Moving Beyond Text: Integrating Audio, Video, and Interactive Elements in the Online Classroom

Kristine Roshau”Multimedia learning is learning from words and pictures.” showed a diagram showing what happens with information when it is consumed through various multimedia methods. It’s an interesting diagram – one that I hadn’t seen before. discussing the diagram, Kristine began talking more about multiple methods of learning, as well as sthe concern about over-stimulating students. spending about 10-15 minutes talking about theory, we started getting into more LMS-specific tools and methods of moving beyond text. Her institution uses Blackboard, but similar tools should be available with other LMS platforms. She shows a quick slide of Flickr integration within Blackboard (called “mashups”) and what you can do with the mashups without ever having to leave the LMS.Aside from the built-in tools, you can utilize various HTML tools, such as Google Maps, SoundCloud, YouTube, etc. It doesn’t involve any more knowledge than just being able to copy and paste. Kristine said, “They (the service providers) want you to use their content. What she doesn’t mention, is that it’s only with appropriate permissions. This is an important detail that shouldn’t be overlooked. Just because the provider wants you to use their content, doesn’t mean the content creator wants you to. Be sure to get permission from the content creator.In addition to using web-based tools to create content, Kristine goes back to using tools, like Kaltura, for lecture capture. While her institution uses Kaltura, any/other lecture capture tools would be useful. Obviously, doing a voice-over-PowerPoint presentation isn’t very engaging, it is a way of doing 2 delivery methods (text on slides and audio), which meets the basic definition of “multimedia learning.”Kristine then goes into some info about OERs (open educational resources). OER is more than just textbooks, you can find open course, Creative Commons material that includes, videos, games, assessments, handouts, etc.

  • Softchalk Share
  • Khan Academy
  • Creative Commons

The only one that was new to me (and others) is She showed some screenshots from where you can filter and sort OERs by type, rating, etc. She does indicate that some/most of the OERs can’t be directly integrated into the LMS – you’d have to use links to external sites. Not a bad trade-off for a free resource. of Kristine’s faculty have indicated that they feel “restricted” in their LMS and want to look at alternate delivery methods. Some examples include Google Sites, Softchalk Create, Adobe Presenter, Techsmith Relay. Some of these I have tried, but I really don’t think any of these are an alternate to the LMS.Alternate Presentation Tools

  • iSpring
  • Sway
  • Adobe Presenter

The last part of this presentation was focused on UDL and accessibility. There have been a lot of sessions that cover accessibilty and UDL this year, which is great, but I wasn’t expecting it to be in this session. I suppose it is unavoidable though. There was 1 thing that was new to me in this, however:, not a bad session. Was expecting/hoping for more live examples of how some of her courses used these multimedia approaches, but there were certainly things that could be utilized later on (like the YouTube reference above). I just have to remember to use the tools…

Best Practices for Engaging Team Projects

Karen Valaitis & Amanda YazejianAt the start of the session, the presenters asked us to answer a few short questions through Poll Everywhere. Questions included, “have you ever incorporated team projects in an online course,” “have your students ever had a positive team project experience in an online course,” and “what are the primary issues identified by you or your students.” The interesting results was that last question. It was short answer and most of the responses that came up on the screen were along the same lines:

  • Students who live in different time zones / coordinating avaiable time to meet.
  • Grading concerns
  • Students who don’t want to do the work / slackers

After these questions, they presented the outline of the original and revised team project:Original project:

  1. Team project
  2. Reflection

New project:

  1. Individual project
  2. E-Learning discussion (meet & greet)
  3. Team project
  4. Reflection
  5. Peer assessment

Without knowing the details yet, I’d say the revision process between the old and new projects was pretty substantial. Going from 2 project steps to 5 steps (with the old steps being #3 and #4) is a pretty big jump.Based on their research, some important components to team project success included team interdependence (relevance, goal setting), trust among team members, and frequency/quality of communication. I haven’t done any research on team projects on my own, but these certainly sound like some core fundamental values that shape the success of team projects.One of the interesting things that they keep referring to is that they do these team projects using Wikispaces. It’s been years since I’ve heard that name – makes me wonder why they take it outside of the LMS (or simply why that tool)?One of the important aspects of the peer assessment step in the team project can assist with:

