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
Donna Carter

I am so glad that you've joined us.  Most universities don't have a dedicated ID team like yours and mine, and just like you, we primarily add the interactive elements to the courses.  We are definitely kindred spirits in this regard, and I look forward to sharing experiences.  I've been using Articulate for 2 years now, so if I can be of any help whatsoever, please let me know.

Laura Casey said:

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!

Frederick Matzen

I'm curious: I don't create the content, but I format it for online use in Blackboard. We have in our process a Content Expert and Instructional Designer who do all the research and content creation. This is passed on to me who creates any quizzes, presentations, finds images, adds or links to video and formats it all into HTML. We run 8 week courses.

How long are you normally given to do something like this at your institution (assuming you can compare your process to mine)?

Tara Magdalinski

Hi Karen,

I work at an Irish University and am in a similar position to you (and in a similar Centre as it turns out!), other than the fact that my Department is not progressive and we don't have a learning technologist! I've been completing a certificate of educational technology through my institution, which has introduced me to Articulate and I've spent the last two weeks (mid-semester break) going through any and every tutorial I can find online. I'm in the process of applying for a grant to develop some learning packages to support some of our introductory modules (including in sports science), which will give me the funds to hire a research assistant to help develop content, but more importantly, someone with more creativity to design the actual look of the modules. At the moment I'm focussing on just developing lecture review packages, which can be done reasonably easily and at little cost. I do want to look at developing more blended learning options, particularly at the MSc level.  It might be worth having a chat at some time to think about ideas and perhaps some collaboration?

Unfortunately, many of the ideas/tutorials I've been finding online work well for training courses, but I struggle to see how they can easily be applied to higher ed learning, so I would be keen to see examples of college level courses etc to get some inspiration on how to move away from bullet points and create interactive online modules that inspire critical thinking.

Lori Cheezem

Brian Houle said:

I've been reviewing job postings for instructional designers lately, and I noticed that a number of them are looking for familiarity with the Quality Matters program, which my Google Fu tells me in a peer review process/program for online courses.  Does anyone work with this or have any experience/insight they can share?  Is this or is it becoming a must-have for instructional development work in the higher ed world?

I took the certification a few years back. I thought it offered some good information, however, some of the principles were restrictive. I did recommend that the university I was working at  use the system. They recently implemented the QM process and seem happy with it. Let me know if you have any other questions.
Rebekah Brown

Wow, I am so glad to have found this thread! Thanks so much for starting it. As noted by others, the vast majority of material is aimed at corporate situations rather than higher ed so it's great to find some people in similar institutions to mine.

I'm a veterinarian originally and spent some time writing case-based learning objects in Dreamweaver and Director for undergraduate veterinary science students about 8 years ago before going on extended maternity leave. I've just started feeling my way back into the field, which has changed enormously (for the better!) in that time.

As my first  project I have been asked to design a number of small learning activities as an adjunct to traditional lectures. They will be fairly simple - a couple of labelling activities and some questions applying the new knowledge in clinical situations.

 I was hoping to use Dragster to create the labelling activities and rapid elearning software, most likely either Articulate or Captivate, for the other questions. However, about 10% of students are currently using iPads and it is likely that percentage will increase in the very near future, which makes Flash-based outputs a problem. HTML5 would be visible on iPads but doesn't work well in all browsers, which may disadvantage a significant number of students. Captivate 5.5 has an HTML converter but will only convert Flash files made in Captivate and not objects made using other software.  Storyline should be out soon, which will have HTML5 output but the same caveat.

How can I keep everyone happy and ensure that what we create can be used into the future?

Also, I was interested to see that others here have had problems with Quizmaker and Blackboard. We have BB so that's potentially a problem for me. I'm very new in the job but so far can't find any policies on use of software etc

Donna Carter

Hi Frederick

That's a very hard question.  I've found that there are usually too many variables to say that it takes "x" amount of time to create "y" content.  What does everyone else think?

Frederick Matzen said:

I'm curious: I don't create the content, but I format it for online use in Blackboard. We have in our process a Content Expert and Instructional Designer who do all the research and content creation. This is passed on to me who creates any quizzes, presentations, finds images, adds or links to video and formats it all into HTML. We run 8 week courses.

