Project #3: Haiku Deck

For this week’s assignment, I created a brief Haiku Deck visual aid for a live presentation about visual literacy, a topic that I’ve been addressing with some of the classes I’ve visited this semester at the university where I work. In my deck, I made an attempt to use visual elements that, combined with the words I chose for each slide, would encourage viewers to actively process the information that would be delivered in the accompanying oral presentation (the speaker’s notes that appear adjacent to each slide). Conceptually, I found this assignment challenging; the six types of graphics that Clark and Mayer (2016) discuss in terms of supporting learning (p. 73) seem much better suited to procedural instruction. My goal with the visual literacy presentation is to get learners thinking about their own thought processes as consumers and creators of visual information.

I was inspired by Nancy Duarte’s TEDx talk to employ the model she discussed for structuring communication. My first and second slides serve as the opening to my presentation, and provide the “status quo,” which is that we tend not to have strong visual literacy skills. I hoped to emphasize this by asking questions that help learners focus on the image in slide 2, considering how they respond to it emotionally and how their preconceived notions about the subject of the photo might influence that response. In the third slide, I attempt to show the “what could be” by addressing how visual literacy can benefit us in solving some of society’s problems, like the cholera map might have helped scientists better understand the spread of cholera. I then revert back to where we are now, and the traps we often fall into, in the fourth slide. In the fifth slide, I provide learners with the information they need to take action and gain visual literacy skills.

This assignment reinforced for me that it isn’t easy to find visuals that are capable of facilitating learning and that are licensed for reuse. It’s also difficult–but so important–to create a visual presentation that helps convey a message without being the message itself. It’s more important for the visual aid to help learners make connections between what the presenter says and what appears on the screen than for the visual aid to present the message.

Check out my Haiku Deck, Visual Literacy Matters.


Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2016). e-Learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

TEDx Talks. (2010, December 10). TEDxEast – Nancy Duarte uncovers common structure of greatest communicators 11/11/2010 [Video file]. Retrieved from

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Project #2: Static Multimedia Instruction

Using Clarify-It for performance support

For this week’s assignment, we used Clarify-It, a tool I’ve been using since my first class in the Ed Tech program at Boise State. I love using Clarify-It to build performance support tools, find-a-book-by-title. It is designed to help students complete the task of finding a book by searching for its title in my library’s online catalog.

Learning Objective:

After completing the tutorial, learners will be able to access a book in the library’s online catalog by searching for its title.

Design Process

In designing this tool, I started with the learning objective above.

Searching for a book in the library catalog sounds like a pretty simple thing, but there are actually so many possible starting points and outcomes, that I really needed to consider what specific pieces of the task I wanted to focus on for this instruction. Students often need to search for a book about a given subject, but they don’t know what title they’re looking for. They just need books that cover their topic. So being specific about what information they have prior to the search was important.

There are also many possible outcomes of a library catalog search. Because I wanted this tool to assist students with finding books, I chose to limit the search results to books, and to address the most likely outcomes of a search.

I chunked the content into steps to make the task feel manageable for students. Students will search for a book title and limit that search to books, they will determine what the results mean about how they can access the book, and then they will take action to access the book, either by finding it in the library, opening an ebook, or requesting the item through interlibrary loan.

The final section of the static instruction contains a brief review of the process.

I used MS Word’s “SmartArt” to create the graphic organizers, and then used Clarify-It’s screen capture tool to transfer the images into the tutorial. The other graphics in the tutorial are screen shots of the actual library catalog created using Jing when working on my PC, and Skitch when working on my Mac. Text, highlighting, borders, and arrows were added to these graphics from within Clarify-It. In retrospect, I’m not sure why I used Jing and Skitch to capture screen shots, when I could have used Clarify-It’s screen capture tool. This may have just been force of habit. It strikes me that it’s actually easier to use the tool within Clarify-It for this purpose.

Using  the Multimedia and Contiguity Principles

This tutorial is intended for use by my university’s incoming freshmen. They are our most novice learners, and some of them may not have used a library catalog. According to Clark and Mayer (2016), the use of the multimedia principle is most appropriate for these learners (p. 80).

