Sharing What I Find

Instructional Design and Technology in Education

March 22, 2018
by Heidi Olson
Comments Off on Course Alignment- QM Bring Your Appetite for Creating Course Alignment

Course Alignment- QM Bring Your Appetite for Creating Course Alignment

Larissa Cremeens  and Laura Cole @ Univ of So. Indiana

Slides & Resources (mapping worksheet) (mapping tables) (mapping worksheet example)


What’s going on at USI –

Created a generic course topic to help show faculty how to develop or revise a course.


How would you get started?

  • drafting syllabus
  • research instructional materials
  • creating lectures
  • course objectives

Course objectives

Faculty benefit

guides material, activities and assessments

Student benefit




To come up with course objectives for your course

Format: excel or word both



Next step – module objectives

Small and discrete pieces


Modules can be confusing: weeks, units, chapters, etc.

  • Specific objectives can be a good way to describe the small intervals

What steps does a student need to take to get to this objective? (refer back to formula and Bloom’s taxonomy. Make sure module objectives don’t go beyond the course objectives.



To get you from one point to another


What do you want students to do? Every objective needs an assessment.

Consider “authentic assessments” that are aligned to your objectives


Can also be an “assessment” since there is learning and doing something required.


red – summative assessment example (covers more objectives)

Instructional Activity

Can also create a worksheet for instructional materials for complete view of alignment.


March 22, 2018
by Heidi Olson
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Bb Retention Center

These are notes from Bb training on the Retention Center

  • there is a space for keeping notes on students to help keep track of communications, etc.
  • can send announcements right from center
  • can send email notifications from center

Set your thresh hold criteria and can also customize for specifics

  1. shows at risk student based on criteria
  2. shows specific information or identify students that you are monitoring like students who are doing well
  3. keeps track of instructor activity to help monitor interactions


March 14, 2018
by Heidi Olson
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Reflection and activities for Illustrator and Spark

Here’s a link to my working Learning Journal for Adobe’s Graphics and Illustrations for Educators course. I’m going to try to take this 5-week class as a refreshing on Illustrator.

image that

December 12, 2017
by Heidi Olson
Comments Off on Advanced Forumlas (Google Sheets) – 30 day challenge

Advanced Forumlas (Google Sheets) – 30 day challenge

A group of us are going through a 30-day Advanced Excel challenge. Here’s some things I learned:

Day 8

Match (goes along with Index)

  • this looks at your data and tells you the position of the item you want to match. It doesn’t tell you the row/column, just the position within your search range. I guess you would use this when sorting or using the find isn’t an option.
  • will likely use this most often with wildcards (“*” or “?”)

Day 7

  • Index and count functions to return data information for a summary or data update

Day 6

vLookups are pretty straight forward. Was able to use a named range for the look up table as learned from Day 1.

Day 5

whoa – custom number formats including

or format using Conditional formatting using formulas instead of default options

Day 4

Data Validation using formulas as the criteria

  • unique(filter…) to pull specific information related to a selection — only those options that apply (i.e. select Instructor name and only be given the classes that instructor teaches)
  • countif

Day 3

  • counta – for text entries along with */word/* as wildcard
  • countunique – counts unique values with ability to add additional values (not quite sure when you might use that unless you also have a default something you want to include)

Should be able to use the unique function to select the new to eLearning courses that are added each semester. Our combined list is over 800 courses and sometimes it is hard to tell which course/instructor combination is actually new.

Day 2

  • double click cell handle to copy down the column — so simple — how did I miss this!
  • if / ifs and/or – multiple ways to combine column information
  • sumif and sumifs – calculate a sum based on one or more criteria.

