miércoles, 30 de marzo de 2016

Creating a Story Line course

This 30-minute workshop shows you how to build a working tabs interaction just like the one featured in the Articulate Storyline showcase course: Creating Effective Meetings. You'll learn the basics for creating single-slide interactions, inserting content and adding interactivity. The course also includes workflow and production tips to help you work more efficiently in Storyline.
Topics include:
  • Working with Storyline's illustrated characters
  • Inserting graphics and caption boxes
  • Working with custom states
  • Creating and editing slide layers
  • Adding interactivity with triggers
  • Creating conditional buttons

Source eLearning Heroes https://articulate-heroes.s3.amazonaws.com/stories/articulate-workshops/2012/Storyline-Workshop/mini-course/story.html

25+ Must-See Examples of Dos and Don’ts in E-Learning

The examples shared include drag-and-drop games, sorting lists, animated scenarios, and much more!

Source eLearning Heroes https://community.articulate.com/articles/dos-and-donts-in-elearning

miércoles, 6 de enero de 2016

The Secret to Create Great E-Learning Videos

 In this free ebook you can learn how to set up a professional-quality studio with simple, affordable equipment, including lighting you can find at your local hardware store. Get tips for speaking or narrating with a natural, authentic tone. Save time by effectively preparing your desktop for screen recordings. Enhance your videos with captions and interactions to make sure they communicate key points.

You’ll learn how to:
  • Find the equipment you’ll need on a budget you can afford
  • Create the best environment for creating training videos
  • Prepare to record your video
  • Create screencasts efficiently
  • Add interactions to your video

Free eBook at  https://community.articulate.com/e-books/the-secret-to-creating-great-e-learning-videos

5 Highly Effective Strategies for Creating Engaging E-Learning

In this go-to guide, you'll learn how to attract—and keep—your learners’ attention.

From demystifying visual design principles to uncovering the secret to building great interactions, this e-book shares the pro strategies you need to make more compelling, more engaging, and more effective courses. You’ll learn how to:

  • Think like a visual designer so you can create beautiful e-learning
  • Build interactions that help learners connect with your content
  • Create learning experiences that foster exploration
  • Produce videos that draw learners in
  • Motivate learners with fun interactive games
  • And much more

  • Free eBook at https://community.articulate.com/e-books/5-highly-effective-strategies-for-creating-engaging-e-learning

    eLearning for Beginners

     In this free e-book you can learn:
    • What e-learning is all about
    • How e-learning can benefit your organization and learners
    • The step-by-step process for creating courses
    • How to get the right content from subject matter experts
    • What technology and tools you’ll need in your toolkit
    • How to design e-learning that really works

    Free eBook at https://community.articulate.com/e-books/e-learning-for-beginners

    How to effectively engage your audience through video

    85% of the U.S. Internet audience watches videos online. Video content is known to keep viewers more engaged. In this white paper, uncover 4 key methods for structuring engaging video content and best practices for increasing viewer engagement.

    Source: eLearning Learning  http://www.elearninglearning.com/taurus/media/elearning/whitepapers/KZO_EffectiveEngageAudience.pdf

    lunes, 4 de enero de 2016

    Simulation Tools for Every Budget 2014-5

    Source: https://www.td.org/Publications/Blogs/Learning-Technologies-Blog/2014/05/Simulation-Tools-for-Every-Budget

    Best Course Authoring Sotware in 2015

     Source: http://www.capterra.com/course-authoring-software/

    How to create an interactive software simulation in PowerPoint

    How to create an interactive software simulation in PowerPoint
    October 8th, 2015

    PowerPoint is a great tool for creating interactive software simulations, thanks to its hyperlinks, animations and triggers. If you want to upload the created simulations to the Web, you just need to convert PowerPoint to Flash or HTML5 using iSpring Converter Pro. Let us start by creating the software simulation in PowerPoint. Each slide of the presentation will represent a screenshot of your program. First, make the screenshots of your program. There are three ways you can do this, depending on your software and preferences: Use the PrintScreen function on your keyboard (usually abbreviated as PrtScn or something similar). Want to take a screenshot of a single window? Use the key combination Alt+PrtScn. Then paste the image into an image editor such as MS Paint, or simply use the Windows logo key+PrtScn to save automatically to a file. In later versions of Windows (starting with Vista), you can use the Snipping Tool for more advanced screen capturing. In PowerPoint 2010 and later, you can simply use Insert → Screenshot. When you have accumulated a library of screenshots, place them on the slides to match the appearance of the program. Make the screenshots of your program Step 1. Add Navigation The easiest way to make your software simulation interactive is to make all buttons and links clickable. Each button and link opens a certain slide that represents the corresponding screen of your program. Add Navigation To make this possible, use PowerPoint’s hyperlinks as described in the three steps below. Use PowerPoint’s hyperlinks Here’s how you can create an interactive button: Create a Rectangle shape of the same size as the button and place it on the button. Make the shape transparent by selecting No Fill in Shape Fill and No Outline in Shape Outline. Right-click on the shape and select Hyperlink. The destination of the hyperlink is the screenshot of the window that appears in the program after clicking that button. After you publish the presentation with iSpring Converter Pro, this button will be clickable and will take the viewer to the right screen, simulating the environment of your program. Step 2. Add Notes and Tooltips to the Software Simulation Clickable hyperlinks will make your simulation interactive. Now we are going to add useful information to your software simulation so that your client will be able to learn as much as possible. You can use tooltips to inform viewers what each button does and when it should be used. Create Interactive Tooltips: Click Shape on the Insert tab of the PowerPoint ribbon and insert a rectangular tooltip shape. Insert your message into the field. Create Interactive Tooltips Add animation to your tooltip to make it more effective. For example, you can set the tooltip to appear a few seconds after the start of the slide. In this case, you let users explore the screen by themselves, then prompt them at some point to perform some required action.