  • Reduce social loafing
  • Develop critical thinking skills
  • Enhance student learning

When implementing the team projects, they run into issues with:

  • Introduction of new technology (tools outside of the LMS)
  • Accountability (communication, team roles, peer assessment)
  • Team size (social loafing, course withdrawal)
  • Project assessment (overall project, individual participation, instructor ratings vs. peer ratings)

One of the things mentioned is that the peer review component encourages critical thinking. I agree that it can be a way of getting them to think critically, but what about those who use peer assessments as a popularity contest? I’ve run into that issue in the past. The presenters do acknowledge that social bias is an issue, but it sounds like that’s just a thing that exists and that there isn’t anything that can be done about it.The survey product that they use to do peer reviews is Qualtrics, which I personally find interesting. I’ve had a hard time designing this type of a survey at work, so I definitely want to see how this plays out for them. The survey started off incorporating a self-assessment for the project. The criteria was based on an AACU rubric. Note to self: I need to find that rubric.The students then receive the same questions, but are asked to answer the questions based on their team members. What isn’t clear is how they identify which peers they are evaluating. It almost seems like they are answer these questions for the group, overall (rather than for individual team members). The last part of the survey contains 2 questions on the Wikispaces technology.Overall, I liked the session. I have some follow-up questions that I want to ask:

  1. Do the peer reviews allow students to evaluate individual peers, or just the overall group?
  2. Are there any special settings in Qualtrics to keep in mind?
  3. Do you restrict students from evaluating themselves?
  4. How do you identify which groups have “that 1 student…”?

During the Q&A, one of the presenters did mention that there are no names tied to the evaluations currently, but that it will happen in the future. I’m curious to see what the statistical differences would be. Another one of the things that the presenters mentioned that Wikispaces does have a history review (similar to Google docs) – they go through the history to ensure that the participation is equitable.

Gamify Your Syllabus in D2L

Leslie Van WolvelearIn reading the title & description on the schedule, I missed the fact that the session is specifically for D2L. I’m still hoping I can take something away from the session.Leslie spent the first bit of the session talking broadly about gamification, does it help students learn, and who the intended audience is. technique that Leslie talks about and uses is a scavenger hunt. Some ideas to keep in mind:

  • Clear and consise instructions
  • Use of images for the visual learners
  • Links to LMS
  • Points for completing assignments

Leslie had an issue with students using the electronic syllabus for the scavenger hunt, so this semester she went back to using hard copies. I’m not sure what the issue is, but continual improvement is important, so whatever works for her. Some of the activities include a scavenger hunt quiz, a welcome discussion, uploading a profile picture, and a conference with the instructor. Note: clicking live links (like to the syllabus PDF) is done in a new tab/window so it’s easy to get back.One of the things that Leslie has all of her students do is send an email through the LMS messaging tool. This helps students learn how to use the LMS in addition to making sure they can follow directions. The quiz she sets up is multiple choice, true false, and short answer. She indicates in the quiz directions that she manually grades the short answer questions. One of the last assignments in the syllabus activities is the welcome discussion, allowing students to talk more about what their goals are (in the class, life, etc.).Leslie also has some orientation videos for the various websites needed throughout the class. She has 2, 1 for D2L and another for WileyPlus (Accounting software). Those videos are re-recorded each semester.Overall, I really like the session and what she’s done with gamifying the syllabus. I would love to incorporate some of these ideas into a course. Now I just need to find a course to teach. As Brenda Boyd put it:, but I don’t think so.

