Gardner Campbell on “Digital Culture”


I hope you are enjoying your summer!  We had a special event for the W&M eLearning Community.  Gardner Campbell, Director of Professional Development and Innovative Initiatives at Virginia Tech, was our guest speaker in an online session on Wednesday, June 19th.  Gardner was recognized by the Center for Digital Education as being one of the “Top 50 Innovators in Education in 2012,”  and we were privileged to have him connect with our community.  It was a great opportunity to join the discussion with Gardner on the topic of “Digital Culture.”  If you missed the session click here to view the recording.

Gardner’s Recommended Readings

If you are interested in learning more about digital culture, Gardner recommends the following resources:

Haiku Deck: Powerful Presentations with the iPad

A well-designed presentation can make all the difference in the effectiveness of a message. Too much text and a lack of high quality images in a presentation may cause the audience to wander and inhibit the presenter from conveying the full effect of the message. The problem is that putting together a well-designed presentation can be very time-consuming, and what if you just don’t have an eye for design? In the past, these factors might have constrained us—but not anymore, thanks to Haiku Deck!

What is Haiku Deck? Click through this short presentation (made in Haiku Deck) to find out:

Haiku Deck, a free iPad presentation app, allows iPad users to create stunning presentations like the one above in a fast, easy-to-use interface. Users enter the text for their presentation and Haiku Deck will search a database of high quality, free use images based on the words entered into the presentation. Or, users can search the Haiku Deck image database based on different words, take a picture with the iPad camera to insert, or pull images directly from their iPad, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, or Picasa. Users may choose from a variety of pre-made layouts, themes, and fonts which make sophisticated design easy and fast for anyone. Once your presentation is created, you can easily share it by connecting your iPad to a projector, email, Facebook, Twitter, or by exporting it for use in other presentation software such as PowerPoint.

Haiku Deck is available for free in the App Store. Download it to create your own elegant presentation on your iPad in minutes.

To view more presentations created in Haiku Deck, visit the Haiku Deck Gallery.

ePD Summer 2012 Course!

ePD Participants

This summer offers exciting opportunities for 18 faculty from across campus who are participating in the ePD Summer 2012 course! Funded by the Creative Adaptation Fund, this course is facilitated by April Lawrence, Judi Harris, Karen Conner and Sara Gividen. The course began on Friday, June 1, with a face-to-face session in Miller Hall. A diverse group of 18 participants represented 10 units (departments or schools) from across campus!

ePD Class The morning session focused on identifying the learning goals of a course and the different categories of learning activities that might help meet those goals.The afternoon session provided hands-on exercises in Adobe Connect and Twitter. An overview of the new version of Blackboard Learn concluded the day.

This blended (combination of face-to-face and online meetings) course will introduce such topics as: understanding and addressing students’ learning preferences and styles, blended learning design and organization, instructor planning and workload, online collaboration and technologies that help to support blended learning. Some of the resources that will be introduced in the ePD course will also be shared with the W&M eLearning Community via the A-Z page of this blog. Check the A-Z page for weekly updates.

We are just getting started, but we are excited about what the summer has to offer!

Exploring Blackboard Learn


A New Year … A New Opportunity!

2012The 2011 calendar year sparked many conversations about eLearning at William and Mary. The campus events below represent developments on exploring different pedagogies and unique technologies that enhance student learning.

During the summer, a new eLearning Course was offered to interested Mason School of Business faculty and was an immediate success. Led by Karen Conner and Sara Gividen, topics covered included pedagogies of eLearning (such as building community, course structure and development) and choosing effective eLearning tools (such as lecture capture, wikis and blogs).  The second iteration of the Masters of Accounting Business Law course taught by Bradley Ridlehoover (and delivered in a blended format) began in December.  Students enjoy the flexibility of taking the course over winter break.  Many students in the class participate in internships which would not be possible without the benefit of eLearning tools and techniques.

