Week 5

Facebook eLearning (this is a link with photos – I couldn’t get WordPress to accept my screenshots.)

Facebook can be quite useful as new media elearning method. It can be useful for both asynchronous and synchronous learning. Furthermore, Facebook is a useful elearning method as it creates a high degree of social presence where users are able to represent themselves in an online environment. Additionally, according to the social presence theory, Facebook contributes to high levels of social presence as it it allows users to relate to one another in a common space .

For users to engage in this elearning method, they must have a Facebook account. You can learn more about creating a Facebook account here.

Once a user has created a Facebook account, they engage in the following features:

–          Link to ones friends

–          Update and see updates

–          Hold conversations (threads)

Facebook uses a common interface. Here is a screenshot of the Facebook Dashboard (Please note that all screenshots are from my personal Facebook account):

The Facebook dashboard constantly updates with a newsfeed of a users friends posts. These posts are useful to facilitate a discussion.  One can post photos, links, videos, or even take a poll or all those who are ones friend on Facebook. All of the tools that allow posts are views by all a users friends.

Posting is primarily a form of one-way communication, though it has options for two-way communication through the use of threading wall discussions. Posting allows, to an extent, for an increased social presence as it provides interaction through users.  Users in an elearning environment are able to interact in student-student and instructor-student.

Walls are essentially each users own interface that is available publicly for other users to create posts. Here is an example of two-way communication on a wall:

Email discussions to multiple users can be created, or you can write emails to single users. This type of discussion is done privately. This is mostly a form of one-way communication, though two-way communication is additionally optional as the email takes the format similar to a wall, but in a private setting. This feature can be useful for student-instructor interaction as it is asynchronous. Email allows for personal focus though it is not media rich. (Note: Private instant messaging is also available)

Additionally, Notes can be created. Notes are similar to a blog. Notes are a form of one-way communication.

Notes are not traditionally media rich, as they do not provide instant feedback, provide “body cues”, allows of the permission of natural language though they do provide a personal focus of the medium. Similarly to a blog, though notes are not media rich, they are useful for completing basic writing tasks as it provides such a space for users to simply write and accept comments.

The following is a comparison chart between Facebook and the LMS that I currently use for work (though we do use Facebook – it is not for LMS).

Facebook

My LMS

Dashboard

X

Walls

X

Discussion Boards

X

Email

X

Notes

X

Surveys

X

X

Webinars

X

Graphic Presentation

X

Videos

X

Grade Book

Announcements

X

X

From this, I can conclude that Facebook is useful as a function LMS as it provides the following:

  1. Distributes course information
  2. Allows for student-instructor and student-student communication
  3. Allows for student interaction with course resource

The LMS feature that Facebook does lack is that it does not provide a tool for online testing and grading activity.  Therefore, from this information we can conclude that Facebook would not be useful for online traditional testing (i.e. multiple choice, true or false) as it does not provide a tool for testing.

Facebook is useful as an elearning tool, even though it is not heavily rich in media, as it allows for a high levels of social presence and student-instructor student-student interaction. Also, Facebook is a useful elearning tool because it would already have a large presence among most audiences. Facebook would particularly be useful for course discussions and blog posting – similarly to how we do in class now.

I think that one of the best tools that Facebook has for elearning is one of their newest features, which is polling. Users can vote, add comments, or even ask their friends what they think. This is two-way communication. Facebook polling is a moderately rich media as it provides for instant feedback and allows for personalization.  (The following is a sample poll from a popular reality tv show – Bad Girls Club)

This would particularly be useful as a supplement to elearning discussions as it would provide raw information of how a discussion tended to go.

To further demonstrate the usefulness of Facebook as an LMS, I have created an activity so as to explain how Facebook can be used as an LMS.

 A Lesson on Widgets

Instructions:

(1)Create a Facebook note about what you think about Widgets. Make sure that you allow your Friends to see the note.

(2)Then, take the poll on the Instructors Facebook “What do you think about widgets?”

(3) Briefly share with us what you think about widgets in a Facebook post. You must add a video, picture, or URL to supplement your Facebook post.

(4) Additionally, you are required to make a thread on another students post.  If you have any questions, please feel free to email your instructor.

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Week 4

Question 1.

Textual information can be seen in an elearning environment as text on a computer monitor. Textual information is either an announcement or document. An announcement is brief and prepared using LMS software. A document is longer than an announcement and addresses topics in detail. Documents are often uploaded (like an attachment format) to an LMS and can be viewed in its original format i.e. Word or PDF.

Presentation graphics slide shows are viewed on a computer screen. Graphic slide shows can be considered text based. An example of a presentation graphics slide show would be a PowerPoint Presentation.

