magic, doves, sky, ring

The 12 Days of Course Development

What is Instructional Design? When Christine B. shared with us Aesthetic principles for instructional design , it was like walking in a magic forest with fairy tales hopping from tree branches. Could we have said it better ourselves? The instructional designer “sometimes acts in a role similar to that of the Greek chorus, commenting on the dramatic developments from a…

mac and paper

Think pen and paper are obsolete? Think again.

In distance education, many students type lecture notes on their computers, rather than writing on paper. After all, students use laptops to watch lectures, answer assessment questions, and participate in class discussions. It’s only natural to use the same device for taking notes, too, right? Not so fast. Last year, Pam A. Mueller and Daniel M.…

Depth of Knowledge

Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK)

In the world of curriculum development and student assessment, there are many models that inform our work. Each model supports the design of relevant, engaging, and rigorous learning experiences. While Benjamin Bloom ’s taxonomy has served as the “go to” framework since the 1950s, it’s Norman L. Webb ’s Depth of Knowledge system that has caught the attention of K-12 educators…

Reflective posture

Learning Styles: How we engage with the world

If you have been following this blog, just a few months ago, we wrote about common learning styles and what effect they have on learners and teaching methods and practices, and that to a large extent these are not well-evidenced in either science or practice, but for some reason have a wide acceptance. Today, we are tackling a different take on learning styles – rather learning preferences in…

grade center view

Sending email messages to students from a Blackboard course

We all have our workflow preferences and places that we check to stay connected. Some prefer using Course Messages (which in our configuration won’t send the message to a student’s email, unfortunately), and others prefer using actual email service. There may be a practice compromise to accommodate both the need for convenience such as emailing… screenshot for ACTEM Conference

ACTEM Conference Sneak Peek:

We’re off tomorrow to Bangor, ME, to present at the annual ACTEM Conference . I am presenting with the lovely Susan Barrett Hyde on the subject of web tools for scaffolded assignments. I hope to subdivide the general scope of the presentation into several blog posts to tide me over into 2016, and I thought I’d start…

putting together a jigsaw

Collaboration in Online Courses: Group Work

We often use group work in our online courses, and success varies among courses, projects, and students. Overall, our ultimate goal is organic learning, fostering an online community of learners and stimulating active participation in it. This, however, is not always achieved with a stellar consistency. Reflecting on our use of groups in courses, a…