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Encouraging Collaboration

Encouraging Collaboration

Instructors have the opportunity to establish the feeling of "oneness" in the learning community from the very first initial post and interaction with the learner. It is essential for the instructor to model their expectations by providing a model for discussion. There needs to be an example for the learners to return to for guidance and a starting point for their own work. This helps with uneasiness and the feeling of isolation that may occur with online learning. The instructor “sets the state for collaborative work” (Palloff & Pratt, 2007, p. 159).

With this in mind, when should you (as the instructor) determine that a learner is not an active participant in the environment? What can you do to engage and encourage the learner in the environment and the content?

After reading the book chapter excerpt, Building Online Communities, answer the above questions. Use any additional resources that you can find that will add to your response and thoughts. Make sure you check the rubric for clarification of expectations.

By Wednesday:

Post your thoughts on encouraging the online learner described above. Make sure you provide ideas for engagment and make sure you cite your resources appropriately.

By Sunday:

Read a through your fellow learners postings. Respond to at least three or more of your fellow learners in any of the ways listed below:

  • Build on something that was posted by another learner.
  • Explain why and how you see things differently.
  • Ask a clarifying or deeper thinking question.
  • Share an insight
  • Offer an opinion and make sure you explain your stance.
  • Use your experiences to deeped the post.
  • Expand on the other learners post.

Return to the discussion every few days to read the responses to your initial posting and provide feedback and/or clarification when necessary. Remember to read over each post and response. It is important to check your writing and make sure it sounds the way you intend it to be expressed. Enjoy learning from each other!


Palloff, R., & Pratt, K. (2007). Building online communities: Effective strategies for the virtual classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Discussion Rubric. McClain A.

Discussion Rubric. Modified from Original Walden University Discussion Rubric. Retrieved August 9, 2011, from






9 comments August 10, 2011

Plagiarism Detection and Prevention

What plagiarism detection software is available to online instructors?

One plagiarism detection software that I know of and that is described in the case study article isTurnitin. This software checks for many different areas of plagiarism. Turnitin speeds up the process of finding copied text (Jocoy & DiBiase, 2006). also checks for just one sentence of copied text and not just several long phrases that are word-for-word (Jocoy & DiBiase, 2006). I also found a few more plagiarism software I plan on checking out. These resources are: Academic Plagiarism, Viper, and Dupli Checker.

How can the design of assessments help prevent academic dishonesty? Design assessments or assignments where students can use other resources to gather information (Pratt, 2011). If students are asked to apply what they have learned there will be less plagiarism, they are taking what they found or learned and applying it.

What facilitation strategies do you propose to use as a current or future online instructor? As an online instructor I plan on educating my students on the various types of plagiarism and how they can avoid "borrowing" another persons ideas or thoughts without giving the person credit. I also plan on making assessments and assignments an act of "showing" or demonstrating what they have learned and less memorizing data and facts. I had to do a lot of memorization and cramming of material in my undergraduate and some of my first graduate program. I can honestly tell you that if I had been asked to apply or use that information I would have held on to that knowledge more readily. I want to facilitate real knowledge that is grasped and understood.

What additional considerations for online teaching should be made to help detect or prevent cheating and plagiarism? Instructors need to make sure that their students know what plagiarism is. Most students truly do not know that they are cheating or copying (Palloff, 2011). Students need to be aware of the various types of plagiarism and how they can avoid getting caught up in copying and not referencing their sources and quotes.


Jocoy, C., & DiBiase, D. (2006). Plagiarism by adult learners online: A case study in detection and remediation. International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning, 7(1), 1–15.

Turnitin. Retrieved June 9, 201l from

Walden University Video: “Plagiarism and Cheating”, Dr. Palloff and Pratt. .