Spreadsheets and databases are common ways to represent data. Excel is often useful for posting student grades. Excel spreadsheets are particularly useful as they students have a tool where they can predict their course grades by inputting “fake” scores amongst their real scores. Though spreadsheets maybe useful for said grade posting, spreadsheets and databases are not effective as they do not offer

Multimedia objects are still pictures, moving pictures or sound (or a combination of) that are used in elearning. Videos and animation are examples of moving pictures. Pictures and sound can be combined to make a multimedia object. These objects can be embedded into textual information, presentation slide shows or can be used independently. YouTube videos can be seen as a multimedia object. Multimedia objects is particularly effective in elearning situations where an task is ambiguous. Multimedia objects are able to transmit cues such as facial expression, body language and ton of voice. It also allows for the use of natural language. Due to these characteristics of multimedia objects, multimedia objects are useful for elearning.

Question 2.

Most important guidelines for textual information:

Chunks

Bullets (or outlining)

Proper linking

Purpose: To outline product for sales team

Users: Sales team

A Summary of Widgets

Widgets are useful to sell because this, that, and the other thing.

Who can I sell a widget to?

  • This person
  • That person
  • The other person

Here are the main features of widgets that you should known:

  • Does This
  • Does That
  • Does The Other Thing

Here are a list of tools, the reason why these tools are useful and the links to find these tools. Here is the list of tools that will support your sales of widgets:

Question 3.

Synchronous – Students and instructors engage the elearning environment at the same time, but not necessarily from the same site.

Asynchronous – Students and instructors engage the elearning environment but not at the same time, nor from the same site.

I think choosing between synchronous and asynchronous tasks depends on what goals the instructor has for the course. In an elearning environment, it is useful to have a blend of synchronous and asynchronous tasks and assignments. For example, an asynchronous tasks allows for convenience of access for the both the students and the professor as it allows the students and instructors ot engage in the elearning environment at varying times from different sites. Convenience of access is important for many online learners, therefore, I would choose primarily asynchronous tasks for in a computer mediated learning setting.  Synchonous tasks, on the other hand, are useful for creating a sense of community in an elearning environment. A synchronous task, such as TalkShoe or Skype, is useful for accomplishing such tasks. Even though synchronous tasks are useful, they do create a sense of inconvenience for users – particularly for grad students. Therefore, I would primarily use asynchronous tasks and assignments for elearning.

Question 4.

Supporting Synchronous Communication technologies with the LMS I use at work

Webinars

Chats

Question 5.

Supporting Asynchronous Communication technologies with the LMS I use at work

Emails

Messages

Groups

Questions 6.

Describe an asynchronous task

The task I would use in an online class would be the following:

Take a training module and take the quiz at the end of the module. The purpose of the training module is to improve the users sales by providing relevant product information that consumers would find useful in a sales presentation. This would be a general post in the sales training module. Users would be allowed to quit anytime and would be able to save their progress. The quiz can be completed an unlimited amount of times, though 70% is required to pass. Participants will have access to a link where they can email any questions that they may have.

The assignment would be explained as followed:

Please complete the following training module. You will have 40 minutes to complete the course. You may stop and continue the course at any time. Complete the training module and continue on to the quiz. You may take the quiz as many times as you need.

Technology support:

The technology that I would use to support this activity would be a graphic slide show, supported by a flash function. Students would need to have access to a computer and the Internet. I would use this LMS graphic slide show as a way for the students to work their way through the content. I would use this format as it provides a rich media space. This format would be useful as it allows the students to complete the module at their convenience. A feedback link would allow participants to submit any questions that they may have.

Success:

I would know that this activity was successful by the number of participants who would successful complete the training module  and pass the quiz. Also, I would be able to see how long the participants took to complete the training modules and how many times it took the users to pass the quiz. Form this information, I will be able to determine if the module is at the appropriate difficulty for the participants.

Also, I would be able to judge how clear and concise the training is by how often and to what extent participants use the email feedback link.

Session Two

Question 1

There are four major functional categories of LMS.

1. Distribution of course information

2. Student-instructor and student-student communication

3. Student interaction with course resources

4. Online testing and grading.

Question 2

I currently use Articulate as a manager to publish an information to an LMS format. I use Articulate software to convert Office to Flash, and then the content is loaded into the LMS. The LMS is accessed through a log on available only to registered travel agents, and houses training materials and marketing tools The following are the functional categories of the LMS I use for work:

1. Distribution of course information

– Slide show presentations for reviewing course topics: Slide show presentations offer in depth explanations of popular itineraries, and items that are important to selling the product

– Course documents, assignments, and materials: Marketing materials, review of course documents

2. Student-instructor and student-student communication

– Discussion with a guest speaker or mentor: Webinars are conducted so as to teach agents about the latest program releases

3. Student interaction with course resources

– Miscellaneous web-based resources: Blog links, badges for facebook

4. Online testing and grading.

– Online testing – Quizzes (created with Articulate) tests on information given in the distribution of course information

– Automatic test grading and grade posting: This is achieved through quizzes

– Online surveys and evaluations: There is a feedback link for users to submit questions and comments

Question 3

1. Ask yourself why.

It is useful for one to understand why one chooses to use an eLearning platform. Many instructors will use eLearning as it improves learning and creates interaction between students. In my case, I think that eLearning is the best way to train business partners about a product. It adds convenience for the business partner and it offers the most up-to-date information in a timely manner.

