Tuesday, November 25, 2008


For those who are having difficulty using CellSpin ... you might be interested in using "twitterfone" a FREE service that requires you to register your mobile phone number and twitter account.

By calling a number in the 703 (VA) area code, you will be able to record a short message which will be both recorded and transcribed to your twitter page/account.

Since this site is in BETA, I am looking forward to them adding increased functionality like RSS twitterfone streams that listeners/readers can subscribe to ...


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Advanced ANGEL topics!

A full day of ANGLE training today with Whitney Kilgore ... and the seven participants seem to be enjoying every moment. Today's topic is Advanced ANGEL and explores the advanced tools as well as rapid instructional design. Photos to follow ...


I don't know! When is the last time you ever heard someone use this B.G. (Before Google) catchphrase. I just realized that one justification for micro-learning and micro-lecturing is the use of "googlespeak" or the sharing of google search words ... "you should google mind numbing experience"

Monday, January 01, 2007

OpenSource eLearning XHTML editor (eXe)

In this fast pased world, knowledge rules and providing information to stakeholders using an accessible media is critical. Instructional Designers for Online Learning (IDOL) understand this all too well. Having access to reliable development tools is vital to both rapid design and universal deployment. This means, we need something to create structured content quickly and for a variety of delivery systems (ie, Bb, WebCT, Moodle, etc ...).

This where eXe can be a lifesaver. In addition to being FREE to use, it allows the user to customize the interface by accessing a feature called iDevices (instructional devices).

iDevices are a collection of structural elements that describe learning content. Examples of these include, objectives, pre-knowledge, case studies, free text. Learning content is created by selecting iDevices from the iDevice menu and entering your learning content.
Now, for the serious IDOLer out there, you have access to the raw files for five (5) styles that can be edited for your convenience. Add more if you like, but this provides a start for rapid development.

It gets even better, and this is my favorite feature. There is a version of this software which can be run on a USB flash drive without requiring any installation. The total file size is only 12.2mb. I should also mention that there is a Mac OS X version available as well.

A special thank you to the eXe development team - Jim, Sean, Matiu, Brent, and Jenny. You have made a great contribution to the field of Instructional Design for Online Learning!

... download the software here
... read the manual here

IDOL Toolchest - 07

Performancing for Firefox - http://performancing.com/firefox
Just like the integrated HTML editor and EMAIL client built into the old Netscape Navigator web browser, Firefox now has a FREE Blog Editor (plugin) that will allow you to create, post, and edit your blog postings. Especially useful is the ability to create notes while you are browsing and then later use that content for creating your next blog entry. Add to this the ability to upload images and link to files (mp3, pdf, etc ...) and you have a neatly integrated blog creation solution.

GrandCentral - http://www.grandcentral.com
Now here is a great idea that has been a long time coming. Imagine that you might give your telephone to anyone that asks, online or in person. You don't really know who this person is, but you need to provide a way for them to contact you by phone. This service is completely free and will allow you to use their service to filter your calls. Imagine being able to have all the calls ring to multiple telephone numbers at the same time! Imagine having different voice messages for each specified telephone number - personalizing your voice mail for your boss, your mother, a potential employer. Then imagine being able to reject the call or redirect the call to your voice mailbox AND listen in to the message as it is being recorded! That is GrandCentral.com.

Joopz - http://www.joopz.com
This site allows anyone with a free account to send a text message, from their browser (connected to the Internet) to a specified cell phone capable of accepting text messages (SMS). There is more! You can broadcast a message to a group of cell phone users AND you can schedule the date and time that the message will be sent. Remember, that users might have to pay a small fee for each message that you send, so be thoughtful.

Jott - http://www.jott.com
This site just crossed my path and I felt it was appropriate to share. JOTT (still in beta) allows subscribers to register the phone numbers they will call from and leave a short audio message. What makes this different from other sites is the fact that a real person will be transcribing your voice message into text. This message will be stored on their website as well as emailed to an account that you specify. When you want to leave yourself a friendly reminder, remember this new service jott - a great idea with lots of possibilities.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

IDOL 2006 : Reflections

The year 2006 is quickly coming to a close. This past year has seen many changes, including a move from Truman State University (Missouri) to San Juan College (New Mexico). This move allowed me to move from being the only instructional designer to being the Manager of Online Services and Senior Instructional Designer. This also allowed me to return to working with American Indian students in higher education. SJC is located in Farmington, NM which is located on the north east border of the Navajo Nation.

There have been a number of online advancements worth noting as well. This past year saw the creation of online video editing and publishing. Sites like YouTube and Video.Google experienced astronomical growth and access. Additionally, web to phone technology also exploded. In the past sending an SMS required you to have a cell phone, now it possible to use your browser.

These technologies demonstrate the power of collaboration and social connectivity. I am excited to see what happens in 2007. I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Learning is ...

