Archive for June, 2011

TalkShoe – Session 3 Reflection


Thank you Dr. Newberry for letting me know that I could go back and listen to the recording of TalkShoe! Horray!

I have a soft spot for ODL, as I was a student assistant for this department for nearly two years when I was an undergrad at CSUSB. I remember when Moodle was in the testing stages!

Dr. Monaghan stated that when choosing an LMS, one should be sure that it is reliable, it is is user friendly and easy to navigate. These, and other such factors, where taken into consideration when CSUSB chose a LMS. I thought it was particularly interesting that CSUSB has not always used BlackBoard – for some reason I thought it was the only true higher education LMS! The first LMS used was Web CT and it was eliminated because BlackBoard was more user friendly (Side note: I don’t know about reliability – I think just about everyone has dealt with a BlackBoard system failure during a final!)

The newest version of BlackBoard 9.1 will be integrated soon and will have new features such as blogging, chatting and wikis. Additionally, the gradebook will now reflect an Excel spreadsheet. I think that the use of wikis will be especially useful, especially for threading topics and discussions within a course.  Though, I have previously created a wiki on Moodle for a course and found that I most fought with linking and threading issues, rather than actually engaging with the content. I hope that the BlackBoard version is much more user friendly.


Final Project

I chose Option 1. You can different versions of the presentation below:

PDF – eLearning Presentation

PowerPoint – eLearning Presentation


I have included an outline of the project below:

eLearning Presentation

By Elizabeth Tomzik

Outline of Presentation

About this presentation

Why I chose PowerPoint

Types of mediums

PowerPoint and media richness

PowerPoint and social learning

Making PowerPoint ADA compliant

About This Presentation

1.Produced with PowerPoint, Microsoft Office 2007
2.Simple white background with black text
3.PowerPoint presentations are graphic slide shows, but can also be text based.
4.A PDF and text version of this PowerPoint are also available.

Why PowerPoint?

The reasons are endless!

1.Easy to format for web delivery
2.Easy to create text documents, including PDF’s and Word documents
3.Can be as simple or complicated in design
4.User friendly
5.Compatible with most users Operating Systems

Types of Mediums

All mediums are either synchronous or asynchronous.

1. Synchronous – Students and instructors engage the elearning environment at the same time, but not necessarily from the same site. Synchronous mediums are useful for increasing motivation and engagement. It also can assist with providing social presence. Examples of a synchronous medium would be TalkShoe or Skype.

2. Asynchronous – Students and instructors engage the elearning environment but not at the same time, nor from the same site. Asynchronous mediums are useful for students to engage in eLearning at their preferred time and place. PowerPoint presentations are asynchronous, as they can be uploaded to an LMS (learning management system) and can be accessed at varying times and sites.

 PowerPoint and Media Richness

Media richness is useful theory for understanding how a certain media would work in a given learning situation Media richness is determined by the following criteria:

1.Ability to give instant feedback
•PowerPoint does not have an option to provide instant feedback
2.The capacity  to transmit cues such as facial expression, body language and tone of voice
•Facial cues and tone of voice can be communicated with a speech to text option
•Facial cues, tone of voice and body language can be communicated with either audio or video
3. The ability to use natural language
•Natural language can be used in text
4.How the media is able to provide personal focus
•PowerPoint is meant for a general audience. It does not allow personal focus, though it does allow for outline and text to audio options

PowerPoint and Media Richness

Media richness is useful theory for understanding how a certain media would work in a given learning situation.

As a rule:

1. The more ambiguous the task, the richer the media     should be

For example:

Problem Solving Task – Best served by a media rich   medium

Directive Task – Lean of rich media which is straight to   the point.

 PowerPoint and Social Presence

Social Presence is the distinctiveness of a medium that is seeming and reported students in learning environment.

Social presence is, therefore, determined by the medium.

In conclusion, social present explains the ability of the medium to transmit realness of a learning situation.

 Social Presence – How it impacts students

In Dr. Newberry’s work, the following was reported:

1. If a student expects a high level of social presence in the course, they tend to be more satisfied when they experience high levels of social presence.

