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Tag Archives: Distance Education

Extended Learning Environments to the Forefront

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By in Content Development, Mobile, Professional Development, Software, Tools on .

Delivering Mobile Content

Mobl21 mobile learning content publishing

We know that students are accessing instructional content online more than ever before, but most recently; the mobile learning trend is also becoming common. For many instructors it is still a challenge to provide online content that is also readily accessible through mobile devices.  For Moodle users, for example, the challenge is lessened by installing the MLE-Moodle plug-in component which allows instructors to make lessons, self-assessments/quizzes, surveys, forums, wikis and other mobile learning objects available to students with very little effort.   To most of us, who depend on a specific course management system to deliver content to students, contrary to common belief, our options are not limited and the “connected anywhere” trend should not surprise or scare us. We should be glad to have many options to deliver our instructional content, and that these options allow us to deliver content and expect dynamic interaction from our students.  The “Semantic Web” has certainly opened the doors to facilitate “user-led” media consumption and the students’ need to produce and create content that enhances their learning.  This is a very exciting opportunity for instructors as we have now in our hands the mechanisms that will assist students in the enrichment of their own learning as they practice retrieval methods of important learning material.  All we have to do is find the right tools that will do the job well and introduce those tools to our students.

Mobl21The flexibility, portability and relative ease of use of some of the tools available for producing online mobile learning content are important to note; however, the design of the content for mobile consumption is much more important to talk about.  I have been recently looking at Mobl21, a product from Emantras, a company that specializes in e-learning content development for fortune 500 companies and leading higher education textbook companies, such as Cengage, Mc Graw Hill and Pearson Education.  The most interesting aspect of the usage of this mobile delivery technology is not the technology itself, but the model used for delivery. The idea is that instructors will only deliver context accompaniment and “smaller nuggets of learning consumption” to support the user-led environment so inherent in mobile learning consumption.  After reviewing their product, I decided not to mention the technology itself because I did not see it as important as the idea of content presentation model for students in mobile environments; which is really what mobl21 is doing well:  simple learning asset delivery to mobile with just-in-time, user-led access anywhere.



Google Wave for Instruction

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By in Classroom, Content Development, Mobile, Professional Development, Tools on .

Google Wave for Education

Thinking of using Google Wave in the classroom? The active learning potential that a Google Wave can facilitate has sparked the interest of many instructors.  Google Waves can be embedded objects in web pages and course management systems.  Some instructors are getting creative by implementing group Waves for students. If you are looking for resources, here is a getting started list to help you out:

Join the conversation.

MS Live@edu – What’s in it for students?

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By in Classroom, Content Development, IT Administration, Mobile, Software, Student Technology Kit, Tools on .

Google Apps

Hosted e-mail solutions and collaboration hubs come in all flavors.  For institutions, however, the selection of e-mail and collaboration tools is a more complex undertaking due to what institutions need to consider (cost, security, reliability, support, etc).  At Google, the education edition of Google Apps offered sought after solutions for Institutions looking to save on IT costs and free up resources.  The integrated set of communication and collaboration tools from Google provides students with unique options that are easily manageable and familiar.  Numerous case studies on Google Apps in Education have been published with astounding results.

Microsoft Live@edu

Microsoft Live@edu

Nevertheless, there are some institutions looking at another hosted email and collaboration hub, this one provided by Microsoft.  Microsoft Live@edu offers a complete solution similar to Google Apps including mobile options, but strategically positioned to give students a complete online information technology management service, and at the same time introduce them early on to every day tools used in the workplace.  For example, MS Live@edu offers online MS Outlook and calendaring system, as well as SkyDrive (25 GB online storage) for the widely known MS office suite:  MS Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

It is important to note that Institutions offering the MS Live@edu option for students do not have to purchase Office licenses.  The software is available for students free of charge and can be saved/shared/edited in the cloud via their Office Live Workspace.  This is a tremendous advantage because other online document collaboration tools (Google docs, Zoho docs, Adobe’s Acrobat.com, etc) merely mimic the advanced formatting capabilities of MS Office suite products, but do not come close to the “real thing” .  Consider importing a complex Excel worksheet into a Google Spreadsheets, it is certainly not the same.

Microsoft has published several success stories online. One that caught my attention was how Ball State University uses this solution to keep in touch with alumni and saves from $250,000 to $700,000 per year in email system upkeep for about 160,000 alumni.

For more information about MS Live@edu and Google Apps follow the links below:

Jing Video Feedback

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By in Classroom, Content Development, Professional Development, Software, Tools on .

What can Jing do?

What can Jing do?

For distance learning, video feedback from an instructor can add an additional dimension of connection with students.  But I’m not talking about buying an expensive piece of software and a steep learning curve that instructors may not have time to deal with; I’m speaking about a lightweight and easy to use free tool distributed by TechSmith called Jing.

The Jing video recording tool from TechSmith has been gaining a lot of popularity the last couple of years in higher education, especially in STEM distance courses.   With Jing, an instructor can record up to 5 minutes of video screen demonstration and distribute this recorded feedback to students easily via email, instant message, or embedded in a webpage or CMS.

If you are ready to take Jing for a test drive to give student audio-video feedback on assignments, consider the following productivity tips:

  • Configure the Jing sharing buttons to easily distribute your recording according to your preferred sharing method(s).
  • Review the student assignment in advance and make notes prior to your recording to avoid having to record multiple times.
  • Upload your Jing to your own screencast.com space and distribute a URL instead of saving to your computer and uploading. The screencast.com stores up to a generous 2GB of space. If you use the Jing Pro version, you can also send your Jing recordings directly to YouTube.

Here are some useful ways other educators are using Jing:

How to: