Week 6: Internet Skills, html code and embedded Videos

By taking the internet skill test, I found that I had most of the right answers but I couldn’t remember the URL to find an old version of a current website…

It is always useful to know basic html commands, especially to identify how a website is coded, but in practice, an instructional designer has limited use of writing html code due to the existence of rapid e-learning tools that require no html knowledge.

HTML or not?

This title is written using the html code: “<h4>HTML or not?</h4>”

To embed a video

The description about how to embed a video to a WordPress.com blog was really good and useful!

I have included a video of Sir Ken Robinson, one of my favourite authors. He brings always bright and critic educational perspectives. But this time I did not include a video of one of his lectures, but an animation about changing education paradigms. In this video I included the code



Week 5: The Slippery Online Syllabus

Reading the various articles made me recognize the importance of the syllabus for my online course, as one author noted: “Your syllabus is one of THE most important documents you create for your class” (University of Minnesot’as Syllabus Tutorial).

Map from the Hobbit courtesy of Josh Calvetti (Creative Commons)

I found three reasons that highlight the importance of a syllabus:

  • The syllabus should provide a road map to guide students through the class.
  • The syllabus should use a conversational style so students are more aware of your presence in the course.
  • The syllabus should be a good way to communicate.

Some of the guidelines I consider really useful in my work with syllabus are:

From the University of Minnesot’as Syllabus Tutorial (thanks Jim!)

  • An effective syllabus conveys what the class will be like, what students will do and learn, as well as what they can expect of you.
  • It tacitly records and transmits your teaching philosophy.

3 aspects of an online syllabus to emphasize, from Teaching Online, Ko and Rossen.

  1. the contract: between students and the instructor (participation and grading criteria, student expectations,
  2. the map: course URL, used tools, assignments, document format, contact information, sequence of learning activities.
  3. the schedule: week organization (start, due day)

Some recommendations deepened too much in details, which could result in a very extensive syllabus. I think it is appropriate to build a model that best suits the particular course you are preparing. Each course syllabus may be slightly different.

Week 4: Pedagogy and Course Design II

"Why waste time learning, when ignorance is instantaneous?"
“Why waste time learning, when ignorance is instantaneous?








Continuing with the reading of Ko and Rossen, Chapter 3: Course Design and Development, pp. 63-end, I found really attractive goodies:

The Table 3.2 is a useful template when you are in the middle of the course organization chaos. So I tried to apply this template to a course session related to Concept Maps. This is the result:

Some considerations that seemed particularly relevant are referred to Assessment:

  • Consider a good proportion of questions from different sources: lectures, readings, in-class activities.
  • The use of different methods of evaluation (quizzes, essays, discussion participation)
Online class tours

The sequence of courses shows different methods and structures. This expresses different personal points of view and a particular vision of the builder, but also the influence of the course subject and the student’s experience in the use of the technology. This represent a varied gallery of courses.

In building a course I should consider a weekly proposal, like the weekly design presented by Lisa in one of the tutorials.


Week 3: Pedagogy and Course Design

Sharing Creative Works: ccNL Translation
CC Netherlands translation

A really good chapter of Ko and Rossen, Teaching Online Guide. The third chapter offer good proposals and practical tips related with the design and development of a course. The examples describe valid contexts although in my case I missed some examples connected to the training of teachers in the “transition-process” from the traditional face-to-face to a blended or totally online architecture.

The topic about the “Initial Steps in Course Design and Development” can be connected to Lisa’s tutorial” Where the Hell Do I Start?”-sections: “Pedagogical Design” and “Design Elements”. The explanation looks clear and logical. The difficulties start when you try to apply the worksheets to your practical course content. It’s really a good exercise!

Looking back to Ko and Rossen’s third chapter, I personally found a good set of tips to help to convert and organize the materials and avoid a mechanical conversion. The book point to 3 elements in the conversion or creation of an online course: Analysis, Course Goals and Learning Objectives and Design.

1. Analysis

I liked the structured questions to link between the course and the context:

  • Target group
  • Delivered online content
  • Student Internet access
  • Instructional Design support
  • Available tools

2. Course Goals and Learning Objectives

It is important is to identify the differences between Course Goals and Learning Objectives. A thing is now clear for me: it is easier to express goals that Learning Objectives. Personally I have used Bloom’s Taxonomy on several occasions in curriculum redesign projects. For this reason I found particularly important the following book references:

3. Course Design

I found useful the checklist of questions to ask yourself so you do not forget anything!

