Cengage Learning Computing Conference 2015

I’m proud to be presenting at the Cengage Learning Computing Conference in Phoenix, AZ, this week.  I have culled together a number of resources, recommendations, and best practices for designing and teaching blended, synchronous, and synchronous online courses, and so I’ve included those links below for the participants and my followers to have those all in one place.  I hope these are helpful, and I would really like to know if and how you use them. So please drop me a comment below or feel free to contact me on one of my social media streams.

Supporting Webpages & Resources Mentioned in the Slides

  1. Planning an Online Course
  2. Introductory Email to Online Students
  3. Introductory Pages for an Online Course
  4. Online Course Content Page Template
  5. Online Course Project Page Template
  6. Tips for Online Course Management
  7. Tips for Asynchronous Communications
  8. Tips for Synchronous Communications
  9. Assessment in Online Courses
  10. Building a Course Site with PBWorks

Presentation Slidedeck on Slideshare.net


Synchronous Class Meetings, In-Classroom & Flipped Classroom Slide Templates

An Exploration of Faculty Members’ Student-centeredness in the Field of Instructional Design & Technology

Dear instructional design & technology colleagues, friends, and students,

I’m Michael Grant, a faculty member at the University of South Carolina, and I am conducting a research study titled, “An Exploration of Faculty Members¹ Student-centeredness in the Field of Instructional Design & Technology.”  This study is for **both faculty members and graduate students** in instructional design and technology (e.g., educational technology; technology integration; learning, design & technology; learning sciences; etc.).

The purpose of this study is to describe the extent to which higher education faculty members in instructional design and technology employ student-centered teaching methods and how they define student-centered teaching.

This study will take approximately 20 minutes of your time. You will be asked to complete an online survey about the pedagogical practices you or your professors implement.

If you are interested in participating, please continue to this site https://pennstate.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_4HqTIF0N1ebzo8Z to read more details, give your consent to participate, and begin the survey.

If you have any specific questions about this study, please contact me at michaelmgrant [at] sc [dot] edu.

Thank you and I hope to work with you on this potentially beneficial study.

Take care,

:::: Michael M. Grant, Ph.D. ::::
Assistant Professor
Program Coordinator, Educational Technology
University of South Carolina

This study has been approved for exemption by the University of South Carolina Institutional Review Board (USC IRB). If you have questions, contact Arlene McWhorter at arlenem@sc.edu or (803) 777-7095.

TechTrends cover imageI’m excited to share about a new manuscript that was just accepted for publication.  “Teaching and learning with mobile computing devices: Case study in K-12 classrooms” was accepted by TechTrends today.  But what is special about this publication is that it was a collaboration among a doctoral course where we planned, conducted, analyzed, and wrote up the research.  In addition it was presented at AECT as a featured research presentation.  So, for many of my co-authors on this manuscript, this is their first academic publication.  Congratulations to the co-authors: Suha Tamim, Dorian Brown, Joe Sweeney, Fatima Ferguson, and Lakavious Jones!  I’ve share the abstract below:

While ownership of mobile computing devices, such as cellphones, smartphones, and tablet computers, has been rapid, the adoption of these devices in K-12 classrooms has been measured. Some schools and individual teachers have integrated mobile devices to support teaching and learning. The purpose of this qualitative research was to describe the early uses of mobile computing devices in these K-12 classrooms. With data from nine purposively selected teachers, participant descriptions were developed and five themes emerged that included (a) ownership and control impacted use of mobile computing devices; (b) administrators champion teachers’ uses of mobile computing devices especially for student accountability; (c) teachers use devices to enhance their curricula and as motivation for their students; (d) teachers receive and seek out relevant professional development; and (e) technical issues were common, but support was available. Implications of these themes are also considered.

If you would like to have a copy of the manuscript prior to publication, just let me know by email, and I will send one to you.

I wanted to give a quick shout-out to a doctoral student of mine, Dorian Brown.  She has been selected by our IDT faculty as the outstanding doctoral student for this year.  She will be presented with the award at our university’s annual honors assembly in April. If you happen to know Dorian, please give her a big round of applause!

Here’s the official announcement from Dr. Carmen Weaver:

Honors Assembly is an annual university event in which outstanding students from across the university are recognized for their accomplishments.  Each year, IDT honors one Master’s student and one doctoral student who have demonstrated an outstanding record in coursework, research, service, and the promotion of the IDT program.

This year’s recipients are doctoral student Dorian Brown and Master’s student Raina Burditt. The awards will be presented at Honors Assembly on Sunday, April 27, 2014. Please join us in congratulating these two remarkable students.

Thank you

I have awesome students.  It’s a simple truth.  I will admittedly get bogged down and discouraged along the road during a semester about what my students aren’t learning, aren’t accomplishing, or aren’t living up to, blah, blah, blah.  But there are times when I am poignantly reminded that my students are great and they are special and they are supportive of me and the work I do with their student colleagues.  (I know that sounds a little like the line from The Help: “You is good. You is kind…”) Yesterday was one of those times.