How long are you normally given to do something like this at your institution (assuming you can compare your process to mine)?

Donna Carter

Karen Hambly said:

This is a great forum for discussion and I've enjoyed reading the posts so far. One of the things that strikes me is the range of roles and experience and level of support that academics receive within this group. 

I am a lecturer at a UK university and have to build all my own content and everything from start to finish. Historically this has all been on Moodle with powerpoint and word documents. However, I wanted to create more interactive content for my modules and to look at blended learning possibilities so I began looking at what software was on the market for e-learning authoring. I contacted the learning technologist for our department but they were not able to come up with any solutions/suggestions and had never heard of Articulate. My department is very progressive so my Head of Department actually found funding out of his budget to buy the Articulate software. I am an academic on faculty who is totally engaging change and doesn't want to use PPT for everything but does not have any support from IT or our learning technologists to do so (in fact I am the one who is opening their eyes!). The problem is I have no formal training in any of this and find developing a 12 week module is extremely time consuming so progress on getting resources up and running is very slow. Do other academics working in HE in the UK have the same problem?


Karen

The absolute best thing about the Articulate forums is the support that is available from users world-wide, as well as the numerous tutorials, free downloads etc.  If you are new to Articulate, I highly recommend starting with the Artculate demos available from the support pages and after that, if you still have questions, do a search in the community forums.  You are almost guaranteed to find an answer.  Finally, in the unlikely event that you are unable to find the answers that you are looking for, post your question in the forums, and you are almost guaranteed to get a response.  Good luck, and make sure to let us know if we can help.

Rebekah Brown

Karen and Tara,

I'm in Australia and have very similar issues. We don't have a specific learning technologist and when I proposed using Articulate no-one had heard of it. People either use the LMS or small software packages which are not well supported and often a bit clunky. I'm hoping to get some funding to buy the software and build some more engaging, interactive and professional eLearning. At the moment I'm using ppt, which definitely has its strengths but also frustrations.

Tara Magdalinski

Rebekah - even if your Department/School doesn't know about Articulate or elearning, contact your Centre for Teaching and Learning (or similar). It could be that there are elearning specialists there who can support you or even that they have access to an Articulate license that you can use on campus. I've found that I have the ideas for content, but I struggle with design, as I'm not very artistic, and that this is where a specialist would be great. Having said that, there are a lot of ideas online that have perked up my presentations. I had really found powerpoint dull and boring until I learned about Articulate, and then I learned so much more just about powerpoint buy using the tutorials here and all over the web. There really are so many different ways to use powerpoint, so whilst you're waiting to acquire Articulate, there are ways to make powerpoint more interesting for students.

Donna Carter

Sami Hwang said:

Can we talk about a certain topic on a monthly basis? Since we are working in higher education environment, how about accessibility in e-learning for the next month? Just a thought.


Sami

You are reading my mind.  I planned to start a new thread for April over the weekend.  Accessibility is a great idea for our April thread.  Thanks for the suggestion!!

Marti  Stemm

I thought I might share with you my very earliest attempt to add a "lecture" OR "help" in one of my on line course.  I know that some are not sure where to begin if they do not have IT or creative support.    This was simple, and yet the students responded very positively, stating that they liked the "personal" touch. 

Teaching at a junior/community college, I find that students often expect the same level of support that they have become accustomed to in high school, where their instructors basically used what I call "handout" learning.  Defining every single thing they need to do, how, etc.  This is not the real world in business. 

One of the questions that my students always ask is, "exactly what do you want me to put into the final project".  This Articulate was my first add to a course.  It didn't take a lot of development knowledge, and yet I tried to avoid plain PowerPoint bullets.  To view this (I am sorry you can't move forward or back) I put it on my web site.  It is the only thing on the site, and will open automatically when you go there, so no need to search.   Please also note, I narrated it first time with no script.   You may want to write out your comments and narrate accordingly; if you don't, be prepared to find fault with your own narration later.   :&lt

 

www.martiscorner.com

Total time is around 6 minutes with the first slide having only narration and no transitions.

