Category Archives: Professional Development

Professional Development, Training, Faculty Development, Workshops

Blended Learning and Flipped Classrooms: Practical Strategies and Ideas

Today I’m presenting for the faculty of Burman University in Lacombe, Alberta, Canada. This post has the accompanying resources.

Blended Learning PPT

Andrews Resources


Video Resources

Open Courses and Resources

Recording and Hosting Videos

Assessments at the Door

Resources for Teaching, Active Learning, and Engagement


For Further Reading

Using Blogging to Contribute Expertise and Convey Credibility

Today I’m presenting a webinar for the United States Distance Learning Association National Distance Learning Week Webinar Series: Using Blogging to Contribute Expertise and Convey Credibility. This post shares the accompanying resources.


My blogging history:

Tools for blogging:

Ideas for Blogging

Scheduling and Tracking Writing

Promoting and Learning

Thank you to USDLA for the great line-up of webinars for National Distance Learning Week!  the opportunity to present this session! Hope to see you, dear reader, at the following upcoming USDLA events:

Jazzing Up Your Curriculum: Applying Principles of Jazz to Collaboration

Today I’m co-presenting at the 10th Anniversary COIL Conference with Ken Conn, Amy Spath, and Roxanne Glaser.

Jazz workshopSession Description: Collaboration requires a unique set of skills, skills that are similar to those used in jazz music. Autonomy, passion, risk, innovation, and listening are essential to a successful collaborative experience. Learn how these five principles of jazz are applied in a unique summer course for K12 teachers called 123 VC: Jazzing Up Your Curriculum with Videoconferencing. The workshop is collaboratively led and features a variety of interactive activities across the participating sites

Google Slidedeck

Note: 2008-2010 the Jazz workshop had international participation from Wales, UK and British Columbia, Canada.

The “Jazz workshop” Resources

We challenge you to ensure your collaborations are jazz music, not a one-man band or a symphony led by a star conductor!

Bringing the World to Your Classroom

This blog post is a supplement to my presentation at the annual Andrews University Teaching and Learning Conference.

Description: Break down the walls of your classroom and bring global engaging learning experiences to your students. Why? The benefits are engaging learning experiences for your students. Collaborate with teachers to design powerful collaborative projects. Come learn about tools and resources that can help you design and implement quality collaborations.

Why Collaborate? 

Collaborative Project Planning Resources

Possible Tools

Finding Partners

Time Zone Tools

  • – great for planning ahead, especially checking daylight savings time changes
  • – put a widget on your computer with the time in another location

Selected Bibliography

See my dissertation for a more complete list of videoconferencing and collaboration references.

  • Cifuentes, L., & Murphy, K. L. (2000). Promoting multicultural understanding and positive self-concept through a distance learning community: cultural connections. Educational Technology Research and Development, 48(1), 69-83.
  • Martinez, M. D., & MacMillan, G. (1998). A Joint Distance Learning Course in American Government (No. ED428005).
  • Owston, R. (2007). Contextual factors that sustain innovative pedagogical practice using technology: an international study. Journal of Educational Change, 8(1), 61-77.
  • Sweeney, M. A. (2007). The use of videoconferencing techniques which support constructivism in K-12 education. Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • Warschauer, M. (1997). Computer-mediated collaborative learning: Theory and practice. Modern Language Journal, 81(3), p. 470-481. Also at
  • Yost, N. (2001). Lights, Camera, Action: Videoconferencing in Kindergarten. Paper presented at the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education International Conference.

An Introduction to Open Educational Resources (OER)

Today, March 29, is the annual Andrews University Teaching and Learning Conference. This year, my department has joined forces with TLC and our monthly Faculty Technology Showcase is part of the day long conference. Our theme for the showcase is Open Educational Resources, and we’re having presentations on OER, learning from MOOCs, and Yammer, an enterprise social network. I’m sharing the OER presentation, and here are the resources we are exploring.

What is OER?

Source: Why Open Education Matters

Open Textbooks for Higher Education

Open Textbooks for K12

Open Educational Resources

So how does it work?

Want to Learn More?

123VC Jazz Wins the 2015 TxDLA Outstanding Commitment to Excellence and Innovation in Distance Learning by a Nonprofit Award

123VC Jazz - 2015 TxDLA OCEIDL AwardsI’m so excited to announce that 123VC Jazz is the recipient of the 2015 TxDLA Outstanding Commitment to Excellence and innovation in Distance Learning by a Nonprofit award!

