eLearning Assessments: My Troubles

It’s been a few months sice my last post – if you remember, I was very active back in February during the annual ITC eLearning Conference. I’ve thought about posting something new for the last few weeks, but I’ve had a hard time figuring out what exactly I wanted to blog about. Some of the things I’m working on are interesting, but my employer has a persistent concern about proprietary information. While I don’t always share this concern, I’ve respected it and done what I can to ensure that I keep some projects close to the vest.One of the things that I have been working on lately, however, has been the creation of training material for our employees. This is a very wide concept, since training can take various forms, target different audiences, objectives, etc. One of the most challenging types of professional development that I’m working on is self-service video content that spans a wide array of specific topics. It’s not that video content, in general, is difficult to produce. The challenging component is that there isn’t enough time in the day for me to focus on putting out all of the requested topics in a timely manner. Just yesterday, for example, I created 7 videos – all of which were focused around our email platform. Our email platform is just 1 of at least a dozen topics that I have received requests for video training. The problem is that other projects have a higher priority. From strategic training programs to bug fixes, and software implementations, my time gets stretched pretty thin. I love doing video trainings, I just wish I had more time.Onto the actual goal for this post… For the last year or so, I have been strategically moving our organization from long 45-minute training modules to more concise, 2-5 minute videos on specific tasks/topics. Studies have shown that the younger generations learn better that way, especially in a lean organization where we don’t necessarily have time to sit down and watch a 45-minute training module. This shift has yielded mixed responses. The most impactful “negative” response to this change has been about the way knowledge is assessed at the end of the videos. When working with a longer module, instructional designers can integrate assessments mid-way through the module, provide feedback, etc. However with the short 2-3 minute videos, the software used is different and doesn’t lend itself to any built-in assessments. It’s feasible that there could be 10-12 videos around a single topic, so one thought could be to incorporate an assessment at the end of the grouping. However, since employees could jump around within a topic to obtain the skills they’re specifically looking for, the summative assessment would cover more topics than an employee would have learned. Then what?I guess what I’m looking for by posting this is any feedback instructional designers, eLearning professionals, curriculum designers, assessment professionals, etc. might have on this particular topic. Do I stick to the summative assessment, build a short 1-2 question assessment for each and every video, or some other option?Thanks in advance!

What happens to your social media when you die?

I’m sure we’ve all wondered this… If I die, what happens to my Facebook profile? Or better yet, why are people still writing on my deceased relative’s wall for their birthday? Well, here is an infographic that explains what happens to your social media accounts upon your demise.I’m not sure whether I would want to live forever, but I’m glad that these social networks have at least thought through the issues!

Digital Demise: What Happens to Your Online Presence When You Die?

Created by WebpageFX

ITC eLearning, Day 1 – Morning

eLearning 2014 logoThe Future of eLearning in Higher Education: Shifts, Trends, the Expected and Unexpected

Christina Royal, Ph.D., Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Inver Hills Community College

Virtual education or distance learning made the list of top 10 breakthroughs to transform life in the next 20 years.What are the things that we have to unlearn about institutions?

  • Community colleges are 2-year colleges (post-bac, high school students, etc.)
  • There isn’t just 1 right way to teach online.
  • It’s easier to teach online
  • Seat time equals learning
  • Information is scarce
  • Set beginnings and endings
  • It’s easier to be an online student than a face-to-face one


  • The traditional classroom is gone
  • Data-driven has a new meaning – en route to predictive analytics
    • Example: Ford – designed a game within their cards. Driving the car effectively & efficiently, leaves on tree starts to grow.
  • Clothes become accessories to learning.

A cool video on the use of glass in an interactive learning environment: A Day Made of Glass 2http://youtu.be/jZkHpNnXLB0Here is an image showing “Where the New Textbook Dollar Goes,” provided by the NACS Foundation.Where the New Textbook Dollar GoesIn order to get students to understand the importance (& coolness) of Science, celebrities starred in this YouTube video. My Robot is Better than Your Robothttp://youtu.be/vYuOKb3gO7EBig Opportunities for the ISDers

  • Invent the next LMS
  • Say Goodbye to learning theories of the 50s/60s
  • Listen to students
  • Continue to be disruptive in education
  • Be the change agents of faculty development & facilitate internal transition

Overall, I thought Dr. Royal had a great analysis of the possible future of higher education based on technology innovations. However, there wasn’t really a “call to action.” I felt that it was more of a brief on the “State of Education” and that was about it. Lots of interesting media, if nothing else.

