Archive for Courses

MCO (Massachusetts Colleges online) June 2 Conference

Yesterday was the MCO 11th Annual Conference on eLearning. It was an all day event which featured many presentations and interestingly enough the lunch was very healthy. I would have loved to went to all of them but I could only go to three.


SCHED What I did like about the conference is that I could look at the schedule and sign up for the courses through an app called SCHED it allows the organizers to set a robust sign up for the attendees and for themselves to get imporant information (like what presentaions wer attended, etc…)





  1. scrren captuer of OneNote

    Screenshot of One Note with photo and notes.

    Stratigic Planning of Online Learing – The leadership team of MCO presented on how to create a stratigic plan. There was excellent information in the presentation about how to create teams while working on a stratigic plan. I would have like to be able to review the slides after, but they were not up on the SCHED site. I did take photo notes in OneNote

  2. Open, Online & Engaging: OER for the Digital Classroom  Google Docs: Handouts — This by far was my favorite presentation of the day. It was several groups which came together and talked about their approach to OER. I really enjoyed the detailed handout which links to many resources that can be used to help create engaging OER courses. I also took note in OneNote.
  3. Vendors: There were 12 Vendors at MCO. I did get a chance to speak to all of them.
    1. Atomic Learning : It’s not the Atomic Learning of 2007. This is a robust fully (ADA compliant) adaptable bit sized learning nuggets that can be addapted for accessary learning. The vendor representative walked me through the features of Atomic Learning and the videos, unlike the videos it had many moons ago, they look fresh and up to day. I would definately like to learn more.
    2. Kaltura : A roubst video storage solution. It’s most likely the best hosting service out there, but it is pricey and might be out of reach for many Community Colleges.
    3. Visual Classroom: I really love the easy of use of this LTI based product. I love the drag and drop and the ability to tag discussion. My two questions would be, (a) what is the learning curve for digital learners who don’t have much experience with tech, (b) some of the features that it does have are appealing, but who will use it.
    4. Ensemble Video: This video solution platform  It allows for faculty, students, adminstration, and others to video lecture, workshops, or informational videos on the go and works acorss multi-platforms. It is also cloud based that can be self-hosted or be hybrid of cloud and self-hosted.
    5. Ricoh: Was there were a smartboard solution and portable projector that were amazing.
    6. Desire2Learn:  D2L is a very powerful LMS, I worked with in the past but really would like to get my hands in a course space to see what it can do.
    7. Blackboard: Do I need to say more. They gave me some good information on Bades and and on the Goals/objectives that can be used in courses.
    8. Gather Education: Is a learning platform that works on 3G in order to reach the most students. It records lectures but instead of creating videos it creates animation which in turns reduces the amount of badwith it needs so it can reach more people on cell networks around the world. I personally am not crazy about Animation in Higher Education, I most likely wouldn’t be interested init until they can do streaming video.
    9. Hobson/Starfish: I do think that this more for admistators than for course intergration. Although it has a nice intergration for student retention. It’s good information to have, but it’s not for the average Instructional Designer.
    10. Smart Sparrow: Another authoring tool.
    11. Revel/Pearson Product: Not sure what this really is — it’s more interagration for Blackboard.
    12. Troxell: Supplier of educational audio video supplies. BCC purchased the Swivl from them.
  4. Tools and Tech to enhance eLearning:  There was a mix up in the room numbers. It was changed at the last moment and those of us who were in one room had to physically move to another. The workshop was really featured the writing tool already in an operating system natively, She used stylus and the wacom pad to show how faculty could grade withing Blackboard. Although it was an interesting presentation I am not sure if it was organzed to get the most for the time.

Over all it was a nice conference. I would recommend it for next year. It also gave me a chance to hang out with friends like Lance Eaton over at By Any Other Nerd.

Breaking it down: Multimedia Learning!

film image music notes and projector screen

I receive many of questions about instructional design. When faculty come to my office they want to know two things: What instructional design is. Then, what I, as an Instructional Designer, can do for them. (sounds a little like andragogy) Some think that instructional designers just make videos and use technology. Hopefully,  this post will help define instructional design and look at one of many different concepts that an Instructional Designer will apply to their work.