Quoting Ken Conn, who started the 123VC Jazz workshop:

It is a great honor after 10 years.  123VC Jazz is one of my most proud accomplishments.  Especially because it has always been such a truly collaborative group effort.

For a summary of the quality of 123VC Jazz, read the award submission:


123VC: Jazzing Up Your Curriculum With Videoconferencing, fondly called “Jazz” by past participants and facilitators alike, is a grass roots collaboration that has been developed, prepared, coordinated, and facilitated by volunteers since its inception in 2005.  The goal that fuels this organization is to increase the use of interactive videoconferencing in K12 education through experiencing it in a purposeful and engaging manner as well as active and guided reflection.  The session is delivered from multiple sites simultaneously that connect through videoconference and web 2.0 tools for a variety of meaningful activities. Over time, the workshop has consistently evolved to include various site/lead facilitators with K12 curriculum infused videoconferencing continuing to be the focus.  More detailed information can be reviewed at the 123VC website,, which includes a link to past blogs, pictures, created projects, and the positive evaluation results of the participants from 2005 – 2014.

In 2005, 123VC: Jazzing Up Your Curriculum With Videoconferencing originated from a simple request:  Bennie Tschoerner, retired Technology Director at Paris ISD, approached Ken Conn, then Distance Learning Coordinator with Lamar Consolidated ISD, to facilitate a videoconferencing focused workshop in his district.  This transformed into a larger idea of the two districts collaborating together on the workshop with much of the initial planning actually taking place at a table in the hallway at the end of the 2005 TxDLA conference in Fort Worth.  Janine Lim, at the time a K12 videoconferencing leader from Michigan, also joined the original group as a third site after being approached to participate as a guest presenter during the workshop.

The workshop is designed so the participants can be quickly immersed in videoconferencing to experience various formats and interactive content providers, reflect from a student and teacher perspective, and partner with a small group of educators across sites to develop a project that can be implemented back at their local sites.  At the same time there is a significant amount of planning and collaboration occurring among the various site facilitators in order to prepare, coordinate, and facilitate the session.  It is a videoconferencing workshop for participants that is synchronously occurring during a videoconferencing workshop for the facilitators.

The true innovation of this organization over the years comes from the consistent collaboration, reflection, and application of new approaches/ideas.  The facilitators have changed over the past ten years and the content of the workshop has continually taken the feedback from both participants and facilitators into consideration.  The content, processes, and procedures have evolved to incorporate the lessons learned over time.

“Jazz” is a unique organization in many different ways that is truly organic and will continue to provide a positive impact to the videoconferencing community.

Finally, the poster advertising the award nominee at TxDLA. Congratulations, Ken, on keeping Jazz alive for so many years of amazing professional development for teachers!

123 VC Poster at TxDLA


To learn more about Jazz, review my past posts about the Jazz workshop.


Collaboration and Collaborative Tools

Blogging the 2014 AECT International Convention.

Cognitive Tools to Support Collaboration: Technology and Pedagogy at Work

Presenters: Rose Marra and Christopher M. Larsen, University of Missouri

The goal was to help engineering students learn collaboration and communication skills as these are needed for the workplace.

There is a perception that engineers like to work alone. Faculty struggle to create learning tasks and activities that require collaboration; and may not have the knowledge base needed to teach these skills.

They developed a tool to support engineering student collaboration in the context of doing engineering design. Used a tool called Google Drive Environment for Collaboration.

The study was really focused on whether students were able to learn collaboration skills through the use of these online tools.

The course studied had 40 students and was an Industrial Engineering Ergonomics and Workstation Design course. They worked on project where they had to consider a human factors problem and designed a solution for it. They did all of their work, and turned in final work in the GDEC environment. The environment was technology paired with pedagogy to facilitate learning.

The technology part (2012) was Google Drive. They wanted something easy to use and free for the students to use. Mind tools are like spreadsheets and databases we have talked about for years; now we are moving mind tools onto the cloud. Simultaneous editing, folder structures, and trace data were important affordances.

Instructor had global access to all folders. Folders were created for each team. Students could see their folder only.

They had tried pbwiki before and found it too hard – it wasn’t easy to produce reports and documents.

This was a face to face course, not online.

Students don’t use the affordances of the technology unless they are coached (Hsu et al 2014), used scaffolds and scripted prompts to support each part of the project.

Scaffolding is assistance from an expert that enables learners to accomplish things on their own (couldn’t see the 1976 reference). Need to eventually fade the scaffold.

