e-Learning Instructional Design Web 2.0 Tools

Free Tools for your online courses

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A very interesting collection of free tools


Lifelong Learning Online Pedagogy Web 2.0 Tools

How to teach programming/coding?

What is the best way to learn/teach programming/coding?

For example: JavaScript, HTML / CSS, PHP, Python, Ruby, APIs

It isn’t easy to teach and learn online technical subjects such as programming. In my opinion, you need to change the learning paradigm by:
transferring the student the learning responsability for their own learning,
Giving help with with good web based tools and
leading and supporting students progress.

Codecademy offers learn to code interactively, for free.

As Codeacademy writes in his blog:

“We do not want to open up universities. We want to open up knowledge. Everyone knows something they can teach someone else and we want to help them do it. Our community has created tens of thousands of courses and taken millions of courses. At this point, more than a billion lines of code have been submitted to Codecademy.”
Lifelong Learning Web 2.0 Tools

W22: Personal Learning Networks

One of the things that I find particularly interesting is to collect ideas and inspiration from outstanding lecturers, teachers and writers.

From Ko & Rossen, Chapter 14: “Taking Advantage of New Opportunities”, I have found interesting proposals on activities that I would like to further develop in relation to online teaching:

  • Training covering teaching methods and curriculum development
  • Methodologies about Lifelong Learning
  • New ideas and technologies
  • Short online courses and tutorials in particular software platforms and tools

Another example is Dean Shareski, in the video “Sharing: The Moral Imperative“, arise questions and reflections of value for the analysis about the personal culture of sharing:

  • Why would I do this? (sharing)
  • Is this worth my time?
  • How do I make it valuable and meaningful?
  • and also about the culture of sharing of our educational institutions:
  • Is this an obligation?
  • Does my institution see value in sharing?
  • How will it help my students?
  • Sharing has always been part of the teacher’s job

A good and inspirational Video from Alec Couros, “Teaching and Learning in a Networked World (2010)“, which mention own and others ideas, as:

  • Connect with others: colleagues who are local, and more internationally. Build a personal learning network, as with Twitter.
  • Create a culture of sharing: in schools, within the structure, sharing resources (David Wiley’s “open content” — without sharing there is not education).
  • Stephen Downes: (we) should move beyond the idea of education as being something provided for us, and toward something we create for ourselves.
  • Will Richardson: about the 21st Century Learning – explore what happens to traditional concepts of teaching when we can learn anything any time?

My Personal Learning Network

I started the creation of a personal site with iGoogle for some years ago, connecting my favourite news sites, my blog, additional interesting blogs, Web 2.0 tools and some useful personal bookmarks, both in English and Spanish.

The last time I have reflected a lot about the way I’m working with my personal learning, specially using technology to expand my learning network.

This picture reflects my preliminary conclusions.

Online Pedagogy Web 2.0 Tools

W 21: Introduction to Online Education Theory

Really interesting article Larry Sanger, Individual Knowledge in the Internet Age (2010), especially regarding the three common strands of current thought about education and the Internet:

  1. The instant availability of information online makes the memorization of facts unnecessary or less necessary.
  2. The virtues of collaborative learning as superior to outmoded individual learning.
  3. Lengthy, complex books, which constitute a single, static, one-way conversation with an individual, are inferior to knowledge co-constructed by members of a group.

Larry deepens around the strand of Unnecessary Memorization. Inevitably, if I say that I know something is because I remember. The bad reputation of memorization is associated with the mindless and not reflected repetition.

This article discusses other arguments worth mentioning:

  • if you read an answer to a question, you usually need fairly substantial background knowledge to interpret the answer.
  • you need knowledge in order to know what questions to ask.
  • a good education is not merely to amass a lot of facts.
  • If you do not have copious essential facts at the ready, then you will not be able to make wise judgments that depend on your understanding of those facts
  • we should “learn how to learn”
  • the ability to learn new things is more important than ever “in a world where you have to process new information at lightning speed.”
  • “Children are going to have to reinvent their knowledge base multiple times.

I stopped a little longer in the article: George Siemens, Networks, Ecologies, and Curatorial Teaching (2007). Interesting reflexions on what he calls learning ecology around which I have built the attached presentation.


Web 2.0 Tools

Week 10: open platforms for online courses

I found some very good recommendations related to weekly blogs responses, which should answer at least 3 questions:

  • What did you learn this week?
  • How do you connect what you learned with your experienced or with what you already know?
  • How could you apply your new knowledge?

One particularly interesting in this chapter is related to the evaluation of online activities using rubrics. One good tip from Jim Julius in Facebook: BlogsProfHacker article “A Rubric for Evaluating Student Blogs” by Mark Sample-

Engrade was a positive surprise for me. Engrade creates own grading scale, post student grades, send private messages to students and parents, show tasks, events, reminders, and lessons online, create online tests, organize debates, build wikis, create flash cards, all for free. I have experimented with social media to build a flexible learning environment without the need for an LMS. But LMS still maintain an advantage: tasks delivery and distribution of grades. I think Engrade can fill that gap.

Related with the creation of web sites, I had experimented with Google sites and I agree with that can be a good tool to build the start site of a course, but is also a valuable aid for each student to build their own site.

