As part of the IDT Studio workplace experiences, our University of Memphis IDT graduate students collaborated with the Memphis Redbirds to redesign the curriculum materials that accompany their “Education Day.”  The original materials were created by the Akron Aeros and were redesigned and repurposed to align with Tennessee’s state standards and additional grade levels.

You can find out more about the “Education Day” curriculum materials at If you would like to know more about the how the materials were developed, check out

This curriculum guide provides materials to help educators “hit one out of the park” during Education Day with the Memphis Redbirds. The ideas and lesson plans included are offered as a guide for educators to create relevant educational experiences for Education Day participation.

via Education Day at Autozone Park – Home.

Last night was a fantastic evening for my students.  Their culminating professional presentations were well executed and demonstrated the excellence and quality in their work.  Just as a reminder, Project Showcase for IDT 7095/8095 students is focused on team-based project management and instructional design. I’m really proud of the work they’ve accomplished this semester.

Abstracts of their projects are below:

The purpose of Medication Safety is to develop an online instructional unit on how to prevent medical errors for all residents whose responsibilities include writing prescriptions.  All residents will be required to take and successfully pass the course. The unit was designed to provide hands-on, interactive training to reduce errors and resolve issues regarding medication and patient safety, abbreviations, route and routines, and look-alike and sound-alike drugs. A pretest and post-test will be administered for the unit.

Online Course Development Training for Faculty is being developed to meet the needs of University of Memphis faculty.  It will provide online training and resources for faculty who are developing or revising online courses.  The web-based instruction will demonstrate the appropriate configuration and development of an online course.  MP4 modules will be developed and hosted on the University’s PodCast Central repository.  Individualized modules will address the following aspects of building online courses:  course introduction, course organization, learner engagement, course communication, assessment and evaluation, and ethics.  Writing effective learning objectives and incorporating engaging learning strategies will be emphasized in the modules covering course organization and learner engagement respectively. The modules will be used to supplement the required face-to-face meetings between faculty and the online education coordinators.  For security and copyright purposes, access of the files will require a login and password.  To meet ADA compliance, closed caption will also be included.

Break out your lightsabers, astromech droids, and Correllian pirate lingo … From my favorite little digital magazine Zite, I received a great chuckle today from the folks over at Mindflash on How Star Wars Characters Could Have Benefited From Online Training.  I encourage you to pop over to their site to see the full image.  If you’re an elearning developer, instructional design, or online teacher, this should make you laugh.

I also really liked this article about how subway handrails were turned into lightsabers:

Next week, we have the awesome opportunity to “sit at the feet of the master.” On June 8th at 12:00 pm CDT, Professor Elizabeth Boling from Indiana University will be offering a free webinar on “What is Design?”.  Professor Boling is certainly one of my mentors, and she is especially focused in design. I continue to learn so much from Professor Boling, and I think you will too. This webinar is sponsored by the Association for Educational Communications & Technology Graduate Student Assembly and the Design & Development Division.

Here’s a short blurb about the session:

Design is a broad concept that holds different meanings for different people. Author and designer Victor Papanek (1985) defines design as “the conscious and intuitive effort to impose meaningful order” (p.4) This can mean that whether we are involved in instructional design, or in other endeavors in which something is to be created different than what existed before; “all that we do, almost all the time, is design, for design is basic to all human activity” (Papanek, 1985, pg. 4).

As an interactive multimedia designer, Elizabeth Boling, MFA, Associate Professor of Education and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies at Indiana University has published and presented widely on the topic of Instructional design as design endeavor and on the subject of teaching design. In this webinar, Professor Boling, fellow AECT instructional designers, and graduate students will discuss the concept and practice of design and the characteristics that instructional design shares broadly with other design enterprises. (Boling & Smith, 2010).


