Post-semester reflection about #EME6613

This summer, I taught EME6613 Design of Tech-Based Instruction online for the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee. This course is a part of the Master of Education, and prepares students to design and facilitate online classes (it’s very meta, since the class itself is online and can be used as an example). As a compressed 6-weeks course, it’s very fast-paced (syllabus). Here are some reflections on the experience.


Experience matters

It was the third time I taught the class, so I was more comfortable and felt on top of my game. Instead of building the class from the ground up (like in 2014) or being stuck in the middle of flood central (leak in my house) and a 4 month-old baby killing my sleep (2015), I was actually able to focus on improving the class and switching some assignments around. I believe my class is now in a good spot to require minimal revision the next time around.

William Horton, in E-Learning by Design (pages 44-45, first edition), describes the process of designing e-learning as a cycle consisting of analyzing, designing, building, and evaluating your course, over and over again. The more cycles it goes through, the more polished it becomes.

The mind-mapping exercise worked

Instead of yet another discussion board, I asked my students to create a mind map of their vision of what online learning is. The maps I received were diverse and interesting, and helped clear some misconceptions the students had. Most students were able, without much effort, to use a software product, like PowerPoint, or an online tool, like LucidChart, to create their map.

Video feedback in Speedgrader is the bomb

Canvas provides so much value with video comments. Grading is personalized, and students actually watch the feedback when it’s done that way. Who knew?

I must integrate more peer-review

The peer review process I set up for the mind-mapping exercise was well received and demonstrated the power of sharing with your peers. Many students were glad to be put in the position to dive more deeply into a colleague’s lens. I would like to do at least one more peer-review for the course the next time. I might also try to force a group project as well, so students can experience collaborating online.

I must re-balance the gradebook

Some items have too much weighted value in comparison with others. I think attendance to the weekly Hangouts on Air (currently 4%) should have more value than accomplishing the chores (10%). Also, the mind-mapping assignment requires as much effort as the screencasting one, but yet is only worth 8% vs 20% for the latter. This is because I was trying not to mess up my point value for the projects while adding another one.

I need to rethink the instructions for the capstone project

I wish more students spent more time doing something meaningful as their capstone project. Right now, it is focused on creating a Google Site and populating it with content of different nature (links, images, videos, etc.). I think I could introduce the capstone project earlier and have students build it as a decent learning portfolio by the end of the semester, something they would be proud of and use beyond the course.

Did I miss anything?

If you participated in the course, please let me know in the comments if I missed other biggies for EME6613 version 4.



Optimize Your Professional Online Presence #UDSFI15 @10:30am

The multiple facets of your digital stampOn June 3, 2015, the always awesome Holly Norton (@NortonHolly) and yours truly (@mathplourde) will be moderating a discussion centered around academic digital presence during the University of Delaware’s Summer Faculty Institute. This post is the home base for the links and artifacts from the session.

You can catch the live stream from Gore Hall room 104 starting at 10:30 a.m. EDT form this link, and interact with the live audience using the #UDSFI15 hashtag on Twitter.

Links to platforms and examples are listed in the following Google Doc.


Providing “pause mechanisms” in the classroom

During a recent workshop, I got engaged in a very interesting conversation about increasing the perception of the classroom as a safe, mistake-resilient environment.

Crying child by Binu Kumar on Flickr (CC-By)Kristen Hefner (doctoral student and instructor, Sociology and Criminal Justice) exposed her “Ouch/Oops” rule, which I found fascinating. She teaches a topic that touches on current debates in society, and wanted to make sure people could express themselves, but within boundaries. So, when a student expresses something that another student finds offensive, the other student can yell “Ouch”, and the class pauses to allow for the offensive comment to be examined, tweaked, explained, retracted, etc.

I think this kind of process empowers the students to control what happens in the classroom, and increases engagement in debate-based classes. The same kind of process could be applied to knowledge mastery classes, allowing for students to interrupt a lecture to ask for clarifications on new terms or concepts.

The next, less disruptive iteration of this idea would be to allow for a “parking lot” of requests for explanations. That parking lot could be physical (write your question on an index card and pass it to the TA; write the question on a blackboard) or digital (tweet your question, use the discussion board, use a collaborative Google Doc for the class, etc.). For these processes to work, it is important for the instructor to monitor and address the parking lot into the class routine, either as face-to-face or as online loops.

Anyway, just a little teaching nugget I wanted to share!

Social media for #fashion – Spring 2013

On February 21, I’m being invited to present to the “FASH325 Multimedia Fashion Presentations” students.

This presentation is part information management, part online persona, and part marketing. It’s intended to be an overview of what 21st century graduates should be aware of in terms of online behaviors and trends.


Things not covered in class

  • Take advantage of the fact that you are all sharing the same experience (i.e., college) to start following each other, sharing information, and discussing the practices in your discipline. Your cohort might end up being the best support group you’ll have in your lifetime.
  • Information on the web is not peer-reviewed, so be aware of the dangers of becoming misinformed. See this video about media literacy for more details.



Web Presence

Point of Purchase

Social Media

Social Media Tools


Content Hosting & Collaboration

Metrics & Analytics

Short link to this page:

The methods behind our #educon madness

I can’t really think of a better way of explaining this process, so here I am reblogging this post from Chad Sansing (@chadsansing). The following discussion after the activity really emphasized the role of iterative design in education. Hacking is about hacking the rules, not necessarily only computers.

Democratizing Composition

In planning and facilitating the EduCon 2.5hack jam and flying schools sessions, I got to work with amazing teachers and learners from the National Writing Project (NWP) and Mozilla networks. Science Leadership Academy (SLA) English teacher Meenoo Rami and I hosted our third NWP- and SLA-sponsored hack jam together. Then I teamed up with Christina Cantrill, Paul Oh, Laura Hilliger, and Chris Lawrence for a digitally combinedWebmaker/future of schools session. While the participants in each conversation deserve the most credit for jumping into play as a pathway for transforming professional practice, the aforementioned facilitators helped scaffold dynamic settings for learning during our time together which felt both entirely awesome and all too short.

In response to both on-site and online feedback, I wanted to share some notes on practice before too much time goes by.

Hack jam materials

We mixed and matched materials generously…

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