Last night as part of my capstone Masters project course, I invited a number of former students into our online class to offer up some perspectives and answer questions from the current students. Logan Caldwell, Dr. Joanne Gikas, Fair Josey, Jennifer Nelson, Dr. Suha Tamim, and Joey Weaver did an awesome job of sharing insights, experiences, and advice.  They highlighted the diversity in their experiences in the course, but there was also a real ‘shared experience.’ You could tell there was a camaraderie in their comments and how they related to one another.  I’m not sure if my current students picked up on it or not, but there was a tangible quality of we’ve-been-through-this-and-we-made-it-out-on-the-other-side-and-now-we-can-talk-about-it.

And I will admit that they did some things that I couldn’t do.  I could probably say the same things they did, but they wouldn’t mean as much. (In fact, I do think I say some of those same things.) But coming from these veterans, it has real street-cred.

So, a BIG THANK YOU to these folks.  You guys are awe-some!

And if you’re reading this and thinking, could I do that in one of my classes? I think you should try it.  Bringing back some former students and making time in class to have them offer some unique perspectives is a good thing to try.  Or if you’re already doing this, I’d love to hear more about it.  So, please share it in the comments.

AECT Research and Theory Division logo

I wanted to let everyone know (and please share this, too) that I will be hosting a short webinar for folks who are interested in finding out more about submitting a proposal to the Research & Theory Division of AECT.  This webinar is co-sponsored with the AECT Graduate Student Assembly!  The Research & Theory Division curates and promotes the most rigorous research throughout AECT, and we provide an outlet to discuss theory and research methodologies.

This short 30-minute presentation will focus on the four (4) proposal categories Research & Theory are considering as part of our call for proposals, and I will highlight some of the best advice for submitting a proposal.  I will also briefly discuss the new direction for featured research within AECT.  Opportunities to ask questions will certainly be included, and I will hang around for all of the questions.  Here are the details below.

Presenter:  Dr. Michael Grant, RTD Past President and Associate Professor in the Instructional Design & Technology program at the University of Memphis

Date/Time: January 30, 2014 at 1:30 P.M. (EDT)

Topic:  RTD Information Session—Submitting an AECT Conference Proposal to Research & Theory

Register: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/pqrqgeqjpe1f&eom

RTD Webinar Image

Shareshare 1percent

I received an email yesterday that I didn’t ever expect:  I was notified by Slideshare.net that my content on Slideshare is among the top 1% of most viewed on SlideShare in 2013. Wow! I continue to be surprised by how many folks have viewed and appreciate my slide decks and handouts that I have put up on Slideshare.

Supporting My Course

I started using Slideshare about 5 years ago when I decided to make one of my courses, IDT 7095/8095, open source as an open educational resource.  When I decided to go in that direction I tried to make sure that all of the slides and resources I used in the course were open, available, and as Creative Commons as I could make them.  As a result of this, one of my presentations on comparing instructional design models that I use in IDT 7095/8095 continues to be very well received.  It astounds me that this presentation has over 47,000 views and almost 2,000 downloads.  I decided to do the open course because I wanted this capstone course to have more of a community feel to it.  I wanted students to get the sense that our field and our course was part of a profession that they had access to.  While the course has gone through multiple iterations over the years, the OER component has remained a constant.

More Accessible

In addition to supporting my course, I’ve found that Slideshare.net has been a good place to house slide decks to make them more accessible to others.  This is particularly true of teacher professional development and higher education lectures that I’ve participated in.  I am able to share the Slideshare.net link (after I’ve shortened it with Bit.ly) directly in my presentation, so that participants can immediately access the slides if they want.  In only a couple of instances have I found that Slideshare.net has been blocked by a school, district, or university.  In one of the cases, the university was able to have it unblocked.


I’ve also found that Slideshare.net is an easy way to embed my presentations (when I want them freely available) into my blog or courses that are housed inside our university’s course management system.

Slideshare embed optionsI like that there are options for display sizes, so that the embedded slideshow player doesn’t take up too much room; options for display without related content when I don’t want students to go down another “rabbit hole”; and options for the convenience of a shortcode (code snippet) specific for WordPress blogs, which is what I use on Viral-Notebook.com.

PDF Uploads

I did find that I needed to make a change in my Slideshare.net workflow a few years ago.  Originally, I uploaded my slide decks as the original Powerpoint files, but I don’t do that anymore.  Instead, I now upload a PDF.  I made this change for a few reasons.

First, a few years ago, I discovered from the “Related Content” channel in Slideshare.net that one of my presentations had been used unexpectedly and in ways that I considered unethical.  While I do release my presentations in general as Creative Commons licensing, this presentation had been inserted wholesale into another presentation, the attribution to me had been stripped, and the original graphic design I had created had been used throughout the entire presentation.  While I was miffed, I decided I could figure out how to handle this.  I decided to go with PDFs to take care of the problem, and now, I use myself as an example to others on plagiarism, copyright, and Creative Commons.

Second, I also found that when I uploaded Powerpoint files directly into Slideshare.net my fonts did not always stay true.  This was also the case when I began using Adobe Connect a few years ago as well.  So, because I consider the graphic design of my presentations important, PDFs allowed me to control the font issue easily.

