Friday, September 08, 2006

Welcome to my Blog!

Hallo new SLN Spring 2007 faculty! Reading this may give you a bit of insight to your own upcoming online course design experience by seeing what i went through creating an online course using a course managment system that was completely new to me.

The difference will be that you will have support that i did not. The things i wished for most and did NOT have in this experience was a MID, a HelpDesk, a handbook, trainings, etc., and all the resources we provide to SLN faculty.

: ) me

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Friday, April 07, 2006

my reflecting pool

I was surprised how many people were in the course that had online teaching experience and how many actually were there because they support online fauclty and wanted to pick up additional information to help them in designing faculty development activities. The course was intended for new online fauclty and i was not expecting experienced online instructional designers in the course.

I was surprised at the small number of participants that participated regularly in the online activities compared to the total number of participants - only about 20% or so.

I was surprised that some of my activities were not participated in at all.

I was surprised how many people did the journaling activity, even though no one else could see it but me. I loved reading their journals!

It was a LOT of work. Doing the interviews, the Breeze presentations, and the elluminate events - which i did AFTER the course went live - took a LOT of time. I did at 4 all nighters during that 3 week period.

using moodle for course management was extreamly challenging. There are no course management tools to speak of , so following and keeping up with things was very difficult

best intentions

so i had every intention of blogging through the delivery of the workshop...but ... well... it didn't happen. The workshop is now over and i have been meaning to reflect on the experience a bit.

By the end there were a total of 77 participants from all of the USA in the workshop. Wow! It is one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences i have had in my professional life. I LOVED every minute of the exhausting experience.
  • I wrote a manual - updating my thoughts and approaches to online course development.
  • I designed a course in Moodle. First time in another CMS.
  • I blogged for the first time. : )
  • I interviewed online faculty and posted the interviews with their online courses creating podcasts for faculty development purposes - an online course for observation with author /instructional designer commentary.
  • I created 3 Breeze presentations - audio annotated powerpoint presentations.
  • I conducted 2 live synchronous webinars using elluminate.
This was a very satisfying experience. I innovated, i stretched, i did new things, i met and interacted with new people from all over the country... it was a total blast.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

my first week!

I have been so consumed with facilitating the workshop that i have had little time to bolg... the first week is over. It is going great. There are now 51 participants signed up to the course. It is amazing. They are from all over the US. It is such a cool feeling to be connecting with all these amazing people. I am having trouble with course management in moodle... it is hard to keep the discussions straight. there is no way to sort the discussion , to mark items read or unread, to track where you are, to collapse /expand threads... it is really easy to loose a post in there... also, i am just not comfortable with how thing functions. there seem to be no course management tools... i just today found the journals from 9 of the participants, even though i had checked that area religeously every day... it is just not clear when new stuff is posted or where. and tracking is a probelm.

I think students were overwhelmed with the scope of the course. I need to make it clearer that the course is a model and illustration in addition to functioning as a place to interact and do activities... but as it is not for credit or certification and it is for only 3 weeks, participants need to just participate to the extent that they want or are able and to see it as a model full of ideas and suggestions to learn from...

I opened up module 2 yesterday ... very exciting... i had to finish and redo half of the audio commentary files... to change them from mp3 files to wav...i also had to finish the teaching presence presentation today... it is not a great as my ID one... but it is done.

I am having trouble with the fact that the course is not for credit or certification... the motivation and leverage i would have with that would change the dynamics significantly in the course. As it is... i can't really do student led discussion there is no motivation for students to do that... so the result is that it is heavily on me to interract. I am going to try to get the students to interact more with each other in module 2 we shall see.

I am surprised that there are so many support folks vs faculty participating. My assumptions were new faculty with no online experience, and experienced faculty that wanted help, i did not at all envision folks that supported faculty taking the course. it kinda changes things for me and the course...

i am loving this. it is soooooo much fun.

: )

Monday, March 06, 2006

it has begun!!

i am so excited... i haven't slept yet. i am exhausted, but i just finished my first day in the live workshop. It is so awesome to see all these people from all over in my course. I am thrilled. this is going to be so much fun.

I am having trouble figuring out whom i have responded to in the moodle discussion interface... there is no real way that i can see how to tell what is new and there is no ability to collapse and expand threads...

i have to go eat and go to bed... i can't wait till tomorrow night. I will be peeking during the day, but not back in to respond till the evening as i planned : )

it starts today!

once again i have been up all night working on my course.

At the last minute i realized that the assignment activity could be accomplished using the forum feature. Given the inablilty of moodle to do a multipart paragraph assignment... i need to be able to attach a file, post a document, and post response to a posted document... voila!! the forum will do. So i have been up all night reviewing the course, making sure the instructional cues are all there and accurate, tweaking everything, and changing the assignments to the forum feature. I have left the old assignment designed in the assignment feature, but have hidden it from the students. I have done that in a couple of places in case i need to quickly change to another way of doing something.

I am very excited, nervous, extited, exhousted... and the course is not quite done... there are a couple of breeze presentations that i am hoping to still add and i still need to change the assignments in the modules 2 and 3 (which i have closed for the most part) to the new format if it works as i hope/think it will. I have left modules 2 and 3 open, but closed documents inthe modules from student view so that students can get a view of the overall structure of the course as a preview and have left open some activities in those modules that are ok to have open from the beginning. But i want to have new stuff for the participants at the beginning of each week, so that is the main reason for closing off most of the content documents in modules 2 and 3.

did i say i was excited?!!!

