Distance Learning Training and Resources for Educators

Posts tagged ‘Online Learning’

Strategies for Expanding your e-learning Skills

Harnessing the Tools and Technologies for Online Teaching.



E-Learning is growing at such a rapid pace because it is…..

• Market Driven
• Student Driven
• Technology Driven
• Budget Driven

Education at all levels is changing very rapidly (understatement)

Question we must all ask ourselves…

Do we want to be behind the technological curve or ahead of it?

If we want to stay ahead of this technological wave then we must harness and effectively implement the technology we have at our disposal for delivering and assessing our course content.

1. Master the LMS (Learning Management System)

Moodle / Blackboard / Angel etc.

2. Look at your CMS as your teaching / learning hub.

From your CMS platform you can add a variety of “open source” tools that can enhance / enrich the online learning experience.

3. What other online tools/applications do you want to incorporate into your CMS

Skype, YouTube, ITunes U, Join.me, Twitter, Blogging, Jing, Photobucket, Flickr, Voicethread, to name a few.

4. Develop an online teaching methodology that is a reflection of your personal teaching style and draws from some e-learning best practices. An approach that enables your personality to come through. An approach that lets students know there is a compassionate, engaged, enthusiastic teacher on the other end that sincerely cares about their learning and success. This is the biggest challenge or online educators in my opinion and will take the most time so don’t get frustrated as you are climbing this learning curve.

Lets take a look at a cross section of these online tools and see what each one does best as to instructional delivery.

Each tool/application in the CMS plays a specific role in delivering (and/or assessing) your course content (instruction) and then you add additional tools to broaden and enhance the functionality of your course.

Within the CMS

• Discussion Forums
• Assignment Manager BB / Advanced Uploading of Files Moodle
• Lessons / Create Web Pages/Glossaries
• Test Manager (BB) – Quiz Function Moodle
• Blog / Wiki / external links
• Announcements


Open Source (Outside CMS)

YouTube and Vimeo

Great for embedding tutorials that either you create or find on Youtube into your course. YouTube for lectures under 10-15 minutes and Vimeo for over 15 minutes.
Anything you ever wanted to know about Photoshop for example is in a tutorial on YouTube. You just have to sift through and find and embed the best most viable tutorials for your lesson.


Great for embedding powerpoint slide shows / lessons directly into CMS instead of linking to them for download.

Jing / Screenflow / Camtasia

I use these tools for screencast tutorials. You can record your screen and your voice as you demonstrate a technique in Photoshop or In-Design for example. Jing for quick and dirty and Screenflow for longer presentations. These can be linked or embedded directly into Moodle or Blackboard.

Audacity for Audio Editing Podcasts

Excellent (FREE) audio editing software. Very shallow learning curve to let you create audio podcasts (MP3’s)


Enhanced Podcasts (Illustrated with images / video)

Great for demonstrating “hands’on”  activities like a dissection in Biology or Chemistry Experiments.

IMovie, Movie Maker or Camtasia will allow you to create visually sophisticated enhanced podcasts for your lectures and demonstrations.

Once I create these I will upload to ITunes U, YouTube and/or Vimeo and embed them into my courses. These do not have to be fancy or highly sophisticated productions. I usually have a student keep an eye on my video camera as I demonstrate a basic lighting technique on the sweep for example. After class I put a title on it – edit out any bad spots and then embed it into the Blackboard or Moodle class.

Join.meYuuguu (Screensharing)

Low budget way to share your screen with students for “real-time” synchronous critiques. Just send the students a link and they are viewing your screen. You would use this in conjunction with Skype so you can all have a conversation while discussing a Photoshop technique or critiquing an image.

Skype  (online office hours, conference calls and screensharing)

Google Hangouts! Great for lectures, demonstrations, critique sessions and student meetings or real time lectures.

I find skype and google hangouts bot invaluable for office hours and online meetings. Students seem to be very open to meeting me on skype to discuss a project, look at work or just discuss a school or personal issue.

Twitter for Reminders and Course Updates

We have faculty using Twitter for sending out updates (reminders) to students about various course related projects, due dates, course changes and share short bits of information. All students are asked to create a course twitter account and subscribe to the instructor. I see a lot of possibilities with this tool.

Drop Box

Great for storing images or have students place their work in a central location for you to evaluate and/or critique.

Voice Thread

Another excellent quick and dirty voice with images application that you can embed into a discussion board or anywhere into a CMS.

WordPress Blog for easy web e-portfolios, journeling, travel logs, marketing.