Let’s start with a definition of Instructional Design. I am taking the definition from a Facebook discussion where three Instructional Designers re-constructed the definition (Post: Definition of Instructional Design). Instructional Design is a learner-centric systematic approach to instruction which creates effective, measurable, and replicable learning experiences.

But what does that all mean to faculty? Most likely not a thing, because it can bring up a lot of feelings of resentment and confusion with faculty who are hired to teach. The assumption is that if they went through their subject matter expert field of study, that they would just know how to create instruction. faculty don’t know and aren’t required to understand the educational science in what they do. For example, they don’t need to know that there is a whole field of study on Multimedia Learning.  Richard Mayer, ie, the Daddy of Multimedia Learning suggests that Learners can only process a small amount of content at a time and the visual and audio representation of knowledge must be organized in a meaningful way (Mayer 2010). Which means content needs to be chunked into small bits, so the Learner can optimize the process of learning.

Faculty are not required to understand educational science in what they do. For example, they don’t need to know that there is a whole field of study on Multimedia Learning.  Richard Mayer, ie, the Daddy of Multimedia Learning suggests that Learners can only process a small amount of content at a time and the visual and audio representation of knowledge must be organized in a meaningful way (Mayer 2010). Which means content needs to be chunked into small bits, so the Learner can optimize the process of learning.

For instance, an instructor wants to video all of his or her lectures and put them up on the LMS without edit and without chunking it. Each video is one hour or 3 hours long depending on the lecture length. The Instructor has used the latest technology, like the Swivl, record the lecture. Just by  the technology of recording the Instructor believes that it will be somehow new.  Another type of technology is VoiceThread in which the instructor can upload a PowerPoint presentation and record audio over the slide. This is new technology for the instructor, but the instructor still reads the PowerPoint presentation word for word.

With the help of an instructional designer an instructor can recreate the one hour lecture, by creating chunks of learning that will better represent the ideas, concepts, and knowledge that the instructor wants to convey.  Can the lecture be chunked into 10 to 15-minute videos, which clearly suggest topic, scope, and practice? Is the instructor reading the PowerPoint word for word? Mayer’s Multimedia Learning suggest that reading word by word actually decreases a Learner’s ability to process and retain information, it takes away from the learners ability to process in both the audio and visual “channels” and requires the learner to have unlimited amounts of memory space (p33).  A better way, according to Mayer, is to appeal to both auditory/visual channels of the brain in order to process knowledge (p33). For instance, using an image and a verbal explanation of what that image is.

Instructional Designers do not have to teach the instructor Mayer’s Theory, but we can come up with ideas that embody Mayer’s principles. We can help the instructor to come up with different ways of presenting the material. Is there a video from a reputable site (that has been vetted) which will allow you to use that video in a course? Is there a way to visually represent the concept instead of describing it?

Other questions?

Are the PowerPoint presentations really handouts?

Are there graphics that can be used?

Are there notable experts in their field who have given a Ted Talk or other Talk? (Link: The 7 steps to delivering a mind-bowing Ted Talk  — About Ted Talk )

Will these ideas stop a faculty member from using 1 to 3-hour lectures for their online course? Most likely not, however, when students lose interest and drop their courses, they might have a change of heart.


Mayer, R. E. (2014). The Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning (Second Edition. ed.). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Guest Blogger: Sandra Campos

(Please note: No zombies were harmed intentionally for this blog!)

My Experiences Transitioning to Online Teaching

Sandra Campos, Professor Emerita – Bristol Community College

My experience in transitioning from teaching a traditional college course to a hybrid online course was quite challenging.  As a full-time faculty member at Bristol for over twenty-eight years, I developed and taught a number of traditional courses in the Clinical Laboratory Science program.  Teaching involved the   typical lecture format with classes scheduled two to three days a week on campus.  When WebCT was introduced at the college, I was one of the first group of faculty to include it as a course supplement.