When they started, partially completed google docs were already in their folders to scaffold their work.

Issues that needed to be addressed from previous sections of the course: projects read as they were bolted together; divide and conquer mentality, collaborative writing challenges, students’ in ability to provide constructive feedback to one another. They conducted in class workshops where students were walked through a constructive peer feedback experience so they could learn how to negotiate and collaborate (not just cooperate).

Interesting that many students hadn’t seen GoogleDrive before and they found it very useful. Comment: I’m not sure that time passing will make it more likely that students are just organically start using tools such as GoogleDrive to collaborate? I think it’s really unlikely – they tend to gravitate to their social media, but not voluntarily using tools that support work-like collaborative environments without a real need for it. 

Faculty or Instructional Designer? Creating a Culture of Collaborative Course Design and Development

Presenters: Lisa Johnson and Gina Connor, Ashford University

Presentation slidedeck is online here

This presentation is on the pilot of a course design and development process within the College of Education. They built a handbook for course design to support the process. We have a new handbook as well, and hope to put it online as soon as editing is done. It will be online here.

Lisa worked before in a culture of open source and sharing.

Some challenges were:

  • The culture emphasized cooperation over collaboration. The roles and jobs weren’t synchronized and people weren’t necessarily talking to each other and sharing resources.
  • Another challenge was a very small ID team – 4 IDs for 200 courses that were new or revised. Communication processes were important – delineating workshops with distinct goals, unique cultures for accountability and sharing. Faculty needed tools to put in place to support the process. They may tend to do what they’ve seen before instead of thinking through developing outcomes and assessments. It’s important to remember everyone was working really hard and working well. The goal here was to maximize what was already working. A proactive approach was essential.
  • A mix of processes and expectations, including accreditation, Quality Matters (98% of their courses are QM certified), mixed workstyles (asynchronous and semi synchronous) caused challenges as well.
  • Audience challenges: purpose, goals, keeping everyone heading the same direction
  • Audience challenges: role confusion, who is doing what between the faculty member and the ID
  • Audience challenges in requiring faculty to go through Quality Matters for their online courses
  • Other comments / tips
    • It’s important to help the faculty realize that ID support is a resource, not as oversight; the positive framing is really important

How the challenges were tackled/overcome

  • Course design cafe – they have the handbooks, templates, and resources to support the process. It’s a social platform for sharing content, having groups, tracking projects, etc. Resources, articles, discussions, etc. are also included to support the course design process. The Instructional Design team is active in the online cafe as well.
  • “Dangerous Designers” Community of Practice. It’s grown to be university wide – there are about 75 faculty who participate every month. They bring in different stakeholders to share with faculty how they can support the course design process. It’s a growing group that supports faculty talking to each other about designing their courses and curriculum.
  • Roles included in the team for course development
    • Faculty developer / designer
    • Program Manager
    • Quality Assurance
    • Assessment Analyst
    • Instructional Designer
    • Career Services, Library & Writing Center Liaisons
    • Curriculum Coordinators/Specialists
    • Curriculum Design Specialist Faculty
    • Instructional Design Specialist Faculty
      • One point is pulling in faculty to work as instructional design support to supplement a small team of trained IDs. They are like a lead faculty support for instructional design.
      • Lisa is a professor, but doing ID work and has the skill set of an ID.
      • Faculty egos are less bruised when they receive feedback because Lisa is a peer – she is also a professor.

The main point is creating structures for supporting communication and collaboration – finding ways to connect people with each other for sharing.

The Role of the Instructional Designer

Blogging the 2014 AECT International Convention.

Understanding the Collaborative Relationship between Instructional Designers and Clients: A Typology of Instructional Designer Activities

Presenters: Bill Sugar, East Carolina University; Rob Moore, UNC-Chapel Hill

Slides online here

Based on instructional designer log entries, interviews, project information. They were trying to see what happens in the “day in the life” of an instructional designer. The study was done on one instructional designer’s daily life over a whole year, and 111 unique activities were categorized. Most of the clients thought they saw the instructional designer monthly or once every two or three months.