    Add Notes: In the notes, you can describe additional features and give comments. On the Insert tab, click Shape and insert a rectangle shape into the slide. Insert your message into the shape. Add Notes Link all the following screens in the same way. The software simulation should demonstrate the atmosphere and tone of your program and provide necessary comments and details. When you are satisfied with the look and feel of your simulation, convert it to a web-friendly format so you can upload it to the Web and/or Learning Management System or send it by email. Take all the guesswork out of sharing your PowerPoint by publishing to the combined Flash & HTML5 format using iSpring Converter Pro. Want to share your software simulation on the Web fast and easy? Use iSpring Cloud hosting and sharing service and share your simulation via shortlink, email, or social media, or embed it right on your website or blog using an embed code. Check out this sample simulation embedded on this webpage using iSpring Cloud:

    Source: iSpring Knowledge Base http://www.ispringsolutions.com/articles/how-to-create-an-interactive-software-simulation-in-powerpoint.html

    10 Tips To Create Learning Simulations For Non-Game Designers

    Source: eLearning Industry http://elearningindustry.com/10-tips-create-learning-simulations-non-game-designers

    How To Create Learning Simulations For Non-Game Designers 

    According to Clark Aldrich,
    “A learning simulation is an experience designed to rigorously help users develop competence and conviction. A learning simulation is a combination of modeling elements, entertainment (or game) elements, and instructional (or pedagogical) elements. These can range from pure media (which do not involve any other humans), to experiences that use coaches, teammates, competitors, and communities. Learning simulations historically have fallen into two categories. There are educational simulations that follow the rigor and fidelity of flight simulators. And there are serious games that follow the entertainment model of a SimCity.” (Source: What's a learning simulation?)

    There are authoring tools on the market place that allow you to create learning simulations quite rapidly and easily: Storyline, Captivate, ITyStudio, for instance.

    While the two first heavily focus on creating classical eLearning courses without much interactivity, the last one enables you to build highly engaging learning simulations, by setting up serious games.
    In this article, we are going to discuss how to make your very first serious game live, without having any technical background nor an entire web design team at your disposal.

    1. Use Varied Settings. 

    The quality of your learning simulations’ graphical environment is really important. Indeed, the more you will provide your learners with a graphical environment similar to their daily situations, the more they will get involved in your learning simulations. You might think that this setup will require you hours of work for your design team, or that you do not have the internal resources to handle it. Although it can be true with classical learning simulations software, there are few authoring tools on the market place that already have a lot of ready-made environments, that you can leverage in your training modules – such as ITyStudio. You will find below some examples of ready-made environments that ITyStudio has to offer, covering various types of activities: transports, industry, office, tourism, retail, health, etc. in 2D or 3D:
    10 Tips To Create Learning Simulations For Non-Game Designers
    10 Tips To Create Learning Simulations For Non-Game Designers

    2. Choose Great Characters. 

    Obviously, even if setting up professional graphical environments is a good starting point, you have to insert characters within these settings.
    Be careful: These characters have to be chosen wisely. Let’s take the example of video games, particularly role play games: Learners identify themselves to the characters of the story. They have feelings toward them. The same effect applies to your learning simulations. Knowing that, you will understand that providing your learners with good looking characters, in which they could identify themselves, is very important. Another important point to think about when setting up your characters is the variety. Indeed, depending on your structure, you may work with people of several cultures. In this regard, this is important to have a variety of characters to play with. The good news is that ITyStudio offers a broad variety of characters, representing different cultures and nationalities. You will find below some examples of characters that ITyStudio has to propose:
    How To Build Powerful Serious Games: The ITyStudio Case

    3. Set The Pedagogical Goals Of Your Learning Simulations Before Creating The Scenario. 

    One of the most neglected, yet very important stages of creating learning simulations is the goal setting part. To make a long story short, this step is all about defining what you want to assess with your learning simulations. This is also here that you decide the skills you are willing to spread to your learners. Some questions, such as “What are the main skills that I want my learners to improve on?”, “What are my learners’ weaknesses?” or “Which skills could be profitable for the company to have on board?” are powerful statements that will help you tighten and define your pedagogical approach.

    4. Choose Evaluation Criteria And Feedback To Provide To Your Learners. 

    Implement your pedagogical goals into analysis axes. You can do it by setting up criteria of analysis. Basically, a criterion of analysis is a soft or hard skill on which you want to assess your learners. For example, if you are creating learning simulations related to sales, one of your criteria of analysis may be “Empathy”, another one could be “Product knowledge”, etc. The cool thing is that ITyStudio enables you to create as many criteria of analysis as you want. Here are some practical examples:
    How To Build Powerful Serious Games: The ITyStudio Case
    Moreover you can also provide your learners with customized feedbacks based on their scores, as well as additional information. The idea here is to give in depth explanations to your learners on what they did right or wrong, so that they can acknowledge their mistakes and get better results later on. Once again, this is really a piece of cake with ITyStudio:
    How To Build Powerful Serious Games: The ITyStudio Case

    5. Set Between 3 To 6 Criteria Of Analysis. 

    Even if creating as many criteria of analysis as you want may be cool, you have to be careful: Usually, setting up less than 3 criteria lead to a result a little bit poor, while beyond 6, it becomes overwhelming. Consequently, the bottom-line is: Try to set between 3 to 6 criteria of analysis.