2 comments June 9, 2011

Impact of Technology and Multimedia

Technology and Multimedia


  • What impact does technology and multimedia have on online learning environments? Technology and multimedia add to knowledge and learning by providing hands-on experience. When learners use the tools they are able to apply their prior knowledge and new understanding in a new way. The more each learner uses and explores the more they can share and then explore on their own
  • What are the most important considerations an online instructor should make before implementing technology? The most important things to consider involves keeping things simple. The focus needs to be based on the essential tools for the course. (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010). The tools used needs to gradually build. The instructor needs to focus on what their learners can and will be able to use for their learning. More is not always better if it overwhelms the learner. The instructor needs to take into consideration the objectives and goals of the course and then the many different technology tools that are available for those objectives and goals. Then they need to try to offer more than one tool as a choice for completing a given task. For example, if the learner is asked to provide a voice media piece. They should be given many choices to implement that piece (Audacity, VLC, Jahshaka, etc).
  • What implications do usability and accessibility of technology tools have for online teaching? The instructor and the learners need to be able to access the technology tools. That is why the instructor needs to give choices when available for completing the different tasks when using technology tools.
  • What technology tools are most appealing to you for online teaching as you move forward in your career in instructional design? As a future instructor I think that webcam and voice/webcam videoconferencing is the most appealing. This technology allows for learners to "see" each other and connect face-to-face. This may also ease many fears students have in relation to online courses. If they can collaborate and interpret meaning by gathering together with others from different locations, they will make those connections in their understanding.
  • I have learned that technology is best when used to enhance a course and the learners knowledge. As an instructor I need to feel comfortable with the technology and this means that I need to take the time to learn the new advances and practice those tools. Some of my favorite technology tools include; Skype, Blogs, Wikis, Google Docs, Survey Monkey, and now my course management system (CMS) at School Rack. I also love using Prezi presentations and Webspiration.


Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

2 comments June 2, 2011

Launching an Online Learning Experience

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When launching an online learning experience it is important to start at the beginning. Each student needs to experience a comfortable, trusting, and encouraging atmosphere. This is why setting up this environment will enable open communication and a smooth beginning. The instructor needs to have a good grasp on the material, objectives, and desired learning.

What is the significance of knowing the technology available to you?

In regard to technology the instructor needs to be comfortable with the technology that will be used in the course as well as any technology tools they will be personally using. The instructor needs to make sure that they are familiar with the course management system (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010). They need to know the ins and outs and how to navigate effectively and efficiently. This will make any transitions for the students easier as well. They will be able to quickly address any issues the students may have in adjusting to the management system and various aspects. The instructor also needs to make sure they know of the various ways students can collaborate and work together. This means there needs to be a familiarity with blogs, wikis, social networking sites, and the need to continue finding new technology to add to resources for the use in the classroom.

Why is it essential to communicate clear expectations to learners?

The students needs to know your expectations up front so that they have a reference point to what they need to do. They need to know what they will be doing in the course and what they can expect to learn. If the expectations are given at the very beginning of the course they can be referred back to if there are any questions. If they have not been determined it is easy to have confusion and then in turn lack of trust and disappointment. In your expectations you will include the course elements, requirements for discussions and discussion posts, rubrics for assignments, a syllabus, class schedule, and any project/application expectations. The students also need to know your policy on late work and any exceptions.

What additional considerations should the instructor take into account when setting up an online learning experience?

The instructor needs to take into consideration any multicultural issue as well as flexibility for any student issue that may occur. This is why getting to know the learners in the first few weeks is so important. The learner needs to be comfortable with the instructor on a level where there is professionalism but also a human connection (Palloff, 2010).

For me, implementing effective online instruction in the future would consist of making sure I have everything sorted out and ready before the course begins. I need to check for the course overview and introduction, learning objectives and outcomes, assessment and measurement, resources and materials, ways for learner interaction, the various course technologies used, ways to support each learner, and make accessibility to the course management system and to me, as the instructor, as easy as possible. (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010).


Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Brain, M. (n.d). How blogs work. Retrieved May 19, 2011, from

Palloff, R.(2010) Launching the online learning experience. Video Media.

