What's your superpower?

I would like to encourage all current students and alumni to consider nominating an IDT faculty member for the UofM Distinguished Teaching Award. This is a very prestigious honor for a faculty member, and I believe that IDT houses some of the best teachers in the university.  Here’s the info:

Again this year The University of Memphis will honor outstanding professors with the presentation of the Distinguished Teaching Award, which is funded and sponsored by The University of Memphis Alumni Association.  For faculty members to win the award they must receive nominations from other faculty, alumni, and students. The awards will be presented at the Spring 2013 Faculty Convocation.

Members of the Distinguished Teaching Award Committee earnestly solicit your nominations of colleagues deserving of the award, so that meritorious faculty can be recognized and rewarded. Please take the time to submit your nomination at the link below:

http://www.memphis.edu/dta_faculty (for faculty to nominate)

For the nominations to be considered valid, nominators must briefly provide their reasons for nominating the individual in the space provided on the on-line nomination form.

The nomination deadline is Monday, November 19. If you have questions, please contact:

Dr. Melinda Jones, ext. 2690

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Venspired.com (@ktvee) via Compfight

This comes via Razorianfly.com. Note, it is for both Mac and PC!

DVD converter software specialists Digiarty got in touch this afternoon to let us know that their MacX iPhone DVD converter software is now available for FREE, through October 8.

Available for both Mac and PC, and usually priced at $39.95, the software allows users to backup and “rip” the latest copy-protected DVD movies, and then transfer these DVD files for playing on iPhone 5, iPad or iPod.

via Mac X DVD Converter Software, Now FREE! – (Ends October 8) ‹ RazorianFly.

Looking for some great (free!) icons to use in your presentations or blog posts?  Try these:

  1. From Web Designer Depot’s Newsletter: Try Sosa, an icon font. (I just downloaded it.)
  2. From Designrfix, their recent blog post has 45 different icon sets for you.  I particularly like:
  3. Tom Kuhlmann over at the Articulate Rapid eLearning blog has a great post and links for handwriting-looking graphics and fonts.  I just used some of these in an elearning module for my online course.
  4. Looking for more icons and icon sets? Here are some previous blog posts.
    1. Icon sets. I have just 4 words for you: Fab-u-lous and free.
    2. Icons I love. Fur and feathers.
    3. More icon love. Company’s coming.
    4. Clipart objects. Cool and free. Just the way I like it.

Which ones do you like? Which ones are you downloading?  (I admit I’m a little addicted to icons and icon sets.  They help me create a theme and communicate a message.)

This announcement is from the AECT Graduate Student Assembly. It’s a great opportunity to hear from a leader in our field.

The AECT Graduate Student Assembly, in partnership with the Design & Development Division, presents a webinar:

My Top 10 Book Picks for the Compleat Instructional Designer from Outside the ID World
with Dr. Andrew Gibbons

Any field of scholarship draws energy from the ideas of other fields. This is especially true in an integrative field like Instructional Design, which combines technical concepts with abstract properties into interactions and environments that attract, engage, and promote growth and change. We can keep the field fresh and avoid becoming insular if we are constantly searching the literature of other fields, searching for inspiration and probing the boundaries of the environment in which we practice.

Where should we read? Pick up the course catalogue from any university and you will find some relevance in every college, every department, and every program. English? Who writes our instructional words? Art? Who creates our visual experiences? Theater? Who imbues our products with drama and the ability to engage? Physics? Who balances natural energies and forces to reach desired states? Religion? Who can help us understand awe? Architecture? Who can help us combine awe with structural integrity? Philosophy? Who can increase the underlying coherence and unity of our designs? Engineering? Who designs for a reliable, safe habitat?

We can’t apply theories and principles from other fields directly, but learning from them can help us frame our own theories and principles, and these will  enjoy the fruits of decades, sometimes centuries, of learned conversation. Our field is new, and it deals with innovation that proceeds at hummingbird pace, but humans remain humans, and serving them is the concern of our field.

The webinar will take place on October 5th, 2012 at 12:00 EDT
Register and Login at https://cc.readytalk.com/r/okyo2v4w2e6

This webinar will also be streamed on AECT’s GSA website. For any questions contact AECT GSA representative for the Design & Development Division, Colin Gray at comgray@indiana.edu.

Although you're far...As we approach the beginning of the semester and many schools in the south are beginning the school year, I was reminded of this blog post I found a few years ago.  Dr. Bill Taylor, a Professor of Political Science at Oakton Community College, wrote a letter to his students regarding academic integrity.  I, again, think this is an excellent direction.  I am considering crafting a letter like this for my online course I am teaching this semester.  In fact, I may create a video or audio narrated version of this, so that I can convey my personality with this letter and expectations for high quality, professionalism, and integrity with every learning activity we do.

What do you think?

Add you thoughts here or on the original post with the slew of other comments!

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Aphrodite via Compfight

There are 2 choices

Apparently, there has been a little confusion as of late as to the periodic table of elements, and looks as though I contributed to the confusion, too. (Sorry for that.)  There are 2 periodic tables of elements that have been QR coded. (I just made that into a verb/gerund, I think.)  There is one that links to videos.  That’s this one housed in Flickr and links to YouTube video:

And there is the one that links to audio files.  That’s this one:

The audio one is the one that was recently published in the Journal of Chemical Education. Bravo!