Online Orientation: Getting Students to Use It!

Lynn Wietecha and Richard Bush, Lawrence Technological University

  • LTU Online was designed specifically for online programs, not courses.
  • Goal is the same course online as offered on campus.
  • Faculty work with course developers.
  • In top 6 for online bachelor’s degrees overall (2013)

LTU had a module 0

  • Overview of primary Bb functions used by students (assignments/discussion forums)
  • Links to a website where students had to search for info
  • Focused on technology
  • Questions still arose from faculty & students
  • Same module 0 in every course

LTU surveyed faculty & studentsResults: Faculty

  • Blend of tech focus and more academic support
  • Not all needs met by new module 0 (course specific results, exemplary assignments, rubrics, etc.)

Results: Students

  • Similar to faculty

Results: Staff

  • Helpdesk
    • Focus on specific tools
    • Media issues
  • Student Services
    • Falling behind
    • Unclear expectations

New orientation

  • Had a Bb test to measure knowledge
  • Used adaptive release to ensure it was used
  • Addresses deficiencies
  • Don’t just show students how to create discussion forums, explain difference between good/bad posts

Orientation pages

  • Each page has very little content
  • Each one has images or videos
  • Video featuring other online students – shows that students are not along
  • Current iterations incorporate reusable Bb generated videos – future iterations will have in-house videos

ReflectionI thought this was a good session, especially given our department beginning to develop an online student preparedness module. The topics covered during the videos and within the modules is definitely of importance, but their implementation included audio that was full of static. This made it distracting to see as a participant, and I feel like it would be the same as a student. I like that their module 0 is set with adaptive release, preventing access to the other modules until the quiz has been completed (with an 80+%). My worry about implementing this is with faculty push back – instructors wanting to customize their own week 0. This particular presentation involved master course shells, which I think would help in the implementation of this concept. It will be interesting to see how this may be implemented at Miami with us rolling out master courses.The one thing that was mentioned at the end of this session was the faculty push back regarding lack of academic freedom. Their process involves a new course to be written up on a Course Authorization Document (CAD), which gets approval from the entire university. LTU states that the master course shell is built to satisfy the CAD, nothing more. Since the CAD only covers the basics of the class, this actually gives faculty more academic freedom to not have to recreate the same content each term.

Designing a Model that Suits You: Four-Phase Course Development

Mindy Gomez and Nicki Plemmons, Ozarks Technical Community College

  • Master shells are not required – but used for instructors who are hired last minute.
  • Master shells are completed courses, not just “shells”
  • Master shells follow a development schedule
    • Shells must be developed (finished) during semester prior to being used in a course (Spring course –>shell completed previous fall)
  • Department chair fills out a development request form, including SME name.

Development steps:

  1. SME/Course Developer must go through a required training prior to starting development.
    • Training is done through BB Collaborate
  2. After training, instructor has access to a shell template
    • Co development option – SME gathers content and Instructional Designers puts content into BB
    • Sole development option – SME gathers content and places it into BB themselves
    • Development process for course shell is 3 months
    • After shell is developed, instructors do a self-assessment
  3. Self-assessment goes to a review team.
    • Review document goes to ~7 people, including chair, lead online instrcutor, ID, 2-4 peers from same department, 2 peers from different dept.
    • Data is compiled & summarized
    • Developer can either make the changes or justify why the changes don’t match the design of the course
    • ID Team verifies that the recommended changes have been implemented.
  4. Department chair evaluates the course & completes a sign-off form

ReflectionThis session was not interactive at all. The presenters essentially read from a Google Site that they had created – the equivalent of reading from a PowerPoint with too much text. Not only was there too much reading, but they sat behind a table and talked at us – that’s the worst. There were some good questions from audience members (such as how conflicts are resolved between SME & reviewers), but they didn’t have any answers. It seems to me that with a team of 7 reviewers, there are bound to be contradictions or conflicts – it worries me that there isn’t a system in place for addressing those issues. The one thing that I do like about their process is that the stipends are based on whether the instructors choose to do co-development or solo-development – it’s not a fixed cost either way. One of the things that we’re working on at Miami is a process for master shells. We are only working under the assumption that they will be doing the co-development process. However, there are instructors who are comfortable with the LMS and would like to go the solo route – it could be beneficial for us to have 2 levels of stipends for that.