I wanted to let students know up front what the tutorial would cover, so I included a graphic organizer of the main steps to help students see the process before they started searching. This graphic will help learners organize the information into discrete steps. You can see this in the section titled “Steps” on page 1. Similarly, the graphic organizer at the end of the instruction helps learners review and understand the steps, and could be used as the sole performance support for this task in future attempts. As applications of the multimedia principle, these graphics support learning by helping the learner to organize the content and see relationships between the steps of the process.

In this static tutorial, I provided information in paragraphs above the images, but students can likely follow the steps shown in the graphics themselves and largely ignore the other written content to complete the task of finding a book. This is because I employed the contiguity principle by chunking and integrating text near the parts of each image to which the text relates.

In addition, arrows, highlighting, and numbered steps are used in the graphics to draw learners’ attention and help them find information that they will need to locate when they use the library’s online catalog.


Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2016). e-Learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Clarify-It Tutorial: Find a Book by Title

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Multimedia Principle…in Sketchnotes

The Multimedia (EDTECH 513) assignment for this week is, in my opinion, unique and quite interesting. It involves creating sketchnotes, notes taken during a presentation–or in this case, from our textbook reading–that include both words and graphics.

What I Did

To create my sketchnote I spent considerable time practicing (which felt a little like playing) in the amazing Paper app by 53. I decided, though, that before I would begin my actual sketchnote in Paper, I wanted to first sketch out my ideas on physical paper with a physical pen or pencil. When I started drawing on notebook paper and using colored pencils, I realized that, for me, this tactile experience of putting pen or pencil to paper has always been extremely important. I love the feel of the reverse side of the paper after the writing implement has made its impression, and I love the sound that the paper makes when I turn the page. Printing on the page has always helped me to feel like the information is more easily transferred to my brain. Additionally, using pencil and paper gave me a feeling of control that I definitely lacked in Paper.

So I created my sketchnote on notebook paper using colored pencils.

Low-tech, I know, but I enjoyed it.


Figuring out how to depict words meaningfully is extremely challenging! Note-taking using both words and pictures consumes time much more extensively than verbal-only note-taking. I think I tend to be a literal person, and I have never considered myself to be artistic. I know…you don’t have to be an artist to make a sketchnote. That’s easy for people who create beautiful sketchnotes to say, but I don’t totally agree with it. Fortunately, in the real world, if I make a sketchnote, I don’t have to share it with anyone, so I can afford to be less critical of my abilities and focus on appreciating the technique for its educational value.

What I Learned About Sketchnoting

Sketchnoting is cool for a lot of reasons, the first and foremost of which–in my mind as a budding educational technologist–is that it mirrors the multimedia principle that we use in developing instruction. While we would look to incorporate meaningful graphics that help learners organize and/or better understand the content, learners would do the same in their note-taking.

Sketchnoting is fun. Despite the mental gymnastics it required of me, I find writing (and in this case, drawing) on paper relaxing and enjoyable. Pencils require the writer to apply extra pressure that isn’t required with a pen. I find that this relieves stress as well. I could see college students–the population of learners with whom I work–actually wanting to do this!

Yes, the process took a lot longer than just making notes, but it also felt much more meaningful to me; I got more out of it than I get out of note-taking. When I think about the concepts on which I sketchnoted, I see more than just words in my mind; this goes deeper than recall. I see visualizations that have meaning. The act of putting words and graphics to paper seems to have actually facilitated cognitive processes that make the concepts more meaningful to me. Powerful!

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Who I am

Here’s a quick look at “who I am.” I created this Animoto video for my EdTech 513 Multimedia course.

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“Design with Content in Mind” A Summary from ED TECH 512 Module 4 Readings

In the chapter on designing for content in Conquering the Content, Smith (2008) discusses the concept of “chunking” material into segments of content, followed by active learning opportunities to reinforce learning. Using several illustrations–the first, a group of randomly scattered shapes, followed by others in which like shapes are clustered together– Smith makes the point that our minds are able to retain what they take in when the content is grouped in logical ways.