I am a big proponent of blogging for educational purposes and e-portfolio’s.  All my student set-up a portfolio blog the 2nd year of our Photo Program. They set-up pages for each discipline like Portraiture, Sports/ Action, Fine Art, Documentary, Commercial Illustration in addition to posting their artist statements, resume’s etc. Click Here for an example from one of my graduating students. Ira Morris BloG

Rachel Eddins Photo Blog

ITunes U

Excellent and expansive resource for instructional podcasts and video content. You just have to search for topics that relate to your course and download the podcasts and embed them into your course. All ITunes U colleges must sign an agreement that everything they upload to ITunes U is free to anyone who wants to use it in their online courses for edicational purposes. There is a vast array of Photo History Lectures in ITunes U for example. Why reinvent the wheel when someone has already created and made available excellent photo/art media content.

ITunes U Carteret Site

This is the student link to my College ITunes U site. I have over 200 audio and enhanced podcasts in my various photo course tabs. Students can download my podcasts (lectures and demonstrations) to their mobile devices or watch them while sitting at their computer. I do all my exam reviews as podcasts and students download them and listen before taking the exam.

Photobucket and Flickr

Online repositories for storing, sharing and commenting on images. You can have students post a link to their photobucket album or flickr stream to the discussion board and then you can review – post comments and help with editing and sequencing their pictures. Flickr seems to have more functionality for editing and sequencing than photobucket.

IMovie / MovieMaker

IMove for Mac users for making quick enhanced podcasts and instructional videos – Movie Maker is the alternative for PC users as far as being easy to use and enables you to create videos that can be uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo or Itunes U.


Take a PowerPoint and add narrative then save as a mov. or MP4 file

dragonDragon Naturally Speaking

I would imagine this software is going to be invaluable to effective online instruction and a big time saver for those of us who are burned out with typing.

Yammer – Educational Social Network

Check this cool “free” educational social networking tool out. Essentially like a facebook interface for communicating and engaging students and colleagues on a variety of topics. You can embed video and audio into it as well. I use that as a communications tool for all my Distance Learning Faculty at my college for sharing ideas, accomplishments and anything related to distance learning.

YouTube – Thousands of Instructional Videos and Tutorials on just about every subject.

Each one of these online tools and applications can help you deliver and assess your course content and some will enable you to engage your students effectively in the online environment.

The trick is to know WHEN and WHERE and HOW to use them most effectively to accomplish whatever learning objective you are addressing.


You must be aware that these online tools and applications are constantly evolving and changing and you have to retool your courses accordingly.

elearningOnline faculty must accept the reality that there is no standing still in the world of e-learning. We are life long learners and essentially students as well – the online environment has forced us to be facilitators / moderators and guides to the learning journey instead of the sage on the stage.

Those educators who are aware of this reality and ready and willing to navigate the digital / technological terrain will be the most successful, in-demand and marketable.


DL Accomplishments At CCC Fall 2006 – Fall 2008

The Distance Learning Department has made great strides in a variety of key areas over the past two years because of funding and resources made available through Title III Grant. The following is what I consider our major accomplishments. I hope to build on what we have done and start taking Distance Learning to a whole new level in the coming year.

Blackboard Boot Camp

• A comprehensive Professional Development initiative was initiated for all online faculty in both the technical aspects of teaching online and in instructional design strategies and methodology. Every full time and part time adjunct (120 +) have been certified by attending our 6 hour Blackboard Boot Camps over the past 2 years.

Training college faculty in the latest distance learning methodology and instructional technologies has been a huge but imperative undertaking. The demand for online courses is growing annually and students are arriving in these courses with more advanced and sophisticated technological skills (awareness) than ever before due to the cyber / media culture they have grown up in. That is why we initiated a series of Blackboard Boot Camps in order to get all our online faculty trained in online course management systems and instructional design theory.

QAP “Peer Review” Process

• A QAP Online Course “Peer Review” process has been implemented campus wide. Before the QAP was initiated there was a lack of visual and instructional continuity in our online course offerings. Over the past year a team of veteran online faculty and instructional design staff have been in the process of reviewing every online course at Carteret Community College using a comprehensive check-sheet that addresses a variety of technical and instructional design best practices.

The purpose of the QAP peer review process is to establish and maintain ensured quality for all CCC Distances Learning courses. Our goal is to be able to provide a minimum standard of quality for all CCC Distance Education Courses and move our courses into higher standards through a process of continuous improvement. Objective, peer review allows for us to offer online the highest quality, and more “learner friendly” courses in an ever- increasing competitive online teaching environment.