To register for the session, see

Last week at the Professors of Instructional Design & Technology (PIDT) meeting in Virginia, one of the sessions turned toward a conversation that was very similar to one I had at the American Educational Research Association last year in 2010. These are folks and their blogs who speak about instructional design regularly as community support and/or practitioners. So, I thought I would share some of the people and links to shared back then with folks.

Tom Kuhlmann at Articulate
Tom works for Articulate in their user community division.  He spends a lot of time writing posts about graphic, visual, and message design, particularly using Powerpoint (because Articulate is a plug-in to Powerpoint).  But he also writes some ridiculously practical posts on instructional design.  Some of my favorite posts are:

Cammy Bean & Kineo
Cammy Bean works at Kineo, a firm focused on design and development.  Cammy is the VP of Learning Design and writes posts at her own blog. In fact, the last post on Cammy’s blog is an interview with Tom Kuhlmann.  Small world.  Kineo, however, writes short elearning tips.  These gems are gold.  I sometimes disagree with their interpretations of some theories, but the posts are valuable.  Ones from Kineo and Cammy that I particularely like are:

The Learning Circuits Blog & Tony Karrer
Every month The Learning Circuits Blog hosted by Tony Karrer, CEO/CTO of TechEmpower, presents a “BIG Question” to the elearning community.  Practitioners, academics, and consultants alike offer up their interpretations and responses to the “BIG Question.  I’ve used the “BIG Question” in my own classes for students to consider their responses in comparison to others in the field. Some of the most interesting and favorite questions of mine:

<Insert Shameless Plug>Viral-Notebook
I thought I might insert a few of my students and my own posts that really garnered some interest and interesting view points as well.

Let me know if you follow any of these folks and whether there are others you would add to my list.

I hope you will join us for the IDT 7095/8095 Project Showcase on Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 6:00 pm in Ball Hall Room 320.  In the Project Showcase, each team will present a 20-minute overview of their project and product. This is a professional presentation, indicative of one to a school board, board of directors, senior executives, or at a professional conference.  The clients for this semester will include the University of Tennessee Health Science Center & Autozone, Inc.

Refreshments will be served, including Dr. Grant’s famous meatballs.

Image of instructional video

Image of instructional videoIncorporating video in your instruction can have its rewards and challenges.  When utilized properly, videos can assist the learning process.  According to Alessi & Trollip (2001), video is becoming popular in interactive multimedia.  You can create videos to demonstrate or model a procedure, interview an expert, provide visual activity, and present plays.  Videos can be appealing, entertaining, and promote higher order thinking skills (p. 72).  Additionally, instructional designers must think about the pedagogical and cognitive implications videos can have on the learners.

As part of my instructional design project this semester, my team, EdTech Solutions, is incorporating video into the web-based unit.  Not only are we utilizing video in this multimedia unit, we are filming the footage ourselves.  Through my experience creating the videos for our client, I want to share some information I have learned along the way that may be helpful to others who are thinking about creating video as part of their instruction.

1. Planning

I have found through my recent experience, planning is one of the most important parts of creating video for instruction.  It is vital to begin with a plan and not go in to a video shoot without an idea of what is going to occur and how it is going to happen.  You will end up spending a lot of time trying to decide what to do and waste valuable time for you and the client.  On the other side of planning, it is equally important to think about the learner.  Mayer and Moreno (2003) state multimedia learning (i.e. videos) can cause a cognitive overload.  This occurs when the learner’s cognitive processing goes beyond the learner’s cognitive capacity.  A few ways to prevent cognitive overload through videos are to avoid narration and on-screen text at the same time, segment pieces of the video, scaffold the instruction, and match the video’s narration with the images.

2. Storyboarding

Storyboarding is a must!  It helps instructional designers determine parts of the video, timing, and organizes (or chunks) pieces of the video.  Storyboarding is the blueprint that assists the instructional designer and informs the subject matter expert on the video details such as video layout, text, graphics, animation sequences and narration (Weingardt, 2004).  In essences, storyboarding allows designers to break down the story into manageable elements.  Storyboarding can be as simple as sketching the segments onto a piece of paper or putting your ideas in digital format.

