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Lightbulb Moments with BlendKit – Week 3

Blended/Hybrid courses, instructional design
(Side note: My off work time has become increasingly busier as of late with recently getting married (tee-hee) and looking for a new house (possibly building). I intend to keep up with this blog but wanted to mention any irregular gaps between posting. Thank for reading!)

Update: I feel way too disconnected from this topic this week, but found I really missed going through the readings and posting this reflection. I attended the live webinar yesterday and as usual, it was fun and informative. I wish I had a login for their Materia tool, and hope they do find a way to open that up to non-UCF people. They have created several templates for interactive widgets/games for instructors and designers to use in their courses. I may or may have to spend a fair amount of time playing around with that over the past year or so. I first found it during my research for an interview I had with UCF and was glad to check it out again after the webinar yesterday. Like Kelvin Thompson said, having tools like that is a work in progress. I for one an glad they keep it up!

This weeks’ questions will be somewhat more theoretical in nature since my teaching experience (so far) has been mostly in K12 and with faculty professional development. I look forward to exploring this topic in order to formulate a more solid idea of what future courses could look like as far as assessments.

Questions to Ponder

  • How much of the final course grade do you typically allot to testing? How many tests/exams do you usually require? How can you avoid creating a “high stakes” environment that may inadvertently set students up for failure/cheating?
    • I would like to just say that this depends on the type, of course, however, in my experience, it seems there is always some sort of test in each course. Whether it is a quiz/knowledge check, midterm, final, or something else like a project there is something that the student can show to the instructor that they have (or have not) met the learning outcomes for the course. I would focus more on what I want the students to be able to do and let that lead to the product and thus to how much of the final grade it takes up.
    • I hope I would be realistic my expectations for the course so students do not feel that the only way to complete required tasks is to fail or cheat.  I would use the results of each course and any associated hiccups or challenges to reevaluate my expectations. Like any effective course design, I would set up an iterative process to improve and empower students to succeed while meeting the expected outcomes.
  • What expectations do you have for online assessments? How do these expectations compare to those you have for face-to-face assessments? Are you harboring any biases?
    • The most challenging assessments I remember taking during my online course days were the ones where you could just tell that a TON of thought was put into the questions. Whether it was a quiz, exam, or a project you could not just Google or Ctrl+F the keywords to get the answer(s). The reflective thought required took extra time but I guarantee I remember more of that content than assessments that were not designed that way. This way there was at least some built-in protection cheating…especially when the answer had to be open-ended and in your own words.
    • I think many of my expectations for online are similar to those I hold for f2f classes. Dedicated time to work on projects is great in both modalities, as is allowing people to team up (when appropriate) on tasks. It would be hard, though, I imagine, to hold to that when face to face with students…it would be tempting to change stuff or give more information or guidance. Hopefully not, but this is uncharted territory and I bet experience would be the great teacher!
    • As the BlendKit text mentions, I too am a fan of student-generated questions. Those require not only thinking about the answer but real forethought when designing the questions! Win-Win!
  • What trade-offs do you see between the affordances of auto-scored online quizzes and project-based assessments? How will you strike the right balance in your blended learning course?
    • I could see it being nice to have quick pop-quiz or knowledge check style quizzes be auto-scored. Those multiple guess, I mean multiple choice, t/f, fill in the blank questions could be used and could even serve as good study material for students. However, as my answer to the previous question stated, it is difficult to discourage cheating when using that style, and the questions themselves tend to be on the lower end of thinking skills (like Bloom’s).
    • It would depend some on the topic, but I would try to balance out auto-scored and more project based assignments by periodically reviewing the course content to see what design would work best for each outcome. I do remember seeing tools online that could be used to review your course for media and assessment types used to make sure one style was not used too much more than others. It may have been a UDL-related resource, but I digress…
  • How will you implement formal and informal assessments of learning into your blended learning course? Will these all take place face-to-face, online, or in a combination?
    • I fought off copy and pasting my last answer here, but again it will depend. (Yeah, that is a bit of a cop out answer. I shall endeavor to do better.)
    • Informal assessments are a very effective way to gauge learner understanding and help apply aide and resources as needed. The student may or may not realize this too, we always hope they will and encourage it but if they do not the formal assessment sure will! Some data may be required by the institution too, so this and direction by the Program dept would influence when and how these all happen.
    • I would hope to have formal and informal assessments wherever they are needed on a day to day basis, but in planning hope that I could rely on a combined approach.
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Lightbulb Moments with BlendKit – Week 1

instructional design, Workshops

Intro: Last week I started (finally) to explore BlendKit. After gaining more familiarity with my own colleges’ offerings, I wanted to gain more insight and ideas into how we could generally expand those offerings and improve what we already have.