Wikispaces. Retrieved May 19, 201l, from

Add a comment May 19, 2011

This is my Instructional Design and Technology Learning Blog

Hello y’all,
I wanted to let everyone know that this blog is specifically for the Instructional Design and Technology (IDT) Master’s program that I am currently pursuing. My blog posts are my thoughts, ideas, or new knowledge that I am learning as I take the various course classes. I am currently enrolled in Online Instruction Strategies. Only a few more courses and the capstone and I will have my second Master’s degree. I am hoping that this degree with broaden my knowledge and abilities. One of my goals is to teach online courses, so this is a course I have been waiting for. I really enjoyed my distance learning course and this course will add more ideas and experience.
While I am pursing this degree I am also a full-time stay at home mom while my husband is deployed. It is a 24/7 job that keeps me rather busy, but I guess that wasn’t challenging enough, since I decided to enroll in the IDT program at Walden University. LOL!! 🙂 At least I get some great adult interaction and support from others. I have really enjoyed the learning communities in each course that I have taken. I have developed some great relationships where we share ideas and new understanding.
Enjoy and remember, some posts reflect questions that need to be answered in a certain format or about certain topics!

1 comment May 7, 2011

Online Learning Communities

Untitled Document

Online Learning Communities
As I reflect on online learning communities I begin by thinking of the many friends that I have that have not been able to branch over to online learning. They are stuck in that scared, uncomfortable setting where they feel that they are not able to be successful. This is why an engaging welcoming learning community is so necessary and essential for success for the student and the environment.

How do online learning communities significantly impact both student learning and satisfaction within online courses? Online learning communities allow for students to become engaged with other learners who have the same goal, growth of knowledge. When there is a strong sense of community the learner will be able to overcome their fears and misconceptions by feeling safe in communicating those ideas and coming together with others to help them overcome and adjust. If the learning community is supportive and open the learner can start to feel comfortable and this facilitates collaboration and learning.

What are the essential elements of online community building? There are a few essential elements of online community building and Dr. Palloff explained, "Facilitators and learners are equal participants". This means that if the learner is aware that the fa cilia tor is on their side they will feel more comfortable. There is also the personal sense that is felt when students begin to share ideas and knowledge. The facilitator needs to make sure they maintain a "presence" where the learners know that they are there when they need them. It is also important to group learners together, this would be a great tool for beginning online learners. Then they can have a smaller group to start off building those relationships with a few and then they can become comfortable in that smaller community and then gain those skills to branch out more to the learning community as a whole.

How can online learning communities be sustained? The community can be sustained by constant reassurance to the learners. It is important as the instructor to be there for the students. The first few weeks are the most important. Dr. Palloff and Dr. Pratt emphasized the fact that the instructor needs to be available many times a day just in case any issues come up and if the students need help in any way. The instructor needs to be diligent in modeling what they want their students to do. If they want the learners to post then they need to post, if they want the student to do an introduction then they need to do that as well. New online learners need to really "see" what needs to be done so they can get a feel for what they are expected to do.

What is the relationship between community building and effective online instruction? If there is a strong sense of community then the learners will feel that the course is effective and that they are gaining the knowledge necessary to be successful in the course and any future courses. If the instruction is going to impact the learner they need to be engaged in the learning and with the other learners.

Dr. Rena Palloff and Dr. Keith Pratt. Online Learning Communities video. Laureate Education Inc.

5 comments May 5, 2011

Analyzing Scope Creep

 As I pondered a project where scope creep was evident I was brought back to teaching second grade.  I had been teaching second grade for four years. In this time I had planned, created, and had effective center time. My fifth year, things started to change in our school and district. I was pursing my MA in curriculum and my reading specialist certification. I knew a thing or two about what I was doing and was feeling quite at ease with my plans. During the first few months we were asked to present our plans for our center time and justify the activities. When I first presented the activities they were received with praise.  As the weeks passed I was observed by my assistant principal and we had a meeting. It was in that meeting that she said my groups were effective but she wanted me to make her suggested changes. The changes in my opinion were going to change everything that I was doing and were not in the best interest of my students. This was when “scope creep” came into play. Scope creep is when a change is projected as a project progresses (Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer & Sutton, 2008).  My assistant principal brought in our master reading teacher to give me suggestions. She had never seen my groups and did not know what I was doing in my classroom. Her suggestions now, as I see it, were a way to change my groups so that it fit what she wanted and it would delay my progress and individual plan for each student. If I had known what I do now about scope creep I would have been able to stand up and tell them both that my plan was already in action and was working for each student.