    6. Display Your Creations By Creating Branching Scenarios. 

    You should gather all the information in one single place: Your scenario tree. To sum-up, this stage is all about implementing your graphical environment, as well as your pedagogical structure, into a linked sequence of scenes. Actually, this particular linked sequence of scenes will be your scenario, and the scenario tree will give you visibility on your learning simulation.
    There are 3 main technical benefits of it:
    1. Cast a quick look over all your creations.
    2. Build your training modules as genuine scenarios, represented in the form of scripted trees alternating your various sequences.
    3. Quickly display adjustments required on your various sequences.
    While the elements above are covering the technical benefits of the scenario tree, there are also great pedagogical gains, whether it is from the learners’ or the creators’ sides. For instance, it enables you to create learning simulations with several paths, adding different ends possible according to the learners’ choices. This notion is similar to what is happening in role playing games (RPGs), where the player is actually the hero of his own story, and impact the scenario with his choices.  ITyStudio can help you achieving great scenario trees. You will find below an overview of this feature:
    How To Build Powerful Serious Games: The ITyStudio Case

    7. Insert Media, Quizzes, Videos, And Photos For An Even Richer Experience. 

    If you want to propose a truly immersive experience to your learners, you should definitely put added value content within your modules. What do we mean by that? Well, simply but, learning simulations are just a sequence of several discussions between avatars, as well as decisions made by learners. Nevertheless, you’d be amazed by the engagement rate of your learners if you inserted media files, such as PDFs for instance, inside your learning simulations. You can also add videos, photos… Whatever type of documents you would like, in order to make your learners’ experience even richer, and expand their possibilities. You can also make your learners’ interact with their environments. Below is an example of how you can do it with ITyStudio:
    By giving your learners the opportunity to interact with their environment, you are making sure that they experience a truly immersive simulation, and thus they are more likely to learn the targeted skills.

    8. Exploit The Compatibility With Authoring Software On The Market. 

    While every single authoring software has its pros and cons, the way to obtain the very best learning simulations experience is to leverage the strength of each one. Are you saying that it is impossible?! Do not get me wrong, ITyStudio enables you to do so: You can import eLearning content that you created with Captivate and Storyline, for example, and go deeper with ITyStudio. To give you a practical example, you can import an interactive map from Storyline, to capitalize on this asset of this authoring tool, and then exploit the strengths of ITyStudio, for instance integrate dynamics 2D and 3D avatars, within an easy-to-use branching scenario structure, allowing you to strengthen and tighten your evaluation part. Here is how you can do it:

    9. Export To SCORM, Standalone, And Multi-Devices. 

    The best way to spread efficiently your learning simulations to several learners is to export it. Depending on your Learning Management System, you are going to need different formats. You have three options here:
    1. Export your learning simulations in SCORM 1.2 or 2004 format for dissemination to the majority of training platforms on the market.
    2. Choose to export as executable files, for more flexible use.
    3. You can also choose to export your module in HTML format, for local use hosted on a server.

    10. Take Advantage Of The Ease Of Translation. 

    It is very common nowadays to develop learning simulations in several languages. Consequently, you will need to translate your learning simulations. Sometimes, this can be a tedious task, but with ITyStudio, this can be done quickly and easily, by following two simple steps:
    1. Select the main and secondary languages to translate your module very simply.
    2. You can now export the text of your module in Excel format to translate it more easily, and then re-import it right into your module.
    How To Build Powerful Serious Games: The ITyStudio Case

    Now, It’s Time To Take Action: Create Your First Learning Simulation For Free!

    Hopefully, this article gave you an insight on how to create learning simulations on your own with ITyStudio.
    As you have seen, you will not get overwhelmed by all the technical stuff, as everything related to web design is already done for you, and the pedagogical structure can be easily laid out through right click and / or our drag and drop system.
    The most beautiful part is the outcome: Learners do love interactivity, and you will be able to offer them plenty of it!
    Moreover, you will see that your pedagogical results will be better as well.
    Ready to go to the next level? Give it a try! Start your 30 day Free Trial here!

    miércoles, 8 de septiembre de 2010

    Enjoy eLearning Games

    3 Minute eLearning Games

    These are eLearning programs with reusable games and exercises.

    Theres is a free trial using a login.

    Preview of over 50 models of eLearning games, exercises and activities. Reuse them as many times as you wish.

    martes, 27 de julio de 2010

    Some advantages of virtual teaching or learning

    Of all the advantages VLEs for teaching/learning offer, I think the most important one, is the facility of access and usability to acquire new knowledge for people with disabilities. They find it easier to do a course without the need of moving from home.

    Another great advantage of this kind of learning is that it offers the possibility of reflection about how we are learning/teaching, and gives the opportunity to do it better next time looking back at the stored information. You cannot stored this in your traditional classroom lessons unless you were able to record them with a video camera!

    It also gives students the opportunity to learn at their own pace increasing, at the same time, their learning autonomy which will be very important for them as learners and as professionals.

    It is much more learner-centred because teachers can correct learners individually, as if they were your own private instructors.

    It usually works as a linker between cultures, too. You can meet peers or teachers from other different countries in your course, giving you the chance to interact or collaborate together with them.

    Another of its outstanding characteristics is that it is very flexible talking in terms of space and time. You can enter to share your knowledge, do your homework, submit your tests, send your assignments, etc. at the hour that best suits you and write as much as you need and then correct your writing or your learners one before sending it to be read by the other students and instructor, for instance.

    It is a good time-saver. You don't need to travel from home to attend to nor to teach your lessons, neither arrive late to them due to traffic jams!

    In terms of order, space and revision, it is very useful, of course. Learners and teachers used to waste a lot of time storing their notes taking, summaries, commentaries, etc. They also need a place to have all of these together with books and other materials on hand. But when you are taking or teaching a course online everything is in order and in its right place stored for you to check once and again and come back over it as many times as you need. And...it does not take any space at home, if it is not a blended course!

    I have taken more than 8 courses online as a student, appart from being teaching with ANGEL Learning and Elluminate Alive!, at the moment, though I have used other ones previously like Wimba or Lyceus. I find both asynchronous and synchronous  tools very useful and not difficult to manage neither for a teacher nor for students. I am very fond of these kind of courses, as you can see!.