Friday, March 03, 2006

sound advice

I conducted several interveiws with faculty and added the files for the workshop participants to be able to observe some exemplar courses "with commentary."

It worked great. I had a script. I made mp3 files, i edit the files, i uploaded and linked them. It is so cool... however. I used 2 different software to make the files. One was the sound recorder that come standard with windows. and the other is a cool little freeware called audacity... they both work pretty well... easy to use.. the sound recorder is a little clunky cuz you have to keep pressing pause to continue... meaning you can just keep talking.... that is why i switched to audacity...

everything looks great... however, when i linked the files, the ones i made with audacity work a little different than the ones i made with sound recorder ... i don't like it. It could cause confusion and the interface is a little different. What i found is that audacity saves a mp3 files, the sound recorder files are .wav files... the links to those files look a little different... in the mp3 files a little slide bar is added next to the link that is not there with the .wav files... i don't like it. but i don't think i will have time to fix... maybe. i really don't like it.

notes from the edge

From: []
Sent: Thursday, February 02, 2006 1:54 AM
To: Kathleen Ives
Subject: questions
Hi...i have been playing around in my sand box trying out different things.
1. how do i edit the news forum after the 5 minutes has elapsed.?
You cannot edit the news forum. Once something is sent/posted that's it.
2. how do i change the dates in the news forum if i don't want those dates to appear... i want to lay out the forum with some standard announcements... about what that area is for, how to get technical help and about (not) using email for communications...
News forum is a template, unfortunately. You cannot customize it. I would suggest under you compose a text/web page with that info.
3. how do i stop this thing from sending email from the news forum or any of the forums...
The news forum is a mandatory subscription, if you will. Anyone who enrolls in the course, will receive notification when someone posts to that forum With regards to other forums, remember the other day when we 'went' in to the forums to 'toggle' yes/no to be subscribed? If you toggle to 'no' you will stop receiving email notifications.
4. where are all your standard sloan and moodle documents? i am working in the sandbox and don't see them in the files area .
When I 'collapsed' your sandbox, they went away. In settings, if you re-set number of topics to 14, they will all come back. Conversely, you can go to the 'other' copy of the course and view them there.
5. what are the folders currently in the files area? i cant figure that out
The only folders I have populated is Moodle/Elluminate Live Overview -- a page I use to tell people about Elluminate Live and something called Text Box issue that I 'keep' there but do not physically put into the workshop. Some people have issues with the text box in Moodle and this is a sheet I refer to when I am troubleshooting their problems.
6. how do participants add their profiles to the people section/block?
I have 'enrolled' a 'fake' student in your course. When you do that you will see an administration box on the 'left' side where an individual can edit their profile.
have to go to bed now. talk to you tomorrow.
Hi Alex
Just checking in to see how you are feeling and at this juncture, to see if you think you can meet the February 10 content deadline. Our marketing team is going to kick in next week with regard to publisizing this workshop.
It looks like you've made a reasonable start. Let me know. I start to move into my 'heavy' production mode next week as we will soon have a series of workshops (yours among them) in the February March April time frame running concurrently.

Oh yea... and how do you attach files to a page and how do you do more than one... i have these MP3 files that i want to have next to the link to the courses and i can't figure out how to do that. also if the multipart form the way i want to use it is not possible then i am going to have to send them word files i think... i need to talk to you about these assignments and how best to do them in moodle... it is driving me nuts.

Please see below. I use Moodle very simply and have no experience with some of the activities you are using! That being said, I have gone on the Web do do a search to see if I can help you. See below.
Kathleen S. Ives, D.M.
From: []
Sent: Sunday, February 05, 2006 4:22 AM
To: Kathleen Ives
Subject: more
Oh yea... and how do you attach files to a page and how do you do more than one... i have these MP3 files that i want to have next to the link to the courses and i can't figure out how to do that. also if the multipart form the way i want to use it is not possible then i am going to have to send them word files i think... i need to talk to you about these assignments and how best to do them in moodle... it is driving me nuts.
You can only attach 'one' file to a page in Moodle.
Hey Kathleen:
How do you delete test documents? for example i created a test journal entry to see how that works in module 3 and now i can't get rid of it. I need to create some of these activities not only to see what they do but also to be able to write the instructions and create models for the students. As near as I can figure, you cannot delete an entry. You will have to delete the journal and then re-create.
How do i create a multipart assignment that i can make visible to the class an assignment with multiple parts like a short answer quiz but that has no right answers and can be seen by all in the class..
I cannot find the answer to this. I will keep on looking.
How do i make the private folder activity work. I want to make a private space for me and each student. a discussion forum that only the student and i can see... been trying some stuff but it is not working.
Never used it but here is a resource:;
how do i create an activity where the student find online resources and build an annotated bibliography of web links.
I would use a Wiki -- is this a collaborative activity i.e. all students are collaborating?
I need you to look at what i have done so far and tell me what you think. I am not sure i am doing things as best as they could be, but it is what i have been able to figure out... it doesn't all make sense to me yet, but i am getting better at the stuff i have been using. What do you think?
Alex... I will look at this afternoon. I have enabled Keith and John Bourne as facilitators so they can look as well and offer feedback.
There are some documents in there, i put them under MISC. that i don't know what to do with or what they are for. Please explain.
Lets chat. I worked on the course 17. 5 going on 18 hours straight... i am not kidding. i am so burnt i can barely think and still have a half hour drive home.
: ) me
"Kathleen Ives"
the workshop

so.... do you think i should do this in march?