 The stakeholders in this case were my assistant principal and this master reading teacher. As I look back I realize that these two stakeholders were upsetting every teacher who had already implemented their plans for center time. If I had the knowledge about project management that I do now, I would have been able to present my plan again after the meeting to those stakeholders and my principal. Maybe then I would have been able to keep those two stakeholders from turning our school upside down.  I had more knowledge and experience with my plan for centers and the creation of each center.  My plans were developed  for the individual progression of my students. The stakeholders were not active in my room and observing what I was doing. I should have had them write down all of their suggestions and sign that document.  I would have taken that document back to my plan and addressed each suggestion. Then I would have decided if each change was necessary. After that I would have updated my plan and informed them of any changes. But since I did not know about the process of a change control system as described by our class text, I did not have a graphic depiction to guide me (Portny et at., 2008). If I had this knowledge I could have effectively controlled and monitored the scope creep that I now see was so evident.


Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Project Management Knowledge: Change Control (2010). Retrieved February 10, 2011, from

5 comments February 9, 2011

Estimating Costs and Allocating Resources

I have been searching various location to find at least two resources that would be useful in estimating costs, effort, and/or activity durations associated with instructional design (ID) projects. As I searched for estimating costs and budgeting resources, I found some “gems” of information. The first is a website called Builder Au. This site is one that I was so thankful to stumble upon. The best part is that it is a site by developers for developers. This is just what I needed to see and browse through. The article that I found discusses creating the project budget. It gives the beginning point in budgeting. The author provides some great starting points and ideas to consider. The one thing it is missing is a template.  The article goes step by step and includes information on creating a risk assessment.

There is a good project management website that outlines the process. They give 8 steps in the project management process. They provide diagrams and charts. They refer to the critical path method and Gantt charts. They really do a good job breaking down the various charting methods used a project process. The one thing I wish they touched on is the budget in a project. They didn’t provide any templates or breakdowns.

The Bright Hub website was a wealth of knowledge and links for a budget template. They give an overall project page, a monthly page, and a task project budget page. The template seems basic and easy to use. I am planning on adding what I have and trying this template out. They also give a link that discusses the goal of a project budget, what should be included, and an example of a project management budget.  This information gives a very good overview and a baseline of where to get started which is just what I need. They explain the process very simply and matter of fact. I also like that they even include a project proposal link. This website really has it all in terms of project management and the various aspects involved with a project.


Doll, S. (2002). Creating your project budget: Where to begin? Retrieved February 2, 2011, from,339028292,320265341,00.htm

Brown, S. (2011). Examples of a project management budget. Retrieved February 3, 2011, from

Levine, R. (2010). Use our excel project template to simplify your life. Retrieved February 2, 2011, from

Rosenhead, R. (2010). Project Management. Retrieved February 3, 2011, from

Add a comment February 2, 2011

Communicating Effectively

I viewed the multimedia program “The Art of Effective Communication.” I observed communication in three different modalities: as written text, as audio, and as video.  

My interpretation of the information didn’t change from the voice message to the face to face example. But the e-mail example could have been taken a few ways. I actually had to read it twice so that I could interpret the correct voice in which I thought the email had been written in. With e-mail it is very important to read your response a few times for your intended meaning. “The source of the problem with email communication deals directly with emotion.  Emotion portrayed in a text-based email can be interpreted differently when being read by different people, in much of the same way that a well written poem or set of song lyrics can receive various interpretations by various people” (Marc, 2007).