As a recommended part of the course, I will be posting a reflection post here each week. I will highlight things that stood out for me, as weel as answer the Questions to Ponder that are offered in the course. I hope to also be highlighting the work of others in the course who are also posting on their blogs. Please check them out when you come across the link to their blog! Another part of the course is the DIY (do it yourself) assignments. This week, that will be a separate post but some weeks may work better to be included in the reflection.

I first heard about BlendKit from the TOPcast podcast. So far, I am already impressed by the wealth of information and resources it offers! And it is an OER! Check out their website:

BlendKit Toolkit

About BlendKit: Based upon proven research and informed by practical experience, this Blended Learning Toolkit will offer guidance, examples, professional development, and other resources to help you prepare your own blended learning courses and program.

Questions to Ponder

  • Is it most helpful to think of blended learning as an online enhancement to a face-to-face learning environment, a face-to-face enhancement to an online learning environment, or as something else entirely?
    • I think it depends on the subject matter or content. Some course or content are better face-to-face (f2f) or have to be f2f (as in a Nursing or Automotive course) and some are better fully online.
  • In what ways can blended learning courses be considered the “best of both worlds” (i.e., face-to-face and online)? What could make blended learning the “worst of both worlds?”
    • Learning styles and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) – blended offers something for students who process information better in person as well as for those students who benefit from going solo in their learning so they can focus and not have to deal with so many distractions. UDL recommends offering the content in multiple formats so blended gives the opportunity to offer content in more than one form.
    • Blended courses can allow a discussion that happened in the f2f course the chance to continue to flourish online. Conversely, if there was an interesting discussion online, that can be taken into the f2f sessions.
    • If either mode is done poorly blended can become the worse of both worlds. Just a few ways this could happen -if there is no engagement or feedback from either the instructor or the students, if the same powerpoint slides are posted online with nothing else, or if the students are not oriented on being a successful online learner.The instructor just lectures or is not present in the f2f session or virtually in the online sessions.
  • As you consider designing a blended learning course, what course components are you open to implementing differently than you have in the past? How will you decide which components will occur online and which will take place face-to-face? How will you manage the relationship between these two modalities?
    • For our PD, I would like to start offering asych content and then offer web meetings on those same topics, both would always have the option to meet with our team 1:1 in person or virtually.

An Opportunity to Design for Good? Yes, Please!

instructional design

In the midst of settling into new work routines and projects, I still wanted to have an avenue for creative discussion and learning…I have (and will, as long as they will have me, haha) done this through the Adobe EdEx but still want to grow my network in other areas. Now I have added one more branch to that network AND have the opportunity to learn and to contribute to Open Educational Resources for Adult Basic Education!

screen grab of the summary of the ID course in Canvas

Title and Summary from the course.


I have joined a 12-week course through Canvas that, as shown in the image above, will give me additional experience in instructional design while contributing to the body of knowledge available to learners and instructors in adult basic ed courses. Since the GED exam was updated in 2014, there is not a lot of resources that can be used and that align to the new standards. Enter this course…Win-Win! I gain more experience with a chance to contribute and the community gains another educational resource. I think both parties benefit quite well in this process!

I am just finishing Module One as I write this, but already am exciting for what we will all put together. I have met a few of the volunteers (yes, volunteers) that designed this course, and put what I am sure was a TON of time and efforts to building it. Again, thank you!! Read more about them on the Designers for Learning Team Page.

I would like to post each week of the course, but will strive for regular updates as I go through it. I want to promote this idea, and the work that has and will come from it!

NOTE: There is still a chance to sign up for this course today! Registration closes March 4th.

Adobe Education Trainer Moderator

Adobe, instructional design, Uncategorized

Last year, I applied for and was offered a chance to moderate for the AET group! Having been through the AET Train the Trainer course twice, I was thrilled when this opportunity came before me, and it was at the same time that another idea came to fruition! During a couple webinars from Adobe, I talked to fellow AET’s and moderators about having a group within AET specifically for Instructional Designers and other Developers/Trainers. I posted a discussion item in the AET group to see if any others were interested and within a few days had over 70 responses! Melissa Oldrin was instrumental in giving that idea traction and building my confidence to move it forward. Thank you again, Melissa! With Melissa’s guidance, and the expressed interest, we moved forward to start that group! We added another experienced AET who partners with me to provide related content, so we benefit from her knowledge, expertise and perspective as well. After developing and publishing a survey to the group, we found areas of interest and focused our efforts there…the top six areas were:

  • Digital Media
  • Course Design
  • Curriculum Development
  • Technology Integration
  • Assessment
  • Universal Design

So far we have been posting discussions and resources in a few of these areas, and will do so regularly throughout our terms as moderator.