Chunking material has a number of benefits. For example, students are less likely to procrastinate when they can complete short chunks of work at a time, so they won’t fall behind. Smith recommends creating passive learning segments of between five and nine minutes, followed by opportunities for active learning. Using complementary verbal and visual information together can be effective for promoting learning, as can keeping presentations short, and using bridges–providing a summary statement of the content, followed by a transition statement between chunks, and an introduction to the next chunk.

In the online course I’m developing, each module focuses on a specific topic, such as dealing with medical issues. Each topic may have subsets of information. For example, the medical module discusses reimbursement for procedures and disease prevention and treatment. This material can be cut into segments that allow students to take in information, and then use it in short activities, like the Storyline interactive tutorials that I created for the course. I think these will be effective for helping students learn and retain the material.

Smith, R. M. (2008). Conquering the content: A step-by-step guide to online course design. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. EBL e-book Collection.

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“Interaction Online: A Reevaluation” A Summary from ED TECH 512 Module 6 Readings

According to Battalio (2009), early online classes emphasized replicating the face-to-face experience. Interactions between students were considered extremely important. Battalio quotes Reisetter and Boris (whose 2004 article I blogged about earlier), who suggest that motivations of online learners and traditional students differ, rendering interaction less important in online modes. Despite research highlighting its value, Battalio suggests that some studies show student dissatisfaction with collaborative work in online settings. Perhaps this is because of “successful online students . . . being more introverted, intrinsically motivated, and self-disciplined than typical students” (p. 447).

In his study, with four sections of one online course, two requiring high levels of interaction and the other two requiring only student to instructor interaction, Battalio found that peer-to-peer interaction did not produce a more satisfying class experience. He concludes that the online class need not replicate the face-to-face experience, but notes the importance of continued interaction between students and instructors, and suggests that instructors offer courses in sections requiring varying levels of interactivity to accommodate different learner preferences.

I prefer fewer required student-to-student interactions. However, I see high value in peer review and, as Battalio suggests, in sharing learners’ work to help us learn from each other. In my volunteer rescue training course, interaction is important; volunteers are ultimately members of a limited community of practice. They need to learn from each other’s experiences. Despite my personal preferences and opinions, I do think peer-to-peer interaction is necessary in some online courses.

Battalio, J. (2009). Interaction online: A reevaluation. In M. R> Simonson, T. L. Hudgins, and A. Orellana (Eds.), The perfect online course: Best practices for designing and teaching (pp. 157-178). Charlotte, NC: Information Age. EBSCO Publishing: eBook Collection.

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“Authentic Activities” A Summary from ED TECH 512 Module 5 Readings

In Chapter 8 from Engaging the Online Learner: Activities and Resources for Creative Instruction, Conrad and Donaldson (2011) describe authentic activities their benefits for online courses. Authentic activities allow students to practice skills in simulations of actual experiences outside the classroom. They give the example of a surgeon practicing a procedure on a cadaver, a safer alternative than practicing on living humans. Effective authentic activities simulate real experiences, allow learners to use their existing knowledge to solve problems, and are useful in real situations.

The authors provide a number of examples. Case studies are actual cases students examine, and use their knowledge and skills to come up with solutions for a problem. For my ED TECH 512 course, I will incorporate something similar; learners look at examples of socialization activities for foster dogs, decide whether these activities are safe, and provide alternatives to unsafe activities.

The “celebrity chat” involves having an expert in the field respond to learners’ questions. Experienced rescue volunteers have much information to share; the most educational aspect of the existing training, which I’m modifying for my course, is reading their stories. It would be extremely beneficial to bring learners and experienced volunteers together for this kind of interaction.

Another example is the social responsibility activity, in which learners identify a social problem and come up with solutions. This could work well as an activity for my training program, modified so that learners come up with ways to fundraise to support the organization or specific dogs.

Conrad, R. M., & Donaldson, J. A. (2011). Engaging the online learner: Activities and resources for creative instruction (updated ed., pp. 92-100). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. EBL e-Book Collection.

