Calling all e-learning folks who work in higher education

I was reviewing Dave Anderson’s Word of Mouth Blog yesterday, and noticed Nita Venter’s post on E-learning in Healthcare.  It occurred to me (as it has many times in the past), that it would be great if there were similar discussions for folks who work in higher education.

While I have always benefitted from the general discussions in the forums, there are some issues that I’d love to discuss with others in academia, such as how other institutions are addressing universal design with the Articulate suite of tools and how to address issues regarding instructors who are great SMEs, but not so great when it comes to course design.

I’m hoping that there are others out there in higher education that are interested, and look forward to some great discussions.  Let me know what you think and maybe suggest some topics to get us started!

133 Replies
Frederick Matzen

our institution is quite different from almost any other in regards to how the courses are built. Faculty only has to personalize the course they are given because it's built by a team beforehand. Which puts how the courses look and feel in my hands completely. I don't write the content of course but the entire design of that content is up to me. And I working to get time to push the envelope on this even further and move to HTML5 and eliminating FLASH completely except for older browsers.

I want to start going to some of these conferences but I only know of very few. So I would love a list of those that might benefit someone in my position as a eLearning Multimedia Developer in Higher Ed. I'd even offer to post the list on one of my blogs for easy access. And any other list that we might find useful. Like software for interactivity, of which this list has provided many already that I was unaware of.

Marti  Stemm

Donna, (and Michelle), this is often a difficult time of day day for speed here, so that is why I started with that possibility.  :&lt

I know that one of the blogs was Nov 2010   I believe that they all were from Tom's Rapid E-learning Blogs.

I save them in my e-mail archive and that was the first one that was produced a search with the word, "faster". 

Hope this helps.  Processing was definately a problem for me before Tom's blog helps..  Took forever... 

Just a note from experience as a liaison in the public high schools.  Older faculty won't call it fear, but often they fear new technology becasue it is not in their comfort zone, and avoid it.  Being 60 myself, I know that a lot of my peers are not computer "savy"  and it is an uphill battle to get them to look at things differently. 

PowerPoint is often in their comfort zone, because they have been using slides for a good while, either they created them or they got them from the publishers. (I had fellow faculty that fought slide rather than overhead projectors.)   If you can take some of the regular slides and start with some simple modifications,  they may get excited and on board more quickly.  Michelle's chart change was great, but it was a more complicated modification.  It might still be too much too soon for new converts.  :

Our college is trying to get on-line and regular class faculty to recognize the changes in communication that young people expect and thus learn more about social media and using it in our courses.  It is a difficult sell for some.  Like it or not, it is the way of the young. 

Good luck,  I believe you can make possitive changes even if it is one staff member at a time. 

Donna Carter

Frederick Matzen said:

our institution is quite different from almost any other in regards to how the courses are built. Faculty only has to personalize the course they are given because it's built by a team beforehand. Which puts how the courses look and feel in my hands completely. I don't write the content of course but the entire design of that content is up to me. And I working to get time to push the envelope on this even further and move to HTML5 and eliminating FLASH completely except for older browsers.

I want to start going to some of these conferences but I only know of very few. So I would love a list of those that might benefit someone in my position as a eLearning Multimedia Developer in Higher Ed. I'd even offer to post the list on one of my blogs for easy access. And any other list that we might find useful. Like software for interactivity, of which this list has provided many already that I was unaware of.


You are extremely lucky Frederick.  That is exactly how we'd like to do things here.  I have a list of conferences somewhere, and will post after I find it, as well as software recommendations.

Michelle Leon

Thanks for the feedback, everyone! What I created was an OPTIONAL practice activity to chunk up the information and make it interactive. Oftentimes, when students are interacting with material, it gets them involved, gets them thinking and asking questions.

For our hybrid courses, PowerPoints work GREAT because there's a presenter around. However, for our online courses, we have stopped using PowerPoint completely. Without a presenter, they're basically reading just like they would a textbook except in short sentences and bullet points. We've noticed that our online courses have a very different dynamic in them. While the instructor isn't lecturing, the instructor IS there to guide students in their assigned reading and assignments and quizzes. They're there to provoke questions in the discussion boards and provide new insight on how the content material relates to the real world. And they're there to be available to answer questions via email.

In a physical classroom setting, many students, like myself, get nervous asking questions in front of the class so I wait until the end--well apparently so do 15 others and time ends up running out because the next class has to come in. In our online classes, we encourage any and all questions from the students and so they're not limited to office hours or the last 5 minutes of class.

In our most challenging math course, College Algebra, I've created very brief practice quizzes at the end of each topic. These are called Knowledge Checks and they're just designed to show the student whether or not they understood what they just read. If not, they can ask the teacher very specific questions based on the questions they answered wrong. Instead of "I don't understand this" they can say "On problem number X in the practice activity, I don't understand how it went from this step to this step."