    We must remember that feedback, given in time, is a very important characteristic in this kind of tuition and very useful if you want to learn from peers, too.

    Oh, learning or teaching online is another way to keep your knowledge updated about new technologies for information and communication !

    lunes, 17 de mayo de 2010

    Are you an stressed teacher?

    Glad to read this Yahoo News,

    ' Are Singapore teachers overworked?'

    I was thinking I was the only one to be overworked as an online teacher, when I realized that my course had been deleted on the second week of my Spanish for Health Care Professionals (course I developped & teach at CDL, at SUNY ) during the Nov. 2009 Term. You can't imagine what stress is till this hapen to you! Can you imagine what this means till you can see it again online as it was...and in just a week?... fighting by e-mail with technitians who don't know a Spanish word at all!! Funny, isn't?

    Well, thanks God we were given an "enlargement" (without being paid more, of course!) and the course , in the end, was finished by me, late in February 2010!!!

    Oh, another good fact! In my country, Spain, figures say that 90% of public teachers -all of them civil servants = good salary & a secure post for the rest of their lives! =>nothing to worry about economics!- are going to the psychiatrist 'cose they're depressed!! Any clues about why?

    Some "silly" ideas come to my mind about their possible causes (poor of them!!):

    1 - Students' lack of motivation.

    2 - Contents have nothing to do with real life and new technology dealing with & quicky need of teachers' adaptation to them.

    3 - Contents too long to be taught during planned too short hours.

    4 - Most students behave more like animals in a jungle ...than in a classroom,  'couse they are getting bored with such non-sensical-for-them-contents & depressed & un-motivated teachers, they now more about TIC than their teachers' do, etc.

    5 - Let's start at the first reason and read it again, once and again.

    My tip: "Don't worry , be happy!" ... sooner or later all of us will be dead!! };=D



    martes, 11 de mayo de 2010

    e-Learning con Huamour Cap 5 Sexizando el español


    NOTA INTERESANTE para mis alumnos adultos Americanos de Spanish 1, en SUNY:

    NOTE: "EstudiantAs"/ intead "estudiantes = "Silly Spanish word" that comes from stupid polititians , as they have nothing more important to do, like dealing with economics crisis... they are trying to tuun Spanish into a "NON -sexist one", as if languages had a SEX, intead people..well.

    So they say in they meeAtings, ... just with the wise intention to waste the time of their followers:

    "Queridos estudiantes y estudiantAs".

    Like our "Ministra de Cultura" says. Poor of HER!! She believes that it is turnig a word into "género femenino"... instead showhing she's just completely silly & withour Culture, at all!!

    Spain...What a wonderful country.!

    Isn't it, Dear Reader?


    ¿Qué no lo ha comprendido?

    What a pitty!!

    Si usted no ha sido kapaz de NO comprender lo k está eskrito akí..¡tiene un serio problema kon su komprensión eskrita, tanto del inglés, komo del español!!

    ¿Le akonsejo k me eskriba Vd. un Komentario con su direkción de e-mail (k borraré inkluso antes de k Googl lo lea!!), para ke usted tenga la suerte de ser mi alumn@ de Konversación de inglés para adultos super-dotados con Klases Online/ Intenet..kieroo decir...

    ¡Y no es broma!

    ¡A lah, ya lo sabe...si Vd. qkiere..¡¡Puede!

    ¡¡Se lo digo yo!!
    ¡Si yo fui kapaz de aprender inglés... ¡y komencé a los 26 años...!! ¡siendo ahora, prákticamente "bilingüal" pork tengo 2 lengüas="tongues"...  ¡Qué tongo!!

    ¿Cómo no va a poder Vd.?

    Y le aKonsejo k no Kopie y pegue este texto en ningún sitio... pk kONTIENE VIRUS!!  ¡¡je; je!!


    lunes, 21 de septiembre de 2009

    My comment 1 about ESC website redesign

    At first sight the design looks great!


    1. The designer must take into account that the CDL has got students with disabilities, and they must count. SO ESC web must be "readable" and "watchable" and the same time.

    I recommend the web designer to take into account these 2 websites for info:

    a) Understanding accessibility: http://www-03.ibm.com/able/access_ibm/disability.html

    b) The Center for Universal Design - Universal Design Principles: http://www.design.ncsu.edu/cud/about_ud/udprinciples.htm

    All of this must be taken into account:
    - Usability (easy to navigate)

    - Easy access (for every body: colors of characters, background, links, etc. avoiding greys and such small characters as it has, though I used the zoom, I cannot read them properly, sorry!) I know orange is the color of ESC logo, but why not use it only in bars to separate instead writing over it? I’m afraid it’s not sight-shorted/blind people friendly!)

    - Images with an Alt Tag with a brief explanation to be read (The image banner is not readable: no message when you scroll over it!

    - Clear navegation-bars and research windows with a bigger image and more readable characters (the letters on these windows are too small, impossible to read!…the same with the ones that open the windows over the banner!)

    - A friendly interface design similar to this one. HOME pages created with Flash are less heavy to download for navigators, and show a much more corporative but some times are less accessible, characters usually are static, size of text cannot be changed for bigger ones!

    I'll have another look later to see how it goes.

    I appreciate the effort.



    Madrid, Spain, 21, Sept, 2009

    sábado, 29 de agosto de 2009

    Study Finds That Online Education Beats the Classroom

    The key findings of the report are:

    1. Students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction.

    2. Instruction combining online and face-to-face elements had a larger advantage relative to purely face-to-face instruction than did purely online instruction.

    3. Studies in which learners in the online condition spent more time on task than students in the face-to-face condition found a greater benefit for online learning.

    4. Most of the variations in the way in which different studies implemented online learning did not affect student learning outcomes significantly.

