Udemy rolls out new publishing platform to help teachers create quality online courses — from techcrunch.com by Rip Empson


To do so, Udemy is [yesterday] introducing a new version of its course-creation platform geared specifically towards teachers. The platform aims to bring expert and novice educators alike greater control and ownership over their online content, helping them to organize and structure that content through a curriculum editor and a more robust toolset for managing and promoting their courses.

Having experimented with different approaches to the presentation and distribution of digital ed content, specifically in regard to their effect on learning outcomes, Udemy concluded that one of the most critical components — and oft-overlooked — is a well-structured curriculum. So, the startup rebuilt its curriculum editor, which now encourages teachers to build an outline as the first step in the course creation process.

Using the new curriculum editor, teachers can drag and drop lectures and sections to organize their content into a more structured course. On top of that, considering that many of Udemy’s teachers are in fact real world experts and not those well-versed in pedagogy, the startup has re-tooled its course creation process. Once they’ve outlined their course, they are served step-by-step guidelines and best practices that touch on everything from planning to promotion.



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Resources from Learning Objects


While on their website, be sure to see information concerning Campus Pack from Learning Objects:



Nine steps to quality online learning — from Tony Bates


Also see:

  • How [not] to Design an Online Course — from onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com
    Moving a face-to-face credit course to an online environment is far more challenging than one might expect – as numerous experienced and esteemed professors have discovered. In this post learn vicariously through one professor’s experience of ‘what not to do’.


Only 14% think that company training is an essential way for them to learn in the workplace — from Learning in the Social Workplace by Jane Hart


That was one of the findings of my recent anonymous survey on how people learn best in the workplace, and even I was surprised by the results.  But I think the biggest take-away from my survey is that we can no longer assume we know how people like to learn in the workplace nor how we think people should learn. So in this blog post, I want to share the data from my survey, some of my thoughts about the results, and the importance of undertaking your own survey.

Subject matter networks– from Harold Jarche

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

“I think the singular SME is an antiquated a notion as the solitary game player & our development pipelines need to change.” writes Mark Oehlert, on Twitter. Mark coined the term, subject matter networks, as a change from the industrial concept of subject matter expert, or SME, a term I first heard in the military in the mid-1970’s. But the world has changed and most notably during the past decade.

In such an environment, the lone expert is at a disadvantage. He or she cannot learn and adapt as fast as a cooperative network.

We have become connected.


Is your Moodle “cheatable”? — from Moodle News


The Rubric is available at http://jaredstein.org/cheat/ and you can check out Jared Stein’s Cheatability Factor Presentation at http://jaredstein.org/pres/cheatability/. Mr Stein works for UVU as Director of Instructional Design Services.

What the tool is getting at is the randomness of questions posed to students and what type of opportunities, if any, students have to cheat or collaborate on independent work. While most questions are straightforward there was the occasional curveball like this, “Could students find a paper on the topic just through Google? Or does the paper require individualized selection of topic, interpretation, analysis, and reflection?”  Not quite a yes/no question (but those are exactly the answer choices you have).

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Content-focusing questions for SME interviews — from elearninguncovered.com by Diane Elkins


Over the years, we have developed a list of questions specifically designed to help with this SME conversation. Working with these questions helps us get the information we need and steers us away from information that isn’t relevant to the course. In some cases, providing this list to the SMEs in advance helps make the conversation go more smoothly.

  1. What are some of the areas that cause the most confusion?
  2. What are some of the most common questions you get about this topic?
  3. What are the common mistakes that people make in this area?
  4. What are the most dangerous mistakes people can make in this area? What is the impact?
  5. What are the biggest gaps between what people should be doing and what they are actually doing?
  6. Do you have any stories or examples that help illustrate key points?
  7. What content points might cause some resistance or pushback?
  8. Is there anything that might be considered new or revolutionary over what they previously did or thought?
  9. If they walked away remembering only three things, what would they be?
  10. Is there anything that they need to know “cold”? Meaning, if you stopped them on the street next Tuesday and asked them, you would want them to know the answer without blinking?
  11. Is there anything that is important but used infrequently? Perhaps rather than memorizing it, having a reference to look up would be more useful?
  12. Do you know of any checklists or reference guides that might help people use this information in their day-to-day work?
  13. Is there anything here that you would consider “nice-to-know”? Meaning, it won’t necessarily affect what they work on from day to day?