I inadvertently mixed these up in a blog post.  I thought the video one is the one that was published in the Journal of Chemical Education, but I was wrong.  It was the audio one. Oops!  My apologies to everyone.  Both are great, though.  So, depending on just how you wan to share the information on mobile devices and laptops, both are great options.

I hope you’ll give them both a try, and if you do, please let me know how it goes.

Barnes & Noble is again offering their Summer Reading Program for children, where kids read any 8 books to earn a free book.  One of our daughters has done this in the past, and it’s really easy to do.  I suspect we will do this for two this summer.  Just use the Reading Journal to record any 8 books and you can take it in to any store to select from their list.

I would really love to see Barnes & Noble begin to add ebooks or digital books to the choices for Nook, but I haven’t see that yet.  I think this would be a great way to link their Nook and ebook choices to the reading program.  Maybe they’ll see this post and consider creating a special gift card/code that would allow this to happen.

via Summer Reading – Barnes & Noble.

Last weekend, while I was giving a quick workshop on document design for our graduate students, I had a student mention to me afterward, “I bet you could tell me what a font is.” I probably could.  Have you ever been reading something on paper, online, or on screen, and you wondered what’s that font they used?  I have. It happens kind of regularly actually. I love fonts! I worked as a typographer’s assistant when I was in high school. So fonts, I’m pretty sure, have indelibly leeched into my blood. (I was also a print major, and I know ink is in there, too.)  From my favorite digital magazine Zite, I came across a great little mobile tool called WhatTheFont. Another example of “How could I not know about this?”

How it works

With the app (available for both iOS and Android), you just take a quick snapshot of a font that you would like to identify and upload it to MyFonts.com directory. I used my iPad2 and took a picture off of my laptop screen. After the image is uploaded, the letters are parsed and the app asks you to identify if it has correctly recognized the letters.

For example, in the picture above, is the picture of a I actually a “I”? If it has incorrectly identified a letter, you can correct it. In my test, I did have to correct a lowercase l to a lowercase i. The app then provides you with the most probable results (see the image below), and you can find out more about the font after that, such as the owner and license.

WhatTheFont til iPhone

WhatTheFont (Photo credit: mikkelmarius)


I don’t see myself using this font every day or even once a week, but I do believe that as I’m reading or reviewing a project I might use it to see what font another designer used.This would certainly help me as I’m considering mood or emotions that fonts convey — before I even have to evoke that mood or emotion.  Technically, I think it would also help me when I’ve discovered a font that is quite legible on screen or at a small point size or even pairs well with another font.

I do wish there was a way for me to rate the fonts I’m scanning/identifying and then keep my own collection, such as in Evernote.  I think would help me begin to see the fonts I like and would like to use in the future.

It’s fun! I hope you give it a try.


Image representing Ipadio as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

As teaching and learning with mobile devices, such as cellphones and camera phones, continues to grow, the ways we can use these devices also continues to evolve.  For example, phonecasting and phlogging are two ways to use “low-tech” options for integrating cellphones into classrooms. Both of these methods allow use to make use of lowest common-denominator options for many students.

Phonecasting & Phlogging

Phonecasting is a method of podcasting with a cellphone. This is an easy way to record audio without having to use computer software to do it.  For example, students call into a system, and the system records the audio.  The system may automatically post the audio to website or email the audio file to you.

Phlogging is very, very similar.  In fact, some folks may use the terms interchangeably.  Phlogging is short for phone + blogging. (And yes, blog is short for web log.)  With phlogging, you call into a number and the audio is recorded and automatically posted to the web, usually inside a blog.

Some Tools

Two tools that I really like for doing phonecasting and phlogging with are Google Voice and iPadio. The links are below.

Google Voice

Google Voice is a great way to phonecast.  It records the audio file into an mp3 file and emails that to you.  You can then upload that mp3 to a website or blog.  Google Voice also does an admirable job with transcribing the audio file for you as well. It has a way to do this flawlessly, though. Here’s an example of how Google Voice can be used in a classroom:



iPadio is a true phlogging system. It records the audio file into an mp3 file, and it automatically creates a web link to it for you. You don’t have to do the uploading.  In addition, iPadio will connect with another blogging system, such as Posterous, and autopost into your blog there. So, you can easily create a podcast system or make it play directly inside your web site. iPadio also has a mobile app if you’re interested in moving toward a smartphone use.

More resources

Wes Fryer has written about audio recording options, so I encourage you to take a look at some of his posts, too.

Image representing Livestrong as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

In the last couple of days, I’ve been moved by some thoughts about how teachers deal with tragedy from their students, such as when a child dies or is diagnosed with cancer.  Yesterday at the Cure4Kids Global Summit, I listened to Dr. Ruth Rechis, Director of Evaluation & Research at the Lance Armstrong Foundation (Livestrong), describe her research on the emotional experiences of school professionals working with students with cancer.  The presentation was powerful.  Today, through Edutopia, I was reading about the lessons learned from when a student dies. I really liked this teacher’s perspective on how we should treasure individuals, but it’s not easy.

Both of these presentations have caused me pause to reflect and think.  How do you deal with this professionally?  How do you deal with this personally?  How do you bridge these two personae when working with students. As Dr. Rechis mentioned, when she was trained as an elementary school teacher, she didn’t get any training about how to handle things like this.  I have to admit that I haven’t either—neither in secondary education training or in higher education training.

What are your thoughts? Have you had any professional development in this area? How have you handled this? Where does the support come from?  What’s the model?