    5. The effectiveness of online learning approaches appears quite broad across different content and learner types.

    6. Effect sizes were larger for studies in which the online and face-to-face conditions varied in terms of curriculum materials and aspects of instructional approach in addition to the medium of instruction.

    7. Blended and purely online learning conditions implemented within a single study generally result in similar student learning outcomes.

    8. Elements such as video or online quizzes do not appear to influence the amount that students learn in online classes.

    9. Online learning can be enhanced by giving learners control of their interactions with media and prompting learner reflection.

    10. Providing guidance for learning for groups of students appears less successful than does using such mechanisms with individual learners.

    Detailed statistics are provided in this full report: "Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning. A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies"

    This report is also available on the Department’s Web site


    miércoles, 12 de noviembre de 2008

    Reflecting about Training

    Since I was told I was going to teach online from March 2006, I started to worry about how to do it. Despite my 21 years of experience teaching English lessons I had never taught a distance one. Much more complicated seemed to me by doing it within 6 hours of difference that separated my schedule from my students' one, and without being able to see my students faces.

    What I centered first was in being able to manage the tools I was going to implement during my lessons. In 2006 we were still using an old LMS, which had been especially developed for the SUNY. But it wa not so bad as you can imagine, though less flexible and with less possibilities than ANGEL Learning –the one we are using now- offers. So since September 2005 till the end of February 2006 I was doing training courses without stopping. I learnt how to navigate in that Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to familiarize with all the facilities they would offer me when I had to be an Instructor by myself. I photocopied all these courses I took, and still keep them. They are important to have a look back and remember how it was compared with how it is now.

    Important facilities we had and lack of now were:

    1. The threads to follow discussions in forums were separeted according to replays, and now are mixed up without being able to clarify which one follows another.

    2. When correcting my students writings you clic onto the “red pen” and could correct all of them without stopping once and again to select color each time you move forwards or backwards in the checking. It seems a silly thing, but it saved me a lot of time.

    Well, during those training days, apart from learning about our VLE, I read different articles about the Empire State College teaching policy, evaluation and assessment. It was completely different from how I used to do it. Because I used to anote in sheets of paper the records with entries for all the skills my students were pactising every day. Here quizzes grades were going to be automatically archived after taking them.

    I also received a training course about how to deal with Live Classroom. The Wimba webcast I had to use for my Oral Practice lessons as a Teacher Assisstant (TA). Only one day, and it was not enough. So I entered several days into it, till I was sure I could manage it alone, and without the “help” of its guide.

    I believe it is important to know all of the advantages a tool gives you, though you are not going to use all of them in your courses. In Live Classroom I could share with my students any kind of programme I could open in my own desk. So I had the possibility to produce a great variety of contents in several formats adecuate for my Oral Lessons: PowerPoint Presentations, webs, videos, podcasts, images, any kind of sounds, etc. The board gave the possibility to use it as if I were in my own classroom in front of my students. But soon I realized that webcast lacked of the Spanish symbols and that if, for instance, if I wanted to write these characters in a sentence : ñ, ¿, ´ I was not going to be able to do it. So I asked Wimba to incorporate the International keyboard into their webcast, what they did as soon as they could. Another thing they added, after my request, was the possibility to send students to other rooms when I was teaching in the Main one. I am happy with this tool because I can archive all of my Oral practise lessons for my students review whenever they like, or for learners who could not attend that day having the advantage of entering when they are available to pracise them by themselves. As the Tracking of the tool gives information about who came to my lessons, and who later watch them, this facilitates my task to control their Attendance Report.

    Tracking is also a very useful tool ANGEL has got, keeking the record of all kind of activities learners do: entries, tasks, submissions, etc. Following very precisely all kind of movements students do in a course. This can give an Instructor a clear idea about how a student is doing in his/her course.

    The Gradebook that is incorporated in ANGEL is very useful,too, and saves you a lot of time. The only thing should be improved is that it should be able to get the average grade from forums grades submission, that Instuctors still have to do at the end of the course.

    In our Spanish 1 course we are also using another tool, WebSam, which is in the Quia website. Quia produced an interactive Workbook for Panorama students to practise online before taking the course quizzes in ANGEL. I encourage all my students to do these exercises, because they can take them as many times as they want, and the grades they obtain there can give them an idea about how they are doing, before being evaluated by me.

    Nowadays I am using these three different environments to teach my lessons online. When I most learnt about how to use them was during my first course. When I was my boss' TA, and she was so kind to trust me and gave freedom to teach the oral practices as I wanted.

    I will keep on reflecting about how I use them soon. I hope this can be as profitable for you, as it was for me.

    jueves, 6 de noviembre de 2008

    A Turn of the Screw

    When I was at the Madrid Conference ‘Internet en el Aula’ (The Internet in the Classroom) I realized that what my collegues most would appreaciate was the ‘How-tos’ about how the e-Learning professionals are doing in their own lessons.

    So I decided to turn this blg into a reflective one about what I am doing in my lessons while teaching Spanish 1or Spanish for Health Care Professionals at the State University of New York, Empire State College, Center for Distance Learning.

    I hope my writings can be useful for other Teachers/Instuctors/TAs, etc.

    Madrid, November, 6, 2008

    viernes, 25 de abril de 2008

    Is CollegeBrian.net the end of the Moodle era?

    CollegeBrain.net is a free course management solution that facilitates the sharing of educational information between Instructors and Students. They don't depend on any Institutions and their system is modularly designed. This means that Instructors don't have to wait for their Institutions to install costly hardware to support an open source solution, or pay yearly fees for a private solution, or spend years developing an internal solution. It is able to manage all of the hardware and software in-house, which virtually eliminates overhead costs for Institutions.
    They host courses for any kind of institution. If your institution does not exist on their network, you can signup for an account select "None" as your Institution. When you first log on to CollegeBrain.net, you will be asked a few easy questions about your Institution, and it will be automatically added to thier network. You can add an Institution and begin managing your courses online for free!