I am excited about this opportunity, and plan to link posting here and there together to set a more regular posting schedule. As I get into things at SCC, I am finding more relevant and timely topics to discuss…as I worked to post I realize I needed to find more purposeful experiences to write about. So glad I found it, and I look forward to connecting with other professionals during that process!


Online and Blended Learning Course

eLearning, instructional design

This week began with a full day introduction to the Leading Edge Alliance course “Online and Blended Learning”. After the completion of this 8-week course, participants such as myself will received the certification and have a completed portfolio showcasing our skills in that area. Like others, I have learning objects and lessons in various places so it will be great to put some of that together in a professional and organized fashion.

Part of the course requirements include regular reflections on the weekly units, and I will be posting those reflections here. I encourage feedback, tips, and other related information on those posts (as I do for any posts).

For more information on this course, please visit their website.

eLearning Course

Adobe, instructional design

(side note: normally I would not go 3 months without a post..I am lucky that I am just starting out with this blog, but still want to apologize to my Followers for the lack of content. I blame it on the cold! haha)

This week started a new 8-week course from Adobe for me and what I am sure are hundreds (thousands?) of others across the world. Last year I wrote about my experience in the first Train the Trainer course and it honestly was a great experience. (Read this post via this link.) This round I am very excited because the focus is on eLearning! Visit and search for Elements and eLearning. Here is a short description from the Adobe Ed Exchange about this course:

If you currently train or seek to train teachers who have little to no familiarity with digital media or online learning, this course is for you. Over eight weeks, you’ll explore interactive content that will prepare you to train educators on the Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements products as well as Adobe’s powerful eLearning tools, Adobe Captivate and Adobe Presenter. You’ll become familiar with Adobe Education’s support for trainers as you explore the important role digital skills and creativity play in the classrooms of today and tomorrow. Finally, you’ll engage in a peer-based interactive professional development design curriculum that will take your trainings to the next level.

Did I mention this is FREE?? I will not deny there is a fair amount of work and time required but, like anything, you get what you put into it…I noticed last year when I got into a routine and spent time on the lessons and participated in the Live Sessions it was a rewarding experience. Bottom line, I say join and try it out. If things get to hectic you can leave and join the course again in the Summer if that works better for your schedule-it will be offered July-August 2015.

Desire2Learn – (First ID Experience)

instructional design

Many moons ago, I took a few courses using the Desire2Learn platform. It was in the early days of e-Learning and I am fairly certain those experiences gave me insight into what was needed to make online courses and served to fuel my later wish to pursue a degree in Instructional Design.

Recently, I was able to play around…yes, I said PLAY (I love these types of tools) with D2L from an Instructor and a Designer perspective. I was given one unit in a course on Shakespeare and a links to the college’s CSS formatting and asked to design a module for it on D2L. Unfortunately I only had one week within which to do this…so I had to get to work quickly.

First, I had to teach myself how to work within D2L from each perspective of student, instructor, and designer. Now and then I had to reign in my desire to play around too much, but it was interesting to learn about the various components. After I had worked with individual parts of the platform, I found there was an Instruction Design wizard that pretty much guides you through the entire design process…so I did that too, just to compare the experience.

Second, I analyzed the content given to me. This is where I put on my “instructor hat” and wrote down questions I would ask the actual instructor if the opportunity arose. I also looked at it from the student perspective and envisioned how this unit would look on a course syllabus.

Lastly, I got to work on the design. I played around with the overall look of the module and found that some of the parts I wanted to change were locked down by the college. Once I got over that, I used what I had learned from looking over the unit materials and decided what interactive components and accessibility needs were present and how I would design those around the main content. I played around with some of the images given to me in Photoshop and added a couple of them to the module. I then decided on InDesign to make an interactive flowchart. Even though it would not show up on mobile devices, in the given timeframe I made the call to go ahead with it. I found it fairly easy to upload the files I need to make that all work and learned a few shortcuts along the way.Under normal circumstances, I would have chosen another interactive element that everyone accessing it on whatever chosen devices could use.

Overall, I enjoyed working with D2L and hope to get a chance to learn more about it in the future.