Category Archives: 4.3 Delivery System Management

4.3 Delivery System Management
Delivery system management involves planning, monitoring and controlling
‘the method by which distribution of instructional materials is organized’ . . .
[It is] a combination of medium and method of usage that is employed to
present instructional information to a learner.
Examples include:
4.3.1 Apply delivery system management techniques in various learning and training
[from (SMETS)]

EDTECH 523 Module 6 Reflection

Module 6 is where we teamed up with a partner to plan a live presentation for our peers using the Adobe Connect software. This is the reflection I wrote after Bret and I did our presentation, which was a fantastic experience.

Module 6 reflection

The readings and how they are reflected in our presentation:

Chapter 5 of the book was my favorite chapter. Even though Bret and I scoured through chapter 6 figuring out what type of interaction was possible and feasible, chapter 5 contained stuff that had tangible meaning for me at this time. In our presentation I played the role of behind the scenes host. I tried to calm people’s worries if they were expressed in the chat area during the presentation. I made it to one of the breakout rooms to help them get started with their conversation and let them know that they were doing great by writing on the notes screen. I also let them know they could use audio and video cams in the breakout room without bothering others. Before we pulled people out of the rooms, we sent the 20 sec warning that you were going to have your reality change. For the anticipated review of what went on in the groups, I pulled up the notes screens so they could be seen by everybody and therefore not be left out of any discussion. We also planned for a parting gift, which apparently did not download for some people. I have no clue why that didn’t work because we put the documents in there correctly. I also hope that some people get to take the survey so they can see what a Google form can do and if they use the links at the end of the form, they can view the data as it comes in. I was glad to see some welcomed the idea of having a “parting gift.”

I did not get to enact all that was suggested in chapter 5, in part because I was not a solo presenter. Also, since we were doing a round-robin of classroom jumping, there really was not a way to be prepared enough to welcome people as they entered. I understand that it was difficult to get people in as guests and Bret and I learned that barrier early on. I think this is why he came in our room as a guest and had me turn him into a host. Somehow everybody was turned into a host so it did not matter that Bret did not enter as a presenter/host. In some ways, the software is too friendly by putting a cookie in our machine and not making us re-register for each room. That is why I used my Mac when I was a participant and my PC as the presenter. I anticipated quick room changes and knew I’d mess it up if I tried to enter the other rooms while using my PC because the PC is cookied. It is not reasonable to expect people to have 2 computers to do this lesson so we could not expect everybody who had already presented to be out of the presenter registration. I think that is why so many people showed up as hosts when they entered the room- their machines were cookied and it is tough to remove that status.  I guess since I spend so much time trouble shooting things because I often find them difficult to maneuver through quickly, that it proved to be an asset for me to know the Mac would work fine in the guest position.

Bret and I also used the Mac as a guest computer when we prepared for our session. Since we could not talk very clearly when we were not in the same room, it was hard for one of us to be presenter and the other to be guest when we practiced. I signed in to our room as a guest from my Mac laptop so I could see what the guests would see during the presentation. That is what taught me how the breakout rooms work. I could tell that putting ‘Mel on the Mac’ in a breakout room did not stop “her” from being a part of what was happening in the main room until the “start breakouts” button was pushed. Part of my nervousness in the beginning of our presentation was being afraid everybody would let their curiosity get the better of them and they’d move themselves out of the breakout rooms before we started them. The plan was originally to keep people as guests because we did not want them to play with stuff that was already set up to go. Fortunately we are working with adults so my fears were unnecessary. Everybody behaved themselves as perfect students and none of our tricks got messed up before they were delivered.

The backchannel- Bret and I did not necessarily see eye to eye on the backchannel, but this was not my place to be the total control freak so I went along with our main chat area being a backchannel. I don’t know if Bret has ever participated in a backchannel chat during a real presentation. I’ve actually only done it once, and that was when it was being taught to me at an ASCD presentation last year.  I wanted there to be a backchannel and a real chat area, but it would have been too chaotic in the short amount of time we had. We named it the backchannel anyway so people could see that if they had enough room on their screen area, they could have 2 chat windows during their presentations- one for real concerns and the other one to be social.   I am biased toward letting people use presentations as a way to make friends because sometimes not everything that is said needs to be heard.

That was another place I was not able to communicate well enough to get it into Bret that he did not need to do a lengthy introduction to what an LMS is. In our last practice he did narrow it down to maybe 2-3 min of talking, but today he went for more than 3 I would guess. I know my patience started to wane and I came close to just sending out the polls while he was talking. If you think today’s presentation was long-winded, you should have seen it during our first practices. I respect Bret because he wanted people to learn something during our presentation and he really is an expert on today’s talk. That is one reason we did this topic; it is relevant to what we may do as teachers and Bret had to do something similar for people in his district. Plus it had so many components that let us expand it in ways that let us play with Adobe Connect.