    It is 100% free for College users. Including technical support, training, infrastructure plugins, and much more. Today, the majority of their revenue comes from advertisements on peripheral services. They have decided not to put ads on the CollegeBrain.net, since this takes away from the experience that their users enjoy when interacting with their site.
    It has been designed so that the average web user can immediately create and account and begin managing their courses without reading complicated manuals and instructions.

    They offer many ways to assist their users in everything from basic use, to requesting custom changes or additional features. Concise video tutorials are available for every tool and feature on CollegeBrain.net, as well as step-by-step documentation. They we have 24/7 support available through the Help! link at the bottom of every page. You can also request a CollegeBrain.net conference or seminar at your Institution by submitting a request to their support team.

    CollegeBrain.net uses the latest technology to prevent attacks such as Cross-Site-Scripting (XSS), session hijacking, data injection, and so on. They use an SSL-only login process and do not store personal information in your computer's cookies.

    They will never share your information with third parties such as spammers. No personal identifiable information is stored on any servers outside the SSL secured CollegeBrain network.

    Unlike Open Source programs, CollegeBrain.net does not disclose it's source code which means that hackers cannot attempt to exploit vulnerabilities. This is important because even the most tested and scrutinized open-source application is no match for an individual with ill intentions who can read and understand the code. Vulnerabilities can be exploited in Open Source easily using the freely available knowledge about the internal workings of the program combined with simple human error.

    School Administrators can set up an account for their institution with CollegeBrain.net by submitting a request to their support team. From the dropdown labeled "Issue Type" select the "Request Integration with my School" option. Once this process is complete, your institution will have access to the CollegeBrain.net API, which allows your staff to leverage the power of CollegeBrain.net and customize its functionality to your exact needs. When you log in, you will be asked some basic questions about your Institution, and then it will be added to their network automatically.

    More info about CollegeBrain-net

    jueves, 21 de febrero de 2008

    I & my learners’ life events & our development

    June 27, 2007

    How might your own learners’ life events affect how they react to your materials?

    As human beings we cannot escape from reality and the problems that expectedly or un-expectedly arrive at our lives. I and my students are affected by them. For instance, in the mainly sphere, one of my students cannot performed adequately in her Oral Practice lessons, because her son is always around her trying to catch her attention; another one, one of the best in his group, has not been doing well lately due to several checking at his doctor; another one got lost after his grandmother’s death. But I m aware of almost all of these especial circumstances and trying to support them, also offering to have extra lessons or writing e-mails asking how they are doing or encouraging them with their work. I am a person that is easily affected by personal trouble I understand that my students need me more when something extraordinary is happening in their lives.

    Dearnley (1) also argues that many of the nurses ‘depend on “authorities” to tell them what is right or wrong’. That’s a long way from students who are becoming independent of their teacher. …Does this ring true for any stages of your own life or for people you know? And if you are working in education or training, how far, if at all, do your own learners depend on ‘authorities’?

    About me. I sometimes need to be told exactly what is expected from me, because I was taught in a very authoritative tuition system were you were always told what was expected from you, but I lately learn to be more independent when I started to learn at the OU. But, in any case, I sometimes need to be explained more that if I were a native student.

    Some of my students at the State University of New York are soldiers and policemen, so they are supposed to come from an academic background were they were very dependent, but I do not find any difference between them and the other one. All American students are very practical. They only study and do the tasks when they are given marks for what they are doing, and they always want to be told “exactly” what is expected from them. That is why I suggested my boss to give them marks for every task they are doing in the course, forums included, and this tactic has increased their participation in them. Last year they were given only 5% percent for their Oral Practices and the most numerous synchronous lessons had 5 students. This year they are given 15% per cent and the synchronous lessons have 8/10 students out of groups of 20.

    I think it is interesting to see things “the other way round”. I mean “know your enemy :) (student, in this case)” to develop your teaching tactics. Support and tactics must be developed according to circumstances. This is an advantage tutors have over the best technological system of social interaction.

    Q1 Focus on your prospective learners: will they have any of the same issues as the students in Dearnley’s paper?

    It is curious, but the prospective learners for the course I am developing are nurses and doctors. So probably their characteristics are going to be very similar to the ones she discus in her paper. Most of the nurses and doctors will be women between 30/50, married with children, full of family problems, without academic trouble.

    Q2 Which social, academic and professional frameworks do you access as a student – for example, in your study of H807?

    Social: family problems with my sister illness and waiting for heart surgery, legal and economical problems due to my husband’s death trials that have been lasting for 13 years…

    Academic: not a lot, because I have always been studying, but with problems of not having a native facility for discourse.

    Professional: trying to improve professionally and stressed by a lot of work and responsibilities.


    1. Student support in open learning: sustaining the process, Christine Dearnley, The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Vol 4, No 1 (2003), ISSN: 1492-3831: http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/132/212 (Accessed 17/05/2007)

    Why e-tivities are asynchronous?

    June 25, 2007

    I has been wondering why Gilly Salmon (1) says that e-tivities are "asynchronous".

    For instance, I teach Spanish Oral Practices in a synchronous system.
    Sometimes I use a PowerPoint presentation that includes dialogues accompanied by images for better understandng of the content.

    Students participate playing a role.

    They interact taking part in a conversation where each of them are performing like the characters in a play.

    Cannot this be considered as an E-tivity according to Salmon?

    If not,why?


    1. E-tivities : the key to active online learning, Gilly Salmon: http://www.netlibrary.com.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/Reader/ (Accessed 12/05/2007)

    All Things in Moderation

    Are you clear about the differences described in each stage?

    Yes, I think the differences are very clear in each stage. But I can also appreciate how important is feedback and support from course partners and course moderators.