I am working on articulating this notion that PRESENTATION + INTERACTION always leads to LEARNING. While simple, this concept is also profound. Throughout our life we are constantly LEARNING! Instructional Designers are devoted to providing support and expertise in the area of creating presentations and structured interaction experiences in order to reach a learning objective. This is true regardless of whether or not it occurs face-to-face or online.
There are hundreds and even thousands of content delivery approaches that can be effective. Presentation or communication requires a source and a recipient. For example a textbook is the source and the reader is the recipient. Also, the lecturer is the source (S) the listener is the recipient (R). We should be aware of the reality that source reliability and recipient preparedness each contribute to the effectives of presentation.
After content has been received, interactions need to take place. These interactions are not limited to, but typically include, S+R, R+S, R+R, R+non-R, R (self-dialogue), and R+computer. The Instructional Designer should be skilled and crafting scenarios in which these interactions can be mediated and recorded, for later assessment. The biggest challenge is likely to be understanding those variables (gender, culture, religion, language, etc ...) which can have a direct impact upon how individuals/groups interact.
This is our business. This is our vision. Hopefully, this is our passion! We believe that everyone capable of engaging in the presentation and interaction and capable of learning. This learning then becomes the foundation upon which future learning can be built upon. While I don't think the term "student" is appropriate for the 21st century, we typically say that we are serving them. Yet, how focused are we on measuring the degree of learning? Also, how concerned are we that learners have retained what they have learned?
I realize that this might seem rather simplistic, but I am concerned that learners have not been adequately primed to learn. When was the last time that you heard or read, an introduction into how the learner would be learning the material? Just a though ... think about it.

IDOL Toolchest - 06

With the Fall 2006 semester in full swing and faculty managing lectures, grading assignments, advising students, and facilitating course discussions ... I am reflecting on a few tools that are proven to be quite useful for assessment. These tools are not free, but they get my stamp of approval for being innovative and robust.
Articulate Quizmaker - http://www.articulate.com/quizmaker.html
Besides creating flash quizzes, this tool allows you to create questions with custom feedback, progressive scoring, question review at the conclusion, emailing the results to the instructor, printing out a certification of completion, and posting the results to the gradebook. Since the quiz is in Flash (swf) the questions can not be copied/pasted.
StudyMate - http://www.respondus.com/studymate/
This product is less expensive than Quizmaker and interfaces with most course management systems (Angel, BlackBoard, WebCT) seamlessly. StudyMate includes templates for ten different activities and games. Perhaps the most valuable tool is the multi-language spell checker. Educational discounts and site licenses are available.
Respondus - http://www.respondus.com
If you build online assessments, this is the must have tool for instructional designers and course developers. You can create your quizzes in MS Word or another word processor and import them directly into the program. You can also assign randomization variables to the quiz or test bank. You can also combine test banks and create even more complicated assessments. Since this integrates with the major course management system (SCORM compliant) uploading and managing quizzes is simple. Educational discounts and site licenses are available.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

IDOL Toolchest - 05

Well, while these tools might not seem related, they serve a great function. They are time creators! If technology does not make tasks easier and actually create time for the user, are they worth the investment? Each of these are free and big time savers.
Podcast RSS Creator - http://www.feneris.com
Just by entering your information, this simple little program will create the XML file for you to provide to your subscribers. When you press the "Expand" button, you will find the description information for your episode. While this program only builds for one archived podcast at a time, the episode information can easily be copied and pasted from prior shows.
Pinger Instant Voice Messaging - http://www.pinger.com
This service is awesome! Imagine using your cell phone to send voice message email(s) to your friends, family, co-workers, supervisors. You can add an unlimited number of contacts (First, Last Name and email address) and then any combination of contacts for groups. I use it to broadcast short messages to all of my staff. Also, this service is free to use.
Official Resizr - http://www.resizr.com
Have you ever wanted an easier way to resize your images, so that they could be shared online but not take up so much memory? This web site allows you to browse your hard drive, find the image, upload it, resize it, and then save it back to your computer. You can also change (reduce) the quality of the image. Resizing is as simple as using a sliding bar.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Back to School ...

OK, well, today is Monday August 21st and I can tell that it is time for school to start because today marks the beginning of Truman Week. New Faculty Orientation, incoming freshman, football players, longer library hours, a new CIO (congrats George) and five days and counting.

It hit me, when Julie introduced me to the faculty as Truman State University's FIRST Instructional Designer, that I have been apart of history. For the past three years, I have had great opportunity to expolore the possibilities and create opportunities for both faculty and myself. The faculty that I have worked with have demonstrated a true spirit of innovation. There is a good reason that Truman has a reputation for excellence - their faculty and their staff and their students.

I could rave about the innovations here, in just three short years, but instead I will simply say that when creative individuals have support and encouragement (especially by their instructional designers) amazing projects can be completed. Facilitate and nuture your faculty! Remember that they want to be the best that they are capable of becoming, even those who seem to be in a rut. Dr. Bob Norton (MidAmerica Nazarene University), a longtime friend and Mentor taught me that.

Today also marked the first day of classes at San Juan College (Farmington, NM) ... where I will be heading this Saturday. I have already starting working with my staff (Lynn, Marty, Nathan, and Sam) and have high aspirations. It may seem like I am leaving instructional design as the Manager of Online Services, however it is really that I am moving to Senior Instructional Designer for an institution committed to taking online learning to a new dimension.

So, here we are - endings and beginnings. The circle of life continues. Seasons change! Semesters change ...