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

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 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

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.

Easy

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.

The Instructional Technology SIG of the American Educational Research Association is pleased to extend the deadline for our awards submissions. So, you’ve still got time to submit an application for one of the AERA SIG IT awards, including: Best Paper Award, Early Career Award, and Best Student Paper Award.

The deadline has been extended to **Jan. 24.** Please consider submitting!

You can read the complete submission details at https://sites.google.com/site/aera2014sigtitawards/

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

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

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

AECT Research and Theory Division logo

As president of the Research and Theory Division (RTD) of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT), I wanted to let you know about an awesome opportunity to hear from an IDT god.  Dr. David Merrill is Professor Emeritus at Utah State University, and he is a renowned scholar, creating the First Principles for Instruction (here’s a link from Dr. Merrill’s site on the First Principles!).

Dr. Merrill will be presenting a brief webinar to launch our RTD Series of Professional Development.  It is sure to be provocative. Here’s the details and you do have to register beforehand.

Presenter:
Dr. David Merrill
Instructional Effectiveness Consultant & Professor Emeritus at Utah State University

Date/Time:
October 17, 2013 at 1:30 P.M. (EDT)

Registration Link:
https://cc.readytalk.com/r/wmg0r8xig6wl&eom

Topic:
My Hopes for the Future of Instructional Technology

Abstract:
This short paper presents reasons for three hopes for the future.  First, it is time to move the training of instructional designers to the undergraduate level.  Second, I hope that graduate programs in instructional technology will emphasize both the science of instruction — including theory development and research, and the technology of instruction– including using principles, models and theories derived from research as a foundation for designing instructional design tools that can be used to design instruction that is more effective, efficient and engaging. Third, it is time to restructure our master’s programs to prepare our students to manage designers-by-assignment (DBA) and to prepare them in designing instructional design tools that would enable DBA to produce more effective, efficient and engaging instructional materials.