One way to supplement your powerpoint slide/lectures is to add an audio track/narration. It is ideal when creating an online class that if you do take your powerpoints from a face-to-face class to modify and change the content to fit an online environment. There could be content that could be supplemented through online discussion, or perhaps through student research through other websites, etc. You can also add an audio narration track to your slides, we use a program called Adobe Presenter to accomplish this task. Adobe offers a 30 day trial if you wish to explore this on your own computer, we can also lend out USB Headsets as well. Below is a quick tutorial on how the program is used.

Here is a simple tool we created from scratch, which points out the mean, median, and mode values from a randomly generated set of data:

Screenshot of Soc315 simple statistics refresher tool

The instructor noted that students are required to have taken a basic statistics course before starting his Sociology class, but they have often forgotten how to apply the concepts of mean, median and mode to a data set. He asked if we could create a tool that would show these values applied to a data set that the students might actually encounter during their sociology studies. Continue reading

This is one illustration in a series on how water molecules are attracted to each other. As you can see here, 2 positive hydrogen atoms are fused with one negative oxygen. The negative oxegen attracts neighboring hydrogens but does not fuse.

Here we see how the polarization of water allows it to crawl up a small opening in a tube against gravity.


Here we see how different pollutants soak into soil flow through the water table.


Project Name: Clay and Sand
Media: Flash Vector Drawings
Class: Waterwise

This little animation shows how water is obsorbed differently in sand vs clay. This understanding will help gardeners make wiser choices when choosing how to water their plants.

Click the image to play the animation


Good assignments for online classes share many of the same qualities as good assignments for on-campus classes, but may require the use of some different tools or different approaches. If you are looking for ideas for improving or creating assignments for your online course, check out this video, which includes suggestions about different types of assignments to use, tools you and students may need for online assignments, tips for creating and managing group assignments, as well as some tips for evaluating assignments in online classes.

Here is an example of interactivity in a PDF. The file was created from a PowerPoint and, as a new instructional designer, my first foray into creating elearning. As I created the PowerPoint I had several of John Medina’s Brain Rules in mind. The first one? We don’t pay attention to boring things. Guess what? Students don’t either! This shouldn’t surprise you. I didn’t want to this simply be another passive learning task. I designed this piece of elearning with the idea of offering learners an opportunity to interact with the content and learn by listening, watching, reading and writing. I chunked the information in order to not overwhelm the learner with text. Ready for the next rule? As instructors and designers, we need to strive to stimulate more of the senses. Learners need to be stimulated! In this example, there are a few audiovisual experiences embedded in the form of photos, YouTube videos and an active learning collaborative task. I saved the best rule for last: Vision trumps all other senses. With this in mind, I searched high and low for images that would not detract from the learning process, but enhance it. I wanted the images to relate to what was being taught and serve as a reminder for what the learners had read. It’s easy to overwhelm elearning with the numerous visuals – especially if they aren’t related to the content. Is this the best example of all things elearning and visual design? Of course not! I have just entered the world of visual design and strive to keep learning and improving.

An approach known as “inverted” or “flipped” learning is gaining momentum in contemporary higher education. Inverted learning figuratively flips the traditional lecture-plus-homework format of many college courses on its head. Rather than using class time for the largely one-way delivery of information from instructor to student, the lecture material is made available online for students to study prior to class. Then classroom time can be used for face-to-face interaction that includes clarification, amplification, small-group work, problem solving, review, and assessment of learning built on the foundation of online course content and readings.

As illustrated in Robert Talbert’s presentation, “Inverting the Classroom, Improving Student Learning,” the inverted learning model moves more of the transmission of information outside the classroom, so that class time can be devoted to higher-level assimilation activities. A growing body of research, including a widely publicized University of British Columbia study published recently in the journal Science, points to the efficacy of devoting class time to learning activities other than lectures.

By nature, inverted learning is well suited to “hybrid” courses, which include both regular classroom meetings—with class meeting time typically reduced by 50%—and significant online content delivered via a learning platform such as Blackboard. A pilot program for development of hybrid courses is the centerpiece of OSU’s new Teaching & Learning Technologies Initiative. A request for proposals to participate in this pilot program will be distributed to OSU faculty by early September.

Gaining students’ attention is the first of Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction. A great way to gain attention is to provide a catchy animated video about the topic you are presenting.

What’s that? You’re not a trained animator? Don’t let that stop you! If you can choose items off a menu and type some dialogue, you can create an animated video for free at The animation below was created for an upcoming professional development workshop at Ecampus. The whole project took about 10 minutes to create.