EDTECH 522 Reflective Blog Post

The learning experiences in EDTECH 522 have all been valuable. But these experiences culminated in the creation of an online lesson in Moodle at the end of the semester. Creating the online module was, in itself, a challenge. Using Moodle from the perspective of the instructor, however, was a powerful learning experience.

One of the challenges I faced was creating a consistent design in the course management system. While learning to use Moodle as an instructor wasn’t difficult–with the exception of the gradebook, which I found to be not at all intuitive or user-friendly–being consistent in how I created each module of the course was more challenging than I expected. I found myself spending a great deal of time moving back and forth from module to module and in and out of edit mode. Going forward, I will employ the use of a storyboard to design the class, working outside the course management system to create the design template, and then plugging in all of the content and activities in the storyboard before moving everything into Moodle (or any other CMS).

In the process of reviewing classmates’ lessons, I picked up a few ideas that I may incorporate going forward, as well. I really don’t like being on camera (so the Rich Media Tutorial in Module 4 took me well outside my comfort zone), but having a short video segment to introduce each module really does add a personal and human touch to online learning. I may instead simply add an audio component to the beginning of my lessons, which should still make them more personal and may appeal to learners who feel overwhelmed when faced with a large amount of text at the beginning of a lesson.

What I enjoyed most about creating the Moodle lesson was thinking about ways to incorporate adult learning principles into the course. Since my course focuses on developing research skills in adult learners who are returning to higher education as graduate students, I thought incorporating a discussion at the beginning of the lesson that allowed learners to share their existing knowledge about resources that they’ve found helpful would work at a variety of levels. First, it considers adult learners’ desire to share their experience and knowledge; if these learners have been out in the work world, they may have a wide range of resources they’ve come to rely on. If those resources are reliable for their professional work, they may be just as reliable for academic work. In addition, this approach addresses Gagne’s third event of instruction, allowing students to build upon what they already know. Finally, this approach may help adult learners overcome any concerns they might have about being restricted to only using “library resources” that may not have relevance to their professional lives; this may ultimately allow them to overcome any obstacles in their orientation or motivation to learn.

I tried to acknowledge adult learners’ need for flexibility in preparing the modules for the course in advance and having them all open and ready for learners to work ahead. Until recently, most of my courses in the Ed Tech program have not allowed for working ahead. While I am a procrastinator who tends to work on projects during the week they’re due rather than working ahead, there have been times when I’ve known I would be at a conference or that I would otherwise have an exceptionally busy schedule, and I have most definitely appreciated Dr. Hall and other professors who have opened all of the course modules at the beginning of class to accommodate learners’ need to work ahead.

I hope to use the course I built in Moodle as the basis for a research skills course for my own library. There will be some differences; my students are typically between the ages of 18 and 22, and unless I can convince faculty members to make my lessons mandatory, the only incentive for students to complete the lessons will be their own intrinsic motivation. Including discussions may not be relevant in this case, and asking students to talk about professional resources they have used wouldn’t fit. However, the concepts will remain mostly the same.

Visit my Moodle course, Research Skills for Graduate Students.

Moodle course Research Skills for Graduate Students

Research Skills for Graduate Students

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Rich Media Tutorial

Our focus this week was on rich media tutorials. I’ve been a fan of Articulate Storyline for creating rich media tutorials for several years, and I’m always excited about opportunities to use it. Note: the current edition is Storyline 360, but I used the previous version, Storyline 2 for this tutorial. This particular tutorial uses only a tiny fraction of Storyline’s amazing capabilities. In my opinion, Storyline’s functionality is only limited by the designer’s imagination and  ability to come up with the logic to make the software do what she wants it to do.

For this assignment, I used Storyline to make a tutorial about using H5P software, which I learned about from another EDTECH 522 student last week. I’m definitely a novice H5P user–what I know about the software is what I learned to prepare for this tutorial–but it seems to be a great free alternative to Storyline, which comes with a hefty price tag, even for educators.

The beauty of both of these tools is that they allow authors to create highly interactive tutorials and activities, which can be used to enhance teaching and learning in online courses or scenarios with adult students.

I won’t deny that there are drawbacks, however. In addition to Storyline’s price, one must either have access to an LMS or to server space. I use a free Amazon S3 account (free because I don’t have a lot of content or a lot of people using my content) for server space, in conjunction with a free Cloudberry Explorer account for uploading to AS3. Storyline also doesn’t build in accessibility; I didn’t have time in the initial iteration of this tutorial to manually create closed captions, which also requires the creation of triggers and variables, and more. Instead, I created a transcript in PDF form, which learners can download from the “Resources” button at the top of the tutorial window. Not ideal, and it doesn’t align with multimedia principles, but I will add captions as time permits.