Bret did a fantastic job of outlining our expectations and establishing the norms for our session. You may have noticed that he built it in to the beginning of the PPT slides. He designed the presentation slides and let me go crazy with Adobe Connect bells and whistles. We somewhat followed the suggestions given starting on page 84 where there is one main person up front and someone else behind the scenes. I did not do all of the logistics alone; Bret helped with setting up the 4 types of polls and how to space everything so it would be ready to be used when we needed it to be there. I took care of naming things in a way that would make sense to us and others, putting the exit survey in a website link pod, uploading files for the file share, and creating the exit survey in Google Forms. Since I bought the eLearning suite when I was taking 521 I wanted to play as much as I could with the software. For some reason I could not get Bret’s slides to upload correctly so he did a screen share for our presentation instead of it being a file he used from the EDTECH servers.  It would actually be really cool if the eLearning suite was required instead of the other CS5 suite because then we could possibly have lessons on how to use Adobe Captivate. I’ve only played with it once, but that is something that would be an asset to know how to use for online teaching. Dreamweaver , Flash, and Photoshop are also a part of the eLearning Suite so if you get to make suggestions to the department, you would not be too out of line if you suggested having the department use the eLearning suite in the future.

Other people’s presentations:

Even though I tried to follow advice and looked at other people’s eval tools when I revised mine for tonight, I found what I thought was important was somewhat tangential to what happened. Since the presentations went so fast and I did not want to take time to watch the recordings, I had lots of gaps in my evaluation forms. Regardless of what it seems I did not learn, I found these things to be new to me and very useful:

  • Students writing on whiteboards. I knew it could be done, but had not experienced it myself in Adobe Connect yet. Actually I don’t know if I knew there could be interactive whiteboards in Adobe Connect. Had I known, we may have set up a whiteboard for each breakout room instead of using notes windows to record student interactions.
  • Students could format their notes screens. When we pulled up the Notes screen for group 1, they had done some formatting. That was so cool. I don’t know if anybody else noticed it, but it was neat to learn that students could take ownership of some of their output if Notes pods were used for collaboration.
  • I am still not sure what Adam did so we could move things on the whiteboard. I may have to email him to see if he can tell me. Adam did the music lesson, didn’t he?
  • I liked Barry’s equations on the board. I had not thought of being able to pre-arrange whiteboards for each student until I thought about how to use what he did in his lesson. I do not expect you have had a chance to read my feedback to him yet so I will also mention it here. If I knew who my students were that were going to show up, I could create a whiteboard for each student. They come to class and put up a problem on their whiteboard while they wait for others to arrive. Another way of doing it could be to “seed” the whiteboards with problems and assign the whiteboards to students as they arrive. They would put up their work so they could explain it to the rest of the class during the session.
  • This sort-of ties in with what Janette and Earl did with the chat windows. Even though we followed directions and only wrote on the chat screen we were assigned to, I wonder if they could have been set up to be pre-assigned to students and restricted from others being able to write on them.   I had not thought of using chat windows as a way to run small discussions. Watching that process was very useful.
  • I liked how Chioma used the chat window for formative assessment- she kept us alert because she was asking questions that required feedback. Even though I was a little disoriented because her Adobe Connect window would not open on the Mac at first, I found her technique to be effective. It was quick and she could use online learner cues (p.82) to gauge participant interest.
  • Travis and Kirkland were very creative by having a game be the final assessment. I also found it interesting how they assumed everybody should know how to do a screen-shot. Is that the level of our online students? Do they know all of these techniques?  If I did not have Snag-It I would be at a loss for how to do screen shots and actually use them.

The only problem I had with the presentations, other than them going at a pace that was a bit too fast for me to be comfortable with the changing scenery, was that there were not enough of them. I thought we were excluded from the rest of the spreadsheet because we were not welcome in other sessions so I did not try to be a part of them. Now that I see how talented my peers are, I wish I had been. I learned something from everybody today. It did not matter if their presentation had been memorized, polished, perfect or not, everybody offered something unique that let me walk away with more than I had arrived with in my bag of tricks. Thank you for this opportunity.

Reflect on assessment of learning outcomes in online environments. Consider the following questions in your reflection:

  1. What are appropriate assessment strategies in synchronous and asynchronous delivery methods?

I think formative assessment is more readily done in synchronous sessions because the feedback is instantaneous. It could be done asynchrously, but the instructor won’t know what the students are thinking until the student remembered to turn in his/her assessment.

In both cases, written assessment where students analyze something can be effectively done.

  1. Does this look different than assessment in traditional classrooms? How and why?

I think it looks somewhat different online than in a traditional classroom because students who are afraid to volunteer an answer in the classroom will often speak up online. Even today, everybody participated in Chioma’s questions. She did not call on single students like what normally happens in the traditional classroom.  This is one reason I want to be an online teacher and enjoy being an online student. I hate answering questions in verbal face to face discussions, but as you have seen, I am quite prolific online. I know I am not unique so I wanted to used online discussions to compliment the ones we did face to face. Once again, I assert that hybrid instruction is optimal because the learning environments are diverse and can cater to the diversity of our learners.