Regarding a blended course I’m designing, in which the guiding force is the syllabus and a weekly timeline; I identify the following pedagogical goals and objectives:

Pedagogical goals
  • Recognize the effects of ICT in educational innovation.
  • Identify the differences between face-to-face and online teaching.
Learning Outcomes
  • Recognize new forms of online assessment. (Remember)
  • Install and update a free software application (Application).
  • Locate an area of your specialty (Analysis)

The tutorials show me orientations and tips that help me to put these objectives in practice:

  • In the Pedagogical Design Tutorial: about the importance to identify the Guiding Force (The syllabus, Textbook, Learning Outcomes, etc.)
  • The Design Elements Tutorial is a good help to a possible organization sketch.
  • The Examples of Design, shows good examples, although I have more experience in the weekly course design (one-column) inside a Learning Management System.

Unmasking Learning Myths

Adapted from “Busting Learning Myths”; By Karl M. Kapp; Bloomsburg University, 2012 and Slideshare http://goo.gl/BywCO

1. When teaching a process, you should…

  1. First: teach system components
  2. Second: Teaching the full process

Teach each component individually, and then the learner is prepared to assimilate the stages of the entire process. Otherwise you risk overloading the learner’s memory by presenting everything all at once.

Clark, R., Nguyen, F. & Sweller, J. (2006) Efficiency in Learning: Evidence-Based Guidelines to Manage Cognitive Load. New York: Pfeiffer. Pg. 162-165.

2. An animation is always more effective for learning than a series of static images

A number of studies have failed to find that animations are more effective than a series of static frames depicting the same material.

Why? Learners have to mentally animate content in still graphics. Learners control pace and speed of information presented. Memory is not overloaded by rich detail and transitory nature of presentation.

Clark, R., Mayer, R. (2011) E-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning. New York: Pfeiffer. Pg. 84-86.
  • Research is focused on Conceptual Information, understanding of processes like mechanism of action.
  • Animations work well when showing hands on procedures and transformational changes such as an animated demonstration of a computer procedure.
Clark, R., Mayer, R. (2011) E-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning. New York: Pfeiffer. Pg. 84-86.

3. The tone of e-learning should be Formal or Informal?

Informal and conversational

In 5 out of 5 studies, learners who learned with conversational text performed better on subsequent transfer tests than students who learned with formal text. Fact Learners produced between 20 to 46 percent more solutions to transfer problems than the formal group.

Clark, R., Mayer, R. (2011) E-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning. New York: Pfeiffer. Pg. 184-185.

An example:

Formal: This program is about what type of bacteria can survive on different types of surfaces when preparing food. For each type of bacteria a solution will be described. The goal is to learn which conditions allow bacteria to survive on what surface. Some hints are provided throughout the program.

Informal: You are about to learn about different types of bacteria and how they can survive on different types of surfaces when preparing food. For each type of bacteria a solution will be described to you. Your goal is to learn which conditions allow bacteria to survive on what surface. I will be guiding you by giving hints.

4. An on-screen character is distracting to the learner and does not facilitate learning as well as simple text

On transfer tests involving different word problems, the group who had a character generated 30% more correct answers than the group with on-screen text. Animated pedagogical agents (characters) can be aids to learning. A “realistic” character did not facilitate learning any better than a “cartoon-like” character.

Clark, R., Mayer, R. (2011) E-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning. New York: Pfeiffer. Pg. 194.

5. Two avatars are better than one

Motivator, Mentor, Expert

Two avatars are better than one.

Baylor, A. L. & Kim, Y. (2005). Simulating instructional roles through pedagogical agents. International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education, 15(1), 95-115.

6. When a graphic is the focus of instruction, words should be presented as text on screen rather than spoken

Learners may experience an overload of their visual/ pictorial channel when they must simultaneously process graphics and the printed words that refer to them. When visuals are relatively complex, using audio allows the learner to focus on the visual while listening to the explanation.

Clark, R., Mayer, R. (2011) E-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning. New York: Pfeiffer. Pg. 117.

7. Learners remember facts better, when presented as bulleted list rather than presented as a story

Researchers have found that the human brain has a natural affinity for narrative construction.

People tend to remember facts more accurately if they encounter them in a story rather than in a list.
And they rate legal arguments as more convincing when built into narrative tales rather than on legal precedent.

