Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Week 3 - microMOOC complete

This week marks an ending and a beginning.  The end is marked by the close of the IDML13 microMOOC this weekend... yet there's a beginning marked by the possibilities for future development using the tools and knowledge I've gained throughout this course.

This week's introduction... VoiceThread.  This tool can be used to create asynchronous audio and video discussions.  Instructors start a video thread asking students to complete some kind of activity.  Students then respond to the video by commenting on the VoiceThread.  They can use their mobile device to record video, their voice, and/or something in their surroundings.  Don't worry if you don't have a mobile device though because there's also a web app that works directly in a browser.  The mobile app is currently limited to iOS devices, but it sounds like there's an Android app in the works.

So (hopefully to give you a better idea of how it works) here's my example...
Respiratory Tract (1 page)

Click the link above to view and participate in the VoiceThread. Making comments is really simple and you can delete and re-record as many times as you like.

If you are viewing this on iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch and you have the VoiceThread app installed, tap here to view this VoiceThread on your device.
I've been thinking of other ways this tool could benefit our online courses.  One instance could be the typical icebreaker activity in the beginning of class.  With online classes we typically use forums to introduce ourselves to the class, but VoiceThread could make it a bit more dynamic and personal.  However, the video could get quite lengthy for classes with hundreds of students.  Perhaps groups or a time limit could help address that?

All too often students don't come to class prepared for discussions.  Using VoiceThread and requiring students to comment before class could be a way to ensure they've looked at the material prior to class discussions.  For example, the instructor could start the Voice Thread with, "Friday in class we'll be going over throat cultures.  Your task is to record a brief description of what you've done to prepare for Friday and also a preliminary report of the culture image I've included here."  Students are then charged with preparing outside of class and then actually proving that they've done so.  I'll have to think about how to avoid students listening to the first student and regurgitating that answer though won't I?

In the big picture, I think this will be a useful tool!  It'll just take some time and experimentation.

Overall, I think actually taking this MOOC on a mobile device has been a great way to get a feel of the student view.  It's helped me discover things that students may run into, which provides me with some preemptive troubleshooting so I can address the issues and hopefully prevent students from having them at all. This will help ease their minds and hopefully provide a more pleasant experience.

I've also learned a tremendous amount of information regarding mobile learning.  I had no idea the amount of existing research into mobile learning and the pedagogy behind it so this has really been an eye opener for me.  I am thankful for the opportunity to not only learn about some of the new tools available, but also to get to experiment with them.  It's been a fast and furious experience, but I am incredibly glad I gave it a shot!

Thank you for this great adventure Academic Partnerships, Faculty eCommons, and our wonderful wayfinders!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Week 2

This week's IDML13 content is incredibly valuable as it covers the pedagogy behind mLearning.  Through the readings I've learned about different ways to design, build, and implement mobile projects in the classroom as well as when mLearning is and isn't appropriate.  For example, mobile activities can provide situated learning relevant to a learner's location.

This week's assignment was to use SoundCloud to record a short audio clip and create a representative image using Textgram. Two more applications that are new to me.  The online courses I work with currently have a "getting to know you" assignment at the beginning of the semester.  The activity is currently submitted using forum discussions, but in creating this week's assignment, I can see how students could record audio or video clips to share a little bit about themselves with the class.  This may help make the activity more personal for the students, which may also help build their online community.

SoundCloud link (the Textgram image is shown with the audio file)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Week 1

This week has been quite a learning experience… finding out that the little barcode images plastered all over the place are called QR codes... and that they can link to all kinds of resources.  I don't think I'd ever scanned a QR code before and I found myself charged with making one of my own… so off I went on my week one IDML13 microMOOC adventure.  The task? Create a short instructional video and share it using a QR code.  I'm not an instructor so I was unsure of what kind of lesson to make.  After a faculty member came by to see me about creating a Google spreadsheet, a colleague of mine suggested I create a video about that.  Ah-ha!  She's brilliant.  So now, armed with an idea for an instructional video,  I got out the iPad and did some app store searches to find an app that would allow me to narrate and annotate screen shots... voilĂ ... I found bContext.  I took screenshots (on the iPad) of my Google drive to illustrate the process of adding and sharing a spreadsheet.  I added the images as slides to bContext and recorded narration using a set of Apple headphones.  I shared the video using the bContext cloud service. qr code

Next I had to create a QR code to link to the video.  Back to the app store I went to find a free app called QR Code Maker.  It was easy enough to enter the video URL and create a QR code image.  Then I just tweeted the image using the IDML13 hashtag to share the video with my microMOOC classmates. 