Types of Activities

  • Design: elearning, graphics, instructional design planning, PowerPoint, social media, webinars
  • Production: audio, images, video
  • Support: courses, elearning, just-in-time support, LMS support, social media, webinars
    • Webinars included supporting the back channel and making sure things go well. They do a lot of webinars.
    • Just-in-time support includes walking the hallways for a break to just see if anyone needs anything
    • On faculty support: Anything you only use every six months is going to be hard and you will need support for. good attitude towards faculty asking for training over & over.
    • It really helps to know the faculty, to know what’s happening with their families, travel, etc. and to negotiate on deadlines.
  • Non-Instructional design activiities: administrative tasks, meetings

ID Roles

Interesting Notes and Reflections

  • About 19 hours per course
  • In our shop, we split these different functions across different positions and roles on our team
  • The next step after this study is to generate a survey or instrument for instructional designers
  • Lit review prepping for this study is published as a book: Studies of ID Practices

Instructional Designers and Faculty Developers: Pedagogies, Perceptions and Practices in Mobile Learning: A Qualitative Study

Presenter: Kim Hosler, University of Denver

This study looked at how nine instructional designers were supporting faculty with mobile learning efforts.

Mobile learning definition: learning happening across locations, times, topics, and technologies using small hand-held, and possibly in the future, wearable devices. People can interact with their surroundings using digital tools. See Mobile Learning.

The instructional designers had to have education in either instructional design, educational technology or curriculum and instruction (yay here’s evidence that using C&I folks as my instructional designers is appropriate)

One thing she found as a surprise of the research is that really not much was happening on the campuses with mobile learning – and faculty weren’t as involved as expected.

What frameworks were they using to support faculty with mobile learning? Some said ADDIE, some said Bloom’s and Dee Fink’s Significant Learning Experiences.

In this study, each instructional design created a visual representation of how they would approach mobile learning on their campus. Interesting on their focus. Most of these instructional designers were working in centers for teaching on university campuses.

  • One started with mobile learning jumping off from the LMS.
  • Another one took a high level administrative and planning perspective.
  • Another started with a faculty centric view and worked out thrugh faculty issues such as workload, support, resources, etc.
  • Another one said we don’t have time for mobile learning because we are working on pedagogy, andragogy. If faculty can’t write learning objectives well, how can we focus on mobile learning?
  • Another found the infrastructure support as the foundation of implementation of mobile learning and thought about institutional needs.

One thing to consider was how teaching and learning centers are organized. They have different names, different foci, etc.

I’m inspired by the focus in this research on how instructional designers are using models and frameworks to guide their work. There are additional models and frameworks that are built around educational technology that we could be using more effectively to guide our work.

Harnessing the Leadership Potential of Online Adjunct Faculty

USDLA 2014 session by Jennifer Varney and Amie Ader-Beeler from Southern New Hampshire University

At Southern New Hampshire University, they have a standardized curriculum, where the online faculty are teaching. They have 8 week courses for undergraduate, and 11 week courses for graduate. They have about 600 adjuncts, and 30% of them in any semester are on their first time teaching the course.

The challenges they were trying to address are similar to many of us:

  • Providing a consistency of experience
  • Consistency of grading
  • Having key performance indicators
  • Measuring faculty performance
  • The bandwidth of administration, i.e. scaling measuring, monitoring and coaching

They started with organizational goals and recommend we do the same: what is important to measure? What are we promising to students? What is important to our university?

From that, you can get key behaviors – things that the faculty have control on. This is what you want to focus on.

They use Blackboard – and some main areas they are concerned about are:

  • The welcome to the student. The orientation, the personality of the class. The instructor paints the classroom space in the students’ head. Nice visual!
  • Discussion & dialogue between faculty and students.
  • Announcement area – where the faculty give real-world connections for the content
  • Grade center / gradebook / feedback

Need to define the areas in the course that the faculty should be working.

From defining the key behaviors, you can move to creating expections for those key behaviors.

For example, in discussion, they should bring in their own ideas, they should recognize student strengths. In feedback, they need to work on timeliness.

They gave their good instructors an opportunity to be a lead instructor. They get access to their assigned 25 instructor’s courses, they they interact, coach, and support them. The team leads are organized by discipline. This makes them feel more invested in the institution, and makes all the adjuncts feel more connected to the institution.

In the team space, they are sharing best practices, providing ongoing faculty training, discipline specific coaching, and recognizing successes.

This was an amazing session full of concepts and suggestions that we can use to improve our online faculty support.

Blended Learning, Flipped Classrooms & Creative Scheduling

This post contains resources and links for the Andrews University Faculty Institute session by Alayne Thorpe and myself titled Blended Learning, Flipped Classrooms and Creative Scheduling.

Blended Learning

Flipped Classrooms and Creative Scheduling

Games in Learning