I think this is looking really great.
Organization flows
One page at a glance links are nice that you don't have to scroll through
Lots of information for the participants to draw upon
I think participants will come away with a good sense of how to move forward with online course development
I think your roundtables are going to be incredibly powerful -- see my note about bios below -- I definitely think we should highlight these...
Things to consider:
Typically our workshop participants don't have a lot of time to spend; some of them end up being 'lurkers' -- come in -- suck down the information, but do not participate
FAQs should set participant expectations about time commitment: i.e. two hours per week?
With each assignment, maybe suggest a couple of readings in case a participant 'hits a wall'?
That being said, I recommend scaling down the activities a bit, for example, make the journaling optional. I say this because depending on the size of the group, giving useful feedback may become incredibly time consuming for you. What will the students expect in the way of feedback? I also think that out of all the activities, this will be the one that slides. I'd leave it in -- just make it optional for the student.
I'd much rather see emphasis placed in the discussion forums (ask a question) -- where the participants can share with each other and you as well as the round tables
Question: are roundtables made up of SLN faculty only? I ask because most of the workshop participants will not be using the SLN platform. Suggestion: if SLN only, make sure the forums are platform independent and/or solict Blackboard/WebCT instructors
Do you have the faculty members lined up? If so, we should add bios and make sure they are comfortable with Elluminate Live
We should let the participants know, up front their will be two 'live' sessions -- in fact, I might want to add that to the marketing pages on the Sloan-C site
I am going to want to add some Sloan-C information -- about Sloan-C -- I can do that when you are done
Where are all your 'files' going to be placed at the bottom of the page for each module? I ask this -- because I have never figured out a way to 'file' them. If you 'hide' the topic area, the participant will not see the information when they click on Module One stuff, for example.
- That's it for now. In my opinion, this is a 'go'!

I just sent you feedback. I have a meeting at 10 -- other than that I am free.
From: []
Sent: Tuesday, February 07, 2006 8:12 AM
To: Kathleen Ives
Subject: RE: the workshop
hi i am here all day... have a meeting at 2 that i can't get out of. any time before then would be awesome.
me : )

I do. I think the workshop is nicely organized. I started going through, and was pulled away to work on something for John. I will jot down some thoughts and email you. Are you available tomorrow?
Kathleen S. Ives, D.M.

Hi Alex
I have placed URLS for the 'Live' Elluminate Sessions in your sandbox under Topic 21. Place them where you think they work best.
I have a work/study student coming in to assist me with the workshops I am developing. She is going to start proofing and testing links. I can have her go through your workshop as well if you like. Let me know when might work.
I think you are traveling this week. Let's touch base when you get back.

From: []
Sent: Monday, February 20, 2006 10:43 PM
To: Kathleen Ives
Subject: stuff
Hey Kathleen:
i am going to be out of the office this week, but not out of touch. I will be working on my course. So if you need me just email.
I want to check with you on the dates for the workshop. can you confirm them for me? Also, when should each week start and stop, monday or friday? Also, when should the breeze presentations be scheduled in terms of dates? I haven't done them yet but i will.
Workshop starts Monday, March 5. I will send people an enrollment key that Friday, March 3 so they can familiarize themselves with Moodle, Elluminate and workshop materials prior to official start date. I would like to get the Breeze presentations into the workshop by early next week at the latest - Monday/Tuesday.
Also, the elluminate dates, when should those be? I want to get the dates and events down.
The Elluminate sessions are scheduled Friday, March 17 and Friday, March 24 -- 2pm-3pm ET. If you could give me a blurb about each of them as well as the bios of the participants, I will publisize.
Also, is there anything i need to have or know about the elluminate sessions?
Let's you and I do a 'dry run' so I can familiarize you with the technology/process.

Your Breeze presentation is loaded and ready for you to move where you see fit. You will find it residing in 'topic 10. I have listened to the first 15 minutes -- will finish up this afternoon, but it sounds great.
Live sessions:
Could you send me a blurb about each live session so I can post info on the website? Also the panelists' bios. (I did not see them with in the body of the workshop).
Are you comfortable with targetting this Friday with regard to sending out the 'enrollment' key for the workshop -- so participants can get in and familiarize themselve with Moodle, course materials or do you want to wait until Monday?
Let me know.
Hope your daughter is feeling better.
my presentation does not display right for me.... the words fall off the slides. help!! why is that happening. when i look at the powerpoint this is not the case, when i look at the breeze that i published from that ppt, the words fall off the slide.
I don't know how i sent this to you... what is it that i need to send to you for you to get this.... when i did this my computer hung, i had to end task and i have no record in my email of this having been sent or of it having bounced. was it the zip file? or was it the ppt file? I have at least one other breeze that i want to do so i still need to know how to get it to you.

View the presentation in the workshop. It looks fine! Go to topic 10 in your workshop where it is temporarily housed until you (or I if you want) move it someplace else.
If you want to publish your next presentation to the Breeze server instead of sending me a zip file, I am attaching more detailed instructions.
p.s. don't forget to answer my previous questions!
From: []
Sent: Monday, February 27, 2006 4:09 PM
To: Kathleen Ives
Subject: Re: Updates
what is weird is that the thumbnails for me show all the text on the slides, but the presentation slides themselves are not displaying correctly for me.