I realize that the text size may be difficult to see on a phone, but did not see a way to zoom in on parts of the image using the free bContext app; however, the resolution is good if you zoom in on it using your phone.  Because I used my mobile device to create and publish this tutorial there were some other limitations.  There weren't any audio or video calibration or editing capabilities included in bContext.  Mobile learning modules should be more interactive so it's probably best to create the content using a more robust desktop application rather than relying on the limited resources of a mobile device.

In other activities this week I heard about some new resources such as Sound Cloud, Voice Thread, and Poll Everywhere.  I also learned about educational applications of other resources such as Pinterest.  Although it sounds like the initial setup might take some time and critical thinking, Pinterest could be a useful tool for sharing resources and other information.

I'm sure we have several resources in our online courses that could benefit from mobile (re)design.  We have vocabulary exercises that are currently delivered as matching questions.  These activities could be designed as interactive puzzles to help engage students with the necessary vocabulary.  Similarly, the glossary itself could benefit.  Currently the glossary is a massive text-based resource.  This could be designed as flashcard activities that could also incorporate multimedia and interactivity.  The flash card entries could include QR code links to audio or video files that would provide more in-depth information.  These activities would incorporate simple consistent navigation, multimedia content that actively engage and entertain students. 

To incorporate the 4 Rs, the flashcards could allow student annotation, bookmarking and other tools to record or create information individually.  Reinterpreting the information could be accomplished by including external resources (via the QR codes) that would help expand on the information.  Recall could be addressed by adding a search function, which would allow students to find a term (or search for a definition if they have trouble remembering the term).  Perhaps the flash cards could include a wiki for students to add their own comments for helpful mnemonics or other ways that have helped them remember particularly difficult vocabulary terms.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Week 0 complete

So week one of my first MOOC is finishing up today. The first week has been an introduction to the course (hence week 0), its setup and navigation, and introducing ourselves. However, I already feel like there's such an overwhelming amount of material. Trying to keep up with all of the discussion posts would be a full time job in itself. And that doesn't include all of the tweets either. I know the intro tells us not to get overwhelmed and to do what we can and what we feel will benefit us the most, but I'm so programmed to follow a set schedule with set assignments (that  must be completed) that I find myself trying to keep up with everything. And now I'm wondering how I'm supposed to keep track of all the activities I've completed and which ones still need done. The second module shows it's yet to be unlocked which makes me think I've missed some required activity somewhere. Or maybe it's because week 1 doesn't start until tomorrow. So I spent a bunch of time going through all of the week 0 content again to make sure I didn't miss something, but then I installed the canvas app for iOS and I have access to the week 1 material. ??

Anyway, this blog is supposed to be about self-reflection on what I've learned. So for me, this week has been learning how to use this blog, getting familiar with twitter and how to follow others, and navigating the canvas course. I'm also learning more about my mobile device and its capabilities and how to use some new apps like pic collage, canvas, and photo booth. I think my experience with canvas has been that the app will serve me better than running canvas through safari. So in the future I'll  check to see if there's an app available because it's quite possible that the app was built to make the program more mobile-compatible. (Who knew?)

Now I'm looking forward to getting into the meat of this course in the weeks to come.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Taken the plunge...

I've taken the plunge... not only am I starting my first MOOC this week, but I'm becoming more familiar with Twitter in the process.  The microMOOC is on Instructional Design for Mobile Learning.

I'm a doctoral candidate in the instructional design program and will be starting the program this summer.  I'm also an instructional technologist for the department of biological sciences.  We deliver three fully online courses and two of those courses include virtual labs.

I'm delving into the prospect of designing mobile learning activities for our students, so here we go...