EDTECH 523: Principles of Online Teaching Paper

Principles for Effective Online Teaching

Melissa Getz

Boise State University

February 21, 2012

1. Teacher expectations for students are clearly stated. 

One of the most frustrating things students face is not understanding what they are expected to do. I intentionally gave ambiguous assignments in the face to face classroom because I wanted students to be creative with their final products. I often hesitated to give examples because I feared I would get clones of the example and often when I did give an example that is exactly what happened. One advantage to me giving ambiguous assignments in a face to face classroom, though, is that my students knew they would see me in person at least three times a week. I made myself available at lunch and after school to help them figure out how to do the project. There were many afternoons that I would be in the library with them, sitting next to them, to help them figure out how to complete the assignment that involved technology.  In the online environment, I can have office hours, but physically stalking down a student and inviting him to collaborate with me is not realistic.  Another advantage to the face to face setting is that I can personally hand a student a piece of paper. In the online environment, unless we are in a synchronous setting where I push the document to the student or have created a recorded session that allows for documents to spontaneously show up in students’ faces, there is no guarantee a student will even find the syllabus or other structural document.

There are several publications that support the need for online courses and online instruction to be highly organized and to have clear expectations readily available. Southern Regional Education Board (SREB)’s document, Standards for Quality Online Teaching (2006) (abbreviated here as SQOT) states, “Teacher expectations are also a significant factor in how much and how well students learn.”  In my principle, not only do teachers have to have high expectations, they need to communicate them. SQOT (2006) goes on to mention how important it is for a syllabus to be available online that not only includes the teacher’s expectations, but grading criteria and any other pertinent course organization (p.5). Palloff and Pratt (2007) describe their beginning documents which include “a syllabus, guidelines, and the accepted rules of ‘netiquette’” (p. 115). In addition, since they use discussion forums in their online courses, they state at the beginning of the course how they expect “a minimum of two substantive posts per week per participant” (Palloff & Pratt, 2007, p. 115). The National Education Association (NEA) Guide to Online High School Courses (n.d) also recommends a pre-class orientation or a specific introduction to help ease students into the mechanics of taking a course online. It also stresses the need for all necessary materials for the courses to be easily available to students (p. 21). Finally, SREB’s Standards for Quality Online Courses (2006) (abbreviated here as SQOC) wants course requirements to be consistent with course goals, “representative of the scope of the course, and are clearly stated” (p. 4).

2. Multiple modes are used to transmit information such that they overlap and there is some redundancy. 

To cater to different learning styles, teachers need to use a variety of activities and ways of communicating information so that students can take ownership of it. In the online classroom, this means that in some situations, an audio file needs to accompany a text file. In other situations, it is not enough to assign students to do a scripted lab; demonstration video needs to accompany the lab so students can at least see how to do the lab safely. If information is very important, there should be at least two ways it is communicated to students. Even a Voki to communicate an afterthought can be effective because it is eye-catching and will let students know that something has changed or has been updated. If students are not catching all of the assignments and how to complete them, then the teacher needs to find a different, perhaps redundant, way to communicate what the assignments are and how students can be successful.
Publications supporting the use of multiple modes of transmitting information include SREB’s documents: Standards for Quality Online Teaching (SQOT) (2006) and Standards for Quality Online Courses (SQOC) (2006). In SQOT (2006), they say, “The teacher differentiates instruction based on students’ learning styles and needs and assists students in assimilating information to gain understanding and knowledge” (p. 4). The differentiation can use synchronous and asynchronous tools including multimedia and visual resources (p.3) that let the instructor “adapt and adjust instruction to create multiple paths to learning objectives” (SQOT, 2006, p.6). To support the idea that a variety of modes are used to communicate information, the SQOC document (2006) elaborates on how the online course provides “opportunities for interaction and communication student to student, student to instructor, and instructor to student” (p.4). “Courses must utilize technology that enables the teacher to customize each student’s learning experience through tools and formats such as video, interactive features, resources and links to related information” (SQOC, 2006, p.1). If these features restate course objectives or instructions on how to complete assignments, as long as the information does not contradict itself, the more modes of communication, the better. For students who can easily acquire and process information, the instructor can advise them through a path in the course that has fewer redundant resources. It should not be a scavenger hunt where a student needs to access all of the communication methods to get a complete picture; instead it should be a complete picture that has various points emphasized in alternative ways.  SQOC (2006) also points out the need for courses to meet “universal design principles, Section 508 standards and W3C guidelines to ensure access for all students” (p.7). This means the teacher may have to “adjust the scope and sequence of instruction to meet students’ academic and learning needs” (SQOC, 2006, p.2).  In addition, “the design reflects a clear understanding of student needs and incorporates varied ways to learn and multiple levels of mastery of the curriculum” (SQOC, 2006, p.4). To communicate expectations, “each lesson includes a lesson overview, content and activities, assignments and assessments to provide multiple learning opportunities for students to master the content” (SQOC, 2006, p.4). To further differentiate instruction, “the course makes maximum use of the capabilities of the online medium and makes resources available by alternative means; e.g., video, CDs and podcasts” (SQOC, 2006, p.7).

3. The learning process is dynamic.  Students interact with information, ideas, and each other in addition to receiving static methods like taped lectures or videos. 

