Tuesday, July 31, 2007

More on Visual Metaphors

In thinking about Alli's post on Visual Metaphors, I decided to see if I could find a few good examples to show. I have used metaphors in a few courses, including the theater for an Instructional Design course, "CSI" for a Resources course, and "Survivor" for an Educational Technology Course. I was not able to find too many examples online, and not too much research. Perhaps someone should do a study on this issue? :-)

I was able to locate these references:

Lee, J. & Hsu, Y. (2004). Visual Metaphor Interface and Cognitive Style: A study for On-line Learning. In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2004 (pp. 4478-4481). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

Guss, Sarah. Interface Metaphors and Web-Based Learning: Lecture Notes in Computer Science Springer Berlin / Heidelberg from Advances in Web-Based Learning - ICWL 2003

I could only locate a couple of examples:
Marketing Course as "peeling the orange:

Art Education and "tropical sunrise"

If I Write It, They Will Read It.

Numerous studies demonstrate that many students scan text online and read text offline. This means that your well crafted words may not be read on the computer screen. Most readers do not read an online page from start to finish. Here are some ways to write to expose your message:

  • Summarize main points in an executive summary format so these points appear at the start to the reading section.
  • Use lists and concise paragraphs
  • Write for scanning behavior
    -Use heading to organize related concepts
    -Set off important concepts and terminology with text styles
  • Create printable documents
    -Readers will print documents if they are comprehensive and contain sufficient detail.

Key Questions for Thinking about Your Distance course

  • What do I want the students to learn?
  • What is the best way for me to present content to enhance learning?
  • How do I create interaction – student-to-student, student-to-instructor, and student-to-content?
  • How will I assess that learning occurred?
  • How will I get feedback on the course for future improvements?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sewing up the Threads

You can enhance the readability of discussion boards by working with students to understand a bit more about skills that improve readability in this environment. Teach students to select pertinent information from the previous post. Failure to tie new posts into previous posts makes a discussion difficult to follow and may hide some of the content of the discussion due to readability issues.


There are certain characters that you should not use when naming files.

Do not use:
Ampersand &
Comma ,
Semicolon ;
Quotes “
Question Mark ?
Slashes / \\

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Visual Metaphor

As you put your course together, think about a metaphor that you can weave throughout the course. As an example, an English Literature instructor might choose to organize their course by chapters (like a book) while a Geography instructor might use a map as a metaphor. Use of a metaphor can connect the student to the content and provide some relief from organizational strategies that look and feel the same to the student.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Bloom’s Taxonomy (Revised)

Many instructors use Bloom’s Learning Taxonomy to guide instructional decisions. Anderson and Krathwohl (2001) revised the original taxonomy to include dimensions of knowledge and cognitive processes.

Go to http://coe.sdsu.edu/eet/Articles/bloomrev/ to learn more about how to use this revised taxonomy to revise learning objectives for your courses.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Idea for a Resources Menu Item

You might consider grouping all external resources and references into one section of your course. Within this section, organize the materials into topics. This allows you to place links to the topics in your course modules without cluttering the module. It also allows you to add new information, as it becomes available, without greatly altering your site navigation or content.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Calibrated Peer Review ™

The Calibrated Peer Review (CPR) program is a free Web-based program available at: http://cpr.molsci.ucla.edu/ . This program allows students to write about course topics without greatly increasing faculty workload. Students are trained on the peer-review process and are expected to provide feedback to classmates. Faculty members have access to all written assignments and can monitor progress.

Faculty members design a writing assignment on the site. Students compose a written response to the assignment. Students work through a tutorial on peer review and must score at a certain level on the calibration exercises. Successful students then review the work of classmates (authors and evaluators are anonymous). Instructors can see all submissions. Students then review their own assignment according to the same standards. Students and the instructor receive a performance report.

Read more about CPR at: http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI5002.pdf

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hello! My name is Heidi Ashbaugh, and I am one of the new Instructional Design Specialists. I'm excited to be working with everyone here at Distance Learning and Lifelong Learning. My assigned area will be the College of Health Sciences. Previously I worked at the TWU library for several years, and I also teach First-Year Composition as an adjunct instructor. I'm looking forward to learning more about the Quality Matters project, and the many other exciting things that are going on in Distance Learning.

