Category Archives: La Verne

The PT5 Summer Camp Spy Game

Last week marked the end of the 4th Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers Today Through Technology Summer Camp. Over 20 community college students attended the Spy themed Technology camp over the three days. Each had access to an iPad as they participated in the hands-on sessions that were designed to give future educators an overview of helpful educational technologies.

Marla Humphrey - Bonita Unified Reading Specialist - discusses social networks and professional branding

Marla Humphrey – Bonita Unified Reading Specialist – discusses social networks and professional branding

Some background- La Verne’s Title V Part A Cooperative grant teams us up once again with our neighbor (and friend) Citrus Community College. This grant has the overarching goal of increasing the number of underrepresented students who enter the field of education. Specifically, this grant supports the integration and modeling of learning technologies in college courses to produce more technically proficient educators. Activities include intensive faculty training and a newly developed instructional design services.

Over the last four years, more than 25 students have transferred from community college to La Verne’s Educational Studies program. There are some significant things about this. By taking general education courses at community college rates before transferring to a private Liberal Arts college reduces student loan considerably. Additionally, for first generation college students, this transition allows time for greater readiness to succeed at a 4-year college.

We have one more year of implementation for the Title V HSI Grant. This 4th year

IMG_1403But onto the camp game. Borrowing on the New Media Consortium Conference game this summer, instructional designer (and cartoonist) Sarah Barnes researched obscure and diverse spies from the past. She was delighted to find a whole world of badass woman and men who used their grit and wit to gather intel from the enemy. From this panoply of personalities, we chose four spies for our summer camp Twitter game.

The purpose of the game was to introduce Twitter as a way to create a conversation using a hashtag. Additionally, the game was intended to give camp participants a way to get to know one another while sharing thoughts about what they were learning. All but 2 of the players were new to Twitter as a social network.

spy game slideThe rules of the game were simple; tweet about the camp using the #pt5spy hashtag. Tweets could include a picture of your spy, could be related to what was taking place at the camp or could be related to your spy. The winner would be the tweeter with the most #pt5spy tweets during the event.

Using a leaderboard from Rise.Global similar to the one used at NMC was intended to organize the Twitter game. Despite two different practice leaderboards that seemed to work, the one developed for the Spy Camp was a total fail. The interface for setting up a leaderboard allowed me to pull tweets with the game hashtag. When we tested the leaderboard in the weeks leading up to the camp, tweeting with the hashtag indeed added one as a player on the leaderboard. Leaderboards, however, expire after a week (or so it seems). In the hopes of working around this and any other possible difficulties, I paid for a month of premium service. Despite this intended preparation, I was still unclear about how the system worked and the Help/FAQ provided was either incomplete or so technical that both were useless. Once the event began and things went sideways- even my persistence (and stubbornness) garnered no solution. Eventually, I created a spreadsheet of all the players and recorded each one’s tweets prior to beginning the game. Using a formula to keep the tally correct, I used the spreadsheet twice a day to update the scores.

Clunky but it worked. Lesson learned: someone could really create a useful app if it could easily calculate the number of times a tweeter uses a specific hashtag and report it in descending order.

Despite the technical breakdown, the ultimate aim- to provide an engaging experience with social media- was successful. The variety and unity of the three days of tweeting created a shared reference point for a group of disparate students interested in transferring from local community colleges to the University of La Verne. TechCamp2015

Instructional Design; What it is. What it isn’t.

Instructional Design is an organized approach to designing, developing, and delivering course content.

Instructional design projects focus on an identified curricular, pedagogical, or assessment problem. This problem frames the design project and informs the project timeline.

Once a design problem has been identified, a team is assembled to address the problem in a series of projects. In a university like La Verne, the faculty or program chair would be the heart of this team as the subject matter expert (SME) however a member of the design team would act as the project lead. Librarians, educational technologists, and other instructional designers would play a role depending on the project.

Instructional design is intensive work which requires time, and expertise. Far more time than most people would recognize. La Verne faculty balance scholarship, teaching, and service. Instructional design requires a significant commitment to a project timeline.

Common Misconceptions

Blackboard means online education…

The Blackboard learning management system is the least important part of designing an online course because it is simply the location of the course materials. An on ground course would not be described by the building or room in which it takes place.
Blackboard or any learning management system are great networks for organizing students and online courses. However, to develop a truly exceptional online course or program, it takes intentional design and navigation.

An online course is a conversion of a traditional course…

Online courses are pedagogically different than on ground courses. Creating an online course which has the same intimate and collaborative environment for which La Verne is applauded relies on careful design and entirely different tools.
Research in online education correlates social presence to retention and completion rates. Developing activities that promote social presence in an online course and are directly tied to the learning outcomes is essential for creating an online course that sets La Verne apart from other online programs.

Instructional Design is essentially uploading and organizing existing content…

Instructional design is the art of crafting clear learning outcomes, aligning those outcomes to authentic course assessments, then developing the course materials and the course activities with a balance that ensures all learners will succeed.

Why Yes! Clearly Defined Course Objectives Do Inform Design~

Building the bridge while crossing it

This is the best analogy for how I had approached course design in my early days of teaching online and blended courses. I knew where I was heading, I knew the assessment tool that would determine the degree to which my students could apply the concepts in the course, Learning Technology for Educators, however, I had a hazy roadmap for getting there.

Another difficulty of teaching a hybrid course was definition. I also had no real directive on the hybrid delivery method other than a percentage of “out of class” time, read: butts not in seats. When I began purposefully teaching a hybrid course, face to face time could be replaced with up to 50% of course activities in the online environment. This left so many things unclear. And so many possibilities.

So perhaps this course plan method was a positive start. I began by replacing a single group activity spanning two class sessions with a structured group collaboration using cloud based tools. Course plan altered only by location but not activity or outcome. I knew I was taking baby steps of trying to replicate the identical f2f experience and initially this was comfortable.

As I read more from other instructors, met innovative colleagues at conferences, and listened closely to my student’s feedback, it was clear that trying to replicate a f2f class was misunderstanding the pedagogical possibilities afforded by the blended environment.


Phase One: (2008) “Skip” three class sessions and do a group activity using a cloud based tool

Phase Two (2010) Fully online; weekly recorded lessons (another whole journey here with screencasting!) replicating the f2f sessions teaching. Students had group work and weekly open blogging for dialogue.

Phase Three (2011) Fully online; on demand recorded resources (generic) with weekly screencast summarizing previous concepts and framing upcoming ones. These recordings were directed at each specific section and using students names and examples to add personalization to the experience. Weekly blog topics & required substantive response.

Phase Four (2013) Weekly online meetings, structured group activities in the breakout session, weekly assignment overview and any needed modeling. Two f2f meetings on campus during semester. Emphasis on social presence and structured teamwork. Learning outcomes aligned with assessments; detailed quantitative & qualitative rubrics for each activity.

Blue Highways

This BlendKit course is a chance to stop and look at where I am in the design and implementation of this course. I’d like to add a different arc so that the culminating assignment is built up to more intentionally. Creating a gaming component in the early middle of the course is what I am hoping to build during the next 4 weeks.