Also during the summer, the School of Education (SoE) welcomed its first cohort of the Executive EdD program in K-12 Administration, a blended program which provides working professionals a flexible option for advanced course work in educational administration.  Rosaline Cardarelli is a member of the cohort.  The SoE also used blended formats for projects and groups to deliver educational professional development and community outreach.  By August, a group of faculty and staff launched monthly eLearning Co-op meetings, hosted by April Lawrence.  The group’s goal is to share experiences of developing and delivering blended or online learning. An October brown bag showcased how 3 faculty members use WM wikis to support face-to-face, blended instruction, and study-abroad experiences. By November, several SoE faculty and staff rounded out the year by deploying Adobe Connect as a platform to support live web-based instruction and collaboration.

In response to the momentum of eLearning on campus, the W&M eLearning Community was formed and held its initial meeting in December. Gene Roche, Director of Academic Information Services, was there and stated:

When somebody comes to me and says, “I would really like to do distance learning,” my first question is, “What would you like your students to do?  What would you like them to be able to do differently at the end of the class than they could before?” And then, you’ve got this huge, wide range of different activities that you can involve them in, that will help them learn those things…And the technology makes it possible for us to do that in ways that, 10 years ago when we started on this, we couldn’t have dreamed of.

Happy New Year!

With so many options now available in eLearning, we thought it appropriate to focus on the needs and interests of the members of the eLearning Community as we determine our path in 2012.  Based on survey results from those who attended the meeting, blended learning is a topic of great interest and will continue the momentum of the eLearning movement well into the new year.

Save the date! February 24, 1:00 pm in Miller Hall 1013. Dr. Judi Harris, Professor and Pavey Family Chair in Education Technology, School of Education, will launch a “Blended Learning” series. Participants in the series will explore blended learning in a blended format! More details to be provided in February. Plan now to join us.

My Blended Christmas Tree

For 16 years, our family has enjoyed the traditional white lights of our Christmas tree.  What can I say?  We like Christmas traditions.  However, this year, we wanted to explore something new and decided to try colored lights instead.  Yes, 16 years of tradition were about to go out the window.
My husband and I thought we selected the perfect colored LED lights for our tree.  Not only will they save energy, the lights should have a very long life.  We can use them over and over each year without worrying about cracking, unlike our traditional lights which damage easily.  LED lights come in a variety of styles, so we chose a style that we felt was just right for us.
Tree with white and colored lightsEverything was going great until we put the lights on the tree and turned them on.  I expected to see a warm, inviting tree, reminiscent of Christmas past.  Instead it was a dark (albeit colorful), boring, gloomy, wretched tree.  The familiar warmth of our Christmas was lost.  The tree with LED lights was a travesty.
For a week, we watched as the colored lights struggled in vain to illuminate our tree, and our hearts continued to sink.  Our tree was dark and depressing.  We had to do something.  So we carefully added the familiar white lights, leaving the LED lights.  I couldn’t wait to rescue our Christmas.  Once the tree was trimmed for the second time, we turned on the elegantly simple, white lights.  Ahhh…  a tragedy was averted!  We had warmth, familiarity, tradition–all things Christmas.  Then, just to check everything out, we turned on both the LED and the white lights, and… voila!  I was amazed!  Our Christmas tree came to life!  It exceeded my expectations.  It was the perfect blend of traditional and contemporary.  The familiar glow of the white lights warmed my heart.  The color from the LED lights added a unique quality that wasn’t part of our Christmas past.  It was the best of both worlds.

Our Christmas tree lights remind me of blended learning.  In addition to the benefits of traditional face-to-face learning, quality blended learning offers online activities designed specifically to meet the needs of the student and to enhance learning.  Students have the best of both worlds!  They enjoy the warmth and familiarity of the traditional (like the warmth we feel from our traditional white lights) while gaining knowledge and experience in the contemporary world (like our experience with the colored LED lights that ultimately enhanced our tree). Perhaps it’s time to consider something new.  Let’s blend the traditional with a bit of the contemporary and see what happens. It might surprise you.