Tara Magdalinski

Marti - I thought this presentation was great. I like the idea of giving tips to encourage students to think for themselves about what they need to include, rather than spoonfeeding them. All the information about quality is right there, they just need to piece it together. I teach at one of Ireland's leading universities, and I have to say that a presentation like this would benefit my students too. You've given me inspiration for next semester - thank you!

Sammy Hwang

Thank you for your good plan, Donna!

That is why you are the leader of this group. ^^

Another potential topic can be what kinds of technical or policy-wise obstacles we will encounter and how to overcome it to adopt industry standard e-learning tools in higher education environment. We can talk about based upon our own experience and share ideas.

This is the issue that Karen,  Tara, and Rebekah are bringing up.

Nickola Frye

One of the topics that I would love to have input from others is - "How are you assisting user who are still on dial-up or slow Internet connections?"  What tricks do you have for compressing modules, videos, etc. for rapid utilization by these students?

An additional topic could be - working with reluctant instructors.  Some of the materials that I am using come from instructors that have been giving a course for decades.  They know what they do, but they have difficulty understanding this new paradigm of instruction.  I frequently have to deal with the concept of - "Just take my PowerPoint and other materials and make it into an online course." "Don't you just provide the information to them like on a website?"  I am sure that this is a topic that many of us are trying to work around.

Frederick Matzen

Nickola Frye said:

One of the topics that I would love to have input from others is - "How are you assisting user who are still on dial-up or slow Internet connections?"  What tricks do you have for compressing modules, videos, etc. for rapid utilization by these students?

An additional topic could be - working with reluctant instructors.  Some of the materials that I am using come from instructors that have been giving a course for decades.  They know what they do, but they have difficulty understanding this new paradigm of instruction.  I frequently have to deal with the concept of - "Just take my PowerPoint and other materials and make it into an online course." "Don't you just provide the information to them like on a website?"  I am sure that this is a topic that many of us are trying to work around.


Since we are an online only college, we train our faculty to work and teach in an online environment. New faculty don't always have this experience. But since our faculty does not BUILD the courses we don't have the one issues you describe.

But the world is changing quickly and if they don't move forward in their thinking, they will be left behind and looking for work. More and more education is moving online and even to mobile devices. If you can't keep up then your career will be minimized. It's not choice, it's a fact.

Art Sederquist

Here's a great book published under Creative Commons that I think the group will appreciate.  The book offers a series of case studies dealing "with the design of distance eduation at an emerging dual-mode university ... offering both on-campus and online courses."

The book was written from the point of view of an instructional designer working alongside ten univeristy faculty members dealing with preparing them and their instruction for use online.

A Designer’s Log

Case Studies in Instructional Design

Michael Power, 2007

http://www.aupress.ca/books/120161/ebook/99Z_Power_2009-Designers_Log.pdf

Also, be sure to explore the appendices; Appendix C, in particular, provides examples of teaching activities used in distance education and online learning. 

Donna Carter

Robin Weber said:

I am excited that you are starting a higher education discussion! I am a technology coordinator in one college and an adjunct instructor at another. I am having trouble getting faculty in the one college to break away from boring online learning and cannot get approval to use Articulate or any other diversified technology inside of Blackboard in the other. It has been very frustrating for me as I have seen and practiced creating all the cool ideas that I find on eLearning Heroes. The folks that I work with seem stuck on boring PPTs, uninteresting videos and formats that have remained static for several years. I would love to be able to use what I have learned to make our offerings more interactive and exciting, but whatever I create never gets used. I cannot advance in my ID skills by using all the great programs that are out there because my colleges won't buy into the technology. From what I have read here, it seems that other colleges are using rapid authoring tools. Is anyone else have the same problems that I am ? Any advice that is out there would be most appreciated! 

On another note, I have done some reading about the Quality Matters program. I know that the University of Northern Colorado uses this program and they seem to be doing a fantastic job in their instructional design and curriculum design. 


Robin

You mentioned your inability to advance in your ID skills  because you don't get to use your skills on the job.  An excellent way to use all of the great ideas you have, and do some good for others, is to volunteer.  I have volunteered for the last several years in the Global Giveback, and you might want to check it out. jderies@e-learningforkids.org also uses volunteers for their development.  Good luck, and I hope this helps.