Day 1

  • names ranges – so if the the specific cell position changes, it doesn’t change your function
  • Paste special – values only – if you want to change values from calculated functions to actual numbers

November 7, 2017
by Heidi Olson
Comments Off on Notes from QM Accessibility: 8 Tips for Addressing Accessibility

Notes from QM Accessibility: 8 Tips for Addressing Accessibility

Students with disabilities as of 2012

What can we do to get on the right path to address accessibility? Presenter’s Accessibility Tips Handout (PDF)

Structure and readability (SRS 8.1 and 8.4)

  • consistent and logical layout
  • navigation
  • structure of documents (flow)
  • chunked with headings (appropriately labeled) and whitespace
  • spacing between lines – use space before/after to adjust spacing instead of paragraph returns
  • use a TOC if documents are long (5 or 8 pages)

Watch this video to get a feel for screen readers

Tables (SRS 8.1 and 8.4)

  • designate columns and row headers
  • add alt text
  • do not merge or split table cells

Fonts (SRS 8.1 and 8.4)

  • use a sans serif for online reading, especially for long blocks of text
  • color contrast
  • web resources: color contrast checker:  find webcolors
  • colorblind (1:12 men and 1:200 women are color deficient) (National Eye Institute)
  • don’t use color as sole meaning
  • don’t underline for empahsis
  • use descriptive links instead of entire URLs
  • include document types notation beside link (PDF, 750 KB or video 1:09 mins)

Images (SRS 8.3)

  • concise but descriptive

  • personal focus, emotion
  • Word: ALT text goes in description field, not title)
  • complex diagrams and charts – add detail description through alternative means

Scanned documents (SRS 8.4)

  • scan as text not as an image
  • adobe reader – use read out loud feature to test

Accessibility checkers (SRS 8.1, 8.3, 8.4)

  • check issues feature within Word
  • Adobe Reader use read-out loud feature
  • – to test web pages

Accessibility statements (SRS 8.2)

  • VPAT – Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (search for this with your product)

Multimedia (SRS 8.3)

  • accurate transcripts & captions
    • errors are bad

Search for closed captions in YouTube by adding “, cc” behind search string

Tips & Resources

Universal Design – Best Practices for Online Learning

National Center of Universal Design for Learning


Increasing Litigation

Webinar recording

September 28, 2017
by Heidi Olson
Comments Off on Bb Exemplary Course Program Part II

Bb Exemplary Course Program Part II

Following are my notes based on the second part of a series that Blackboard is giving showing off some of their Exemplary Courses. (note: you have to register for the entire series to watch the recording.) This week we looked at COMM 3500: Technical Communications taught by Dr. Han Nee Chong from Hawaii Pacific University.  This session looked specifically at Interaction and Collaboration which is the second part of the Exemplary Course Rubric.

Interaction —  what happens in each of these three groups

  1. student-to-student
  2. student-to-content
  3. student-to-instructor

Collaboration — subset of interaction where groups are working on a shared result

This is the instructor’s presentation.

Dr Chong has gamified her course and has created weekly quests that take students through the research process, which is one of the objectives of her class.

Discussion – creating characters personas as well as avatars — all based on Dungeons and Dragons for the class

  • fights
  • wizards
  • clerics
  • rogues
  • rangers

In the introductory post students introduced themselves and their persona and what special powers they might have.

The instructor carried the theme of the game through her tone and changing (or renaming) names of common Bb tools and features.

Librarians are the wizards, instructor was the Game master and students are Adventurers; Procrastination Monster, First Draft Dragon, etc.

Groups (Safe Haven) were formed as a place for peer review to share papers  (hide tools that weren’t available to cut down on choices) 5-6 members.

Structured weekly forums in Discussion Forum (The Tavern)

  • extra credit for answering each others questions

Announcement Tool (The Oracle)

  • weekly announcements including anticipated questions for the week

Badges for successful quest completions – didn’t base on merit but only on submission and participation

It sounds like once the introductory discussion was over, students who didn’t like the theme could following the syllabus and move forward through the assignments.

It wasn’t clear that these persona’s were actually used later on in the class or if it was just a one-time thing. Did doesn’t sound like the student user their “special powers” later on in assignments or discussions nor did the persona’s come back into how students answered discussion questions? For example – like the Rogue character taking on the devil’s advocate?

Shared resources:

Welcome video


Course Blueprint (xls)


September 26, 2017
by Heidi Olson
Comments Off on Mapping the Course Path to QM!

Mapping the Course Path to QM!

These are my notes and takeaways from watching this webinar sponsored by Quality Matters.