At this juncture, I do not have time to troubleshoot, unfortuately, since I am in the midst of our peak workshop activity! We will be opening the workshop up in four days. I would suggest we scrap the Breeze and hopefully figure out what is wrong by the next session. Right now, I think our best game plan to get the rest of the information populated, and the workshop thoroughly proofed and tested.
We probably bit off a bit more than we could chew for this first go around.
From: []
Sent: Monday, February 27, 2006 4:56 PM
To: Kathleen Ives
Subject: RE: Updates
it does not look fine to me. I am viewing it right now and from my computer all the text is not displayed on the slides... for example i am currently viewing Slide #9: at the top it should say "what works?: LD design for the online classroom"... for me the word "classroom" falls off the right of slide... it should fit right in the yellow box... but on the slide i am viewing it does not. it extends on behind the bullet and obscured by it and off the slide so that i don't see the whole word "classroom".
There is a big What works? in grey mid slide on the slide but all that shows is what works without the ?
the list of best practices fall off the right side of the slide... meaning i don't see the entire text block... eg. #6 all i see on the slide is "detailed instructions for each learn" the point is cut at that point in the word.
i am concerned about this...and don't understand why i can't see it properly in breeze... it looks fine for me in my original ppt file.
hey.... does that mean that you can also see the problem i describe now... it is not just me?
In the mean time, I have reworked the original ppt file and republished and it looks better. i would like to give it a try, can i email it to you?
I am working on getting the bios and pics of the guest faculty and would like to hold til monday to be sure we have enough time to finish and test everything. is that ok?
Kathleen: you can have your student start checking links in the course. I think i just need to add the remaining bios, and the teaching presence breeze, which i am still working on.
Can you rename the sandbox? or how is that going to work. I am concerned about links breaking in a move to another moodle space.
How many people are signed up for this workshop?

hi kathleen:
did you get the revised breeze presentation?
Got it!
Responding to all your messages now... Day from h- - -l!
I am going to publish your breeze. Check again after 12pm to review.
I will start having all the links checked.
I think that is all for now.. right?
Oh.. checking with Margie to find out enrollment numbers. Will get back to you...
From: []
Sent: Monday, February 27, 2006 7:12 PM
To: Kathleen Ives
Subject: RE: Updates
Kathleen: here is the revised breeze. This one should work.
i hear you!!! i was up all night working on the course and my daughter is still sick, and i have a dr.s appointment this afternoon, i haven't been to the office now in over a week and all hell has broken loose because of the organizational changes - yeow!!!!
I am thrilled you got the breeze thing. I have it parked now in module 2 where it will go. so you can update the link there.
I am thinking of keeping modules 2 and 3 closed until the beginning of each week ... what do you think? that way there is incentive to come at the beginning of each week to see what is new....If you can have it checked maybe it can even go up on Friday instead of Monday ... it looks pretty good to me. When you have a moment, i would love to know what you think.
will there be any problem because i created the course in the sandbox?? i am worried about links breaking if stuff gets moved.
your student will check links and spelling? is she reading it for clarity and consistency by any chance... ?
If there are more than 20 participants i may have to ask someone (Bill) to help me manage the course. Not sure. I am so excited.!
Thanks so much for everything you are awesome!
I still am waiting for bios from the faculty for the live event. Descriptions of event are now in the course.
I still need to work out access for the 2 newest courses for observation that i posted.
I still need to finish the teaching presence breeze...(if module 2 is closed and the breeze presentations are closed till the beginning of the second week, then i have this weekend to finish the presentation...

I saw your 3am postings!
The name has already been changed - no worries. This is the course they will 'go' to... no moving necessary. With regard to keeping sections closed, not a problem at all.
Student will check links and spelling, I will help as well with regards to clarity.
I will 'lift' your descriptions from the course and put them on our website as well!
This is going to be great!
Have Bill 'enroll' on the community site:
Email me once he has done that and I will enable him as a facilitator!

Hi Alex
My student intern is ill (maybe she has the same thing your daughter has) so I am going in and going through the workshop.
Any typos I will go ahead and fix. Anything that is related to content, I will compile a list and send to you.
I am not going to open the workshop until first thing Monday morning. That will give you (and me if need be) the weekend to clean up any last minute items.
I've gone through all the content linked to the Menu on the left side of the Main Screen, and am working my way through the next levels. Essentially, I have been correcting typos, fixing periods, caps, links, making bolding, caps consistent within sections.
Hopefully will finish up today, or worst case tomorrow am.

Alex I am editing the 'create a course profile assignment'. It states that everyone will be able to view the assignment. Moodle does not work that way. Only the instructor will be able to view the assignment. If you want everyone to view the assignment, you should create a discussion forum and have them post there. I am going to change the wording -- but wanted to give you a heads up!

I checked with our technical support person and the assignment feature works as I noted. Only the instructor and the student can see the assignment submissions. The 'group' function is utilized when an instructor sets up different assignments for different groups. In other words, one group sees one assignment, the other group sees another assignment, but they cannot see each other's submissions.
I went into the Moodle users group, and there is supposed to be an e-portfolio feature coming out in the summer that would enable students to share assignments. If that is the case, we can try this in the fall.
Martine, our tech support, suggested you use a Wiki if you wanted to 'share' but I know you hate the Wiki feature in Moodle!
I am not done editing. I have made it through Module One and Part of Module Two. I will keep plugging away although I do have a LIVE event scheduled for tomorrow pm. I also have time this weekend.
We will get there!

