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My colleague and friend, Christy Tucker, posted earlier this week about e-learning courses that use Discussion Boards as a dumping ground for uninspired responses to mediocre questions. These types of assignments don’t encourage peer feedback as they were meant to do. She has a point. And, I have to admit, I’m guilty of some of this as well.

So, here is my response to her thought provoking questions about this topic:

Is that not the job of the ID, then, to make sure that discussion boards are used for just that purpose? Discussion?

It can be very easy to fall into the “oh just put it in the Discussion Board” mentality. Which, of course, gives you the gallery of mediocrity rather than the interesting and thought provoking place it was meant to be.

What, then, are the qualifications of a good discussion? How can we, as IDs, balance the “what did you learn” (which has its place) with the “how can it be applied” assignments and discussions? At what point should peer feedback be the main deciding factor? Or should it?

Using peer feedback is a great tool. But that’s what it is..a tool. We cannot rely on using peer feedback as the main or, in some cases, only way to start or maintain a conversation. We need to be able to design the assignments so that they themselves spark interest/controversy/discussion.

For the current course I’m developing, my SME (subject matter expert) wants to include an example of how various media are currently used together – hybrid media, if you will. The example is Line Rider.

Which is completely and totally addicting. Why o why did he have to show this to me? I have been fervently trying to figure out how the heck to keep my little sledding guy on the line and not fall into space. Or, worse yet, take a header on a loop-de-loop.

Think I’m nuts? You take a shot at it. See if you’re any better at it than I am.

And did I mention that people actually set their animations to music? Here’s a fantastic example of what a very talented person who has lots of time on his/her hands can accomplish with this little addicting “game”:

Well, I had an absolutely lovely time in Madison, WI last week. I attended the Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning and was able to meet up with my colleagues from PLS. Believe it or not, it was the first time we’d ever met in person! And we’ve been working together for nearly a year now. Both Natalie and Christy have some insightful views on the conference. You may even get to see pictures of us!

Although there were many, many things I took away from the conference there was one concept that went unsaid but was implied: our educational system needs to incorporate technology as a matter of course not as an addition to the curriculum.

There are many benefits to using technology in the classroom, like preparing our students for their futures in the global marketplace. Unfortunately, the way most of our educational institutions are set up, change comes slowly, if at all. There is no perfect answer to getting technology accepted in education.

Classroom Tech


Using tech everyday in the classroom. Reality?

Please don’t misunderstand me. Tech is being used to some extent but I think the full potential of distance learning or Web 2.0 is not being used to greatest effect in the classroom.

Throughout the conference there was much tooting of the tech horn in the classroom (it being a DL conference, after all), I kept wondering “what about those who cannot afford technology, either in the classroom or at home?” We haven’t done much to bridge the divide that the cost of technology creates. And this concerns me greatly. We focus so much on getting our kids to do the 3Rs (reading, writing, arithmetic) but ignore the fact that the way they are learning has changed.

On a personal note, while I was gone, the Little One decided to pop out another tooth. He now has two toofers on his bottom gum. Yea! On the other hand, nursing him has become a challenge. Ow. Trust me.

Interesting white paper on podcasting in education. Apparently, audio only podcasting for review purposes serves students much better than lecture-type audio recordings. In particular, RSS feeds make it much more likely that students will download the podcasts and listen to them.

Reviewing lectures is a great study tool. It isn’t, however, a replacement for attending class or interacting with other students, whether they attend online, f2f, blended, or otherwise.

Download the original whitepaper, Teaching with Technology White Paper: Podcasting.

Consensus: Podcasting Has No ‘Inherent’ Pedagogic Value


 Kurt Bonk’s new book is about his R2D2 (Read, Reflect, Display, and Do) model of e-learning. An interesting concept considering it works from the premise of problem solving and diversity rather than learning styles.

TravelinEdMan: A week of hyperspeed e-learning publishing: R2D2 and Beyond!!!


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