H5P’s functionality is maximized when it’s used in conjunction with a WordPress, Moodle, or Drupal plugin. However to make it most useful to my intended audience, my colleagues in the library at the university where I work, I focused on interactions that don’t require plugins and that can be directly embedded into a product used widely by academic librarians called LibGuides.

In summary, I used the following tools to create this tutorial:

  • Storyline 2 to create the tutorial, including the video on the first slide, and audio on all slides
  • Jing to create screen shots
  • AS3 for server space
  • Cloudberry Explorer for transfer and a URL
  • H5P to create the interaction the tutorial describes

You can access the tutorial by clicking the image below, or by visiting http://edtech522.s3.amazonaws.com/richmediatutorial/story.html

tutorial

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Social Annotation in Online Teaching

This week’s EDTECH 522 assignment asked us to research and present an online teaching tool, discussing its strengths and weaknesses, the types of learning objectives that are best met with its use, and how it enhances cognitive, social, and instructor presence. We also included an example of a learning activity for which the tool could be used.

I selected Hypothes.is, a social annotation tool that has a huge range of applications for education and beyond. One of my favorite things about this tool, and about social annotation overall, is that it permits learners of all kinds to engage in conversation with others. Academic librarians are probably familiar with the concept of “Scholarship as Conversation,” which is one of the major concepts presented in the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy. The use of social annotation tools speaks directly to this concept, and allows for the development of communities that include all kinds of members, whether they are scholars, scientists, students, or interested parties.

My presentation about Hypothes.is is below. Be sure to use the gear icon to open speaker’s notes, as I include my own analysis and discussion here, and include extra information for anyone interested in learning more.

Posted in 1.1 Creating, 1.2 Using, 2.1 Creating, 2.2 Using, 2.3 Assessing/Evaluating, 3.1 Creating, 3.2 Using, 3.3 Assessing/Evaluating, 4.1 Collaborative Practice, 522, AECT Standard 1: Content Knowledge, AECT Standard 2: Content Pedagogy, AECT Standard 3: Learning Environments, AECT Standard 4: Professional Knowledge and Skills | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

EdTech 522 Module 1 Reflection

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In an attempt to describe the attributes of adult learners that differentiate them from child learners, Malcolm Knowles posits six assumptions that can help us to facilitate learning in adults that better meets their needs. First, Knowles argues, adults will be more receptive to learning if they understand why they need to know what they’re learning. Because adults are likely to have developed a mature self-concept, when they are learning it’s important for them to their learning process is self-directed. Adult learners bring a wealth of experience into the learning environment; that experience can serve as a shared resource (Taylor & Kroth, 2009, p. 6) and can enhance learning (Stavredes, 2011, p. 14). Adult learners are likely to have a readiness to learn if they believe what they’re learning will be relevant to meeting a need or solving a problem. Similarly, if there is an immediate application for what they are learning, adults may have an orientation to learn. Finally, adults have different motivation to learn than children do; where children are likely to be motivated by grades and other external factors, adults’ incentives to learn are likely to be internal.

While these assumptions make a great deal of sense in general, it seems to me that there can be great variation from adult to adult (and even from child to child—I’m not willing to assume that there aren’t children to whom these assumptions might also apply) in how applicable each assumption is. My experience as a student in a master’s program in library science serves as an example; I entered the program having no experience working in a library, while many of the other students in the program had been working in libraries for many reasons. Our motivations for pursuing the degree, and our prior experiences, were vastly different. Presumably, some of them already knew and already were doing much of what they had to “learn” in the program, which would have made their need to know and their readiness and orientation to learn very different from mine.

Because Knowles’ assumptions are so generalized, in an actual teaching scenario, I think David Grow’s Staged Self-Directed Learning Model would better help online instructors to support adult students. Grow’s model takes into account that adult learners may be in very different places depending on their prior experiences, their level of confidence, their motivation, what they already know about the subject, and what they want to get out of the learning process. The implication of this model for online instructors is that we’re probably rarely going to have the “ideal” situation in which every adult in a class is going to be fully (or even partially) self-directed. Every student may need a different level of support. It may not be obvious to an instructor where each student is in Grow’s model.