The intern (who is back) and I are going to continue editing this weekend. I am currently in the process of 'cleaning up' and organizing your 'holding' tanks for documents.
I might suggest you do not make viewable Module 2 and 3 until they are complete. (I know one of the bio's is incomplete, for example).
I would tell the particpants at the bottom of Module 1 something to the effect that Module 2 will be available on Friday, March 10th.
The letter giving participants access to the workshop will go out first thing Monday morning.
Additionally, I am going to put a marketing blurb in the workshop about Sloan-C publications.
I am attaching the edited version of your manual; feel free to place it in the workshop where you see fit.
More later!

notes to kathleen

i didn't realize they would be getting this as a pdf and not as a hard copy.
That is fine.

Can you have this added to the manual .pdf on the inside front cover?
©Alexandra M. Pickett. This manual may not be reproduced, reprinted or redistributed without written permission from the author.

Also, can you have the word Draft taken off the front cover and instead put Sloan-C workshop. It is no longer a draft... that was just for you until edited and printed, or in this case pdf'd.

Thanks for all your hard work. I will be reviewing this weekend and will close module 2 and 3. I also am still working on the teaching presence breeze presentation. it is in module 2 which will be closed so there is time, right? It really needs to be in there.

I am very concerned that students will not be able to see eachothers assignments. i think i need to use the wiki so that they can see each other's assignments.

I may need to talk to you over the weekend. send me your home phone.

what is the test student username and password ?


I have moved the companion publication information into the workshop information section. You can see the document listed in the workshop information topic and linked to from the workshop information section block (course summary).

I also clarified the spaces where the hypertext documents are stored (meaning stuff in all topics below topic #4). I want participants to ignore the topics below topic 4. that is why i have added back the REM (remark) tag. I have added a label below topic 4 that explains that the stuff in the topics below 4 are "for document storage-only". All the documents in topics below topic 4 are stored there (moodle does not allow me to hide them with out disabling access ). Participants should interact with topics 1-4 only and with the workshop information documents. I can't prevent them from seeing them down there or clicking on them, but i want them to know that they are just stored there and to ignore them.

I took the label course summary off the "course summary" block, because that is not what i am using that section for.

I also took off the words URLs that had been added to the extra topics labels, because that is not what they are, and not how i am using them.

I also removed the workshop links at a glance topic label that had been added because that is not something i want. I want the participants to interact with topics 1-4, only as i have laid them out.


Should i open the modules on the monday of the week or on the friday before?
module 2open on the 10th rather than the 13th?
module 3 open on the 17th rather than the 20th?
That would give more time for module 3...
what do you think?



i just noticed that i am using both a wiki and an journal for the private folders section of my course. I need to use one or the other not both.

I think i will use the wiki, just to test that out as i am using the journal in another area... i have the journal placed and turned off just incase i need to switch it from the wiki for some reason.
any thoughts on this? have you used either feature? does how i have them set up look right? I have not tested as a student... i either don't have or misplaced the test student's username and password... let me know what you think about this.



so my course is going to start on Monday... i heard that there were 32 signed up for it at the beginning of last week!!!

Kathleen and an intern at Sloan have been reviewing and editing. They made some changes. I had to fix some stuff... Feels kind of weird having someone else in my course making changes. Especially when the changes seem to indicate that they are not getting it... hmmm. I really appreciate them fixing type-O's and typography stuff... for consistency. And Kathleen is reading for clarity and i really appreciate that too.

i am still concerned about the reflecting pool activity.

I am not confident that i know exactly how the journal functionality or the wiki functionality is going to work.

I have not gone in and tested yet with a student identity. (i confess - this is not good - so do as i suggest, not as i do).

I have the private folders set up as both a wiki and a journal. not sure which is best. i am going to use the wiki to test out that function... as i am using the journal for the reflecting pool activity.

I am not happy with either completely. I want to be able to attach files, reply to posts/have a discussion, add subject lines, and neither feature allows those things... have it be private between me and the student, or viewable by all students... no easy way to create instruction documents within the journal or wiki... and it seems to not let me create my own documents and you can't delete things you create unless you delete the whole thing.

I just found out today that you can't set the assignment form to allow all students to see attached files to the assignment forms. It seemed like you could and then Kathleen told me today that in fact you can't....That sucks because i want the participants to view each other's posted assignments so they can get ideas from each other and it is a motivational thing. I am not sure how i will address that flaw. I think i need to use a wiki, but you can't attach files in the wiki ... and you can't discuss.. maybe i am not getting this wiki thing... clearly not.

in the wiki and the journal you kind of have to keep a running document it seems... or delete text each time you post... i am not really getting it. the wiki versions, the journal does not... i am not feelin it...I will have to test it out and see how it works with the participants.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

making it work

I am going through and making refinements to the course...checking links, instructions, functionality, etc.

I am concerned that the reflecting pool activity is not clear enough. Also, it is a private activity and i will not be interacting in it... i am concerned about the activity working as i intend. With out my interaction and because it is private, what is the motivation for the participants to do it? I am doing it in this way to take into account my workload and the workload for the workshop participants.

I am also concerned that the the readings and assignments have no or little feedback/assessment planned. I am torn between wanting to model effective course design/management, and being able to deal with the workload and realistic expectations for participation from the participants... the reality is that this is a workshop, not a course, and in a workshop the expectations and time frame (3 weeks) are different. The discussions really are the meat of this workshop.

not a breeze...