3. The Process

Once you have a plan and know the details, the next thing to consider is the video process.    There are a lot of details that go into the process such as using a tripod, avoiding wide shots, refraining from panning in or out, and match the narration to the video.  Bell (2005) recommends arranging the set so that it is not cluttered, using proper lighting, and using an external microphone.  Alessi and Trollip (2001) also recommend using video in instruction for important information that would benefit through the use of video as well as keeping the video presentation short (p. 74).

Video is one of many components of multimedia learning and can have an impact on the learner when used effectively.  If you have experience or knowledge on creating video you would like to share, please post in the comment section.


Alessi, S.M. & Trollip, S.R. (2001). Multimedia for learning: Methods and development (3rd ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Bell, A. (2005). Creating digital video in your school.  Library Media Connection, 24(2), 54-56.

Mayer, R. & Moreno, R. (2003). Nine ways to reduce cognitive load in multimedia learning. Educational Psychologist, 38(1), 43-52.

Weingardt, K. (2004). The role of instructional design and technology in the dissemination of empirically supported, manual-based therapies.  Clinical Psychology, 11(3), 313-331.

Guest Blogger

Jennifer Nelson is a doctoral student of Instructional Design and Technology and the coordinator for school partnerships and clinical experiences at the University of Memphis. She has taught high school as well as undergraduate and graduate level courses. Her research interests include technology integration and teacher education.

Understanding and utilizing Subject Matter Experts (SME) is vital to the creation of online instruction.  SMEs are valuable informants for task analyses, and their experience can provide teams with the necessary domain knowledge to assist in the instructional process, as well as assemble and organize the content (Alessi & Trollip, 2001). Although the SME is not the enemy, they can be problematic if an instructional designer or project manager does not know how to utilize this very important team member to his or her full advantage.  According to Moller (1995), part of the ID’s role is to manage the work of the SME as part of the instructional design and development process.

Working with Subject Matter Experts (SME) can have its rewards and challenges.   While SMEs experiences will vary from higher education, military, or business settings (Keppell, 2001), it is necessary to have one on your team that will aid in a successful project. Often, the instructional designers main problem can be working with the SME to complete an instructional design project successfully (Ingram, Heitz, Reid, Walsh, & Wells, 2007).  In order to maximize your SME, it is important to follow these three simple tips.

1. Clear Expectations

Establish clear expectations and be upfront about deadlines and other important components to the project.  SMEs may enter a project with different knowledge and skills sets and can have different goals (Ingram, et al., 2007).  Communication is the key between the ID and SME.  Make sure when you meet with the SME you communicate your project needs and discuss the scope of the project during the first meeting.  Not involving the SME can cause him or her to have uncertain thoughts about the project and their role in the project that can result in a partnership plagued by frustration and lack of cooperation (Yancey, 2007). While it is important to talk about and establish clear expectations, it is just as important to be an active listener.

2. SME as Collaborator

Involve the SME from the beginning of the project.  Including the SME from the start will help identify the project scope and may assist with scope creep.  The SME can answer questions, address concerns, and brainstorm different types of learning activities that will help make the project successful.  Moller (1995) suggests making a good first impression is important for setting the tone for the project and helping the SME become personally invested from the beginning.

3. Respect the SME

Understand the SME has other responsibilities besides your project.  Although this may be top priority for an ID person, it doesn’t necessarily means the SME is on the same page.  To help assist with SME, be respectful of their time, have some background knowledge on the content, and provide assistance when needed.  Understanding your SME will establish a common ground between the ID and the SME and help the communication process (Yancey, 2007).

Following these simple tips can help you get on the right start with your SME.  Being proactive in managing and working with the SME can elevate a negative consequence and turn it into a positive asset (Moller, 1995).  If you have additional tips for maximizing your SME, I encourage you to post them in the comments section.