When I started the MET program, I think I was somewhere between stages 2 and 3 in Grow’s model. I had already been, to some extent, an educational technology practitioner. However, I tend to lean toward having lower confidence, and when I’m starting out in any endeavor (new job, new educational program, etc.), I need a bit more support, feedback, and encouragement to really find my footing. I think it’s reasonable to assume that there are many students who start the MET program firmly in Stage 3, or possibly even in Stage 4, of Grow’s model. So many students in the program seem to have a great deal of experience in the field, and those who teach are much more likely to have much of the background knowledge in teaching and learning theory that I lacked as a librarian. This is my final non-portfolio course in the MET program. At this point in my education, I feel like I’m finally in “Stage 4: Self-directed learner” in Grow’s model.

Resources

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

Taylor, B., & Kroth, M. (2009). Andragogy’s transition into the future: Meta-analysis of andragogy and its search for a measurable instrument. Journal of Adult Education 38(1), 1-11.

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e-Learning Strategies in F2F Classrooms

For our final assignment, this week we discussed integrating e-learning into our classrooms. My situation as an academic librarian is somewhat different from that of teachers and teaching faculty; I am typically invited into the classroom to provide one-shot instruction so my time with students is limited. But I can dream big! See my ideas for incorporating e-learning opportunities into my library classroom below.

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Project #8: Worked Example Screencast

For this week’s assignment, I created a faded worked example screencast titled “Parenthetical APA Citations” using the free Explain Everything app for iOS on my iPad. Although I also used Explain Everything for my digital storytelling project, I thought the screencast project might allow me to use some of the app’s more robust features. I’m glad I used it again; I learned about some of its additional features, like its ability to allow users to embed a new, live web browser into a screen, and to add visual elements to a slide via the timeline. I’m really excited about using this app for building tutorials for my library.

Following creation of the screencast, I uploaded it to YouTube. I used the Transcribe and Auto-Sync method to add closed captions in YouTube. I like that this feature does a nice job of automatically figuring out timing, and that it uses my script, which I just paste into the transcript area. This is a great way to ensure a level of quality that is lacking, in my opinion, in the auto-transcription feature in YouTube.

In the screencast, learners see how to create a parenthetical citation in APA style for an article with two authors. Next, they see an example of an article with three authors, and they are given the opportunity to consider how a parenthetical citation for this example might differ from one with two authors. Finally, they are asked to create a citation for a “subsequent” citation of the three-author article.

My first challenge in completing this assignment was deciding what I could do that related to my work in information literacy instruction that would make a good worked example problem. With limited time, I wanted to work on a basic problem that was straightforward and not too complex. I’m just not sure the problem I chose was ideal.

Another difficulty in creating this video was in deciding what software tool I wanted to use. Initially I wanted to use Articulate Storyline so that learners could actually complete the citations within the software rather than having to pause a video and write down their responses to prompts on paper. Ultimately, however, I decided that learners who want to engage with the material with engage whether they have to type on the screen or write on paper. Some problems with the computer on which I have Storyline loaded also helped me conclude that Explain Everything was my best choice.

Another problem area was finding a way to show APA-related resource material without violating copyright. I had considered using the in-slide browser window to demonstrate the use of Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab APA resources, but their copyright statement specifically prohibits broadcasting of the site without permission. I also considered reproducing the APA publication manual’s in-text citation table from page 177 of the book’s 6th edition. Instead, I decided to refer to this source, while modifying the examples it uses for display in the video. I think it’s likely that I could have used the table on page 177 under Fair Use, but it was actually easier to create my own examples from which to work.

I tried to incorporate the multimedia principles as much as I could in the video. Evidence of multimedia principles appears as follows:

Modality principle: In most of the video, I used audio narration to describe the steps involved in each example instead of adding text for learners to read.

Redundancy principle: When I wanted students to be able to refer back to text on the screen–in the self-explanation question, for example–I explained that learners should pause the video to read and address the question. I didn’t narrate the text, which might have caused cognitive overload.

Personalization principle: I used a conversational tone, including the use of second-person language, throughout the video. I avoided using direct statements, such as “Pause the video,” and instead used polite suggestions, giving learners a feeling of choice and cooperation.

To support far transfer, I incorporated varied context examples. In the first example, learners see an article with two authors. In the second, they see an article with three authors, which requires a slightly different citation format. In the final example, learners are asked to cite a three-author article in a subsequent citation, which has a completely different format than the first two scenarios. These are common scenarios that students in a college setting are likely to encounter across classes, years, and disciplines, and they need to be able to transfer this knowledge. Furthermore, I used a self-explanation question that encouraged students to consider what we had just done–cited a two-author article–and apply it to what we were about to do.