Basically, our online classes don't work the same way that our physical classes do and that's okay. I think if instructors are thinking we want to run the class exactly the same except with a computer, then yeah, they're not on board. But if we can find the RIGHT instructors who have that VISION for an online interactive classroom setting, the class works! Our current College Algebra teachers get RAVE reviews. Because of the one-on-one interaction they can provide, students have successfully overcome their fears and frustrations with math.

As all good things, it will take time, but we will get everyone on board the online train Good luck everyone!

James Brown

Hi Donna,

I'm a corporate trainer for a small company and I am also trying to land an adjunct job at a local college. The goal behind that is to fund a doctorate degree. I recently obtained a Masters in EdTech from Boise State in 09 but I never really discovered what is termed e-learning until about a year ago. Unlike most I have to do everything myself which includes graphic design, flash animation, photo editing, recording, and content creation.  Like most I have used Camtasia, Adobe CS3 Web Development Suite, Adobe Premiere Elements, Audacity, Captivate, Power Point and I have also took a year of computer programming. Currently I'm working on some e-learning courses I can use for an e-learning portfolio that I'm building and I hope to start playing with Articulate before too long. I would love to get my hands on a beta copy of storyline just to see what all they hype is about and to put it through it's paces.

Donna Carter

Here you go, hope this  helps.

Conferences: http://elearningtech.blogspot.com/2011/11/elearning-conferences-2012.html

Tools: http://c4lpt.co.uk/top-100-tools-for-learning-2011/

Frederick Matzen said:

our institution is quite different from almost any other in regards to how the courses are built. Faculty only has to personalize the course they are given because it's built by a team beforehand. Which puts how the courses look and feel in my hands completely. I don't write the content of course but the entire design of that content is up to me. And I working to get time to push the envelope on this even further and move to HTML5 and eliminating FLASH completely except for older browsers.

I want to start going to some of these conferences but I only know of very few. So I would love a list of those that might benefit someone in my position as a eLearning Multimedia Developer in Higher Ed. I'd even offer to post the list on one of my blogs for easy access. And any other list that we might find useful. Like software for interactivity, of which this list has provided many already that I was unaware of.

Donna Carter said:

Frederick Matzen said:

our institution is quite different from almost any other in regards to how the courses are built. Faculty only has to personalize the course they are given because it's built by a team beforehand. Which puts how the courses look and feel in my hands completely. I don't write the content of course but the entire design of that content is up to me. And I working to get time to push the envelope on this even further and move to HTML5 and eliminating FLASH completely except for older browsers.

I want to start going to some of these conferences but I only know of very few. So I would love a list of those that might benefit someone in my position as a eLearning Multimedia Developer in Higher Ed. I'd even offer to post the list on one of my blogs for easy access. And any other list that we might find useful. Like software for interactivity, of which this list has provided many already that I was unaware of.


You are extremely lucky Frederick.  That is exactly how we'd like to do things here.  I have a list of conferences somewhere, and will post after I find it, as well as software recommendations.

Donna Carter

Michelle Leon said:

Thanks for the feedback, everyone! What I created was an OPTIONAL practice activity to chunk up the information and make it interactive. Oftentimes, when students are interacting with material, it gets them involved, gets them thinking and asking questions.

For our hybrid courses, PowerPoints work GREAT because there's a presenter around. However, for our online courses, we have stopped using PowerPoint completely. Without a presenter, they're basically reading just like they would a textbook except in short sentences and bullet points. We've noticed that our online courses have a very different dynamic in them. While the instructor isn't lecturing, the instructor IS there to guide students in their assigned reading and assignments and quizzes. They're there to provoke questions in the discussion boards and provide new insight on how the content material relates to the real world. And they're there to be available to answer questions via email.

In a physical classroom setting, many students, like myself, get nervous asking questions in front of the class so I wait until the end--well apparently so do 15 others and time ends up running out because the next class has to come in. In our online classes, we encourage any and all questions from the students and so they're not limited to office hours or the last 5 minutes of class.

In our most challenging math course, College Algebra, I've created very brief practice quizzes at the end of each topic. These are called Knowledge Checks and they're just designed to show the student whether or not they understood what they just read. If not, they can ask the teacher very specific questions based on the questions they answered wrong. Instead of "I don't understand this" they can say "On problem number X in the practice activity, I don't understand how it went from this step to this step."

Basically, our online classes don't work the same way that our physical classes do and that's okay. I think if instructors are thinking we want to run the class exactly the same except with a computer, then yeah, they're not on board. But if we can find the RIGHT instructors who have that VISION for an online interactive classroom setting, the class works! Our current College Algebra teachers get RAVE reviews. Because of the one-on-one interaction they can provide, students have successfully overcome their fears and frustrations with math.