    And I completely agree that under knowledge construction is socialisation. It is important to build and sustain groups, for them to set a strong relationship and them being able be reflective and to dare to be critical with other course partners.

    Do the five stages map on to the learners and content that you have to deal with?

    The fist meeting I plan in the course I am developing is to greet course partners, them to introduce themselves. I have included discussion forum to exchange information between student-student, student-tutor and student-group. I consider interaction one of the most important characteristics on distance learning. It is very hard to progress when you feel alone. I find it very motivating to feel that others are also striving in your same ship. I have also design some activities for students to do in an synchronous conference without the presence of the tutor to favour participation without constraints, and feed motivation, creativity by students, and so on.

    Comment about "Transliterathy"

    June 24, 2007

    I am glad to hear (1) that as I am a teacher who, not only teaches and delops courses online, but I am able to share brandwidth, sever, sotfware, chat, write in wikies and blogs, manage my photos in Flickr and my bookmarks in Del.ici.ous , create and publish my PPT, create and publish videos in iTube, Podcasts, etc... I have become "Transliterate"!!

    What a word!

    Are they going to create a new Nobel price for such important people like me?!!

    1. Del.icio.us way to talk_ Times Higher Education Supplement, 28 October 2005
    http://writing.typepad.com/digital_life/2005/11/_delicious_way_.html (Accessed 05/05/2007)


    By the way..."Better late than never" (Spanish Proverb)

    Disabled students in Spain

    April 02, 2007

    What sources of advice or financial help are available to disabled students in your country?

    The main problem to agree about how to help disabled people is that there has never been a state Project for them. Disability has been helped mainly by organizations like: ONCE, the Catholic Church, and other private organizations working in autonomies or all over Spain.

    Till 2002 the economical help for “Special Education” (Ed. Especial) was included in the budget of Primary and Secondary Education!! ..and it was very low. This budget, although, it has been separated is still very low. According to the data taken from the National Institute of Statistics (INI) [1]

    Ed. Secundaria, FP y EE. de Reg. Especial: 1994: 5.043.069; 2004: 11.434.511
    Ed. Especial (3): 1994: 329.659; 2004: 714.008

    BECAS Y AYUDAS TOTALES 1994: 531.635; 2004: 1.023.963

    New measures have been taken recently to change this situation:

    1. A new law was passed (14/12/2006) about the Promotion of the Personal Autonomy and Attention of People that are in situation of Dependence (Ley 39/2006, de 14 de diciembre, de Promoción de la Autonomía Personal y Atención a las Personas en Situación de Dependencia) This law is the beginning of a new era in Spain for the social rights of disabled people, because it is the first attempt to unify the national politics about social protection and economical resources. The Government is forced to inform the Courts about the implementation of this law. [2]

    2. ORDEN ECI/2575/2006, 12th July, about national prizes for educative institutions, all over the country, that develop activities aiming disabled students. [3]

    3. The Cabinet has approved (01/12/2006) the 1st national plan for disabled women. Related to education will try to sensitize parents about how important education is for their disabled daughters. And the introduction in the national curricula the themes of gender and disability. [4] I think this is very important because according to this news [5] 78% of disabled Spanish women do not work, because they did not have access to higher education, and only 4% have HE studies [4, p. 34], This Plan also tries to promote “Telecentros” among disabled women for them to be prepared in the use of the New technologies.[4, p.35]

    If there is financial help, what can it be used for?

    Yes, this Order (Orden ECI/1568/2006), 8th May, regulates grants and academic help for disabled students during 2006-07 academic course. [6]

    If you work in a teaching establishment, what help is available for disabled students?

    Yes, in the Empire State College we have got a webpage with information and links for disabled people called “Welcome to disability services” where disabled students can find all kind of interesting information for them. Students can request for reasonable accommodation, texts in alternative formats, for example. [7]


    [1] Gasto público total en educación por actividad educativa y años: http://www.ine.es/inebase/cgi/axi ]http://www.ine.es/inebase/cgi/axi (Access 22/03/2007)

    [2] Ley 39/2006, de 14 de diciembre, de Promoción de la Autonomía Personal y Atención a las Personas en Situación de Dependencia: http://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2006/12/15/pdfs/A44142-44156.pdf (Access 23/03/2007)

    [3] ORDEN ECI/2575/2006, 12th July: http://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2006/08/04/pdfs/A29413-29416.pdf (Access 26/03(2007)

    [4] 1st National Plan for Disabled Women: http://www.igualdadoportunidades.es/documentacion/documento/?url=http://www.seg-social.es/imserso/normativas/pamcd2007.pdf (Access 25/03/2007)

    [5] News: http://sid.usal.es/mostrarficha.asp?ID=26707&fichero=1.1 (Access 24/03/2007)

    [6] (Orden ECI/1568/2006), 8th May: http://sid.usal.es/idocs/F3/LYN9255/3-9255.pdf http://sid.usal.es/idocs/F3/LYN9255/3-9255.pdf (Access 25/03/2007)

    [7] Welcome to disability services: http://www.esc.edu/ESConline/Across_ESC/DisabSvc.nsf/wholeshortlinks2/welcome (Access 27/03/2007)

    Definitions of disability

    March 22, 2007

    Are the Disability Discrimination Act and the World Health Organization examples definitions of disability examples of medical or social models?

    I think that DDA’s definition is an example of the medical model, because it considers disabled people like patients who need special care and treatment to “rehabilitate” them for society as they have an internal and individual problem to be solved. While WHO definition focuses on the social necessities that must be covered for disabled people not to have barriers in society that can be a problem for them to be as much independent as possible, and also considers disability as an external factor that makes disabled people to have different kind of problems as a group.

    ICF (WHO) [1] describes how all of us can live with our health condition. They consider that both the medical and the social descriptions of “disability” are partially valid.