I spent most of the week end creating my first Breeze presentation. It was really fun. i got all the way through, i even edited a bunch of "ummmms" out of the audio, and then published it... no problems.

But my powerpoint did not display in Breeze the way it does in PowerPoint. I worked on it 5 hours today to get it to display well... it is really weird, because to get it to display right i had to make modifications in the original powerpoint that make it look weird in powerpoint... it is something about the fonts i think... i don't know i am using regular fonts... i have no clue why it is doing what it is doing. thank god i got it to come out right.

Saturday, February 25, 2006


... is making me wait...i am finding things really slow... changing from page to page, opening documents, saving documents. I have a thought, click to edit and by the time it comes up i forgot what i was there for...

I just had the opportunity this past week to build a course in WebCT. interesting...working in moodle was definitely a help in my ability to pick up WebCT more quickly. I am not crazy about WebCT either by the way. Too many clicks to do anything, discussion is really really really bad, can integrate discussion into the linear presentation of course content...too many clicks, confusing, too many clicks... did i mention too many clicks....

Thursday, February 16, 2006

pebble in my shoe

i am looking over my course and really disappointed as i look at my written assignments. There is no way that i can discern to create a written assignment activity where i can give the students a list of questions either in a form format or in an attached file for them to fill out. I am faced with having to ask them to copy and paste my questions into a word processor, answer the questions and then attach and upload their responses to the questions. This is extremely frustrating and the "process" interferes with my instructional objective which is to have the students do the activity AND share it... and better yet would be to then be able to discuss or ask questions of each other based on their individual assignments.

by design

some desicisions i've made:
  1. 3 modules = 3 weeks
  2. a course information area
  3. a class community area
  4. location of the panes - course info on the left. no choice about the center module/topic area. news announcements top right, participants, then calendar.
This order and locations on the moodle course homepage are dictated in part by moodle... i don't have choice for example to rename the little panes or to move the center topic area... or to put anything above that center topic area. So the tool has made me adapt what i want it to do to what it allows.

i am using the topic summary pane for the course information documents. People read from left to right and this is important first information for the students to read, but after reading through this info. it takes a less important role in the course... and i don't want it taking up the vaulable course content real estate on the front page, so off to the left is the perfect location for this... it is there, visible throughout the course so that students can refer back to it, but it is not in the way of the current cousre content and areas of course interaction.

I am using the top center pane above the topic areas as a newsflash area. I want students to feel my presence every time they login immediately rather than having to go click on something to see an announcment. I will post daily announcements in this location. So, though there is a news forum, and a news area built into moodle, I will use this area to communicate on a daily baisis with the cousre participants. I will archive these posts in the news forum so that if they are missed, the course participants can see a running archive of each of my newsflashes. In addition, the moodle news forum forces subscription, which means every one will always get an email when anything is posted in the forum... I hate that, it is really irritating to get all these emails outside of the context of the course... a listserv is vastly different in nature from a course... i don't understant why there is not the option to completely restrict course activity to the course location in moodle. I don't want emails from my course as a professor or as a student. So that is why i also created the bulletin board in the class community are of my course. It is a space for non-course related communications, and it won't force sending emails to everyone.. . my preference would have been to consolidate this area into one. So, since the moodle news forum is this forced subscription area, i had to come up with another area to meet the need of non course related communications for class community purposes. This is irritating because what this means for me as the instructor is that i now have 2 areas to tend to instead of just one and for my workload the result is more work. Another factor was that in the news forum, you only have 5 minutes to edit your post... reorgainze it, change the date... so if you are trying to set it up as a commuinity area for students it's narrow functional scope just makes that too difficult... you can't organize posts, edit them, the date posted becomes an issue, etc.

course modules follow the course manual. I organized them logically into the three week workshop modules. Loosley the content falls logically as follows: week 1 : getting started and reflection and conceptualization... week 2: learning design...week 3: course management

each module has a consistent structure. They begin with an overview of the activities for the module, followed by a discussion, followed by assignments or activities . every module also has an ask a question area and a reflection pool journaling activity. Consistency is very important from module to module. the questions asked in module one will all post to the module 1 question area... this so that i can best manage and understant the questions posted. One discussion per module. Very important for workload reasons.

its all in the design.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

no where to hide...

i discovered that there is no where to "hide" documents in moodle... i have been creating documents and organizing them in what i thought were "hidden" topic areas, so that i could hyperlink to documents from other documents so they could be displayed how, where and when i want them to only. BUT, that is appearently not possible... so i have spent the last 2 days recreating each of the topic areas to accomodate that reality... which bites.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Am i doing this right?

How do you delete test documents? for example i created a test journal entry to see how that works in module 3 and now i can't get rid of it.
I need to create some of these activities not only to see what they do but also to be able to write the instructions and create models for the students.

How do i create a multipart assignment that i can make visible to the class an assignment with multiple parts like a short answer quiz but that has no right answers and can be seen by all in the class..

How do i make the private folder activity work. I want to make a private space for me and each student. a discussion forum that only the student and i can see... been trying some stuff but it is not working.

how do i create an activity where the student find online resources and build an annotated bibliography of web links.

I am not sure i am doing things as best as they could be, but it is what i have been able to figure out... it doesn't all make sense to me yet, but i am getting better at the stuff i have been using.

how do you attach files to a page and how do you do more than one... i have these MP3 files that i want to have next to the link to the courses and i can't figure out how to do that.

also if the multipart form the way i want to use it is not possible then i am going to have to send them word files i think... i need to talk to you about these assignments and how best to do them in moodle... it is driving me nuts.