As all good things, it will take time, but we will get everyone on board the online train Good luck everyone!

Michelle you mentioned a topic that is near and dear to my heart, discussion boards.  I would love to hear what everyone thinks about them and whether or not they feel that they still have a place in online learning.  It's been my experience that in most cases, they aren't used in the manner intended, and I'd love to see instructors use social media in lieu of the boards.  I actually plan to write an article on this topic.  What do the rest of you think?  Have discussion boards become passé?

Michelle Leon

Donna Carter said:

Michelle Leon said:

Thanks for the feedback, everyone! What I created was an OPTIONAL practice activity to chunk up the information and make it interactive. Oftentimes, when students are interacting with material, it gets them involved, gets them thinking and asking questions.

For our hybrid courses, PowerPoints work GREAT because there's a presenter around. However, for our online courses, we have stopped using PowerPoint completely. Without a presenter, they're basically reading just like they would a textbook except in short sentences and bullet points. We've noticed that our online courses have a very different dynamic in them. While the instructor isn't lecturing, the instructor IS there to guide students in their assigned reading and assignments and quizzes. They're there to provoke questions in the discussion boards and provide new insight on how the content material relates to the real world. And they're there to be available to answer questions via email.

In a physical classroom setting, many students, like myself, get nervous asking questions in front of the class so I wait until the end--well apparently so do 15 others and time ends up running out because the next class has to come in. In our online classes, we encourage any and all questions from the students and so they're not limited to office hours or the last 5 minutes of class.

In our most challenging math course, College Algebra, I've created very brief practice quizzes at the end of each topic. These are called Knowledge Checks and they're just designed to show the student whether or not they understood what they just read. If not, they can ask the teacher very specific questions based on the questions they answered wrong. Instead of "I don't understand this" they can say "On problem number X in the practice activity, I don't understand how it went from this step to this step."

Basically, our online classes don't work the same way that our physical classes do and that's okay. I think if instructors are thinking we want to run the class exactly the same except with a computer, then yeah, they're not on board. But if we can find the RIGHT instructors who have that VISION for an online interactive classroom setting, the class works! Our current College Algebra teachers get RAVE reviews. Because of the one-on-one interaction they can provide, students have successfully overcome their fears and frustrations with math.

As all good things, it will take time, but we will get everyone on board the online train Good luck everyone!

Michelle you mentioned a topic that is near and dear to my heart, discussion boards.  I would love to hear what everyone thinks about them and whether or not they feel that they still have a place in online learning.  It's been my experience that in most cases, they aren't used in the manner intended, and I'd love to see instructors use social media in lieu of the boards.  I actually plan to write an article on this topic.  What do the rest of you think?  Have discussion boards become passé?


Donna, we've found that discussion boards are still very useful IF they're used properly. Sometimes there's a very fine line between a discussion and an assignment. We make sure that discussions are things that are slightly controversial or that have no definitely black or white answer. It could be things like:

- Orientation Intro Discussion: Are you a dog person or a cat person? Why?

- Health care Discussion: What types of technology are used in your workplace, and what would you like to see used?

- Computer skills Discussion: Post your PowerPoint presentation and give constructive feedback on two of your classmates' presentations. Be sure to respond to feedback given on your own presentation.

It can also be used to build a sense of community amongst virtual classmates:

- Intro Discussion: How do you feel about math? When was the last time you took a math course and how did you do? If not well, what approach to learning and studying will you implement this course? If you did do well, what tips do you have for your classmates?

Once again, discussions are very powerful with the right topic and depending on what you're trying to achieve.

Mike Enders

Frederick Matzen said:

our institution is quite different from almost any other in regards to how the courses are built. Faculty only has to personalize the course they are given because it's built by a team beforehand. Which puts how the courses look and feel in my hands completely. I don't write the content of course but the entire design of that content is up to me. And I working to get time to push the envelope on this even further and move to HTML5 and eliminating FLASH completely except for older browsers.


Frederick,

Are you at a for profit institution?  I can't imagine that most faculty at your typical 2 year or 4 year institutions would be willing to give up their academic freedom in exchange for a templated course.  I know this tends be a battle in many institutions (including mine).  While the institution would love to have a standard look and feel (we've made some progress), anything beyond a basic template is met with

pretty stiff resistance.

Mike

Frederick Matzen

Donna Carter said:

Yes, I really dislike it when the boards are used for an assignment.  Are your students required to respond to a certain number of posts?


We have that system in place as well. If they don't post, they lose points. But we're a strictly online institution, so that system is in place to encourage participation and not just take the quizzes, complete the assignments and try to pass the course.