    A better model of disability, in short, is one that synthesizes what is true in the medical and social models, without making the mistake each makes in reducing the whole, complex notion of disability to one of its aspects.
    This more useful model of disability might be called the biopsychosocial model.
    ICF is based on this model, an integration of medical and social. ICF provides, by this synthesis, a coherent view of different perspectives of health: biological, individual and social.”

    I agree that disabled people need to be considered as somebody with some health and individual necessities to cover, but also a lot social external barriers (physical, prejudices and exclusiveness) to be broken.

    [1] International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF): http://www.who.int/classifications/icf/en (Access 22/03/2007)

    [2] Towards a Common Language for Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF):
    http://www3.who.int/icf/beginners/bg.pdf (Access 22/03/2007)

    Why disabled are early adopters of ITCs?

    Why disabled are early adopters of ITCs?

    Well, I think that if I were a disabled person when Internet appeared in our lives I'd consider it a window opened to new possibilities and chances to do things I had never imagined before: be able to communicate with people without having mobility problems, to exchange written messages with other blind, to read about others that were disabled like me, etc.

    Apart from that, when you're in the Internet usually you're not seen, so you can express yourself without having the feeling that others are feeling pity for your physical conditions. This is another freedom that disabled had gained with the use of the Internet.

    Technology developers are worried about how to supply disabled necessities and a lot new devices are been added to this technologies to break the barrier that suppose for people who cannot manage like the ones that are not disabled. This was widening new opportunities for them to be in the Internet.

    The most spectacular one was invented last year with the possibility of reading your mind from the screen, only moving your eyes: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/click_online/5224386.stm

    Nowadays the Internet also count on them and different products are being developed: games http://www.arcess.com/ and http://www.boardmanweb.com/party/disabled.htm , magazines http://www.disabilityview.co.uk/index.shtml, etc.

    These can be some of the reasons why disabled are early adopters of new technologies...

    Criteria for adopting innovations

    March 19, 2007

    Q1 Which three criteria are you going to argue for, and why?

    My first criteria would be this innovation will cover most of the educational necessities our institution had at the moment. My reasons would be that we need to modernise our educational system to be successful among students.

    My second criteria would be based in explaining the economical benefits that the adoption of this new innovation would suppose in the future for our institution. Perhaps we would have to invest an mount of money in updating our system, but it must be consider that benefits will overcome soon.

    My third point would be based on the reasons why I had rejected other similar innovations in the market. I would speak about the advantages and disadvantages of the other ones and gave them reasons why I had chosen this innovation an not another one.

    Q2 What, if anything, do your responses tell you about your own attitudes to innovation?

    I think that nowadays the e-Learning market is a very competitive one and you need to be updated, but I only would accept innovations on the condition that they offer a better quality of teaching and learning, if they facilitate the role of the teacher and the student. So I would try to be objective about the adoption of an innovation in relation to its usefulness and also taking into account our budget to know if our institution can afford it or not.

    About Moore’s Chasm Theory

    March 01, 2007

    Strengths and weaknesses of Moore’s chasm theory, and any implications for my own life/work/etc.

    Moore’s theory only deals with adopters, but not with benefits, so I find this a weakness in a marketing theory. And “Benefits” are the matter of any kind of marketing campaigns, e-Learning included.

    Other weaknesses are that the theory of chasm does not answer questions like:
    How do I need to wait, after adopting an innovation, to get benefits?
    How much should I invest to reach the early adopters?
    How much do I need to spend in staying in the market?
    How long is it going to take me to cross the time barrier marked by that 16% to be known by the early majority?

    This theory seems to be only applicable to non-continuous or riotous innovations. So perhaps it is not very useful for innovators who try to stay in the markets as long as possible.

    If I were an innovator, this theory could help me to know what kind of clients should I think of, that I would need a period of time to reach all of them with my innovation, so I had to fight to shorten it, and that if I could convince “Opinion leaders” about the goodness of my product I would have a possibilities to be successful and reach the early majority, at least.

    Sketch out a presentation to clients or colleagues about an e-Learning innovation:

    1. How would your focus vary according to whether you see them as early adopters or as the early majority?

    I think the strategy should be completely different if I had to promote my innovation among early adopters from one targeted to the early majority. The most important points would be to identify my audience and to clarify my objectives. So, as the audience would be different the objectives should be designed accordingly.

    A good example is given by mobile phone companies marketing strategies. They are always making advertising campaigns to catch new clients.

    To get a new client you need to know how he/she is. It is important to take into account Roger’s types, and also analyse their characteristics. Why they would be interested in my product? Would they adopt it only because it is innovative, or would I need to promote something more, like, its usability and reliability? I could reach the early adopters more easily, perhaps, because they are appealed by innovations, but to convince the early majority, that does not like taking risks, I would need to motivate them.

    2. Would you spend more time demonstrating the software to one group rather than another, for example?

    I would make “client centred” campaigns.

    As I think that early adopters are more open minded to innovations and that they usually like to deal with new gadgets, probably they would not need a long time to show them how it worked. Teenagers are the typical example.

    On the contrary, I believe that most adults are in the early majority group. They like learning from the early adopters to be shown how an innovation works. I am thinking about mobile phones or GPSs, which men are so fond of. This group needs longer time to be convinced about all the possibilities an innovation can offer to them. If they are only going to buy it if they find it useful, I should take a time to show its usability, and at the same time I should show they can trust me instead my competence. To convince this group I would need to dedicate them longer time.


    [1] Early adopters or early majority – who is the key? (course H807 resource) (26/02/2007)

    [2] The Innovator Theory: http://www.mitsue.co.jp/english/case/concept/02.html (Access 27/02/2007)

    [3] Decription of the line graph on Mitsue web page (course H807 resource) (Access 27/022007)