I am trying to figure out how to use this wiki feature... it is so frustrating... i don't get it.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

i can't believe i did this...

I have been working on my course since 10:30 this morning ... it is now 4 am !! ... i am so tiered that i can't even do that math... i think that is 17.5 hours straight...I have only gone to the bathroom twice and only had a small frozen lunch to eat today... i did drink a half bottle of seltzer though...

Well on the plus side, i kinda got the hang of moodle now... still not crazy about much of the rigamarole... but i can make it work... it takes lots of time clicking around... and waiting for the page to come up... that is what takes time. I have not really figured out yet how to make a multipart assignment that the whole class can see, or a self test that does not get graded, or figured out how to attach files so that students can download them, but i have the rough structure of the course in, all the course info and class community and orientation areas and documents in and pretty much the first module is done...

wow. can't believe i actually did this. Not sure yet if should go live with it in march... i will have to discuss with kathleen to see what she thinks.

time for bed ... Isa will be up at 7 and tomorrow is football day and Dora the Explorer at the Palace Theater... : )

Saturday, February 04, 2006

What am i doing?

First i created my course information documents and tried to get them laid out in a location on the moodle course map that makes sense. I am using the course summary pane for that. I am having to use things in ways i don't think they intended to get this to look and feel like i want. I don't get the long center topic thing... it gets too need advanced organizers to visually chunk the information... i am still trying to figure it all out. also, they call dicussions "forums" and respond-reply and modules - topics... so i 've had to map try to map analagous features and functions. Then i started to try to outline the modules just to get a structure in... Along the way i have discovered better ways to do things... For example it is better to create a web page than to upload a file, cuz you can't edit files on the fly... and they don't contain the built in moodle page nav have to use your browser back button and you have to edit the original word file save it, upload it to the files folder, then create a link to that file... etc. with a web page you can just create it as a draft and edit easily.

I started to think about the class community areas and decided that the main pane should be used as a newsflash area... you can't move it and you can't put anything above it, so i have now also also created a table in it as a navigation bar to some additional help type resource that would be too buried course info area... i will change the newsflash often and archive them in the news forum... the way the news forum works is that you have to be "subscribed" to it which means you will get an annoying email anytime one is added, and you only get 5 minutes to add/edit anything to it, you can't change the dates so all my standard "announcement" type documents can't really go in that space... it is hugely annoying... I have had to create a Bulletin Board to serve that function... its fine. I will live with it.

The other things i have learned or decided to do are to use the topics as Modules that outline the content of each content "chunk" of the workshop. I also will have a question area and a reflection journal in each module. I have learned to hide "topics" so i am putting documents in there and then linking to them where i need them... i really don't get the label function for setting up the topic ... seems like a lot of energy for text that does nothing. I am bummed that i can't get a private discussion area with individual students easily... i am ending up using the journaling feature for that but it will be very cumbersome ... there may be another way to do this that i am missing but i am not sure. I thought i might be able to use the assignment form for that but none of the features that allow for private submission to the instructor result in the ability to reply back and forth in a forum type way... so i have to work around the private functionality of the journal to retain that needed privacy aspect... cumbersome!

I have also closed all the blocks that are extraneous and reorganized them into locations that make sense... the news is in the upper right. under that is the people block, then the calendar, then the upcoming events... you can't move blocks above the center block which is irritating... so that is why i made the nav bar table in that center block...

I created my class community module with links to the bulletin board, private folders and participant profiles. Oh, i have also begun to set up my exemplar course activity - link to a course for observation with MP3 files attached to use as side commentary as the participants tour the course... pretty cool. wish i could add more than one file to a page... will have to figure out a work around for that ... I have been figuring things out little by little in this tool as i go along...

Have i said i hate the subscribe thingy... i don't want emails from my course management tool, every time an entry is made...errrrrrrrr

Friday, February 03, 2006

podcasting for instructional purposes

I have created my first MP3 files that i will be using as supplemental resources in my online course. I plan to use them along side the exemplar courses i will make available to the workshop participants. sort of like how they make the option to view a movie with the director's comentary on DVDs... the workshop participants will be able to browse an exemplar course on their own, or opt to listen to a running conversation between me and the instructor as we tour their course and discuss the design decisions s/he made in developing their online courseand their experiences in teaching the course... i ask them stuff about the types of activites the have their students do, challenges they had, things they were concerned about, how things went, what works well for them, what they have improved, what they have learned about themselves, etc.

not really podcasting actually yet, i may just have a web page with the link to the course and the MP3 files attached, not sure yet if i will get to actually setting it up as a "podcast."

Should be cool!

time log

I am going to keep a running tab here of the time i spend on the design and development of this workshop. I want to have a longitudinal view of my development time for myself and for the participants in the workshop.