Of course, there are many other questions we need to ask for the project overall (you can find a list here), but we’ve found that these questions really help us focus on getting the best possible information from the SMEs that will be of most value to the students.

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 The Inspiration Bookshelf — from Julie Dirksen

From DSC:
Here’s a solid list of resources re: books ID’s should read that seems to support the KISS principle (of which I’m a huge fan) as well as how to make learning fun and engaging.

One of the things I had while writing the book was an inspiration bookshelf.  These were books that not only inspired the content of Design for How People Learn, but also the style of it.  None of these are instructional design books, but they are all books that instructional designers should read…

Also see:

From Daniel Christian -- November 2011 -- An important note to publishers of academic/educational materials!


From DSC:
We really need a much more granular approach — like an iTunes for academic content.


Dreaming: A look at Anastasis Academy — from ilearntechnology.com by Kelly Tenkely


You will notice that we don’t have rows of desks.  No teacher’s desk either.  We have space that kids can move in. Corners to hide in, stages to act on, floors to spread out on, cars to read in.  We are learning how to learn together, learning how to respect other children’s space and needs, learning how to discipline ourselves when we need to, learning how to work collaboratively, we are learning to be the best us.





Also see:

Storytelling in eLearning: The why and how — from eLearn Magazine by Shelley A. Gable

There is no substitute for the real thing — from the Educational Origami blog


Source: http://bossysmile.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/pyramid1.gif?w=287&h=265
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Building Learning Communities 2011 Keynote: Dr. Eric Mazur — from November Learning


Today, we are officially relaunching our opening keynote from BLC11 with Dr. Eric Mazur. Dr. Mazur is the Area Dean of Applied Physics and Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA.

In his keynote, Dr. Mazur shares his vast research on teaching and learning. Students in Dr. Mazur’s class are moving far away from the traditional stand and deliver lectures given in many k-12 and university classrooms around the world, and they are gaining a much deeper understanding of the material being taught in the process.

As you watch this video, we invite you to take some time and respond to one or more of the following questions…


From DSC:
What I understood the key points to be:

  • Teaching and learning should not be about information transfer alone; that is, it’s not about simply having students “parrot back” the information.  That doesn’t lead to true learning and long-term retention.
  • The more a teacher is an expert in his/her content, the more difficulty this teacher has in understanding how a first time learner in this subject struggles
  • Rather we need to guide and use peer instruction/social learning/collaboration amongst students to construct learning and then be able to apply/transfer that learning to a different context
  • Lecturing is not an effective way to create a long term retention of information
  • Peer instruction/human interaction creates effective learning
  • “The plural of anecdotes is not data.”
  • Eric is seeking data and feedback to sharpen his theories of how to optimize learning
  • Technology serves pedagogy — technology should afford a new mode of learning
  • Towards that end, Eric and team working on “Peer instruction 2.0”
  • How do I design good questions?  Optimize the discussions? Manage time? Insure learning is taking place?
  • Eric is working with several other colleagues to create a system for building and using data analytics to give useful information to instructor about who’s “getting it” and who isn’t; about how we learn
  • Peer instruction not without issues — how people group themselves and who students choose to collaborate with can be problematical
  • Why not have the system do the pairing/grouping?
  • System uses algorithms, facial recognition, posture analysis; cameras, microphones
  • Surveys also used
  • The system is attempting to help Eric and his team learn about learning
  • The system being used at Harvard and by invitation only

Eric ended with a summary of the 2 key messages:

  1. Education is not about lecturing
  2. We can move way beyond the current technologies and use new methods and technologies to actively manage learning as it happens


From DSC:
After listening to this lecture, the graphic below captures a bit of what he’s getting at and reflects some of my thinking on this subject as well.  That is, we need diagnostic tools — along the lines of those a mechanic might use on our cars to ascertain where the problems/issues are:


National Standards for Quality Online Courses -- from iNACOL -- Version 2 from October 2011


The mission of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) is to ensure all students have access to world-class education and quality online learning opportunities that prepare them for a lifetime of success. National Standards for Quality Online Courses is designed to provide states, districts, online programs, and other organizations with a set of quality guidelines for online course content, instructional design, technology, student assessment, and course management.

9 ways to encourage the adult e-Learners — from The Rapid E-Learning Blog by Tom Kuhlmann

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