Carey, B. (2007) this is Your Life (and How You Tell it). The New York Times. Melanie Green http://www.unc.edu/~mcgreen/research.html

8. One way to engage learners is to present them with a difficult challenge

Jones, B., Valdez, G., Norakowski, J., & Rasmussen, C. (1994). Designing learning and technology for educational reform. North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. [Online]. Available: http://www.ncrtec.org/capacity/profile/profwww.htm and Schlechty, P. C. (1997). Inventing better schools: An action plan for educational reform. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass

Re-design the Instruction to Start with a Challenge

Example: Investigatory Training

Course Objectives
– Identify the Forms Required for an Investigation
– Practice Interview Techniques
– Understand and Follow the Investigation Model

9. Games are effective tools for learning because they provide interactivity to the learner and force cognitive processing

  • It wasn’t the game; it was the level of interactivity within the game.
  • In other words, the engagement of the learner in the game leads to the learning.
Sitzmann, T. (2011) A meta-analytic examination of the instructional effectiveness of computer-based simulation games. Personnel Psychology .Review of 65 studies

10. Games can influence people to behave in a pro-social manner

Greitemeyer, T. & Osswald, S. (2010) Effective of Pro social games on pro social behaviour. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Vol. 98 . No. 2., 211-221.

Three Elements of Games that Aid Learning

1. Characters
2. Story
3. Challenges


Craft instruction to provide opportunities to increase engagement and interactivity to increase learning.

  • Teach system components before teaching the entire process.
  • Animations are not always the best tool for teaching concepts. Static images tend to work better.
  • Tone of e-learning should be conversational.
  • On screen characters can enhance e-learning.
  • Two on screen characters (mentor and expert) are better than one.
  • When a graphic is the focus of instruction words should be spoken rather than presented as text.
  • Use stories rather than bulleted lists to present facts.
  • Present learners with a difficult challenge to engage and motivate them.
  • Games can influence people to behave in a pro-social manner.

… still talking about Syllabus…

教學大綱 (Syllabus)


After week 5, I kept thinking of the syllabus, not only as a descriptive document,
but as a tool to support students in their educational adventure.

A syllabus for courses with an online component (fully online or blended) should be more flexible than the syllabus for traditional face-to-face classes, allowing students by more space for exploration.

The principles remain the same in any syllabus:

  • Specify objectives and outcomes
  • Selection of content and reading material
  • Establish a topic-driven course outline (often weekly)

I think every teacher should feel comfortable with their own proposed syllabus, which incorporates a “personal feeling”-syllabus and the way they communicate with students.

I collected the ideas and proposals of the Susan Ko and Steve Rossen’s book and suggestions for other books and the web, for this draft (described at the end of the table). Your input and views are welcome!

The draft proposal is attached as an Excel file (WordPress does not accept the Open Office .ods extension) OnlineBlendedSyllabus

My conclusions for Week 5: The Online Syllabus

These are my conclusions from reading the Ko and Rossen, Chapter 5: Creating an Effective Online Syllabus.

Some suggestions are obvious, but probably necessary to avoid the traditional static syllabus that no student read. Most of the syllabus that I have met are created to meet institutional standards and serve as a reference to the teacher to structure their content, but are quickly forgotten and almost never updated.

For this reason I think the discussion on the syllabus serves two objectives:

  • As a reflection of course content (the reading gives a clear idea of ​​the course, expectations, requirements and methodology).
  • As a practical guide for the student.

I found particularly important the proposed “perspective” of the three Aspects emphasizing:

  1. The Contract (class participation, grading criteria, student expectations)
  2. The Map, or the diagram to connect the learning outcomes with the course materials and the assessment used in the course.
  3. The Schedule

This is ok for courses that follow a sequential path.

But… which model to use if the course is essentially constructivist?, such as:

  • Oriented to create search skills, critical analysis and construction of content (ie with little or no reference material)?. Naturally, a syllabus is necessary not to display the sequence of content, but to describe the sequence of topics for discussion and research expressed, for example, in forums.
  • Project-based course which evaluates students learning outcomes including problem solving, collaboration, application of Knowledge, analysis and synthesis. In that case, the syllabus is more based on a portfolio.

I found particularly interesting the “Checklist for Online Syllabus” and clear the separate proposal for the online respective blended course syllabus.

The recording of Lisa and Jim gave me good advice to implement a Blackboard course based on a perspective of an Interactive Syllabus, easier to implement in Moodle.

The week 4 of the Pedagogy First! course

This week the reading of the Chapter 3: Course Design and Development, starts with the presentation of two different approaches regarding the conversion of the course content to an online shape. The cases described are similar in general term to real situations in several educational institutions.