Create-Your-Own Quality, Interactive Digital Curriculum to Engage Students Across All Subjects

David Evans, SoftchalkNormally I don’t attend sponsored sessions, but Softchalk is one of those tools that I haven’t had the opportunity to utilize since my new job over 2 years ago. The session is being done using Softchalk Cloud, which I haven’t seen before. Softchalk Cloud allows you to manage your own learning objects through the SC website. To put the objects into the LMS, you simply include a link into the LMS and the learning objects or lessons appear. What this means is that as content needs to be updated, you make the edits once and all of the links are automatically updated. That sounds pretty neat. One of the other benefits is that all of the scores within the SoftChalk assessment will be sent to the LMS gradebook. This is a great idea for courses (and institutions) that use a traditional LMS. However, one of our LMS platforms isn’t a traditional LMS and doesn’t have a Gradebook. Still some possibilities for our traditional LMS, though. the same lines of accessibility, SoftChalk Cloud includes a built-in screen reader, assuming your institution subscribes to the screen reader software. David then went into adding various activities and interactions in the SoftChalk lesson. He included pop-up windows, call out boxes, etc. We’re more than halfway through the session and I haven’t seen anything new from the previous desktop version that I used years ago. The only difference with SoftChalk Coud is that you use a link to put the lesson in the LMS, rather than uploading a SCORM package.We have about 10 minutes left and he’s still working on the lesson. It’s a great tutorial for people who have never used SoftChalk before. What I’d like to see at this point is how do the lessons integrate within the LMS. I’m also not sure if it’s a good tool for my OCD. I really like having standard font formats throughout the online courses. Initially, I’m thinking about having some SoftChalk lessons (with interactions) mixed in with content pages created within the LMS. I feel like this would create a lot more work to try and standardize the formatting across the entire course. Does that really matter? I’m not sure. I could see it being an issue for those with accessibility issues, but I’m not sure.With just a few minutes left he’s able to show how the SoftChalk lessons can go into an LMS. He demoed both Blackboard and Canvas. It looks pretty easy. He also showed the Score Center, which is a new concept to me. It’s a teacher dashboard of all the students that have gone through that lesson. That’s a useful tool that we could use for some lower-level programs. Certainly potential for later on!

Can We Eliminate “Remediation?” Yes – with EdReady

The NROC ProjectI’m going to skip over the first 30 minutes of the morning keynote because it was an impromptu/unannounced business meeting for the Instructional Technology Council. Usually this is an announced meeting, but I think they made it a surprise to have a captive audience. Let’s just say, that didn’t work.Again, moving on…The biggest concern I have about this morning plenary is that it’s a “sponsored” presentation. The purpose of the session isn’t just to talk about what types of services EdReady by NROC provides, but also serves as a way to convince people to become members. Based on that alone, I don’t have very high expectations.Here is an introductory video of EdReady by NROC if you aren’t familiar with the concept. of the first slides presented is a graph showing the correlation between more prior knowledge and being more prepared for college. The presenter makes note that most institutions use tests to create a “cut score” – a score where anyone scoring below that “cut score” must take remedial courses. This score is usually arbitrary. I don’t have any disagreement with that notion.The next graph shown is a more realistic slide. Titled, “the problem with placement,” the slide shows that depending there is a correlation between a student’s amount of prior knowledge, and our confidence on where they fall on their level/readiness for college. presenters showed a short overview video of what NROC does, their objectives. I think it looked pretty simplistic and makes me wonder how easy it is for students to fake their way through the remediation. Another concern from Karen Sorensen: like the notion of a “personalized learning approach” to get students to increase their point on the graph against that “cut score.” What I’m kind of confused about is that this sounds like remediation outside of the classroom, rather than actually eliminating the remediation. of looking at EdReady as a way to eliminate remediation, it could be seen as a way of cutting down on cost. hope that’s where they are coming from, because they certainly aren’t eliminating remediation – it’s just not happening in the classroom. One of the things that I may have missed, is when do the students go through EdReady? Are they doing it during the semester, before the semester starts? If it’s during the semester, then there is no difference than taking a remediation course – they might as well be taking a remediation course in college. Maybe I’m missing something with that.Overall, I feel like EdReady has a very niche market. If students are wanting to be engineers, architects, or other fields that require a strong math background. In these cases, EdReady could be useful to ensure students have the requisite knowledge before taking the more advanced courses. But what about people who want to go to trade schools, or into other professions where a strong math background isn’t necessary? Another important question is: students are taking the EdReady program during the semester, then that’s just 1 more thing they have to balance, during a time where they likely need to be more focused on the remediation. But like Jim indicated above, what does their course load look like while students are in EdReady? Are they able to take relevant classes? Are they in a “holding pattern” until the EdReady courses are completed? It’s really not clear. Like I said in the pervious paragraph:

Preparing Faculty to Teach Online

Ana LopezThe eCert program at Pasco-Hernando State College is a 10-week, 30 contact hour program for faculty to be certified to teach online courses. The certification is good for 3 years, and there is a recertification program that is a smaller program. The recertification focuses on tools rather than pedagogy.Ana is willing to give the course content export file for any organization looking to implement a certification course at their location. There is an Open-Canvas site to give you a student perspective of the course. is a picture I took of the structure of the 10-week program. are some key assignments in the program

  • Demonstration of skills
  • Mentor experience
  • Synchronous session
  • Meet with a designer

The last step, meet with a designer, is only required if the instructor is going to be teaching an online course. I’m not sure why, but it seems like everyone going through this program would be teaching an online course. However, they have a requirement that anyone looking to receive a continuing contract is required to take the program. That’s an interesting requirement, especially if the faculty has no interest in teaching online.The activities that the instructors are completing are all done in a sandbox environment. Every instructor has a sandbox environment that allows them to reorder navigation menus, etc. That certainly makes it easier for people to get used to their own environment; however, I’m sure that it’s added work for the instructional designers to go into each sandbox site to check off that instructors completed the assignments.One of the things that they do during weeks 4-6, they offer a number of synchronous sessions. The instructors are required to attend 1 of the sessions. During this session, the IDs showcase tools and a model course. Week 7 is focused on UDL. In this week, instructors are told to record a 30-60 second video of themselves and then have to caption the video manually. It helps emphasize the importance of captioning. They also cover how to create accessible headings in Canvas.Overall, this is a great way of teaching faculty how to teach online. If I had people developing and teaching online classes, this certification program would be incredibly helpful. I may get a copy of the open course to hang onto in case I ever need it.I almost missed this session, but I’m really glad I didn’t. While the content isn’t applicable to me now (since I don’t teach faculty how to teach online), it’s always good to see how people structure Canvas sites, use Canvas Commons, etc.

The Effects of a Virtual Community on Mature Learners’ Feelings of Isolation within Online Programs

Tamara DawsonFull disclosure, I wasn’t really interested in the sessions happening during this time block. This session is the only one that may be applicable to what I’m currently doing. My hope is that I’ll be able to take away something that can be used for our non-traditional students.Tamara started with a set of 5 questions done on Kahoot, which apparently is the buzz tool for the year. Not sure how, but I ended up in 1st place (woot woot!). After the game, we jumped into the content. Social interaction is needed in eLearning to promote engagement, satisfaction, and retention. I don’t disagree with this, but I also don’t think that it’s limited to just mature learners – even traditional college students who participate in online courses need these as well. Tamara did some research around the topic of mature learners, so this session seems to be a presentation of her findings. She stated the problem as mature students feel isolated when participating in online courses. Again, I understand this, but I don’t feel it’s limited to just mature learners.Tamara indicates that student isolation inhibits engagemetn, satisfaction and retention. To alleviate this, it’s important to develop a sense of community. Ways to do this include consisten interaction, discussion forums, video conferencing, etc. None of this was very unique.At about the 30 minute mark, we’re still talking about the population sample, construct of the study, etc. No sign of actually getting to the results or implications yet…At about the 30 minute mark, Tamara wrapped up the session and started asking for what others (in the audience) do for their classes to alleviate isolation. Sadly, this session was not useful at all. There was nothing I could take away as ideas and best practices for overcoming the sense of isolation for all learners, let alone strictly mature learners.

