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 ...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

IDOL Toolchest - 04

As the academic year begins, I want to invite you to examine three tools that should prove to be quite useful. These tools, while not necessarily linked in function, provide instructional designers with the tools to create amazing quality content. Understand that although my aim is to introduce free tools, this is not always possible.
iClone 1.5 -
I was a Poser fan from my first introduction, and then Reallusion improved a product called It's Me and called iClone. This product allows anyone, with little experience, to create 3D talking avitars inside a completely 3D environment. You can add clothing, backgrounds, motion, and character interactions. While the more sophisticated productions may take more time, just remember to view the free tutorials so you can learn these skills quickly.
Samson C01U -
If you ever have to record audio, then please get this microphone. I realize that it costs more than what you might want to pay by picking up that headset at Wal-Mart. You will find that this product, which I recently saw listed for $69 is a far better investment than almost any other hardware you are going to purchase. The mic is a studio quality condensor microphone and produces remarkable quality. It is a must have in my toolchest.
Windows Live Writer (beta) -
Although I am still a fan of BlogJet, I must admit that the this new product is going to make collaborative blogging much easier. I am using this free tool to create this version of the toolchest and giving it a run for the money. What I really like is the ease with which it recognizes the settings for my blog ( and allows me to easily edit past posts. I can even quickly insert links, pictures and maps ... now that is pretty cool for a free tool.

[ this is an example of the map feature ]

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Moving out West

Well, this might be old news to some – but I am sure NEW news to others. I have accepted an offer for the position of Manager of Online Services at San Juan College in Farmington, New Mexico. I will be there to begin building a new managed section on September 1st. I have met the staff and feel totally confident that this is a good professional move.
I am leaving Truman State University, where I served as the director of Instructional Design Services for three years. I was fortunate to be a part of developing the eFellowship program and institutionalize the Summer Online Program. While there are many things yet to be achieved, I know that online learning and the advanced uses of instructional technology have become more firmly established.

IDOL Toolchest - 03

Well, after a brief hiatus, I think we are back on track. Remember the idea is to provide a link to a variety of resources that significantly impact the field of Instructional Design for Online Learning. Each of these resources are free.
Imagine, after installing this small program on your computer (local) and on a colleague’s computer (remote), you can print your documents directly to any computer that is running and has the software active. Print to an office across campus, or half-way around the world.
While I understand that not everyone likes to do programming, this Open Source Task Management and Help Desk System is awesome. Installing the program on a LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP) system is pretty straight forward. The benefits are a robust and industrial quality project/tasking/help request tracking system that even prints reports.
I would be remiss if I didn’t share this amazing FREE service, which makes it possible to add text commentary to video. Using Flash video (*.flv) files complete video footage can have meta data assigned to frames along the timeline. This amazing service will make it possible for faculty and students to share the experience of creating reusable commentary.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

BlogTalk Radio

OK, now it is as easy as making a telephone call … while I thought pod-calling would be all the craze, the idea of creating podshows by having the host call a toll number (NYC) and then having listeners call a different toll number (NYC), streaming the call LIVE and even archiving for later playback is the ultimate synchronous podcasting experience!

BlogTalk Radio went live on July 25, 2006 and yesterday (August 7, 2006) finally got their full audio archiving feature functioning. Alan Levy (CEO) and his remarkable team deserve to be recognized as major innovators for podcasting in 2006! This sounds good right? Well, add that you can have up to 500 callers at once! Add that you can control upto 5 active callers (mic made live)! Add that revenue generated from building your audience and show, will be split 50/50 with you the host! Add that it is completely FREE, except the toll call!

Amazing technology and practical applications.