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eLearning River
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eLearning. Ideas. Digital Technology. Theory. Practice
eLearning. Ideas. Digital Technology. Theory. Practice

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Met with five engineering professors this morning to show them how a drawing tablet could be used to interact with their #eLearning content. Demonstrated a #Wacom Intuos Pro. They were concerned about keeping their digital annotations organized on the tablet screen. One instructor suggested layering the screen with notebook paper, and another instructor suggested graphing paper-- we tried it. Works well-- makes the #Wacom more usable for their purposes. Collaboration yields results, in both small and big ways.

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Echoes of Edward Tufte. Visual elements provide a compelling method for explaining complex concepts in #eLearning environments.

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#Instructionalvideos #eLearning Professionals: Use simple transitions in post-production: never distract the learner with showy digital effects.

Lot's of noise about mobile learning: why are so few talking about mobile content creation? If you're an #elearning professional, think about what you might be able to do with that computer in your pocket.

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Why should  #elearning faculty limit themselves to text given (1) the cognitive value of audio (broadcasting, communications?) and video (Khan Academy?), and (2) the availability of affordable multimedia tools  you can use with your smartphone. Great example: Rode's SmartLav lavilier mic.

University distance education administrators react with short-term thinking when they see explosive popularity in their distance programs.  Their strategy is to push more courses online on short development schedules. Building a foundation based on quality and effective use of multimedia is poison in their tea. The poison fuels cynicism, and online courses become credit-hour products instead of engines for problem-solving. Let's give the students some multiple choice tests-- that'll teach 'em!

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YouTube has provided an excellent resource to guide the creation and uploading of YouTube videos. #eLearning advocates take notice: careful encoding practices will maintain or improve the quality of videos you want to share with #eLearners

The importance of audio in developing #multimedia seems under-appreciated. Let's talk today about products: even high-end point-and-shoot cameras typically do not include a 3.5mm mic input jack. And internal,  omnidirectional mics  are simply not fit for interviews or #vlogging - too much noise! Hope, though, lies with smartphones and (probably) tablets: with just a bit of effort, headset ports on many smartphones can be turned into jacks for external mics. I'm in the process of getting a mic and adapter that (I am hoping) will allow me to use an external mic with my Nokia 1020. The versatility of smartphones  is providing the leading edge for flexible solutions to shooting #eLearningVideos with high-quality audio on a budget.

I spent over two hours this afternoon helping a very good college math instructor organize content for her #elearning course. She had many #multimedia assets---so many, the course was confusing and lacked an identity. We made progress, partly by sorting content by quality.

Yet, after I left, I realized what I should have focused on: design content by creating a storyline that travels from identified outcomes through content to eventual success in solving algebra problems. Outcomes will seem opaque to the learner until the learner interacts with meaningful content to develop the skills necessary to master the algebra problems.

The story is about alignment--about creating a backbone that runs through the entire course, outcomes to assessments. This is classic design--but I had allowed myself to be confused by bountiful content. eLearning courses can - and should - be dynamic and provide access to rich content; but all will be lost without a strong thread to organize resources. What do you think?

Delivering #eLearning Effectively: The Importance of #Audio
Let's talk about audio today. I've spent the evening creating videos to test the  sound produced by the Samson GoMic. Once you get the right drivers, select the best settings & placement for your mic, you can create very clear, warm, sound tracks with this inexpensive condenser mic. Technical issues have been resolved.

The next issue is more challenging: You must move beyond the technical & find a way to make the audio environment human. How? That's my next challenge. To practice, I'm going to create videos of me reading classic speeches like the Gettysburg Address and Martin Luther King's I have a Dream. I'll listen to late night comics, news broadcasters, and YouTube broadcasts--anyone who engages me
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We'll see how it goes, & then I'll report.

My goal, by the way, is to develop a usable, transparent process for developing effective instructional, #elearningvideos . I'm focusing on audio first; the video component will come later. Stay tuned.
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