Category Archives: Training

Elisabeth Ramos-Torrescano

A “Wicked Difficult” Challenge: Managing the Obsolescence of Human Knowledge

The New Media Consortium recently released the 2017 Horizon Report. First launched in 2003, the annual report taps into a panel of higher education experts to identify emerging technologies and trends that will impact the industry near term (one year), mid-term (three to five years), and long term (over five years). In addition, the Report identifies six major challenges to the implementation or adoption of education technology. The first two were deemed “wicked difficult” challenges.

Oh my! What could these be? The first is managing the obsolescence of human knowledge and the second is the changing role of the educator. Let’s leave the second on the table for now, and just deal with the thorny first wicked challenge.

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Lori Zalivansky

Is There an Age Limit on Technology?

About a year ago, my father came up to my mother and me during breakfast, saying he wanted to upgrade his very old Nokia phone to a smartphone. Our reactions to this confession weren’t kind. My father—who was 61—had almost zero experience with technology at the time. Also, my parents are both from Minsk, Belarus, so English is a second language for them. Going from an old Nokia phone to something that many consider to be a pocket computer was a big leap. I hate to admit that although I’m in the business of introducing new technology to everyone, when my father asked for my help I told him he was too old to be diving into technology. Continue reading

Sonya Ratliff

What Do I Do Now? Remembering What It Feels Like Being A First-time Online Student

Can you remember feeling nervous, anxious, and fearful about the upcoming online course you registered for at the advice of an academic advisor? While the advisor gave you some basic information about the course and told you not to worry, the little voice inside would say, “Are you sure you can do this”? That little voice never really went away until the end of the course.

The online world of learning is so very different than the face-to-face classroom. Students don’t have the opportunity to speak to the instructor after class or stop by their instructor’s office on the way home to ask a question. Everything, everything is done virtually.

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Lori Zalivansky

Stress: The Good, The Bad, and The Downright Ugly

I think it is safe to say we have all experienced some form of stress in our life–whether it be in our personal life or at work. Stress isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes stress, in small doses, can help you perform better and keep you safe when in dangerous situations.

This week we had several interviews and one of the questions we always ask candidates is how are you under pressure and can you manage stress? Working in our field can be very stressful. There is a lot of customer support involved with instructional design. As Sharon Guan likes to say, we are free therapy. Whenever an instructor is struggling, they come to us with the hope that we can ease their worries and their stress. Which means a lot of the time we are not only dealing with our own personal stress but also taking on the stress of our faculty. Stress is only good if you keep it in a comfortable zone, so how do you make sure to not let yourself get overwhelmed? As one of the candidates said during the interview, you don’t want to get to the point where you are seconds away from throwing your computer out the window. It’s a long way down.

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Lori Zalivansky

Walking a Fine Line Between Support and Too Much Support

As an eLearning Content Developer (ECD) at DePaul University, one of my roles is to provide faculty support for all courses using Desire2Learn. Whether that is providing D2L training sessions, building content, or answering any D2L technical questions. One of the biggest challenges that I face as an ECD is figuring out when I might be providing “too much support.” I’m sure any faculty reading this at this point are thinking how could there ever be too much support? But I believe there needs to be a balance between providing the support faculty need and also giving them the right amount of encouragement to be able to eventually answer their own questions. Continue reading

Josh Lund

Instructional Designers: Preventative Care is for Us Too

I don’t often write directly to my instructional designer colleagues; usually I try to impart some of the occasional nuggets of wisdom I’ve gained from teaching, research or just plain trial and error to faculty, so they can avoid making the same mistakes I have. This time I’ve found a new way to stay inspired and reduce the burnout that can happen in this line of work, and I’m excited about how it has affected my approach to Instructional Design (ID) that it bears repeating.

Over the past decade or so, we have all witnessed a major change in health care. The medical profession has shifted focus from just treating the symptoms to preventative care—the idea that by changing life and health habits earlier on, it will reduce the amount of symptomatic care required for patients later in life. It does seem to be having a positive effect so far, as hospitals have more time to deal with emergencies, and their doctors and nurses spend less time in consultation over health conditions that are ultimately preventable. Continue reading

Bridget Wagner

Best Practices for Support in Instructional Technology

I have only been working in instructional technology full time for a few months, so I am not really prepared to call myself an expert on anything. Except, maybe, on providing support in an instructional technology department.

As a newcomer to instructional technology, I have spent a lot of time figuring out how to make stuff work. In my current role as a member of a support team, I not only have to figure out how to make stuff work for my own benefit, but also help other people at a university learn to use our learning management system and other educational technology tools.

So I am no course design expert, but I am good at troubleshooting what I do not know, and helping others to do the same. This is what I’ve learned is key in a support role. Continue reading

Lori Zalivansky

Review: Applying the QM Rubric Course

I have been working as a content developer at DePaul for nearly 5 years. In these 5 years, I have heard rumblings about Quality Matters and Quality Matters Reviews, but never really understood what “QM’ing” a course really meant. When asked what I would like to focus on for professional development, becoming a certified peer reviewer was the first thing that popped in my head. I have quality assured many courses and wondered, “how much different is that from doing a quality matters review?” I was in for an awakening.

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Ian Hall

Quick and Easy Curving

Something Happened! — That Sinking Feeling

Sometimes the grade distribution on your exam seems a bit low — maybe even horrifyingly low.

Perhaps there wasn’t enough time to focus on a topic due to a holiday, a bout of illness struck, or maybe there was a question that was ambiguously worded. The assessment might be brand new and still needs some tweaking, or maybe the students just didn’t get it — there was a collective lapse in memory.

Whatever the reason, the grade distribution is low and it feels bad for you and worse for your students.

What Happened? — The Empathy Hat

Now that you’ve identified there is an issue, the next step is to identify the reason for the low scores. Continue reading

Ian Hall

Low-Cost Student Assessment

Student X has done the reading all term, they promise! It just happens they missed [concept covered in reading] and must’ve been [doing a good student-like activity] when you talked about [concept covered in lecture]. Now it’s finals week, Student X has no idea what is going on, and it’s going to hurt to fail them. If only there were a way to ensure they were doing the reading (or at worst, have documentation when the grade challenge comes)…

I have been working with James Riely, who teaches a hybrid Data Structures course in the College of Computing and Digital Media, to develop a series of low-value quizzes so he can painlessly assess student reading, lecture attention, and concept mastery. Not only are these quizzes useful for James, but they also allow students to self-assess their grasp of the concepts so they can reach out if need be. Continue reading