2003 191 pp ...

Blog Entry

The Design-by-Intuition Risk

0 comments

In a recent tour of the literature, I came across the concept of “design by intuition”—and the author of that work dutifully noted why “design by intuition” is risky and highly inadvisable. That phrase has sort of stuck with me, and I think there’s a value to reviewing why intuition itself (even if based on plenty of teaching and learning and design experience) is a thin inspiration for a course or training build.

Some Bases of Intuitions

For ...

Blog Entry

Creating a Digital Lab Section

One comment

Many of us in instructional design are challenged by the interesting work of creating online labs. Some types of lab learning are created by stringing together various online resources, such as simulations and open-source learning. Others are commercial types of labs that include learning aids and digital recording devices like digital journals. A recent on-campus science course involves a corresponding lab course, and while the instructor wants to focus on the lecture course first, the question of whether the lab ...

Blog Entry

Defining Workable Project Situations

Two comments

One of the tougher parts of instructional design—particularly for those who have not spent years in the field—is to speak up to administrators who may not understand the work or who fail to enable the work to go forward. Given the tightness of time deadlines and the critical need to achieve particular aims, it is inexcusable to not speak up if it’s clear that a work situation is not workable.

If a project is impossible to accomplish ...

Blog Entry

A recent course that I’ve been taking has involved human perception. That seems like one of the foundational courses for instructors as well as instructional designers—particularly since so much design is building to human capabilities. These are human capabilities of perception—sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch—coupled with human capabilities of cognition (how people process information, how they think, and how they learn).

The Body’s Sensory Systems

Perception is conceived of as the sensory mechanisms inside ...

Blog Entry

Dramatic Filmmaking for Higher Education

0 comments

Brent A. Anders talks about filmmaking for higher education.

http://www.vimeo.com/9771249

Blog Entry

"Managing Expectations for a Learning Project"

0 comments

Lou Russell, President / CEO of L+ EARN and Russell Martin & Associates continued her series “I’m OK, You’re an Idiot” with “Managing Expectations for a Learning Project.” This was a continuation of her Elluminate-delivered series sponsored by TrainingMagazineNetwork’s “Provocative Ideas” Webinars.

She highlighted the gap between what people think instructional / course designers and content developers do vs. what they actually do. Some believe that instructional designers only create slideshows, which should be quick and inexpensive. Many assume that ...

Blog Entry

Working with People

0 comments

It’s a truism that people need to learn to work together even if they are very different and have different senses of the world. Every so often, there are fun webinars that discuss this point. Most recently, Lou Russell (President of Russell Martin & Associates) presented on “Working with People” (as part of the Elluminate webinar series and TrainingMagazineNetwork’s “Provocative Ideas” Webinars).

Why Teams Struggle

The presenter began with some reasons why teams struggle. “Where there’s a will ...

Blog Entry

The Workflow Integration of New Techno

0 comments

As various projects have become more complicated, it’s quite common to have multiple authoring tools and editing programs open and functioning in fairly integrated ways. For example, one could have a screen capture tool for stills of various websites and software; photo editing software open to process imagery, and then a drawing tool open for manipulating those images. There would be a lot of recursiveness in terms of moving between the software for particular effects.

Bridging Software

Software makers ...

Blog Entry

Updating and Upkeeping Public Departmental Computers

0 comments

The classroom laptop was all set up and ready to go when the students filed in. The prof stepped out to fill his mug with water, and by the time he’d stepped back, the machine had turned itself off.

That started the prof on a riff about his department’s laptop. It had gotten infected with a particular virus because it had not been used sufficiently to have a continuing updated profile of malware. He had used the computer ...

Blog Entry

Document Security

0 comments

When I first started trying to break the document, I was trying to right a small wrong. I had opened a series of documents from an L/CMS in order to print copies for seminar discussion in a class (that was held in a small room and in which a laptop would have felt awkward). Well, the various readings were all fairly short articles, so I assumed that all were about the same size. Well, it turned out that one ...