2. Make a commitment.

When one decides to use eLearning, they must commit themselves to learning new technology. Similarly, when I took the job that I currently have I had to learn how to use Articulate to convert information into the LMS. Though sometimes it is frustrating (the daily computer crash!) my goal of my job is to provide accurate information into the LMS no matter how time consuming or frustrating that it maybe.

3. Develop a new vision for yoru course and how you teach it

When one begins eLearning hey need to think how they should approach the eLearning environment. One must consider how the students will use the information presented in the course when deciding what content should be presented in the course, and only present information that ise useful and provides gratification (meaning that it fulfills a specific need).

When I work on a course, I ensure that I provide only information that is relevant to my audience. I make the courses easy to understand and easy to navigate. Though often flash heavy courses are esthetically pleasing, they add no value to course. Thus, information that I put forth is put in the most easy, and simple format as possible

4. Determine the resources available to you

Most must be aware of the hardware, software, technical support, and eLearning expertise that is available. With this in mind, I am always aware of the computer skills and software of the users of the LMS. My team must always ensure that we use software that is compatible with that of our audience.

5. Acquire new technology skills and develop new instructional methods.

New skills, new teaching methods and new ways of designing are essential to making the most out of the eLearning experience. I relate to this as I am constantly learning information related to product branding, as well as how different technology interacts with the LMS. I also always search for interesting design methods that still provide useful and a gratifying experience for the user.

6. Plan

A plan must be made before the actual LMS module is created. This is essential to eLearning success.

Question 4/5

One-way communication is when a message is sent and a reply is not returned, nor is a reply expected. Posting information to a course site for users to use at their leisure is an example of one-way communication.

Announcements are used on the LMS that I use. These announcements are posted on the top of the course site and typically announce contests and other information that is pertinent to course materials. This is useful for providing the most up to date information for users in a place that is easily accessible to all LMS useres.

The LMS that I use a work primarily houses files that were created by other software. We post files that are converted from PowerPoint to flash. This is useful as it provides a format that is compatible amongst most users, but it does often encounter issues when users have slow Internet connections and such.

A gradebook is also used, but it only on a pass or fail basis. This is a useful tool as it guides users progress.

Two-way communication involves the sending and receiving of messages.

Online tests are used, and they are made available as the student completes coursework. The LMS grades the work on a pass or fail basis. This is useful as it provides a method by which users can be assessed on their conceptualization of course materials.

Review

I find that Blackboard is a useful CMS platform. It distributes course information in an understandable and common formats – I have primarily seen PDF, Word and PPT. Course documents, assignments, and materials are all housed in one place, which provides ease of access for users.

Blackboard is also useful in the ways of which it provides student-instructor and student-student communication. It allows for discussion with an instructor through email and boards. Students also may interact with one another through message boards. Blackboard also allows for student interaction with course resources.  Instructors can post outside links, such as YouTube, which provide students a richer learning environment. Instructors also have the option of conducting surveys and message boards so that students may interact directly with the course.

Furthermore, Blackboard provides online testing. Quizzes and tests can be created by the instructor in a variety of format. Instructors may provide automatic test grading and grade posting, or they can create a format of which users can respond to a question. This is useful as it allows instructors the ease of creating material that is appropriate to the course content.

Based on the above concepts, I find that Blackboard is one of the most useful LMS.

Hello world!

Hello!

My name is Elizabeth Tomzik and I am a graduate student in the department of Communication Studies.

I am taking this course, like many of you, to assist my career. I work in the Marketing Technology (or e-Business) department at Princess Cruises. My role primarily consists of creating marketing content for travel agents. This marketing material is set up in an e-Learning environment. Hence, my reason for being interested in this course. In the class, I hope to learn strategies that can assist in a marketing focuses e-Learning environment. I would also like to learn strategies that assist in the enjoyment of LMS (learning management system) users experience.

My previous experience with e-Learning includes the use of BlackBoard – which I find easy and amicable to use.  Recently I have used Skype. I agree with Dr. Newberry that Skype does tend to have issues with multiple parties! I find that Skype is my least favorite e-Learning tool. In addition, for my job, I use a program called Articulate to process learning information from Office format to Flash. This program also stages a LMS (learning management system). I have also used Moodle, but only its beginning stages (I have worked in the Department of Distributed Learning at CSUSB).

I enjoy online learning. I find that it is easy to use and fits my lifestyle as a graduate student and career woman. I like that I can pace my workload and that I can do the work when it best fits my ideal learning environment. I also enjoy face-to-face learning, but I have found that e-Learning (for the time being) at least is most effect for my time needs. For these reasons, at this point in my life, I prefer online learning.

The following list includes e-Learning tools that I am familar with:

BlackBoard

Skype

Moodle

Articulate (Quiz & Presentation)

Complete Office System

I hope this blog gives me the opportunity to learn more about each of these tools, as well as affords me the chance to add a few new ones to my “tool box!”

Cheers!

Liz