I was retired for several years when I had the opportunity to attend several events at the college. I had the opportunity to interact with many of my colleagues and it made me realize how much I missed teaching.  So, when I was asked in November if I was interested in developing and teaching a hybrid online course, I eagerly accepted.  I had about two months to develop the course as well as course materials for the spring of 2015.  Introduction to Healthcare was a required three-credit course which needed to provide a foundation for subsequent clinical courses and eventual employment in a health care setting.

So, I began my journey with much enthusiasm.  I was given with the name of the course, the course description, the name of the textbook and the name of my instructional designer.  Initially, most of my frustration involved getting reintroduced into the college system.  I was amazed at how much had changed in seven years.   There was Access BCC, Office 365, One Drive, a new email system as well as many new policies, services and employees.  I am thankful for the patience of the BCC staff who walked me through the processes.

My next step was to develop the syllabus using the course description, course objectives, the text and corresponding workbook.  I had experience developing a number of new courses in the CLS program so within a few days I had the traditional syllabus tentatively completed.  There were specific requests for course topics by the Director of the EKG Program which were included in what I thought was the final version of the syllabus.

My first meeting with Ceit DeVitto, the instructor designer assigned to help me in the development of the hybrid course was in mid-November.  I was feeling pretty good as I presented her with my syllabus.  I thought I had completed the most challenging part of the course.  It was then I was introduced to blackboard eLearning.  Ceit talked about the program features and how the course should include face to face class meetings and online interactive discussions and written assignments.  My first task was to write a welcome post which needed to include my personal information.  The syllabus had to be modified to include the on-line netiquette and grading policies, weekly overviews and assignments including due dates.  When I left the meeting I was over whelmed and thought to myself, “What the heck did I agree too?”

Ceit and I met seven times prior to the beginning of the course in January.  I was very thankful she had so much patience.  During our second meeting, we were discussing the first week’s assignment and ways to make the student feel more comfortable interacting in the hybrid format.

I continued to develop the on-line course, meeting with Ceit throughout the semester.  Immediate problems were handled through telephone calls to Ceit and the Cite Lab staff.   I did enjoy the few times when I asked Ceit a question and she did not immediately know the answer.  Completing the weekly overviews and adding them to the syllabus and into the on-line course was a satisfying accomplishment.

Working in the on-line course has become so much easier.  At first, I was hesitant to use the faculty tools within the course and I would constantly ask for help.  Now I will try things and only when I have a problem, do I ask for help.  The blackboard YouTube videos are extremely helpful.  I have taught the hybrid course twice and will teach it again in the fall semester.  This semester I taught a three-credit course, Personal and Community Health which is completely on-line.   I do prefer the hybrid format with the every other week class meetings because I like meeting the students.  I am very happy that I accepted this challenge and really enjoy teaching the on-line courses.


Blackboard Exemplary Catalyst Award winner 2013 and 2014

Text Blackboard award winner

Blackboard Catalyst Award

You can find the complete list of award winners here!

Tahais Real-Martins, Ceit Devitto, Diana Rice, and Constance Messier Bristol Community College Developmental Pediatric Occupational Therapy Practice

The video for the Developmental Pediatrice Occupational Therapy Practice can be found here! 




Ceit De Vitto, Sharon F. Tilton, and Kimberly Griffith Bristol Community College Musculoskeletal Anatomy for the Massage Professional



I love my job!

I love being an Instructional Designer. I am good at what I do, it’s a passion, and it’s a calling.

Presentation Facebook post


I love watching faculty develop their skills and really come up with engaging courses that work much better for students. I even love when experienced online faculty come to me, looking to bounce ideas and look for new solutions that they might not see. Today was one of those days that really made me feel good.

To the right is a Presentation by Colleen Sullivan Avedikian on scaffolding writing assignments.

I am so really proud to be a part of this team.





Sandy Campos, who is a Professor Emerita at Bristol Community College is another professor that goes above and beyond to create engaging online and hybrid courses. I

Sandy Campos Thank You Note

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