Donna Carter

Art Sederquist said:

Here's a great book published under Creative Commons that I think the group will appreciate.  The book offers a series of case studies dealing "with the design of distance eduation at an emerging dual-mode university ... offering both on-campus and online courses."


The book was written from the point of view of an instructional designer working alongside ten univeristy faculty members dealing with preparing them and their instruction for use online.

A Designer’s Log

Case Studies in Instructional Design

Michael Power, 2007

http://www.aupress.ca/books/120161/ebook/99Z_Power_2009-Designers_Log.pdf

Also, be sure to explore the appendices; Appendix C, in particular, provides examples of teaching activities used in distance education and online learning. 


This is a great resource Mike.  Thanks for sharing.
Rebekah Brown

Art Sederquist said:

Here's a great book published under Creative Commons that I think the group will appreciate.  The book offers a series of case studies dealing "with the design of distance eduation at an emerging dual-mode university ... offering both on-campus and online courses."


The book was written from the point of view of an instructional designer working alongside ten univeristy faculty members dealing with preparing them and their instruction for use online.

A Designer’s Log

Case Studies in Instructional Design

Michael Power, 2007

http://www.aupress.ca/books/120161/ebook/99Z_Power_2009-Designers_Log.pdf

Also, be sure to explore the appendices; Appendix C, in particular, provides examples of teaching activities used in distance education and online learning. 



Thanks so much for sharing that book - much appreciated. I'm looking forward to reading and learning.

Michelle Leon

Robin Weber said:

I am excited that you are starting a higher education discussion! I am a technology coordinator in one college and an adjunct instructor at another. I am having trouble getting faculty in the one college to break away from boring online learning and cannot get approval to use Articulate or any other diversified technology inside of Blackboard in the other. It has been very frustrating for me as I have seen and practiced creating all the cool ideas that I find on eLearning Heroes. The folks that I work with seem stuck on boring PPTs, uninteresting videos and formats that have remained static for several years. I would love to be able to use what I have learned to make our offerings more interactive and exciting, but whatever I create never gets used. I cannot advance in my ID skills by using all the great programs that are out there because my colleges won't buy into the technology. From what I have read here, it seems that other colleges are using rapid authoring tools. Is anyone else have the same problems that I am ? Any advice that is out there would be most appreciated! 

On another note, I have done some reading about the Quality Matters program. I know that the University of Northern Colorado uses this program and they seem to be doing a fantastic job in their instructional design and curriculum design. 


Hi Robin, there are two things that I suggest:

1. Use Articulate's free trial and create something cool to sell use of the program to your desired audience.

2. There are some cool things you can do with PowerPoint using hyperlinks. I have been able to create some cool scenarios without even using Articulate. You can create what looks like buttons and hyperlink them to the corresponding slide.

A very brief example:

Slide 1: Suppose you are a teacher and a student cheats. How do you address it?

Option A: Scold them in front of the class. (Clicking on this choice takes them to a slide that gives feedback if they chose this)

Option B: Address them privately (Clicking on this choice takes them to a slide that gives feedback if they chose this)

Option C: Don't do anything. (Clicking on this choice takes them to a slide that gives feedback if they chose this)

I think the issue isn't just using PowerPoint, the issue is usually PRESENTATION of information, getting students to think instead of just spoon-feeding them via "boring" informational slides.

Adebare Showemmo

Hi Folks,

          Just check the content of the  book,

A Designer’s Log

Case Studies in Instructional Design

Michael Power, 2007

http://www.aupress.ca/books/120161/ebook/99Z_Power_2009-Designers_Log.pdf

It seem great. I will do a little summary of the book when I finished reading it.

Frederick Matzen

Katrina Garbiel said:

How can you go about convincing faculty, provosts, etc that elearning is the furture?  Any suggestions?


You could use the the CSU-GLOBAL campus as an example (where I work). We have been in existence for roughly 4 years, starting from scratch, and have risen from obscurity to a fully accredited higher ed. institution in that time. We ONLY offer online learning and are growing exponentially every year. If that doesn't help convince your people then I don't know what will. Well, maybe I don't want you to. Less competition that way

www.csuglobal.edu