Alessi, S.M. & Trollip, S.R. (2001). Multimedia for learning: Methods and development (3rd ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Ingram, A., Heitz, K., Reid, C., Walsh, M., Wells, C. (1994). Working with subject matter experts. Performance & Instruction, 33(8), 17-22.

Keppell, M. (2001, June 22). Optimizing instructional designer—subject matter expert communication in the design and development of multimedia projects. Retrieved February 08, 2011 from Instructional Designer–Subject Matter Expert…-a078574812

Moller, L. (1995). Working with subject matter experts. TechTrends,40(6), 26-27.

Yancey, C. (1996). The abcs of working with smes. Performance & Instruction, 35(1), 6-9.

Guest Blogger

Jennifer Nelson is a doctoral student of Instructional Design and Technology and the coordinator for school partnerships and clinical experiences at the University of Memphis. She has taught high school as well as undergraduate and graduate level courses. Her research interests include technology integration and teacher education.

Image courtesy of Pete Prodoehl at

After reading Siemens’ “Questions I’m no Longer Asking,” I spent the next week pondering my own questions from the entrance of my instructional design and technology program. For example, walking into class the first night, I was looking for the girl named ADDIE. (Obviously, I didn’t find her.) Since then, I have found answers to these questions. A few of my relevant questions include the following.

  • What authoring tools should be used?
  • Are Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) necessary?
  • Is online learning effective?
  • Who Is ADDIE?

Authoring Tools

I use the appropriate tools for the learner, content, and system. “Authoring tools help bridge the gap between experts and learning technology” (Dempsey & Van Eck, 2007). There are many tools available to designers. If we are not careful, the content is lost and the tools are the focus. Nicole Fougere’s recent post about Interactive Learning is a good example of restricting tools usage. At this site, the learners experience the Apollo 11 trip using mainly Adobe Premiere Pro.

Cascading Style Sheets

Yes! I was dragged kicking and screaming because I do not think in code. Authoring using CSS is a more efficient method of content sharing than tables (Keller & Nussbaumer, 2009). After late nights of reworking multiple pages, I learned CSS was truly a friend. CSS example templates are located at speckyboy, and desizn tech.


When I hear this question, it is usually from someone reminiscing of “Oregon Trail.” Online learning is more than educational games or online courses. Educational games and online courses include evaluations to establish learning. According to Guftafson and Branch (2007), the evaluations are formative or summative. Online games offer feedback with or without the collection of responses. An interesting game for identifying body parts is Anatomy Arcade.


ADDIE is not a who – but an instructional design model. Analysis, Design, Development, Implement, and Evaluate is the process of the design model. The best way to describe it was through this humorous ADDIE video.

Now, I no longer look around the room for a girl named ADDIE! I have developed new questions which include the following.

  • What role will the LMS have?
  • What new tool is available? Will it add to my instruction?

What are some of your questions? What are your answers?


Dempsey, J., & Van Eck, R. (2007). Distributed learning and the field of instructional design. In R. Reiser, & J. Dempsey, Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology (p. 296). New Jersey: Pearson.

Gustafson, K., & Branch, R. (2007). What is Instructional Design? In R. Reiser, & J. Dempsey, Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology (p. 11). New Jersey: Pearson.

Keller, M., & Nussbaumer, M. (2009). Cascading style sheets: A novel approach towards productive styling with today’s standards. WWW 2009 Madrid! (pp. 1161-1162). Madrid: ACM.

Guest Blogger

Jamae Allred is a doctoral student at the University of Memphis. While attending courses, she is a graduate assistant for the early childhood department who teaches an undergraduate course. She is also employed part-time by International Paper as a content developer for the Environmental, Health, Safety, and Sustainability Group. She plans to continue working in the corporate environment before pursuing her goal of teaching at the university level.

Image Available at Creative Commons from CarbonNYC