In the face to face classroom, there are multiple ways to have students interact with information, although in many classes the lecture is used as the primary conduit of content. Lectures are pretty static- they often do not involve any student interaction or participation. In contrast, inquiry based assignments in the classroom engage the students to ask questions or to take control of some aspect of the learning environment. Online inquiry can look like the discussions in forums if students are asking questions that other students are answering. Having students create “new” ideas because of their interaction with online discussions, creating wikis with others, taping a Jing presentation to demonstrate what they have learned, or creating an animation to explain a concept are far more interactive than listening to the teacher talk. Rice (2012) suggests activities like “question generation, hypothesis development, and defense of ideas” in collaborative environments (p. 31). The online learning environment needs to be more student-centered than the one in a typical face to face classroom. Online, something other than the teacher is the source of information.  According to Palloff and Pratt (2007), “the responsibility for learning falls to the learners in a learner-centered approach and the focus is on learning, not on grades” (p.106).

Other publications reinforce the idea that online learning needs to be student-centered and active (Rice, pp. 74-78; SQOT, pp. 4 and 6). The teacher serves as a “guide on the side, an instructor, a group process facilitator, and an advisor.” The guide gently encourages students to participate in what may seem like new educational circumstances, the instructor ensures what happens in the classroom runs smoothly, the group process facilitator monitors student interactions online, and the advisor is not only a stable adult for the children, but also serves as a resource parents can rely upon for direction on how to maneuver the online school setting (Rice, 2012, pp. 74-78).

The SQOC (2006) document emphasizes:

The course uses learning activities that engage students in active learning; provides students with multiple learning paths to master the content based on student needs; reflects multicultural education and is accurate, current, and free of bias. (p.4)

It continues:

The teacher engages students in learning activities that address a variety of learning styles and preferences… The course provides opportunities for students to engage in higher-order thinking, critical reasoning activities and thinking in increasingly complex ways. (p.5)

By providing such opportunities, “information literacy and communication skills are incorporated and taught as an integral part of the curriculum”(SQOC, 2006, p. 2). On page 14, the NEA Guide to Online High School Courses (n.d) outlines similar expectations for online classrooms.

The course makes maximum use of the online medium by incorporating primary source materials, media, outside experts, and resources beyond the geography and culture of the students’ brick-and-mortar classroom experience.

They give examples of how to make courses interactive. Students utilize “a variety of media and resources” as they “learn from multiple viewpoints.” Their lessons may include online discussions, lab experiments, designing projects, writing critiques of what they read, writing lab reports, using multimedia to create a product, or having online group activities to teach collaboration skills (NEA, n.d., pp. 14-15).

Palloff and Pratt (2007) elaborate on why a variety of teaching techniques and student-centered activities are necessary. They urge instructors to be facilitators who use “a variety of learning activities and demonstrate instructional methods other than lecturing. Draw out creativity, innovativeness, and ideas in a collaborative manner” (Palloff & Pratt, 2007, pp. 109-110).  The facilitator allows “students to explore the course material… without restriction” (Palloff & Pratt, 2007, p110). Students may make comments about the reading material in discussion forums where the content is further explained or clarified.  They go on to elaborate on other researchers’ ideas of how online learning is facilitated such that the students are actively involved with the process of creating curricular material. This perspective is called a “teaching presence” and it often involves students facilitating discussion forums (p.111) or providing ideas on surveys administered during the course.

4. Safe, sociable, and legal practices are demonstrated and are taught to students. 

Safe practices include what information to disclose or not disclose in an online environment. Sociable practices include using academic language and informing students of typical netiquette expectations. The online course can contain a social forum where students can be more casual with their language. This reinforces the idea that in the content forums, more appropriate word choices are necessary (Palloff & Pratt, 2007, pp.112-115). Legal practices include teaching students about how to appropriately use information they find online including copyright laws, what constitutes plagiarism, and how to evaluate information found online to ensure it is accurate and reliable (SQOC, 2006, pp.3-4; SQOT, 2006, p.5). If needed, the instructor can create a set of Acceptable Use Policies (AUP) if the school does not already have students signing one upon registration (Rice, 2012, p.242; SQOT, 2006, p.5). The NEA Guide to Online High School Courses (n.d.) refers to this type of knowledge as “Information Literacy,” whereas Rice (2012) calls it “Digital Literacy” (p.241-242). NEA’s publication (n.d.) encourages instructors to have students complete lessons that teach them how to evaluate appropriate online resources, how to judge the credibility of what is published online, and how to maintain respect for copyright or other intellectual property they would like to use for their own projects (p. 15).

5. The teacher has been an online student in at least two different settings. 

In order for teachers to understand the frustrations that online students can have, they need to walk the walk themselves. Future online teachers need to experience the different ways that instructors can organize discussion forums, due dates, documents, expectations, or other mechanical qualities of the online setting so that they can be aware of some of the circumstances that can cause student frustration. The more exposure, the better; however, if I’m going to write a principle that leads to a standard, I want to quantify that there needs to be at least two experiences with different instructors. Rice (2012) recommends online teachers have “online course experience as a learner” (p.41). Both SREB (2006) and NEA (n.d.) want online instructors to have had at least one experience with being an online student and/or some training on how to be an online teacher (SQOT, 2006, p.6; SQOC, 2006, p.8; NEA, n.d., p17).