TWU Cell 940-231-3673

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Greetings!! My name is Robin Bartoletti, and I am an Instructional Design Specialist in Lifelong Learning. I work with Keith, Alli, Heidi, and Tracey. I started in this position last Thursday. I have worked as an instructional designer for UNT, contract jobs, and for the Dallas Museum of Art. I will be working with the College of Nursing. To add quality to an online course - my mantra is keep it simple - simple design, simple instructions, simple navigation. Make it as easy as possible for the students so the fact that the course is online becomes a non-factor. I hope to get to know some of you (virtually) and to offer help and suggestions when wanted.Have agreat day!
Robin Bartoletti
TWU cell: 940-231-4956

Quality Matters Pilot Project

The Quality Matters™ (QM) project, sponsored by MarylandOnline, Inc. (MOL) developed a rubric to guide the development and revision of online courses and a peer-based approach to quality assurance in online education. The QM rubric and process are based on national standards of best practice for online learning, review of literature on online courses, and sound instructional design principles. Unique to the QM process is the faculty-driven, collegial review process and the emphasis on continuous quality improvement. The QM process is not an evaluation process; it is a collegial review process. As such, the course developer is a part of the review team and process.

Critical course components are reviewed according to the QM rubric by the review team. The QM rubric is comprised of 40 standards assigned different point values based upon relative importance. 14 of the standards are considered essential in a quality online course. This is reflected by the highest point value (3) in the rubric. For a course to attain recognition, it must meet all of these essential standards and meet a percentage of the remaining standards. The remaining standards are assigned one or two points in the rubric. Courses are reviewed by a team of three reviewers. Participants will also meet monthly with others in the project and staff from Lifelong Learning.

Year One (Spring 2007)
For the spring semester, ten faculty members will receive training on the QM™ rubric and process and become MOL certified reviewers. Each faculty member, using expertise within project participants and Lifelong Learning will redesign an existing online course. This redesign, limited to one semester, will focus on the essential categories outlined in the QM rubric. Using skills learned through the QM process, project participants will review these modified courses. Participants will provide data to Lifelong Learning about the application of this process to TWU.

Year Two (Fall 2007)
Year two of the project will add 25 faculty members. Faculty will receive training on the QM Rubric and become MOL certified reviewers. This phase of the project will run from September 2007 – August 2008. Faculty will redesign one course to meet all standards found in the QM rubric. Participants will also review another course, according to the QM review process.

Year Three (Fall 2008)
Year three of the project will add 35 faculty members. Faculty will receive training on the QM Rubric and become MOL certified reviewers. This phase of the project will run from September 2007 – August 2008. Faculty will redesign one course to meet all standards found in the QM rubric. Participants will also review another course, according to the QM review process.



Keith Restine
Manager, Instructional Design
Stoddard Hall, 306

Alli Peterson
Senior Instructional Design Specialist
Stoddard Hall, 306

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Web 2.0 and CMS

Mashing up the Once and Future CMS by Malcom Brown

This Educause Review discusses the possibilities of adding Web 2.0 technologies to existing course management systems to increase interactivity.

Read it here: http://www.educause.edu/apps/er/erm07/erm0725.asp


SpringWidgets http://www.springwidgets.com/ is an RSS Aggregator that can be downloaded to your desktop. As it becomes more mainstream, you should be able to click and add widgets to your desktop. It can be used in a website, on MySpace, and in numerous other places. The interface is simple and functional. From an educational perspective, instructors can easily keep up to date with multiple research journals, newspapers, or anything else with the magical letters RSS stamped on it, by simply glancing at their course homepage.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Handouts for Online Education

Lifelong Learning maintains a repository of brief papers to assist online educators. These papers are designed to briefly inform on theory and practical applications of online pedagogical principles. The intent is to allow online faculty to quickly gain information on a particular topic to inform course planning activities. Currently, the repository contains information on: Getting Started in Online Education (information on planning for your course and basic skills necessary to place materials within Blackboard), Promising Practices – Online Assessment (information on assessment within the online course), and Promising Practices – Online Teaching (information on teaching within the online course). The repository also contains faculty development presentations by Lifelong Learning.

The repository is located at: http://www.twu.edu/dl/faculty/handouts.htm

Monday, July 2, 2007

Learning as Science or Learning as Art?

The rhythm of loss of integration with environment and recovery of union not only persists in man, but becomes conscious with him; its conditions are material out of which he forms purposes. Emotion is the conscious sign of a break, actual or impending. The discord is the occasion that induces reflection. Desire for restoration of the union converts mere emotion into interest in objects as conditions of realization of harmony. With the realization, material of reflection is incorporated into objects as their meaning. Since the artist cares in a peculiar way for the phase of experience in which union is achieved, he does not shun moments of resistance and tension. He rather cultivates them, not for their own sake but because of their potentialities, bringing to living consciousness an experience that is unified and total. In contrast with the person whose purpose is esthetic, the scientific man is interested in problems, in situations wherein tension between the matter of observation and of thought is marked. Of course he cares for their resolution. But he does not rest in it; he passes on to another problem using an attained solution only as a stepping stone on which to set on foot further inquires.
(Dewey 1934 p. 15-16)