3.12.06 -
3.11.06 - 2 hours
3.10.06 - 4 hours
3.9.06 - 4 hours
3.8.06 - 6 hours
3.7.06 - 4 hours
3.6.06 - 4 hours

3.11. 06 - 7.5 hours
3.10.06 - 7 hours
3.6.06 - 8 hours
3.5.06 -10 hours
3.3.06 - 6 hours
3.2.06 - 2 hours
3.1.06 - 5 hours
2.28.06 - 7 hours
2.27.06 - 7 hours
2.26.06 - 9 hours - my first Breeze.
2.25.06 - 5 hours
2.17.06 - 3 hours - created the MP3 files with Beth and Steven.
2.15.06 - 2 hours
2.13.06 - 2 hours
2.11.06 - 2 hours
2.10.06 - 5 hours
2.9.06 - 5 hours
2.7.06 - 2 hours
2.4-5.06 - 17.7 hours - 10:30am - 4am!
2.3.06 - 7.5 hours - 5pm-12:30am
2.3.06 - created my second MP3 files with Bill
2.2.06 - 4 hours
2.1.06 - 9 hours - 5pm-2am
2.1.06 - Created my first instructional MP3 files with Rob
1.31.06 - 2 hours - orientation
1.30.06 - 2 hours
Created first blog
1.18.05 - first day - 3 hours fiddling

jezzzz louise it shoudn't be this hard

i am finding it extraordinarily irritating how things are set up in be fair, i just haven't figured it all out yet, but jezzzzzzzzzzz! it takes a million clicks to get it to
you can't edit stuff in the forums after a certain time... what!!!??? i mean that is ridiculous... why shouldn't you be able to write, reflect, rewrite, edit... it is completely counter productive and intuitive to the pedagogical intent of the reflective written discussion activity... Especially for the instructor trying to set up activities ... i also HATE getting these forum emails every time i post something. I have turned it off where ever i can. I have not yet figured out how to duplicate things... how the heck do you move things around.... i want a questions are in each module/topic... i should be able to just create it once and then duplicate it where ever i need it...

Here are my first questions:
how do i edit the news forum after the 5 minutes has elapsed.?

how do i change the dates in the news forum if i don't want those dates to appear... i want to lay out the forum with some standard announcements... about what that area is for, how to get technical help and about (not) using email for communications...

how do i stop this thing from sending email from the news forum or any of the forums...

I know there are some standard Sloan and moodle documents in here, but i don't see them anywhere, or in the files area . Where do documents hide?

There are a bunch of folders currently in the files. i cant figure that out what they are for?

how do participants add their profiles to the people section/block?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

my first thoughts...

so when faced with designing this course i had to consider several things:
  • how long the course will be
  • who the students will be
  • and what needs to be covered

1. The course is supposed to be 3 weeks long.

2. The workshop title is: online course development for beginners. so i have to make these assumptions to design the course and target the conent: the students are new to online teaching and learning ,they have not taught online before, this may be their first online instructional experience, they are interested in learning more about this, they may be thinking about developing and teaching an online course, or they may be asked to do so in hte near future

3. Content? I have been working with online faculty, doing research, developing a home grown course management system, working with large numbers of faculty, students, campuses, and instructional support staff for more than 10 years precisily on how to build an effective teaching and learning environment online... so i know this content... i am an expert in this...

First, there are 7 steps in my process... (i had a wonderful mentor when i first began in instructional design in the 80's who introduced me to Arthur M. Young's Theory of Process, and how he made a career adapting that theory to the fields of organization, team, and leadership development. David Sibbet is an amazing man who had a profound effect on me and the person i have become in more ways than he will ever know. I am the instructional designer that i am today because of him and because of the understanding about "process" that i learned from him and have used over the years to "understand" the process of how to "develop" effective and satisfied online faculty, that can build and teach effective and satisfying online teaching and learning environemnts. I have had a lot of success with this... and it all comes back to my seven step process...)

So, my first design delema was how do i organize 7 steps into a 3 week course... : ) As my architect would say, you can't put 10 pounds of sugar in a 5 pound cup!!

The second challenge was using moodle. Now first you need to know that i have never built a course in a CMS that i did not design myself... (one of my first thoughts was ... "i wonder if this is how my faculty feel when they open the course development application i designed for them?") i am probably unique in the world for this ...but it is none the less true... the first time i opened moodle and looked at i was frustrated like i am when i look at any of the commercial course management applications. I hate them. application developers not teachers designed them... and though they are very nice and intersting people (i have very nice colleagues that are app developers), they design from their context which starts with the technology, not the teaching...i have spent the last 12 years of my professional life (well at least 10) passionately designing a simple integrated teaching an learning environment that is flexible and designed according to my vision of what an online should do, feel like, look like, function, etc...

so, needless to say, faced with moodle, i had some thoughts like... how the hell am i going to make this do what i want/need it to do...

I also realize for the first time how tied to the my understanding and interpretations of effective online teaching and learning practices my design is... i mean i really didn't realize that... and so faced with another tool, that does not have that underlying sensiiblity, how foreign, and out of water i felt... it is very weird... i always felt very strongly that the technology was just that... a tool and that it was the practices that mattered, not the tool. i am now faced with this rather uncomfortable realization, that the tool is much more integrated into the pedagogy than i realized.

After my orientation yesterday i was so excited to get started. i haven't felt like this in years. I am very eager to get started and see what i can do with moodle. I couldn't wait for work to be over so i could get home and start to work on my course.... so here i go ...

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

moodle doodle

I have been playing around a bit with moodle, the CMS i will be using to create and deliver my online course, Online course development for beginners.

I jumped into it cold, no documentation , just pushed buttons.

Then today i had my first orientation to it... i learn best by being shown stuff... so Kathleen gave me a tour of the interface and features...

I can't wait to play.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Hi and a test

This is my first entry in this blog. I have created this as my "reflecting pool" to chronicle the process of developing my first online course in Moodle.

I want to document this experience to use as part of the online course itself to illustrate the online course design process... and also for myself... kind of a journal