A course map is a document that outlines the overall course objectives, module level objectives and the alignment with assessments, instructional materials, course activities and interaction and technology.

Sample Course Map this is based on the workshop given but is a decent example of what a “map” might look like. Missing would be Instructional Materials (4.1) and Technology (6.1).

A course map is/can

  • a planning tool for development
  • identify gaps, redundancies, and misalignment
  • an outline of the course
  • ensure link between instructor goals and objectives and what the student is doing (watching, reading, participating, submitted, etc.)
  • supports answering students questions such as: why are we doing this, where are we going, and what are we doing to get there
  • fulfill institutional requirements for accreditation and program review

Course Sample (again, I don’t see Instructional Materials (4.1) and Technology (6.1) in this example)

The speaker advocates for including a course map in the course, at least for QM review. although says it would be optional and is not prescribed by QM.

It is a little maddening that the way QM saves the webinar recordings doesn’t allow you to fast forward or rewind. If you get bumped off or close the webinar you have to start over at the beginning.

September 22, 2017
by Heidi Olson
Comments Off on Notes from Video Accessibility at UW webinar

Notes from Video Accessibility at UW webinar

First off, they have a department dedicated to Accessibility Technology that works with a Disability Office that supports students who need accommodations. This department’s sole mission is to integrate technology in an accessible way. How cool is that?

This unit has a nice, thorough website with lots of good information including DIY support.

For DIY captioning, their go-to tools include editing the auto-capture in YouTube or Amara. One cool thing about Amara is that you can set things up so that subtitles can be public or crowd sourced. Language classes could provide subtitles for other class topics. Amara says, “For example, the band OK Go used the Public Editor to have their fans subtitle their videos into many different languages!”

This got me thinking, there may not be a need to caption recordings from a lecture since the recordings may only be watched soon after they are posted or maybe throughout the semester, but as a student wouldn’t the act of captioning be an interesting way to study and put to memory the conversation that happened in class? It probably isn’t sustainable for a single student to do in a semester and it might be too overwhelming, but it also might be a good way to study.

Interesting use of captions for a music-only video where the captions are used to description the progression of what the music is doing to drive emotion.

Fast forward to 0:45

It could probably have been expanded with more captions (like at 0:17, 0:31, etc.)

Here’s another example of the same video with audio descriptions incorporated into the video

Audio Descriptions — this is where the conversation started to get complicated for me. Not necessarily the process for creating an audio description, but what to do with it after you have the file.


audio descriptions 1 of 2


audio description notes 2 of 2

Apparently, current browser’s aren’t able to read/play the files yet, so UW created a player.

Able Player  is a fully accessible cross-browser media player. It uses the HTML5 <audio> or <video> element for browsers that support them, and (optionally) the JW Player as a fallback for those that don’t.

Examples and more information using the Able Player

Captioning Lecture Capture Videos: A Promising Teaching Practice

Captions: Improving Access to Postsecondary Education

DIY for caption and descriptions: NCAM – CADET (Caption and Description Editing Tool)

Finally – a YouTube Caption Auditor for YouTube Channels – open course through GitHub





Webinar Recording and Slides (along with test transcript, of course!)

April 17, 2017
by Heidi Olson
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Fulfilling UAF Graduation Requirements

Courses supported by eLearning strictly adhere to the Faculty Senate guidelines for fulfilling core requirements for baccalaureate degrees. Processes and examples are provided here:

Oral Communication Intensive Designator

Students can engage in public speaking in their home town or surrounding communities and record their speeches. Students give presentations at local schools, at community organization meetings or in political forums. Not only do assignments like this encourage community engagement, they allow for students to experience both online and face-to-face speaking environments to demonstrate their skills and identify what works for specific delivery methods.Students can deliver their presentation to the class either with a topic of their choosing. In some upper level and graduate courses, the topic may be assigned by the instructor. Film review presentation, content presentation, final presentation, group presentation, class participation, peer review, peer evaluation, for example.

Presentations are spread out throughout the semester and students will be given feedback along the way. Presentations are evaluated by the instructor using various evaluation tools: presentation rubrics, competency standards or other evaluation forms.