6. Assessment includes more analysis than determining the students’ ability for taking multiple choice tests. 

Assessment could include contributions to a discussion forum, a video they make individually or in teams to demonstrate content in the class, an animation showing how something works, writing in a journal or blog, doing a vlog, creating a wiki by oneself or as a group, or photographing a physical project made at home. Not only does the instructor evaluate student work, but the students will often do self-assessments. Rice (2012) emphasizes that online learning environments should promote a process and not just an end product.  These “online instructional strategies should encourage the use of a variety of metacognitive activities for assessment including feedback, self-reflection, and self-explanation” (Rice, 2012, p. 33). SQOC (2006) and SQOT (2006) want to see instructors create and utilize assessment that justifies the content, how it is administered to the students, shows what the students do with the information, and reports how they perceive their intellectual gain (SQOC, 2006, pp. 2 and 6; SQOT, 2006,pp. 5 – 8). NEA (n.d) on p. 19 suggests online high school courses’ assessments include:

  • Contributions and responses to online discussions
  • Completion of online assignments
  • Portfolio submissions
  • Special projects and/or presentations
  • Creation of authentic products
  • Tests and quizzes

For more advanced courses like those for college or other adult levels, small group collaboration or case study analysis that yields a collaboratively written paper or project can serve as an alternative assessment to a fact-based test (Palloff & Pratt, pp.115-116 ).

7. Curriculum is modified on a regular basis by the person teaching the course. The class is not merely static lessons developed with the idea students will have to adapt themselves to the curriculum.  The content and its delivery needs flexibility that allows for individualized instruction and assessment when needed. The teacher is given the power to change the curriculum, activities, and assessments based on the information s/he gets from students and their progress. Resources supporting these ideas include Standards for Quality Online Teaching, 2006, p. 7; Standards for Quality Online Courses, 2006, p.8; NEA, n.d., p. 22; and Palloff and Pratt, 2007, p.115.



National Educational Association. (n.d.). Guide to Online High School Courses. Retrieved from

Paloff, Rena M. & Pratt, Keith. (2007). Building Online Learning Communities: Effective Strategies for the Online Classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Rice, Kerry. (2012). Making the Move to K-12 Online Teaching: Research Based Strategies and Practices. Boston: Pearson.

Southern Regional Education Board. (2006). Standards for Quality Online Teaching.  Retrieved from

Southern Regional Education Board. (2006). Standards for Quality Online Courses. Retrieved from


Program Evaluation Final Project EDTECH 505

The project for EDTECH 505 was a huge challenge and from what I understand, it strikes fear in all EDTECH students. We are expected to evaluate something real. I was no longer in the classroom and have no official affiliation with any schools. I know I was terrified about how I was going to accomplish the project.  I thought about all the resources I have and all the people I have had conversations with about things that may be appropriate for the project. A former boss, who is also like a mentor, came to mind. At the time, she was the superintendent of a Regional Occupational Program I used to work with. We had had a conversation about hybridizing some of the ROP courses. Although I have never had an opportunity to teach a hybrid course, I think they are the ultimate way education can be done. The goal of this project was to see if I created a course her teachers would actually use, how they thought about using the course. They did not use the course I wrote because it was summertime, but if they had shown interest in using it the following academic year, I would have hosted it for them.

Somewhere along the way I picked up the website URL because I wanted to make Moodle classes for teachers. At one time I thought my first million would come from selling pre-made units or courses in a Moodle format to classroom teachers who wanted to hybridize their classes. The Certificate in Online Teaching I did at Merritt Community College taught me how to design and structure Moodle courses, and the class I took from Moodlerooms taught me how to be a Moodle administrator. I was motivated to try Dr. Fujii’s teachers out as possible clients because I really want to influence online learning in a positive way. No I did not charge them anything for what I did for them. I was earning course credit for the project so it would be wrong to accept any pay. What Dr. Fujii and I wanted to figure out is if her teachers who showed an interest in hybridizing their classes would be receptive to the course I designed for them in Moodle. Unfortunately I can’t put a link to the course because the ROP owns the materials I used. I can, however, link to the report I wrote for EDTECH 505.

Community of Inquiry paper

Constructivism Analyzed using the Community of Inquiry Model

This paper is being added to my learning log as I prepare for the portfolio. That is why it is out of sequence with the dates.

Melissa Getz

Boise State University



The Community of Inquiry (CoI) is a paradigm established in 2000 by D. Randy Garrison, Terry Anderson, and Walter Archer that identifies how students learn in online asynchronous discussions. Over the past ten years several other researchers have joined in the scene by taking their own angles on how CoI can be measured, manipulated, applied, or just be useful. The Community of Inquiry is not unlike other learning theories where it has components that are made up of even more specific parts.  For CoI, the three main parts are called “presence” and within each presence there are variables that over the last few years have been used to measure the feasibility of the particular learning environment. First an overview of inquiry will be presented, followed by an introduction of the three presences along with some excerpts from literature.

What is Inquiry?

Inquiry is an educational practice that is based on the Constructivist learning theory. Constructivism has students create their own meaning for an assignment by having control of some of the direction or questioning involved with the lessons. Students derive meaning from the lesson instead of being told what to think or by being shown all of the answers. Hands-on learning is a constructivist approach because students manipulate objects to make meaning of the concepts or theories. Inquiry takes the hands-on approach one step further by giving students more control over the lesson, its content, or its direction. (Llewellyn, 2002) The Community of Inquiry is a manifestation of inquiry in an online written environment involving asynchronous discussions. Analysis of discussions using the Community of Inquiry model lets researchers measure the extent of inquiry that happens during said asynchronous discussions. Community of Inquiry is a learning theory because it analyzes learning that happens by means of interactive online discussions where ideas are developed over time via facilitation from each other or an instructor.