2. If a student expects a high level of social presence in a course, and they do not received high levels of social presence, they tend to be more dissatisfied.

3. If a student doesn’t expect high levels of interaction, they do not report a decrease in satisfaction when they are in a situation with low social presence.

4. If a student doesn’t expect high levels of interaction, they do not report an increase in satisfaction when they are involved in interactions with a high social presence.

ADA Compliance and PowerPoint

All learning mediums must be in compliance with the American Disabilities Act (ADA).

The American Disabilites Act requires that any learning institution that receives government funding has classes that are accessible for those with disabilities.

A course must developed within these guidelines, regardless of whether there is a student with disabilities in the course.

All materials related to a course must be accessible.

I find that the best way to avoid an ADA compliance issues is to use a checklist to be certain that their course is compliant.

 ADA Checklist

The following is a checklist that I developed for a previous assignment. It has proved the most useful for maintaining ADA compliance when using PowerPoint as an eLearning tool.

You can find the guidelines that I used to develop the checklist here.

If you are able to answer “Yes” to all of the following questions, the PowerPoint presentation is ADA compliant.

Continue to the next page for the ADA checklist.

 ADA Checklist

Is a text version of all video/audio available?

Are indicators in plain text (no color)?

Are markup sheets used correctly?

Is the language easy to understand?

Did the tables publish correctly?

Did all the page over all publish as intended?

Can the user control time-sensitive content?

Can the user access all outside links?

Can the course be used independent of a certain devices?

Is there a clear context of the information provided?

Is an orientation to the information provided?

Can the user easily navigate through the pages?

Are there indicators for navigation?

Are all documents clear and simple?


PowerPoint is useful for eLearning because it allows for asynchonous communication.

PowerPoint is typically provides low levels of social presence.

PowerPoint can be as media rich or as media lean as an instructor chooses.

PowerPoint can be easily tailored to comply with ADA compliance standards.

Motivation & Engagement

I was unable to make it to the live TalkShoe session because of work, but I was able to listen to the recording (whew, thank you technology!). Motivation and engagement are two important factors for maintaining an eLearning environment. First, I will discuss motivation.

There are three components of internal motivation:

1. Intrinsic Self-motivation. This is the students enjoyment of the course, or the topic of the course. This is personality based, and can not be achieved by the instructor.  This process is purely internal. Within intrinsic self-motivation, there are two types.

  • Internal locus of control – Students believes that they have complete control over their circumstances.
  • External locus of control. – One does not have control of their future or actions. but instead it is determined by others.

2. Individual self-interest. Also based on a students enjoyment of the course. The instructor can stimulate interest, though due to some students intrinsic self-motivation, this still can prove difficult for an instructor.

3. Required preparation for motivation. The understanding of what it takes to achieve the required objectives throughout the course. Here, the instructor can take a large role in determining what students can expect throughout a course.

There are four types of external motivation:

1. Structure/Pace of the course. Weekly assignments tend to work better than singular (midterm and final) in eLearning courses. This gives students the motivation for the students to maintain engagement in the course.

2.  Activities. Any activities that take place in an eLearning environment should be clear and concise. Examples of the expected product of the activity is useful. If the students have difficulty in understanding the activity, they will lack motivation to complete the activity. The less ambiguity, the better.

3. Technology. Though some students may like to use a variety of technologies. The use of varying technologies can decrease motivation in some students who many not like to use the different technologies or who do not have the motivation to learn a new technology.  Instructors should be sure that the technologies used should be easy to use. Additionally, I think that it is our responsibility as instructors to be sure that any additional technology that is required within the course is compatible with both PC and MAC.

4. Communication. If there is a clear line of communication between the instructor and student, the student is more likely to maintain motivation. Continuous communication is particularly important in eLearning. This can be achieved through emails and feedback on assignments.

Overall, I think that too often instructors become too goal based and forget exactly who their audience is. By taking into account who an instructors audience is, they will can use further tactics to engage and motivate their students – and a win/win will be had by all!