Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Is your online course interactive?

What do we mean by ‘interactive’ anyway? Well, in the past I have used Ellen Wagner’s definition from her 1994 work (In support of a functional definition of interaction. The American Journal of Distance Education, 8(2), 6-26.) which defines interaction as “reciprocal events that require at least two objects and two actions. Interactions occur when these objects and events mutually influence one another” (I first mentioned this definition on this blog in Feb 2005).

I recently came across an old (read: year 2000) paper which had a rubric for assessing the level of interactivity in an online course by Rablyer and Erkhaml at the State University of West Georgia: How Interactive are YOUR Distance Courses? A Rubric for Assessing Interaction in Distance Learning.

With a quick Google search I discovered that the authors updated this rubric four years later in an article published to the Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks.

Have a look at the newer rubric in this paper. I think it is pretty good. It focuses on five major elements that contribute to interactivity:
  1. Social and Rapport-building designs

  2. Interactivity in the Instructional Design of the course

  3. Interactivity with the Technology Resources

  4. Evidence of Learner Engagement

  5. Evidence of Instructor Engagement

I took the opportunity to run a recent course that I designed through the rubric and noted that this course scored approximately 18 out of a maximum 25 points. A score of 18 just barely places this course into the “High Interactive Qualities” category (range of 18-25). This rubric also helped me see where there is ‘room for improvement’ in the interactivity in this course. Run your course through this rubric to see where it lands. Let me know if you find this rubric useful and/or if you know of any other rubrics that assess interactivity in a distance course.

Monday, February 19, 2007

File too big for email?

When sending email, we've all received this message at one point or another:

Error - Recipient Email Inbox is Full. This email was not delivered.

Yup. Pain in the butt. Periodically I send large media files to people and if my file is larger than 2 Mb, I often wonder if it will ever reach them or not. I was listening to an episode of EdTechTalk recently and they spoke about a service that can help me with this problem: YouSendIt. Without any account creation, it allows anyone to store a file of less than a 100 Mb on their server for a 7 day period of time and it can be downloaded by the intended recipient onto their computer. I tried it and it works. I uploaded an 8 Mb file and specified the email address of my recipient. It then sent my recipient an email with simple instructions on how to download the file. This is a great service that bypasses the email inbox and is especially useful for large files! If you're a power user you can create an account and it will accept files as large as 2 Gigabyte! That's almost two and a half CDs worth of files. WOW! Let me know if you find this free service useful.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Does Web 2.0 mean anything to you or your students?

Are you having trouble seeing how Web 2.0 ideas like Blogs, Wikis, Mashups, Social Bookmarking, and Podcasts relate to you or your students? Do you have trouble seeing the difference between the old Internet and Web 2.0? This video created and produced by Micheal Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University, may help you connect the dots on these concepts. It was added to YouTube 2 weeks ago and has already received over 1 million viewings. It's a powerful video. I love it. What do you think about it?

After watching that video, and thinking about it for a bit, take a look at this video response posted 5 days ago by CoreyTheRaven. Pretty cool.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Five things Meme - I've beed tagged

On the 20th of December, 2006, Alber Ip tagged me with 5 Things Meme. I never even knew about 5 Things Meme until yesterday when I noticed that Albert had tagged me. A quick Google search filled me in on the concept. Basically, bloggers are ‘tagging’ each other with the challenge to reveal to their readership five things that they wouldn’t otherwise know. So…. I’m game… here goes.
  1. I am a hockey addict. I have loved the Detroit Red Wings of the NHL since I was a teenager. While I do not play ice hockey myself, mainly due to the fact that I can’t skate backwards, I play outdoor road hockey (with shoes not skates!) regularly on Sunday mornings and I play indoor floor hockey regularly on Thursdays. Despite my love for the game, I am not a good hockey player. I get ‘A’ for Effort and that’s about it. HAHA! Here’s an interesting fact about my relationship with the Detroit Red Wings. I grew up in Windsor, which is nestled beside Detroit, and I have never attended a Detroit Red Wings hockey that was being played in the city of Detroit. I have only seen them in Ottawa and Montreal. Someday I will go to the city of Detroit to see a game.

  2. Prior to becoming an educator, I was a Cancer Research Scientist. I worked in the field of breast cancer research for 10 years. I have co-authored 12 articles in refereed scientific journals. I have been in the field of education for almost 5 years now and I have zero publications. Go figure!

  3. I am an Internet junkie. Whenever I am at my computer, I am logged in to several services such as MSN, ICQ, Skype, and my newest fun thing: Facebook. I’ll write about Facebook on this blog another day. Stay tuned!

  4. I was married last year and my wife is now pregnant. Our first baby is due in July. How exciting!

  5. My middle name is Andre thus making my initials: EAT. I discovered that my initials formed a word when I was 9 years old. I approached my mom to tell her of my discovery and she said she had never noticed that before. Ever since then I’ve been obsessed with patterns in peoples initials. Strange but true!

So there are my 5 things meme. So, now I’ll build a list of five blogs I regularly read and tag them in this message. We’ll see if they ever read it. (*smile*)

eLearning Queen
James Farmer: Incorporated Subversion
Tony Karrer: eLearching Tech
Stephen Downes
Ankush Gupta: The Learned Man

Consider yourself Tagged folks. N-Joy!