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“Design for Motivation” A Summary from ED TECH 512 Module 4 Readings

In this chapter from her book, Dirksen (2012) discusses the importance of motivating learners and design strategies that can be used for motivating behavior change. The models she describes point to the ideas that change is likely if people perceive it as useful, easy, compatible with their needs, or that the new way is better than the old one.  She argues that using “social proof,” that “everyone is doing it” or that influential people are doing it, is also motivating. Scare tactics, however, are unlikely to motivate change. Examples include knowing that texting while driving is dangerous and continuing to do it, and knowing that smoking is dangerous but not quitting.

In the course I’m designing, I want the students, volunteers for a dog rescue, to prepare for dealing with prevalent canine medical issues. It’s very easy to not prepare for this need when it isn’t an immediate problem they face. But should the time come, they may be dealing with a stressful emergency situation, and not having the information readily available could be the difference between a dog living and dying. Using a scare tactic–“your foster dog is going to die if you don’t do this!”—will not motivate them. Making this a required assignment that allows them to earn points toward their grades, allowing them to hear stories from experienced volunteers, and letting them share the work with other volunteers, may be more motivating to them.

Dirksen, J. (2012). Design for how people learn (pp. 215-231). Retrieved from

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“Organizing Instructional Content for Web-Based Courses” A Summary from ED TECH 512 Module 3 Readings

Moore, Downing, and York (2009) conduct a study aimed at determining whether instructors design their online courses consistently with student expectations. Without a standard for the design of web-based courses, learners go through a process of figuring out the layout and navigation of every course they take. Categorizing instructional content in the traditional classroom matters far less than in online courses, where each search for content in a course may take learners down different paths.

The authors designed a survey for instructors and another for students. Participants were asked to place common course components, like the syllabus, under headings used in the Blackboard course management system. Results showed some statistically significant differences between student and instructor perceptions of where content should be placed.

Recommendations for placement of course content include using the label “syllabus” for the syllabus and making it a prominent link on the course site, providing an introduction quiz that asks students find answers by navigating the course,  and including a frequently asked questions page, information about navigation, and a schedule that spells out assignments and due dates.

My impression is that making the course design as simple as possible is the most logical solution for avoiding confusion in course design. The ED TECH program courses in Moodle seem to adhere to this idea.  My goal for my course will be to make navigation as intuitive and simple as possible.

Moore, J. L., Downing, R. E., & York, D. L. (2009). Organizing instructional content for web-based courses: Does a single model exist? In M. R. Simonson, T. L. Hudgins, and A. Orellana (Eds.), The perfect online course: Best practices for designing and teaching (pp. 341-358). Charlotte, NC: Information Age. EBSCO Publishing: eBook Collection.

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“What Works: Student Perceptions of Effective Elements in Online Learning” A Summary from ED TECH 512 Module 3 Readings

In their book chapter “What Works: Student Perceptions of Effective Elements in Online Learning,” Reisetter and Boris (2009) discuss a study in which they attempted to assess which elements of online learning design were most important to students taking online courses. They found that the students involved in their study, who were demographically similar to students in previous similar studies, felt that clearly communicated expectations and a highly organized course design were most important to an online class, along with the competence and availability of the instructor.  Interestingly, students identified student-to-student interaction as a barrier to learning in online classes. The authors suggest the reason may be that online students are not concerned with being part of a “learning community” but with being self-motivated and independent learners.

My own preference is for learning independently rather than being part of a learning community, but I have seen real benefits of being part of a community of practice in the ED TECH program. The 512 course is a perfect example, where seeing and reviewing others’ courses, and receiving feedback from others, is really an integral part of the learning process. Not seeing other students’ work, and only having feedback from one person would provide a much narrower experience. I have learned more about design from viewing my peers’ work and examining it closely than I could learn from reading about course design on a website or in a scholarly journal article, no matter how informative those sources might be.

Reisetter, M., & Boris, G. (2009). What works: Student perceptions of effective elements in online learning. In M. R. Simonson, T. L. Hudgins, and A. Orellana (Eds.), The perfect online course: Best practices for designing and teaching (pp. 157-178). Charlotte, NC: Information Age. EBSCO Publishing: eBook Collection.

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