Online Pedagogy Web 2.0 Tools

W8: LMS – “to be or not to be” (the continuous discussion …)

So far, my perception that the LMS were showing their limitations as innovative Web tool, was intuitive. In my experiences in online and blended courses, the LMS did not cover my expectations or those of my students. The effort to manage and master the functions of the LMS did not translate into clear benefits. I summarize some of the factors that have led me this dissatisfaction:

  • The LMS assumed in the online environment the classroom teacher’s witness.
  • Although some platforms are more flexible than others (Moodle, for example), all reinforced the unidirectional teacher-student relationship. The student interaction is limited to participate in forums, answering questionnaires and fulfil the delivery of tasks on time. The responsibilities did not differ radically from those in a traditional class time.
  • Participation in a space of reflection (mainly forums), is formal and becomes one more task to fulfil.
  • The effort to master the functions of the platforms is aimed at managing and providing technical support to students. This effort leaves no room for educational innovations. So the LMS plays the traditional face-to-face class in an online environment. What is the advantage then?

But there is an unresolved problem in which the LMS have an important advantage: they provide a secure environment for the protection of personal data and the management of task and assessments.

This is an open problem to overcome for alternatives to the LMS. I have not found a secure and stable way to connect social networking and communications tools, task management and collaboration while protecting the privacy of personal information.

This is one of the main reasons he did participate in initiatives such as Pedagogy First!

As part of this reflection, I received important contributions from reading the documents proposed for further research:

  • Jonathan Mott, Envisioning the post-LMS Era: The Open Learning Network (2010) y
  • Lisa M. Lane, “Insidious Pedagogy: How Course Management Systems Impact Pedagogy,” First Monday, vol. 14, no. 10 (October 5, 2009)

These documents have provided the theoretical framework needed. I summarize the most important topics mentioned in these documents:

  • Instructors use LMS as an administrative tool and for content distribution, storage facilities for lecture notes and PowerPoint presentations.
  • The use of interactive learning tools, quiz and gradebook tools within LMS are reduced.
  • The LMS is not a tool anchored in pedagogy or cognitive science models.
  • While the LMS has become central to the business of colleges and universities, it has also become a symbol of the higher learning status quo.
  • The LMS serves as an affirming technology of traditional teaching. The instructor doesn’t challenge the LMS very much, and, in turn, the LMS doesn’t challenge the instructor. The student gets the convenience benefit from electronic distribution of documents (and grades) but little more.
  • The LMS has also become a symbol of the status quo that supports administrative functions more effectively than teaching and learning activities.
  • Personal learning environments offer an alternative, but with their own limitations.
  • An open learning network helps bridge the gap between the PLE and the LMS, combining the best elements of each approach (but we need a practical model with existing Web 2.0 tools).
  • How to bring together — or mash up — the best of both the LMS and the PLE paradigms to create a learning platform more ideally suited to teaching and learning in higher education — an “open learning network” (OLN) that is:
  1. Secure and open
  2. Integrated and modular
  3. Private and public
  4. Reliable and flexible

The discussion is open

Web 2.0 Tools

Week 7: LMS – “to be or not to be”

Reading the chapter 6 of Ko&Rossen I found some mix of tips and point of view to highlight:

  • The fast technical development of new tools opens opportunities to educational institutions to adapt to different teaching strategies
  • The proliferation of tools makes it possible to find the tool that fit with a specific pedagogical need.
  • It is necessary to synchronize the Web tools with learning activities (assignments, discussions, group work).
  • Don’t rely on just one form of graded assignment.
  • The web site:, a really good resource.

I have a shade of difference with the author in relation to the role of LMS (Learning management systems) and CMS (Content management systems) as the central node in the construction of an Online Classroom. Although LMS and CMS provide a centralized course management it goes the opposite way of the web 2.0 tools. In some way, the LMS is the online replica of the teacher role in the F2F environment.

LMSs have a dominant impact in the online teaching and learning in higher education for the last years. A Delta Initiative report shows that more than 90 per cent of colleges and universities have a standardized, institutional LMS implementation (‘)

We must pause a moment and think if we are not in the post-LMS era.

(*) Delta Initiative, “The State of Learning Management in Higher Education Systems,” report for the California State University System, 2009, see p. 5.

Instructional Design Online Pedagogy Web 2.0 Tools

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 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



Online Pedagogy Web 2.0 Tools

Available now: a guide to using Twitter in university research, teaching, and impact activities Impact of Social Sciences

An interesting guide to using Twitter in university research, and teaching, available to download as a PDF.

Available now: a guide to using Twitter in university research, teaching, and impact activities Impact of Social Sciences.

Web 2.0 Tools

Moving My WordPress Blog to a New Domain

For a time I’ve been hosting one of my blog using

Now I’m moving to a self-hosted blog using the software. You are looking to the new URL:

Moving my blog from the WordPress over to my own hosted server was painless. One export and import did the job, and I was picking out a theme in no time. The longest process was installation of WordPress on the new server location — which really has nothing to do with tried to keep the same appearance so you don’t feel any difference. I will keep this blog for a time, but all new will be posted in the new location.

Welcome! … Subscribe to this blog – I’ll shoot you an email when I make a post!

Besides that blog I still maintain my Spanish blog on

Any ideas or suggestions are welcome!