Finally and also as a result of using Slideshare.net and Adobe Connect, I found the Web 2.0, or presentations 2.0, style of slides made my Powerpoint files very large.  This caused problems inside Adobe Connect, including upload problems, upload stalls, and errors.  So, PDF-ing the files also made it easier to reduce the file size prior to upload into Slideshare.net and Connect.

How ’bout you?

Are you using Slideshare.net or another web service to host your slide decks, etc.  How’s that working for you? Or if you’ve used one of my presentations from Slideshare, I’d love to hear what you’ve done and how you’re using it. So, let me know in the comments.  I’d like to hear what your experiences have been.

an evening playing 'smartphone' pub quiz with the exeter twitterati!

I’m proud to announce that I will have a new book chapter coming out soon.  The most exciting part of this chapter was getting to work with my colleague Yu-Chang Hsu at Boise State University.  Yu-Chang and I were part of a panel discussion at AECT a couple of years ago, and our research interests overlapped.  We collaborated on this book chapter over the fall semester, and it took some real interesting turns as we tried to parse out and define personal learning environments, personal learning networks, and professional learning networks.  Here’s the title and abstract info.

Making Personal and Professional Learning Mobile: Blending Mobile Devices, Social Media, Social Networks, and Mobile Apps To Support PLEs, PLNs, & ProLNs


Mobile technologies have become an integrated, or inseparable, part of individuals’ daily lives for work, play, and learning. While social networking has been important and in practice in our society even before human civilization and certainly prior to the advent of computers, nowadays, the opportunities and venues of building a network are unprecedented. Currently, the opportunities and tools to build a network to support personal and professional learning are enabled by mobile technologies (e.g., mobile apps, devices, and services), web-based applications (e.g., Diigo and RSS readers), and social-networking applications and services (e.g., Facebook, Google+, and Twitter). The purpose of this chapter is to describe and propose how individuals use personal learning environments (PLEs), personal learning networks (PLNs), and professional learning networks (ProLNs) with mobile technologies and social networking tools to meet their daily learning needs. In our chapter, we consider categories of learning relevant to personal learning and professional learning, then we define and examine PLEs, PLNs, and ProLNs, suggesting how mobile devices and social software can be used within these. The specific strategies learners use within PLEs, PLNs, and ProLNs are then presented followed by cases that depict and exemplify these strategies within the categories of learning. Finally, implications for using mobile devices to support personal and professional learning are discussed.

Our chapter is part of a book titled, Mobile Devices: Technologies, Role in Social Media and Uses in Education and Students’ Perspectives. If you would like to have a preprint copy of the chapter, just let me know.  It’s still in production right now.

Image Creative Commons License Phil Campbell via Compfight

I just wanted to follow up on a notice I posted a few weeks ago about nominations for the Distinguished Teaching Award at the University of Memphis. The deadline is approaching, and I wanted to be sure and make you aware that this is a great opportunity to recognize the outstanding teaching, mentoring, and course design implemented by our IDT faculty. I hope you’ll consider nominating someone.

Do you have a professor at the U of M who is an exceptional teacher? The Distinguished Teaching Award Committee is soliciting nominations for awards recognizing faculty who are outstanding educators. Honorees are recognized at the annual Faculty Convocation held at the end of the spring semester.

Students and alumni can nominate a professor for the 2014 Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Award, which recognizes and encourages excellence in teaching.  Added weight will be given to faculty members who receive nominations from two or more sources (students, faculty, and alumni). A nominee’s total number of nominations may also be given added weight.

Students should use this link: http://www.memphis.edu/dta_student

Alumni should use this link:  http://umwa.memphis.edu/dta/alumninomination.php

Faculty can use this link: https://umwa.memphis.edu/dta/facultylogin.php

The nomination deadline is Friday, November 22, 2013. If you have questions please contact Dr. Melinda Jones, (901) 678-2690.

It is no secret that I am a fan of iSpring’s tools (particularly the free one!).  I regularly use them in my online courses to produce narrated Powerpoints that convert to Flash for embed into my course web pages. I’m hoping to find the funds to upgrade to the iSpring version that will also let me output to HTML5 for mobile devices, too.  I was able to beta test this version, and I found it pretty useful and successful.

On iSpring’s blog, they have a quick post about QR codes, which you guys also know I’m a fan of, so I thought I would share.  Here’s a quick snippet from the post, but I encourage you to follow the link to see their ideas for using QR codes.

QR codes have been around for a while. What seems clearly interesting is that process of consolidation of complex QR code initiatives seems to be occurring. Clear call to action QR codes, linking to edge to edge formatted information on your cell phone is gaining traction.

via Is the QR code on point or just a phase? | iSpring Blog.

To follow up on iSpring’s question, I do think QR codes are a phase.  The US is kind of late to the game on QR codes, and I believe they will be replaced soon with technologies like RFID and near-field communication (NFC).  However, the ease in which QR codes can be created and scanned is pretty unparalleled right now, and I don’t know the RFID or NFC can be produced quite so easily by teachers and university faculty members.

What’s your thoughts? Please share them in the comments. I would love to hear what you have to say.
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: katiemarinascott via Compfight