What is the Community of Inquiry?

Three presences were established in 2000 when Garrison, Anderson, and Archer published the paper, “Critical Inquiry in a Text-Based Environment: Computer Conferencing in Higher Education.”  The paper’s approach was to bring awareness to a new trend in higher education called computer-mediated communication (CMC).  They had done extensive research to delineate the components needed for learning to happen and they identified three core elements that needed to interact for a community to form where inquiry could happen.  It was in this paper that the social presence, the cognitive presence, and the teaching presence were born. Since year 2000, numerous education researchers have been wrestling with not only how to design asynchronous discussions so that all three presences can appear, but also with learning how to measure the efficacy of a discussion in the context of these three categories.

In a face to face classroom, students are given a question to explore, conduct the experiment with peers, and formulate conclusions. It is not feasible to do the same type of inquiry when students do not meet in person. However, inquiry can be done online using asynchronous discussions. For an online discussion to foster inquiry, it must have certain characteristics.  Since students make decisions about what to discuss, they formulate ideas and questions, and take ownership of what they say, inquiry is by definition involved. Students are given control over where discussions lead. If they go off topic, then other students will either point it out and steer them back on topic, or the off topic ideas will be ignored. Naturally, the participants have to be comfortable with the social setting and not be afraid to express their ideas. In addition, it helps if their ideas are received, considered, and processed by participants since having ideas validated carries a lot of weight in the online learning environment. If the social construct for the discussions is healthy, then a community of inquiry forms. Merely having a discussion forum does not guarantee it will evolve into a community where ideas are freely shared, respected, and altered.  There are other factors that need to exist. An instructor is still necessary to get the course started and to establish the safe discussion environment; however the students, when adequately engaged will create the community of inquiry because they will ask their peers questions to get others to think beyond their initial responses. Having students initiate questions that foster further discussion is a form of inquiry because the ideas and direction of the discussion are being generated by the students and not by the instructor.

Social Presence

The social presence component goes beyond netiquette to a more involved interaction with the other students in the class.  The three areas that comprise social presence are “Emotional Expression, Open Communication, and Group Cohesion” (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2000, p. 89). The social presence is often the element that constitutes the human side of having a discussion. It comprises the aspects of the conversation where people relate to each other and develop a personal investment in what is transpiring online, which may keep them coming back to the discussion area. Maintaining a risk-free environment where people feel open to sharing ideas is crucial to establishing the social presence. A risk-free environment yields open communication, and the group cohesion develops as participants collaborate to produce a product from the synergy of their ideas.

Cognitive Presence

The cognitive presence is as it sounds; it deals with the thinking that happens as evidenced by the discussion. The four areas that constitute cognitive presence are, “Triggering Event, Exploration, Integration, and Resolution” (Garrison, et al., 2000, p.89).  First there is a triggering event which stimulates the participants’ curiosities. Students are engaged by a question or a dilemma they need to solve. They exchange information as they collaboratively explore possible solutions. These interactions lead to integrating ideas into a thesis or possible explanation to the question or dilemma. Finally the group applies their ideas to a new scenario or tries out their proposal to determine its validity. The last part is a resolution of their synthesis- was their collaborative premise valid?

Teaching Presence

Although at first this may seem like the role of the instructor, the instructor is involved only as a facilitator who encourages students to help lead the discussion. The three areas that comprise the teaching presence are, “Design and Organization, Facilitating Discourse, and Direct Instruction” (Garrison, et al., 2000, p.89). The teaching presence emerges when students explain things to each other (direct instruction), ask clarifying questions or encourage others to be involved with the discussion (facilitating discourse). The design and organization component may be more difficult for students to foster if the professor has already established a routine or expectations for the discussions. However, giving students an opportunity to choose partners for assignments may put some of the control for subsequent discussions in the hands of the students. Since asynchronous discussions lack face-to-face spontaneity, identifying when participants are steering the direction of the discussion may be not obvious until after you see if the discourse has gone in a unique direction.

Some research over the last ten years

There has been a great amount of research done to clarify what social presence, cognitive presence, and teaching presence mean and to identify ways these ideas can be used to measure interactions or student behaviors in online situations.  It is possible that when researchers analyze their asynchronous discussions, a statement may fall into more than one “presence” category so the articles cannot easily be separated by their presence category. Instead they are identified here according to the main idea the paper was trying to establish.

How does the instructor/teacher impact discussions?