Blog Entry

Second Life Machinima Tour

One comment

It’s always inspiring when a faculty member decides to get off the beaten track and to try something new. “New,” of course, is a relative term. However, the idea for doing video captures using machinima was sufficiently sparkly to be interesting and to require a basic tour of the extant machine + cinema videos in public spaces—to get a sense of the state-of-the-art. I was also motivated to sort of control for client expectations, so the mental imagery of ...

Blog Entry

The Popularity Ratings of Student Postings

0 comments

Popularity ratings have been all the rage with social sites, where people may be evaluated on any number of things, usually “hotness.” And there are evaluations of digital visuals and contents that people share. On art sites, people can post comments and feedback about the effect that a particular work had on them. Faculty members may be rated by their students. I even read fleetingly of a site that sort of lists people’s gripes about each other. This came ...

Blog Entry

Brainstorming a Portfolio Design Course

Five comments

One of the most engaging recent projects has involved the preliminary brainstorming of a portfolio design course. Quite a number of fields use design portfolios—architecture, art, digital media design—because these portfolios may capture the range and aesthetic of the students’ works. These may show their technological expertise combined with their unique sense of the world.

The small group brainstorming this endeavor took a pretty free-form brainstorming approach, in a friendly building that was full of creative works, beautiful ...

Blog Entry

At the elevator, I saw the poster again. It had splotches of simulated blood and an eye-catching course name. It was an intersession course about serial murder. And then, I visited a website spotlighting a different course—this one on leadership with a well known football coach co-teaching. And then at the end of a short news program, there was a news plug about a course offering. A dyadic faculty team does an interview about their course for the local ...

Blog Entry

Hollow Information Channels in Virtual Communities

0 comments

Some of my work has involved the building of virtual communities—of students, of professionals—and the challenge is to convert site visitors to contributors to the site. The odds are rough: 10,000 visitors = 1 converted contributor, according to one source.

The strategy is to offer so much enthusiasm, so much identity management, so much loyalty building, so much unique informational value, and so much glamor that people want to participate. They want to identify with a certain site ...

Blog Entry

Going for Guarantees

0 comments

I can’t say that I’m totally shocked at this recent turn of events. If the current environment of scarcity hasn’t encouraged people to run scared with resources, nothing else will. After all, institutions of higher education have no interest in sinking time, energy, political capital, and wages into endeavors that do not offer some sort of return.

I am noticing this caution not only in others, but also me. I find that I’m going for more ...

Blog Entry

The Value of Books

0 comments

Every so often, the conversations turn to the new and creative approaches in e-books, and accompanying this conversation, people will lament the passing of paper books. They’ll talk about the relative cost differentiation between one or the other.

A Lot of Up Front Work

As I have mulled this issue, I realize that a lot of work for quality texts happens early on…from the identification of the talent to the support of the individuals to surface their learning ...

Blog Entry

Conceptualizing Attentional Value

0 comments

So much writing about social networking has involved an assumption—the assumption of attentional value.

Writing to an audience—even if that audience is unconfirmed and is only conceptual—motivates some writers to really put in the effort needed to write plenty, share images / songs / video, spill secrets, and generally over-share. There’s the popularity quotient of having numerous followers on micro-blogging feeds, podcast feeds, and other types of subscription behavior.

Digital Ego

I attended a speaker’s presentation recently ...

Blog Entry

Furloughs and Time Use

0 comments

Word on the street is that workplace furloughs are in force to head off financial exigencies at various institutions of higher education. This is one endeavor to both protect the workforce from layoffs but also to recoup some funds to mitigate potential losses. Snippets of information are available online about how these furloughs are conducted, exemptions to furloughs, and the uses of vacation hours for dealing with them.

In anticipation, some faculty talk about making sure to use class days ...

Blog Entry

New Software Installation

Four comments

Uploading new software for the new year is often a joyful experience of discovery of new functionalities and affordances. Yesterday, not so much.