Distance Learning Pioneer’s

We are into the third phase (year) of our Distance Learning Pioneer program. Dl Pioneers represent a cross section of Carteret Community College faculty and staff that have committed to either completely upgrading and retooling their online classes (adding content specific visuals, producing audio instructional podcasts and enhancing course content) they are already teaching or developing new online courses (or innovative online work environments for staff) for the college. These distance learning pioneers are also participating in a variety of professional development activities (paid for by Title III) such as, workshops, conferences and seminars in order to not only upgrade their courses technically, but are upgrading their online teaching methods as well. Twenty faculty have successfully gone through this intense training and we now have 5 staff and 5 faculty participating in this Pioneer project at this time. Those DL Pioneers that have already been through the program mentoring other online faculty who have not.

Online Tutoring Service

We’re blazing into a new realm of student support here at CCC. The power of distance learning at our College is dramatic, and undeniable. As our DL program turns 10 this semester, we have reached some dramatic milestones:
* 169 online (web-based, hybrid, and full) courses are being taught this semester;
* 72% of students enrolled this semester are taking at least one online course;
* 47% of courses offered are being taught online

With this backdrop, it is critical to understand that we MUST provide all of our support services online. We currently have advising online and we have recently implemented an online tutoring service. After reviewing the field of proprietary online tutoring services, we determined that, at this time, it may be more cost-effective (and more effective overall) to develop our own in-house tutoring service. Online tutoring is available for English, Math, Biology and Anatomy & Physiology and as more and more faculty and students learn of the benefits of this service it is beginning to grow and become part of the fabric of the learning process at CCC. The service is in its infancy as we continue to learn what does and does not work, but in the meantime, we continue to move forward with this exciting initiative.

“One on One” Distance Learning Training

Any faculty member at CCC can contact the Distance Learning Lab and make an appointment with our Instructional Technologist Pre-Ah Hill or a distance learning intern for one on one intensive and focused course specific training. This begins with an initial consultation that identifies the types of technical and/or instructional design upgrades that the faculty member wants to make to his or her online course. This also includes training our faculty in all aspects of Blackboard (CMS) and new software such as audacity and movie maker in order to produce innovative instructional podcasts, enhanced podcasts and videos to be uploaded into the faculty members blackboard.

Distance Learning Campus Wide DL Forum

Carteret Community College held its first Distance Learning forum moderated by Dr. Abbie Brown and Dr. Bill Sugar both Professors in the Instructional Technology Graduate Program at East Carolina University. It was an extremely productive event, and I believe will be a catalyst for some of the initiatives we implement in the coming year. One thing continues to be very evident and was brought out by many participants in the forum. Education is evolving and changing rapidly. The tools, techniques, methods and environments are changing. However, good teaching is still good teaching, whether it’s done in the online environment or the traditional classroom environment. It goes back to the “Human Element”. The personal touch – the connection between the teacher and student. If that connection isn’t made (and nurtured) the teaching / learning, journey will be an uphill climb. The issues brought out and identified at this forum using the SWOT approach (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) will continue to be addressed as we develop and structure new professional development activities for our faculty and staff at CCC.

Applying and Receiving other Grants

Due to the great strides our Distance Learning Department have made in the areas of professional development and instructional media production over the past 2 years thanks to the funding and resources made available through Title III. We’ve been recognized at the state level for our work and in turn have applied for and received additional state grants to produce online instructional design resources for the state Community College System. Last year we received $7,400 to produce a comprehensive training package on all aspects of Podcasting and this year we were granted $10,700 to produce instructor resources for Blogging, YouTube and ITunes University. (See Below)

Technical Grant I

General information will be provided giving a description of podcasting, some of the benefits for students, the equipment (hardware and software) needed for podcasting, and information on where to obtain software.

The project participants will tell the benefits of using Podcasting, including some statistical information that relates to student retention in classes where podcasting is available. The list of resources will include names to contact for assistance as well as web sites where software can be downloaded, along with directions on how to proceed. The goal is to provide all of the information that a college will need to get started on podcasting.

Tech Grant #2

General information will be provided giving a description of instructional uses for Blogging, YouTube and ITunes University. Our team will describe some of the benefits of these web based tools for students, the equipment (hardware and software) needed for them, and information on where to obtain software needed use them effectively.

The project participants will tell the benefits of using Blogging, YouTube and ITunes U including some statistical information that relates to student retention in classes where these tools are available. They will also produce new instructional content in a variety of discipline areas as examples of these tools can be applied to any online course. The list of resources will include names to contact for assistance as well as web sites where software can be downloaded, along with directions on how to proceed. The goal is to provide all of the information that a college will need to get started on Blogging, YouTube and ITunes U.


All of these initiatives are at different phases of progress and implementation at CCC. We plan to continue building on our success (and efforts) in these various areas and hopefully will be able to start gathering viable data as to how these campus wide initiatives are effecting and impacting student success and retention at Carteret Community College. Title III has been a primary catalyst for faculty and staff upgrading, online course evaluations, generating additional grant funding, self study through our forums and adding new services like online tutoring for our students.