Some researchers have aligned their research with Garrison’s theories, whereas a few other people are challenging some of the nuances of the Community of Inquiry.  Shea and Bidjerano’s 2009 paper has a lengthy introduction about theories of how online instruction works and they delve into what Garrison and his group have established with the Community of Inquiry. They also recognize other groups who are organizing theories such as Mishra and Koehler, and Larramendy-Joerns and Leinhardt. Larramendy-Joerns and Leinhardt look at the online interactions as presentational and performance-tutoring instead of having three presences like Garrison’s CoI. Mishra and Koehler are the ones who coined the term, technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK) model, which integrates Laramendy-Joerns and Leinhardt’s views. “Quoting Schulman (1986), Mishra and Koehler (2006), argue that the bifurcation of disciplinary knowledge and pedagogical knowledge was a major barrier to the improvement of instruction in schools” (Shea & Bidjerano, 2009, p. 544). This disconnect continues when teachers enter the classroom. They may know how to teach and what to teach, but not how to teach the content they are supposed to teach. An analogy to online asynchronous discussions is drawn. Online instructors may understand the mechanics of a discussion forum and the content that needs to be taught during that class, but do they understand how the instructor is supposed to behave so that student learning can be maximized?

Shea and Bidjerano propose that the instructor plays a significant role in the success of an online course. They administered a survey that included gathering demographic data in addition to the directed questions about student reactions to their coursework. They did not create the survey tool in isolation, but rather it was a collaborative process among several researchers, including Garrison’s group. Their findings conclude that there is a relationship between social presence and the ability of learners to extend their understanding of the content presented in the class. They assert that “teaching and social presence represent the processes needed to create paths to epistemic engagement and cognitive presence for online learners” (Shea & Bidjerano, 2009, p. 551).  What I am still not clear on, however, is if they view a teaching presence as one that is outside of the learner or if they recognize the teaching presence comes from within the learner. Some statements suggest that the instructor merely facilitates a teaching presence within the students; however, they imply instructor presence plays a role in increasing cognitive presence through the course instructor being engaged with the discussions as they happen. Students responded better when the “instructors’ judicious participation in online discussion” (Shea & Bidjerano, 2009, p. 551) focused the learners to pay attention to the relevant topics. They continue their discussion to suggest instructional designers must incorporate the role of the instructor into their courses. Although this paper did not choose to address direct instruction compared to “facilitation,” they suggest that direct instruction still has its place in the online course environment. They see this direct instruction being integrated in the ways the instructor participates in the asynchronous discussions. It looks like the creation of information still remains planted in the hands of the instructors. There continues to be a search for a way the instructors can use their content knowledge to facilitate inquiry in the students.

Does the length of the course affect how students learn?

In 2009 Akyol, Vaughan, and Garrison published their findings on how the social, teaching, and cognitive presences are affected by the length of the course. Their research was actually quite limited which should open them up to further publications as they refine their impressions on whether a four week class compared to an eight week course has an effect on what and how students learn in online classes. With the data they collected, they determined that integration, a component of the cognitive presence, is stronger for students who are in the longer course.   In addition, emotional expression, a component of the social presence, is also stronger for the longer courses. In contrast, students in the shorter course excelled more with group cohesion, a component of the social presence, and with exploration, a component of the cognitive presence. As for the teaching presence, there was no statistical difference between the two groups. This paper had so much of the research design and analysis done so poorly that I hope they redo their “experiment” with a much larger sample size and an analysis that does not make identifying student contributions for one category of a specific presence exclude other categories. For example, they decided to measure each category of the social presence based on what was said in the asynchronous discussions. This is fine, but then they added up all of the comments and decided to figure out what percentage each category made up the total number of comments. There is a bit of logic missing here because a comment that reflects on “group cohesion” should not mean that a comment was not made about “affective or emotional expression.” They are not comparable in the sense that saying something that falls in one category is a deliberate lack of saying something in another category. In addition, who is to say that there should be a specific distribution of the comments?  They grouped the data this way to give an overall impression of what students say in their discussions; however, the variables that influence what students choose to say were not exactly controlled. Regardless, more research needs to be done on the influence of course duration on how and what students learn in online classes. If nothing else, they need more data if they continue to feel compelled to use a line instead of a vertical bar graph to illustrate two data points. With at least three points they can start to establish a trend and therefore there may be some logic to doing line graphs.

Research design learning resource

Douglas Archibald is another professor who publishes papers focused on the Community of Inquiry. Although his 2010 article was very short, it set him up for future publications that look at how his Research Design Learning Resource (RDLR) is effective with preparing students for doing research in the social sciences, mainly in education.  He is using the Community of Inquiry Instrument, a survey that lets researchers analyze the components of asynchronous discussions with respect to the three presences, to evaluate the discussions students have while doing the RDLR program. The CoI instrument was developed by several other researchers, including Garrison, in 2008. With Archibald’s paper we see how the CoI framework is being extended to support specialized research that other professors are doing.  People other than those who work directly with Garrison can choose to incorporate CoI into the paradigm they are trying to promote. Like Shea & Bidjerano, Archibald seems to want to stretch the understanding of CoI into pragmatic analysis of online learning in ways Garrison’s group has not yet examined.

Collaborative virtual environments

Hamza-Lup and Stanescu work with haptic feedback devices, which are mechanical objects connected to the computer so that a person interacting with the virtual environment can have kinesthetic feedback. They have created physics interactive lessons where students do not just play with the equations for force equals mass times acceleration. The students feel how their force affects the acceleration.  The kinesthetic parameter lets a third sense join the two that are most commonly used with online discussions: vision and hearing. Now people can feel what they see or hear going on in their virtual world. Students can do an action and not only see its effect, but they can see the equations change as they alter what they are doing. It is an immediate feedback mechanism. What does this have to do with CoI?  It may not be obvious, but the CoI measures what happens when the visual and audio learning styles are used for asynchronous discussions. Hamza-Lup and Stanescu want to see how the CoI framework can measure the ways haptic feedback can “enhance the ways in which students can explore content at a distance” (2010, p. 81). They don’t intend to change how CoI is interpreted or used; instead they prefer to add another dimension that can provide context for measuring the social, cognitive, or teaching presences.