Activities may include: individual presentations, class presentations, small group presentations, peer review, and peer evaluation. These are accomplished through multiple video/recording platforms using both face-to-face and online forums, synchronous and asynchronous methods. Presentations may be either recorded and presented to the instructor and to the class for review delivered via Google+ Hangout, Blackboard Collaborate, or other web-based conference software or recorded and shared through YouTube or Google Drive. Question and answer sessions are facilitated through a combination of asynchronous and/or synchronous methods.

Incorporating visual aids in public speaking is a big part in presenting your message. If a presentation is videotaped, presentation material is shared with a class before the presentation begins. If the presentation is offered live, presentation material is either incorporated into the presentation or is distributed to the class prior to class meeting.


Students can engage in public speaking in their home town or surrounding communities and record their speeches. Students give presentations at local schools, at community organization meetings or in political forums. Not only do assignments like this encourage community engagement, they allow for students to experience both online and face-to-face speaking environments to demonstrate their skills and identify what works for specific delivery methods.

Group Presentations

Student groups are responsible for meeting with the instructor during office hours or at a time convenient to the instructor prior to making a presentation to the class to review presentation strategy.

Peer Review and Support

Students complete peer evaluations concerning the other individual and/or group presentations.

Speaking Center’s resources as well as other online resources on presentations, videotaping tips, and video uploading directions are made available to students. Students who can access the Speaking Center on the UAF campus or a campus center near them, are encouraged to do so.

Asynchronous Methods


Google Drive
The Instructor creates a folder in their Google Drive and shares it with the class. Students will receive an email invitation to access the shared folder. Students should click the “Open” button listed in the email and log into UAF Google Drive.

Students will be taken to a screen with an “Add to Drive” button in the upper right. Clicking this button will make it easier to find this folder. Videos are shared in this folder.


Students can either use the New button in the menu to browse for their video file or drag and drop the file into the shared folder.
Google drive accepts these types of video files:
  • WebM files (Vp8 video codec; Vorbis Audio codec)
  • .MPEG4, 3GPP and MOV files – (h264 and mpeg4 video codecs; AAC audio codec)
  • .AVI (MJPEG video codec; PCM audio)
  • .MPEGPS (MPEG2 video codec; MP2 audio)
  • .WMV
  • .FLV (Adobe – FLV1 video codec, MP3 audio)

Synchronous Methods

Blackboard Collaborate

Google Hangout

Tips for Google Hangouts (UA Google log-in required)

Presentation Resources

UAF Speaking Center

The ComCoachVideo Tutorial

9 Tips for Nailing the Classroom Group Project Presentation

Tips for Video Recording Oral Presentations

Adding Google Drive Link to Blackboard Discussion

October 20, 2016
by Heidi Olson
Comments Off on Google Updates

Google Updates

The big news it that there is a name change for all those pieces that make up The Google. Google Apps is now Google Suite. Google says, “So we’re excited to introduce a new name for Google Apps for Education that better reflects the collaborative power of these tools and reinforces our dedication to teachers and students: G Suite for Education.”

Explore replaces Research

What can you do with explore?

Sheets: ask a question and get suggestions for formatting, using a chart or formula you might use.

Slides: get design suggestions based on content of your slide

Calendar: explore will help you find free times for your meeting attendees as well as room assignment based on previous bookings.

Docs and Slides: search for topics, images or web resources to include in your documents

Drive Search

Can’t remember the title of your document? Try “find my budget presentation from last March” or “show me planning spreadsheet from Heidi.” Search has been updated to use Natural Language Processing.

Table of Contents in Docs

You now have the option to add page numbers to a table of contents. Choose either headers with page numbers or the headers with blue links that take you to the header. Too bad there isn’t a third option that combines page numbers and links.



Updates to Forms

You can now add an “upload image file” question in Google Forms. This will allow students to upload images as well as other file types. Forms have also been updated to be able to anticipation the kind of question optons you might want to use based on your question. For example, if you ask a question about which day of the week is best for a meeting, you will be given options that make sense.