The proposal of the authors is an excellent starting point for any analysis. I think I recognize these situations: you’re in front of course content represented by text documents, diagrams, pictures, presentations, videos, quizzes, homework and other materials traditionally used in the face-to-face sessions, and you have difficult to find a starting point and a way forward to transform it into an online or blended course.

I personally found good tips to help organize a project of transformation to avoid a mechanical conversion of the materials in online content.

No wonder that many times instead of transforming each material individually, the recommended option is a radical proposal associated with a new instructional design that considers the context in which this course will be located, as expressed in the 5 points described on page 53:

  1. Target group
  2. Delivered online content
  3. Student Internet access
  4. Instructional Design support available
  5. Available tools

The Difference between goals and objectives

  • Goals are broad objectives are narrow.
  • Goals are general intentions; objectives are precise.
  • Goals can be known; objectives can be demonstrated.

What may seem like an intellectual lucubration expresses a common reality: it is easier to express goals that Learning Objectives.

Personally I have used Bloom’s Taxonomy on several occasions in curriculum redesign projects. For this reason I found
particularly important the following book references:

Introduction to HTML

Good course, not necessary to write HTML but to understand just in case you meet a cryptic html page. Each time I needed to produce web pages, a WYSIWYG tool has been the natural choice.


An attractive tool to produce dynamic presentations. I just looked the tutorials and presentations, so the next step should be to produce one…

Course Design

I’m just planning a block (3weeks) about collaborative work with online web tools, of a blended course “Socio-cultural Communication and Media”.

Learning Objectives

  • (Understand) Identify the benefits of collaborative work in education
  • (Apply) Build a personal web space
  • (Apply) Build a collaborative web space
  • (Apply) Develop content for didactic unit

Following the book’s Table 3.2 example: each week will include the following details:

Instructor-generated content and presentation:

  • How to interact with the LMS platform (Blackboard) and group organization (first week)
  • Lectures (face-to-face)
  • Guided tutorial
  • Video Links

Discussion/ Interaction / Communications:

  • Discussion in the weekly forum based on readings, FAQ and assignments
  • Feedback and responses from the teacher and other students
  • Feedback from group work

Readings and Web resources

  • Text assigned reading: selected web articles
  • Wikis and Blogs workshop
  • YouTube videos (how-to)

Assessments: (individual and group)

  • Weekly forum Participation
  • Wiki/Blog construction

My reflections for week 3

Another week with interesting perspectives and references to useful resources. Thank you for your work Jim and Lisa!.

I started with the questionnaire in which I got 11 points, which shows my tendency toward a constructivist formula. I think the result may vary slightly depending on the content of instruction: different if for the unchanged machine operation or if it’s a reflection on strategy. It may also influence the group of students, their prior knowledge and experience. If it’s an undergraduate or a master course student.

Probably will use teaching methods that may vary slightly in the middle between the constructivist and instructivist alternatives.

The reading of the chart and the video for “Getting Started Chart” shows a very good path structure, depending on personal preferences and skills, but also depending on the instructional content and the target group. I find it particularly useful as a reference when deciding an instructional design strategy.

The article: Chickering and Ehrmann, Implementing the Seven Principles: Technology as Lever (1996) is a well-selected resource in this POT course. I add the phrases that were particularly relevant to me:

  • “Any given instructional strategy can be supported by a number of contrasting technologies”.
  • “Any given technology might support different instructional strategies. For any given instructional strategy, some technologies are better than others”.
  • “With the new media, participation and contribution from diverse students become more equitable and widespread… when a student or instructor (or both) is not a native speaker of English; each party can take a bit more time to interpret what has been said and compose a response”.
  • “Learning is enhanced when it is more like a team effort than a solo race”.
  • (Students) “… must talk about what they are learning, write reflectively about it, relate it to past experiences, and apply it to their daily lives”.
  • “Knowing what you know and don’t know focuses your learning: Prompt Feedback”.
  • “Allocating realistic amounts of time means effective learning for students and effective teaching for faculty”.
  • “Expecting students to perform well becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy”.
  • “Different students bring different talents and styles to college”.

About my pedagogical goals and Objectives for a possible or current class:

  • Encourage the creation of content created by the students, both for the current course content to use as future versions of the of course.
  • Reinforce the active participation of students, by using tools like wiki, blogs, social bookmarking, etc.
  • Create relevant application Assessment of Proposals to assess skills (easy to say, hard to do)