QM Reviews

It’s been about 3-4 years since I finished my QM certifications through qualitymatters.org. Since then, I haven’t had the opportunity to participate in a complete QM review of any course, internal or external. I’ve always been interested to see how the process works as opposed to how it’s “suppose” to work. I still haven’t been able to participate in an official course review, however, I just finished an informal review of a course that I helped redesign.It’s interesting to see how others score some of the standards. When I saw the report from the course’s original review, I was very confused about why the scores were given as they were. All I could do was help the instructor try to understand the scoring and come up with possibilities for improvement on a score that I didn’t necessary agree with. Regardless, we made changes and the course ran for the first time following our changes this summer. It seems as though the course was a success, at least from the instructors’ perspective. I started accessing the course on Monday to work through the QM review, which was fine. I only got through the first standard, so I knew it was going to be slow-moving. I finished the review today and then looked at how my scores compared with the original report.It’s clear in comparing the reports that the course has improved, at least from a quantitative standpoint. The points accumulated during the second review, in my opinion, are more transparent and easy to align with the course compared to the first time. There are clearly areas for improvement, primarily within the accessibility standard, but no course is perfect. We knew during the review process that not every change was going to be made during this time around, so I wasn’t disappointed or surprised when the data backed up our thoughts.Overall, the course is in good shape. It doesn’t currently pass QM standards, but only because of the accessibility deficits. I’m looking forward to meeting with the instructor to see what his thoughts are on the course in its current state.

Always Be Posting

One of the things I’m learning in the book that I’m reading, is that in order to be successful with blogging, you should be writing a minimum of 1000 words per day. This is something that I’ve never been good at, I think because I’ve never been big on reading. I skim through articles and books, but taking the time to sit down and read through a book, cover to cover… No, thanks. Looking at the writing that I do – most of it is based around emails that I’m sending. The amount of content that I actually put-out is very little. My previous post, for example, had about 300 words in it. This means that according to the book I’m reading, I should be writing 3 posts per day. Who in their right mind has time for that on top of a full-time job? I sure don’t. I guess the only people who legitimately have time for that are professional writers, like those at momminitup.com. ;-)This post is the 2nd one that I’ve written in a single day. I just happened to have some extra time so I decided to prep this post and schedule it to go live in the future. I feel like Marty McFly…I’m not sure this post has much sustenance  but I wanted to see what it would be like to write 2 posts in 1 day. And you know what? It feels good. I’m not sure it’s something I could continue in the long run, but it’s worth a shot!How do you find time to write blog posts?

Jazz Pianist Dave Brubeck Dies at 91

Dave Brubeck QuartetToday is a sad day in the world of music. Not just jazz music, but all music. Dave Brubeck, legendary jazz pianist passed away at the age of 91, just days before his 92nd birthday.When i was in middle school and high school, Brubeck was one of the names that you knew. As a musician in marching band, concert bands, and jazz bands, he was the epitome of great music. Sure, there were sax, trumpet, and guitar players, but Brubeck was the one that brought them together. In many cases, Brubeck was the one that taught them what they know—the one who made them the musicians they became.When I was in college, Dave Brubeck came to Miami University to perform a concert. There was a point just after the concert where he was signing autographs. Many students got his John Hancock on a napkin or piece of paper. I took down one of his performance posters that was posted around campus and had him sign that. I’ve gotten autographs from athletes and other cool people, but Brubeck was the first autograph that I was proud of, not just excited for. I had that poster framed and it currently is hanging in our house. I still look at it in awe that I was able to get his signature.If you’ve ever heard a Dave Brubeck piece, it was likely one of these two:Take Fivehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faJE92phKzIBlue Rondo a la Turkhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kc34Uj8wlmEA full article about Dave’s passing can be read from the Chicago Tribune, or Time.