Mike Enders

Frederick Matzen said:

Non-Profit, state Run. They do have SOME freedom but not concerning how the weekly lectures are written or the quizzes. They can guide the discussion questions and other areas but the courses from term to term are exactly the same otherwise. Unless they were revised of course.

Wow!  What an opportunity to create a coordinated approach.  That type of institutional control would never fly here in Wisconsin.
Jonathan Y

I think if we are asking our students to be more flexible with learning, we as lecturers/developers need to be more flexible and provide that support. Maybe we need to have more flexible hours so we can answer questions at weekends etc.

We have developed a 40 credit module that students access whilst on placement. Throughout the module we get the students to record their development/thoughts and share learning through PebblePad which is an e-portfolio system. This enables the student to keep all records in one place and the lecturers can login and see how they are progressing..

Nickola Frye

Good Morning:

Although I do not specifically work in higher education I am the Instructional Designer for the North Coast Beginning Teacher Program in California.  We are a consortium of eight county offices of education directed to oversee the beginning teacher program.  We work with 1,500 beginning teachers, 1,000 support providers and numerous facilitators, trainers, and county coordinators.

Our directive is to provide teacher training beyond the university credential programs.  I develop courses for Year 1 and Year 2 Beginning Teachers, Interns, Paraprofessionals, Career Technical Educators, and Special Ed. Teachers.  As such I face some of the same concerns that I see in this forum.

I have been using Articulate for over 5 years, and have also been a beta tester for StoryLine.  I use Articulate modules within our Moodle site.  I am also the Moodle administrator and the webmaster for our program.  One person with many hats.

Each of our programs contain 4 overarching inquires and 9 monthly seminars.  Basically, I create approximately 50-70 Moodle courses per year.  Each course might have 5-10 Articulate modules.

Looking forward to being able to discuss issues and ideas with others who are working with similar students.

Laura Casey

Hi folks!

WOW! I've stumbled upon gold here. So glad to have found this thread! I'm an ID in higher ed (non-profit, state run) working in a distance ed program. I am very new to Articulate - I've only had it a couple of weeks! For the most part our instructors develop their own content, and we use Articulate to add interactivity where we can, mostly Engage and QuizMaker. I hope to attend the 2 day Articulate training in Los Angeles next month so I can see more of what the program is capable of and improve my own work.

Donna and Mike: If I can help in any way with facilitating a monthly thread I would be happy to!

Showemimo and Mike: I wonder about the contact hour translation, too. The contact hours required in a classroom coupled with the amount of time expected to be spent on work outside of class gets fuzzy in an online setting where both of these forms occur in the same place. 

Marti: It seems like we use Articulate for the same purpose. We are often stuck with adding elements from Articulate to PPT as course loads are high, 20-25 new courses per term. I would love to lower the load and have the time to increase the quality of the courses, but for now I do what I can. I have one other ID on my team with a similar course load and other responsibilities (faculty trainings, Quality Matters, etc.)

Brian and Elizabeth: We are slowly implementing Quality Matters here. There are 6 of us who have taken the Applying the Rubric training, 3 of those have done the peer reviewer training, and one of them is a master reviewer. We are gearing up to use the rubric in all of our online courses and will being training faculty soon. 

Michelle: I think your Nine Phyla presentation is GREAT! Sure puts anything I've done to shame, though it gives me lots of good ideas! It wasn't slow to process on my end. Thank you for sharing! I agree with your assessment of PPT being adequate for when there is an actual presenter around, but in an online course where there isn't, it's certainly not the best tool to use. It seems to be the "go to" tool for most of our faculty, though.

I share your frustrations with faculty who are resistant to technology and prefer to use PPT for everything. It's a tough mindset to change, but very worth the effort.

Thanks for the fabulous conference link, Donna! 

Discussion boards: the idea here is that they are the heart of an online course. My experience when I was a student is that I said what I needed to say to get the grade and no critical thinking was really required to complete my postings. That said, here some form of student-to-student interaction is required in our online courses and this fits the bill, though some instructors opt for the blog tool in Blackboard. I mostly see instructors require an original response to a post and then a response to two other classmates. I'd love to see how others are using the discussion board. I think there are much better options out there to meet the student-to-student interaction requirement. 

Donna: I did go to Learning Solution and DevLearn last year, but I won't be going this year. While they were great conferences and I learned a lot, something more focused on higher ed would better meet my needs at this time.

Looking forward to continued conversation!

Michelle Leon

Thanks for all your detailed feedback, Laura! I'm trying to get to the AACE E-learn conference that I just found out about. It's for corporate, government, healthcare and higher ed--the latter two which apply to me. I did go to DevLearn and the ASTD conference and I, too, am looking for something that applies to healthcare and higher ed. Hopefully I can go to the AACE E-learn in Montreal this year. We shall see!