Here’s my worked example video. Enjoy!

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Project #7: Google Slides Presentation

This week our assignment involved creating a static presentation in Google Slides.

There are just a few things I should make note of about my presentation. First, you may notice that I’ve applied a Creative Commons attribution share-alike license (CC-BY-SA 4.0 – you can view the license by clicking on the Creative Commons logo in the bottom right corner of my cover slide when you’re in the “view slide notes” mode). I selected this license because one of the images I used had the license applied, and the share-alike license requires that I use the same license on my own work. If you are interested in using any part of the presentation, just make a copy of it and modify it to suit your needs.

In addition, I’m using the 4th edition of the textbook, so my summary of the chapter on worked examples is actually on Chapter 12 rather than Chapter 11.

I’ve been a Google Slides user for several years, and I find it to be a fine alternative to PowerPoint, except for the fact that it doesn’t allow for audio narration. With this, as with any other multimedia presentation, my biggest frustration is in finding multimedia content that is freely available and that suits my purposes, confirming my concern that creating multimedia presentations is extremely time-consuming, and that it’s helpful to be artistic and creative (I’m not). I’d say that one of my main concerns as I near the end of the M.E.T. program is that I don’t have the graphic design skills to be effective and successful as an educational technologist.

With more time I’d have given greater attention to the graphics in this presentation. I’d have also preferred to employ the modality principle and make this a narrated presentation.

I hope you enjoy the presentation!

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Project #6: Digital Story

For this assignment, I created a digital story using iPad app Explain Everything, an app I had never used prior to the assignment. The app was ideal for creating a digital story because it allowed me to upload images from my computer or pull them from other applications I use, such as Google Drive and Dropbox. I was able to add and manipulate text, move items on the screen, add voice narration, and upload directly to my YouTube account. The app integrates with many other applications, and allows for in-app editing of images and audio, making it extremely easy and convenient to use.

Incidentally, I used Explain Everything to create a short video for work as well. For the work project, I needed to create a screen shot, which I made using the app, and then create an animation of a pen circling some text on the screen. It turned out exactly as I’d hoped. This seems like a versatile tool that I would consider using for teaching and learning in the future.

My digital story is a personal story about a lesson I learned pertaining to my favorite hobby, hiking with my dogs. It demonstrates the personalization principle in its conversational style; I use first person throughout, and–I hope–a friendly voice. I wanted listeners to feel like I was actually telling them the story of what happened. I opted to use still images rather than including an avatar or other online agent, as I wanted the story to seem authentic. Most of the images used are from the actual hike I describe in the story, or from other hikes with my dogs. The most difficult thing about creating the digital story was paring it down, as suggested in Adobe Systems Inc.’s (2008) “Digital Storytelling” guide. It was challenging to tell the story in a way that was detailed enough, but without giving too much superfluous information. I used more words than suggested, but I struggled to remove any more of the story without taking away meaning.

I hope you enjoy my digital story.

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Project #5: Coherence Analysis

less is more

For this week’s Multimedia assignment, we analyzed Clark and Mayer’s (2016) coherence principle of multimedia learning, which states that extraneous content in the form of words, graphics, and audio–content that doesn’t directly support the instructional goals of an e-learning lesson–should be eliminated from the lesson (p. 151). You can read my analysis here.

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Project #4: Prezi

It’s been many years since I’ve used Prezi. One of my first uses of Prezi was, coincidentally, for a presentation in my last course for my master’s program in library science back in 2011. While I think my use back then was fairly innovative (I was presenting on the concept of the “learning commons” and I created my presentation to look like a learning commons), I apparently wasn’t aware of Prezi’s ability to inflict feelings of motion sickness on its viewers. Wow! Spins and twirls! You can take a look, if you’re interested, but hold onto your seat!Prezi presentation

When I last used it, adding audio files was not yet an option, and was considered one of the great disadvantages of Prezi use. I’m glad to see they have improved the product to allow for the incorporation of audio narration. The addition of audio capabilities makes Prezi a good choice for an overview presentation on Clark and Mayer’s Chapter 6, “Applying the Modality Principle.” To round out the presentation, I used public domain images from Pixabay, and I used the Voice Memos app on my iPhone to record the audio files for slides 2-13.

I hope you enjoy the presentation.

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