Making it Your Own: How to Add the U in a Course

Michelle Piper & Amy Clark session got started with introducting everyone to Kahoot, a neat interactive tool to gauge audience knowledge on a particular topic. I was a little disappointed that the questions were surrounding higher education or K-12. Just because I’m not in those 2 areas doesn’t mean that I don’t teach.The presenters mention that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to being “present” in an online course. Based on the Kahoot from earlier, most people who teach from a master shell don’t have the ability to make a lot of content changes – so how do you add engagement?The presenters asked the audience to evaluate their own teaching “style.” Are you a happy, silly, angry, etc. teacher? I’m not really sure what the context is for this question. I’m hoping that they connect the dots sooner rather than later… 15 minutes in and I haven’t learned anything useful in this session.One of the first things the presenters mentioned is that an attention span of millenials is 8.25 seconds. Compare that with a goldfish, which is 9 seconds. They said they can provide the citation for that data, but Barry Dahl has another perspective. first step to add the “U” into your course, is to humanize your syllabus. Ideas like rethinking the order, adding video & images to introduce your self, add a scavenger hunt or quiz, humanize the language. I don’t disagree with the notion of humanizing the syllabus, but that’s not really a “new” concept. I suppose for those instructors who are given a “stock” syllabus from their department, this may be a helpful tool. But the syllabus that I use is only 3 pages (not the 20 pages that some people in this session use), and is already very humanistic. Another thing that they mentioned is to be as specific as possible. When you mention turning assignments in using the Dropbox, where does that exist? Would students think that they have to come to your office and look for a physical dropbox? Be specific!The 2nd method is to add videos, images, and memes. The presenters mention using TubeChop to use custom start/end times for longer YouTube videos. I think that’s a cool idea, but what are the copyright implications? I haven’t used memes much in any of the courses that I’ve taught, but it certainly can be a creative way to keep students’ attention. But how does that add the “U” in your course? I don’t think adding memes (or videos) is a way of adding presence to your course.Suggestion number 3 is focusing on the positive. Sending encouragements, feedback. Certainly not a new concept.The last suggestion they have is to customize the support/resource materials. Again, not a new concept. If a student has difficulty with formulas in Microsoft Excel, send them a short video to show them. Duh!Overall, the session was ok, but I didn’t learn anything new in this session. I’ve had this opinion in the past, but I really think the conference schedule should indicate who the intended audience is. This one is intended for those who are given shell courses to teach so that they can make minor changes to personalize. For those of us who don’t use master shells or who develop our own master shells, this session wasn’t much use. I think the only thing that I took away was the possibility of using Kahoot in a face-to-face class/training for engagement. Not really something that can be used in an online course.

Breaking Down the Walls: Using Presence-Building Technologies to Improve Student Engagement and Performance in Online Introductory Psychology

Chris RoddenberryWake Technical Community CollegeWithin the first 5 minutes, I feel like this session is going to be a slew of tools. That’s not a complaint by any means, but certainly not what I expected. Chris goes from a slide about tools to a slide about his ultimate goal: “Fostering a sense of community in my online classes.”Chris is very open about the fact that Wake Technical’s success/completion rate for their online classes is 50%, which is, as he put it, due to the lack of connection or presence. The students stayed on their side of the wall while the instructor stays on their side. One of the things that he mentions is that his move from face-to-face classes didn’t involve new tools, but utilizing the right tools for the right reasons.Online Meeting Software

  • Orientation
  • Class meetings
  • Office hours
  • Review sessions
  • Club events
  • Tutoring

One of the interesting things that Chris mentioned is that his online classes incorporate synchronous and asynchronous options. The students can attend a synchronous session if they wish, or they can just participate in the discussion forums. He treats this as a method of Universal Design for Learning (UDL).Chris uses texting software for a variety of purposes in his course.

  • Just in time nudges for assignment due dates
  • Rapid follow-up on students missing work
  • Group discussion chains
  • More immediate than email

The key for Chris in using the text messages is to use the students’ name to make it more personalized. there are times when Chris doesn’t have any reminders to send out, he sends encouraging messages. I didn’t get a picture of the slide, but some of the students really appreciate the words of encouragement.Another example of Chris’ presence in his online classes is through the use of custom video. These can include housekeeping, encouragement, reminders, etc. He doesn’t focus on making the “perfect” video – his videos have bloopers, accidents, lack of (or too much) blinking, etc. In my opinion, these are the best videos. Having a level of humanality in the video makes you (the instructor) more relatable.Chris shared some lessons learned based on his development and conversion of online courses.