A new software package includes some 9 GB of integrated authoring and editing tools, and it’s a fantastic package from a superb company. However, putting 9 GB of contents a computer means a lot of uninstalling of extant software programs, some of which are used more than others. Many of the programs were used a few ...

Blog Entry

Deploying Attentional Resources

0 comments

The concept of learners being their own learning tools is a helpful one. Findings about the relevance of meta-cognition show that purposively using the learning built-in capabilities of individuals may be very beneficial for the learning. A recent book titled “Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life” (by Winifred Gallagher) highlights some fresh insights about human attention.

Acknowledging Human Limits

Anyone who has been on an all-nighter studying for a test knows the limits of human attention. Fatigue may set in ...

Blog Entry

Learning involves risk-taking. It involves people moving outside their known information into places of discomfort. That is one main rationale for why learning environments need to be as safe as possible. By safety, this refers to emotional safety as well as a kind of consistent professionalism, which would allow students to express themselves and to push the boundaries of their learning.

The Limits of Assignments

For those who inherit courses, they have to not only create safety but also adhere ...

Blog Entry

Observing Cultural "Rubs"

0 comments

With a focus on global e-learning, a fair amount of research and work have gone into identifying potential areas of misunderstanding and ways to smooth the various needs of global learners. This challenge of addressing global frictions because of differing attitudes, values, mind-sets, and cultures surfaced again recently in a conversation I had with a faculty member. This one was interesting and related to some students’ length of vacations that fit within the guidelines but which in practice offers challenges ...

Blog Entry

After four years spent formally in the field of instructional design and many more years as a college instructor building curriculum for online learning, I think it might be time to consider what sorts of information conveys value in instructional design. This question is important because what is deemed important affects the practices of the field. It affects future directions of the work. The value of information always has to be justified because the pursuit of it is so expensive ...

Blog Entry

The "Legs" of a Published Work

Three comments

A work that has “legs” is something that has endurance. This suggests that it has longevity. It has people’s attention, and it endures.

Recently, there have been debates on whether open-source or closed-corpus works have more “legs.” Open-source works are cited more and are more widely accessible, but some closed-corpus works have more prestige. They are more respected in some ways as having “accomplishment” behind the work. In a sense, considering whether a work appears in open-source or closed-corpus ...

Blog Entry

The Future of Education Series

Two comments

The Future of Education Series

Blog Entry

Location-Based Learning

99 comments

In higher education, the uses of location-based learning seem to be limited to particular projects. One reads of digital installations as parts of student social spaces and libraries. One reads of examples of location-based learning in architectural classes where students may experience what a neighborhood may have looked like decades ago. And there are all sorts of learning games where learners may coordinate activities; these may involve geo-caching and other spatialized fun. Personally, I am hoping that this year will ...

Blog Entry

Native American Student Success

22 comments

A highly successful program using online learning to enhance the retention and success of Native American students has been in progress in Washington State for a number of years and is continuing. A well written report describing that follows.

Pathways for Native Students: A Report for Washington State Colleges and Universities

Blog Entry

Failed Designs

Four comments

An engaging article dealt with the phenomenon of failed instructional designs and the importance of learning from them. Taking a page out of that work, I decided to mull some of my failed designs as learning opportunities.

Defining Failure

First, what is meant by a “failed” instructional design? For me, failure may be defined in a number of ways.

A non-executable design is the worst kind. Instructional design is an applied science. It’s not a theoretical construct (although it ...

Blog Entry

Personal / Professional Information Management Tools

0 comments

The reality of “encountered information” is an ever-present one. Instructional design is an information-rich profession. We handle data on a daily basis. At the moment of the encounter, it’s very hard to tell if there will be any relevance later. There are relatively low costs to keeping digital information, but there are high attentional costs to trying to hold them in human memory if there is no direct apparent use for it yet.

A Record of Encountered Information

It ...