Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 11.06.22 AMDigital timelines are a great way to display a series of events in your online course. They can be used to capture historical events or a series of steps that occur in specific order, for example, a lab activity.

TimelineJS is an easy to use online tool that allows you to create a timeline by pulling in various types of online media such as video, images, and maps from easy to integrate sites such as Twitter, Flickr, Google Maps, YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, Dailymotion, Wikipedia, and SoundCloud. The magic happens in a Google spreadsheet and it is as simple as inserting dates, links, and text into the appropriate columns.

If you are interested in having Ecampus create a timeline for you using this tool, all you need to do is contact your instructional designer. Click the image above to view a timeline that was created for French 329, a course on francophone cultures and film.

Are you looking for a webtool your students can use to create multimedia presentations? Look no farther than Smore! Smore is a tool used to create online flyers, but it has a lot of potential in the world of online education. With its drag and drop editor, themes, the ability to embed videos, documents, individual photos and galleries, and even maps, students can create quickly great looking media projects just like this one in no time flat! Do you have 75 seconds to spare? Watch the video below to see for yourself how easy it is! The only thing students have to do to submit their project is copy/paste the link. How can a class project get any easier than that? View Video on Smore.

Note: This technology does not yet meet accessibility requirements, so we don’t recommend it for presenting content, instructor to student. However, it is a tool students can use to demonstrate that they are meeting course objectives.

The use of audio recording tools in online classrooms is a great way to incorporate student voice in an otherwise silent environment. Providing students with various methods to give, receive and store information using multiple learning modalities greatly enhances learning.

Instructors can use simple audio recording tools to both deliver course content and assess learning. The recorded voice messages can serve as mini-lectures, clarifications to muddy topics, quick reminders and more. Your students can respond to your voice messages verbally by posting a comment to your recording.

Some ideas for student-generated content include general introductions, interviews, or even a Q&A session with student experts. Audio recording tools are great resources for the foreign language classroom and can be used to assess your students’ speaking skills in the target language.

Here I’ve included a 30 second example of a ‘boo’ (what Audioboo calls their recorded messages) with more information.

Blog: Audioboo Example (mp3)

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.