  • High touch does not spoil students
  • It takes time to develop your tool capability
  • Find your mix

One of the best things he mentioned in this session is that the additional tools (Remind, synchronous discussions, etc.) are opt-in. don’t be discouraged if the first time you do it, you only get 3-4 students taking advantage. Over time, as you continue to advertise the tools, purposes, etc., the numbers will increase. It’s easy for an instructor to get discouraged and give up on a tool far too early. Keep trying!Here is a video that Chris produced on the high touch/hi-tech approach that he uses at Wake Tech. were some great questions about how do you select the synchronous meeting day/time, do you pre-load text messages, etc.? These were framed in context of the amount of work needed to create the UDL effect in the course. Overall, a great session. There were some tech issues in the room (some ghost kept advancing the PPT before Chris was ready). But the content was good. I’ve started thinking about how I might be able to add high-touch to some professional development opportunities that we design. Would non-traditional students like high-touch? I’m not sure. But it’s certainly worth trying…

Connected Learning: Mobilizing Digital and Networked Media for the Longstanding Goals of Progressive Education

Mizuko “Mimi” ItoOne of the first things that Mimi asked us was to put together an estimate of the following question: table tweeted out their guess, which included… answer was 83%, which is surprising. What she didn’t make clear was how much of this reading was forced, versus enjoyment. An interesting statistic though.Mimi’s 2nd question was, “In 2015, how many hours per day did US teens aged 13-18 spend with media (not including school and homework). As with the 1st question, the answers were all over the board, but the correct answer, according to Commonsense Census 2015, is 8 hours 56 minutes per day. The last question is How many US teens 13-17 have made new friends online? This question was very vague and had the widest range of answers. The answer, according to Pew Internet Teens and Technology Report 2015 is 57%, with 20% having met those online friends in real life. course, you have to love some of the fun responses: of the concerns about higher education is that the learning that’s happening is not connected to life experiences, which is why is so big, as well as services that “take the class for you.” Mimi showed a statistic that 45% of college students indicate little learning during the first 2 years of college. That is certainly an alarming statistic… of the things that Mimi showed a statistic on is the rise of MOOCs. I honestly thought that the growth, demand, and interest had plateaued, but according to Mimi, this is far from the truth. It makes me wonder why we aren’t hearing more about MOOCs. I also wonder if I’m really that “out of touch” with MOOCs, not being in higher ed anymore. showed a case study based on her research about “Dave.” Dave had an interest in web comics, but his school didn’t offer any courses to show him how to get better at the skill. In leiu of formal education, Dave developed the skills based on a web community where he “connected” with other web comic developers. With this connected network, he was able to learn his skill and launch a website of web comics that he designed. This is just 1 example of connected learning where formal education falls short. had everyone think of their own “aquarium shop guy” – someone who took an interest in a topic and learned about the topic, developed skills, etc. on their own. Who was your “aquarium shop guy” that influences you to be a lifelong learner?Mimi talked a lot about connected learning (go figure, since that’s the title of her session), and how openly accessible courses can help facilitate connected learning. She’s not advocating for OERs (at least not in this keynote), nor is she advocating for MOOCs (again, not right now), but the notion of being able to engage with people outside of the class who can contriubte to the conversation. That’s why I love the use of Twitter in courses, it’s a great way of being able to engage with subject matter experts when participating in a course, either as an instructor or a student. really isn’t anything new in this keynote, nothing earth shattering. I feel like most of this session, while it was engaging, was a lot of preaching to the choir. It’s a common occurence with keynote sessions, but even though there was a lot of preaching to the choir, Mimi made it very engaging and fun to sit through. you are interested in reading some more notes/thoughts on this presentation, take a look at Eric Kunnen’s notes.Let the concurrent sessions begin!