With the use of voicemail and face to face communication you can hear the inflection in the persons voice and can sense what the person is trying to communicate. The one problem with voicemail is that it seems to be at times an easy way out. If you can go talk to the person face to face that is the best in my opinion the best form of communication. I know that sometimes that is not feasible, so leaving a message is the only way to get in contact with another person. when this is the case the person delivering the message needs to make sure that they express themselves professionally but at the same time effectively. The message needs to be clear and concise but not demanding.

When working in a team, especially at the beginning of a project, people need to see each other face to face. You need to see who you will be working with and let their voices be heard through many different ways. This can be through their comments, body language, or by their expressions.

I have learned the necessity for face to face meetings instead of e-mail or quick passing comments. It is important to learn about the people on your team. As an Instructional Designer and Project Manager there is a need to connect with each person. This will be the biggest advantage as the project progresses. By getting to know each person you see their strengths and those areas where they could use refinement. You can not see this by e-mail or through voicemail.  Face to face communication also opens the door for the other person to see you as approachable and if there is a problem they can readily come to you.  No one wants to deal with a computer or phone when there is a snag or an issue to address.


Marc. 2007. Email communication problems: How to communicate effectively. Retrieved January 20, 2011, from

Multimedia program: The Art of Effective Communication.

3 comments January 20, 2011

Past Project Analysis

As I recall a project that I have worked on in the past I am reminded of just how unsuccessful it was. This was a professional project. I taught kindergarten at a private school for a year. This year was critical. They had gone from five grades down to one. I was the only teacher in the school. They did keep their daycare as well, but the school was being monitored and assessed for effectiveness. They wanted to rebuild the students and the program. The school was at a church, so they church had the ultimate say. I did not know what I was getting into when I accepted the position.

This is my post-mortem analysis of this project. There are many things that could have been done differently. As a teacher and not part of a design team I did not have the adequate information needed to help create an effective plan of action. As I have taken course for my Instructional Design degree I now have so many more resources and information that I feel armed to tackle many problems.

 What contributed to the project’s success or failure?

There were so many contributions to the failure. There was a lack of organization. To the best of my knowledge there was not a plan of action done. There wasn’t an analysis to determine the overall problem and a starting point.

Which parts of the PM process, if included, would have made the project more successful? Why?

There needed to be a matrix of the organization. There were so many key people who were not addressed and we not a part of the decisions and changes. There was actually very little upfront planning. The person in charge, my principal and boss was just going to change how things were done. I do not believe anything was written down and I certainly was not a part of that planning. I was left in dark and walked into a very touchy situation. I didn’t have any idea what was involved. I knew that the church had the final decision. I didn’t know the organization structure (Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer, & Sutton, 2008). The structure in the school and the daycare was pretty basic, but the outside sources and stakeholders were great.

I do not think that my principal knew what was expected of him and the school. There were too many unknowns. He ended up resigning before the holidays. So the pastor and church were looking for a new director. I turned down the position when it was offered to me, and now look back and at times regret it. If I had known what I know now about planning and implementing change I think we could have been successful. The first thing I would have needed to do was to define the project. I would have created a task analysis and would have worked through the A.D.D.I.E model. Then I would have made sure that I addressed the many different stakeholders involved. There were many primary stakeholders that needed to be involved such as the church board and the pastor. They also were financially responsible. There were also the children to think about and their parents. They were paying for a private school education and needed to be involved in the process. The stakeholders needed to be prioritized. This could have been done by creating a grid for all of the stakeholders involved.  That would  have been just the beginning. We could have addressed each of the various problems one at a time and I am confident we would have been successful. 

If I was involved with this project today I would do things very differently. I am now armed with the necessities to accomplish this project. If only I had known then what I know now…..but I think these “failures” are what sharpens us and makes us want to learn more.


A.D.D.I.E Model retrieved January 13, 2011, from

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Thompson, R. (n.d.).  Stakeholder Analysis: winning support for your projects. Retrieved January 11, 2011, from

2 comments January 13, 2011






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