Measuring metacognitive gains using CoI

The cognitive presence may be analyzed by evaluating the variances of metacognition.  Akyol and Garrison (2011) recognize the cognitive presence component of CoI and therefore have their paper align with the CoI construct. Their paper focuses on the metacognitive part of the cognitive presence whereas other publications (Garrison & Anderson, 2003; Garrison & Vaughan, 2008) elaborate on how the cognitive part of the inquiry deals with the factual or content part of the learning. Whereas the social presence would address issues that may be somewhat akin to netiquette, the cognitive part deals with how well concepts are explained or debated in the discussions.  They found that quantity does not equal quality because clear writing can express ideas more powerfully than fluffy, unfocused statements. On the other hand, too much brevity allows for misunderstandings, which may inconsequentially lead to a more in depth discussion as more critical thinking is used to analyze what is being said, as well as for identifying what needs to be mentioned. They determine there to be three stages of metacognition:  Knowledge of Cognition (KC), Monitoring of Cognition (MC), and Regulation of Cognition (RC). They monitored and evaluated transcripts of online student discussions to evaluate where students expressed knowledge of their learning or their relationship to the information being discussed (KC), when students made evaluator comments about what other people said (MC), or made comments that affected the direction of the conversation (RC).

The metacognitive partition, Knowledge of Cognition (KC), plays a role when the students state their understanding of the topic being discussed and the process by which they are discussing it. If they recognize limitations in an online discussion then that is part of the knowledge of cognition because they are aware of how an online discussion can limit spontaneous responses that might otherwise cascade in a face to face discussion. The debate over ideas and concepts falls in the category of Monitoring of Cognition (MC) because students are determining where their ideas align with their peers and where they may contradict each other. Naturally netiquette needs to be followed when debating interpretations of content so during the debate, the social presence may be involved. When certain students dominate the conversation or tend to steer its direction, then the Regulation of Cognition (RC) is happening. Not every student will regulate the flow of the content matter and ideas it generates in every discussion. There may be times when students are elected to be the facilitators of the discussion. When students behave as strong regulators of cognition, their teaching presence is being expressed. By exerting control over the discussion and guiding its outcome, students are following a constructivist approach to learning.  They are not being passive participants. Instead they are influencing the direction of the discussion, thereby demonstrating behaviors desired when students do inquiry based learning.


Akyol, Z., Garrison, D.R. (2011). Assessing metacognition in an online community of inquiry. Internet and Higher Education (14), 183-190. doi: 10.1016/j.iheduc.2011.01.005

Akyol, Z., Vaughan, N., & Garrison, D.R. (2011). The impact of course duration on the development of a community of inquiry. Interactive Learning Environments, 19(3), 231-246. doi: 10.1080.10494820902809147

Arbaugh, J. B., Cleveland-Innes, M., Diaz, S.R., Garrison, D. R., Ice, P., Richardson, J.C., & Swan, K.P. (2008). Developing a community of inquiry instrument: Testing a measure of the Community of Inquiry framework using a multi-institutional sample. Internet and Higher Education, 11, 133-136. doi: 10.1016/j.iheduc.2008.06.003

Archibald, D. (2010). Fostering the development of cognitive presence: Initial findings using the community of inquiry survey instrument. Internet and Higher Education, 13, 73-74. doi: 10.1016/j.iheduc.2009.10.001

Garrison, D. R., & Anderson, T. (2003). E-learning in the 21st century : a framework for research and practice. London, New York: Routledge Falmer.

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T. & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2, 87-105.

Garrison, R.D., & Vaughan, N.D. (2008). Blended Learning in Higher Education: Framework, Principles and Guidelines (1st Ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Hamza-Lup, F. G., & Stanescu, I.A. (2010). The haptic paradigm in education: Challenges and case studies. Internet and Higher Education, 13, 78-81. doi: 10.1016/j.iheduc.2009.12.004

Larreamendy-Joerns, J., & Leinhardt, G. (2006). Going the distance with online education. Review of Educational Research, 76(4), 567-605.

Llewellyn, D. (2002). Inquire within: Implementing inquiry-based science standards. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press, Inc.

Mistra, P., & Koehler, M.J. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teacher’s College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054.

Shea, P., & Bidjerano, T. (2009). Community of inquiry as a theoretical framework to foster “epistemic engagement” and “cognitive presence” in online education. Computers & Education, 52, 543-553. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2008.10.007

Social Media Guidelines

Social Media Guidelines

Setting: I work for an online school that does not have formal discussion groups built into the curriculum.  The students are, for the most part, independent learners. I hold office hours, but few students ever come. What if I was to set up a place where we can do online discussions or collaborations on the projects?  Of course, I would have to get the consent from my company to do it if I did it as their employee.  So these guidelines are written with the idea students are engaged in the social network that involves our class. These are kids who are already doing work via the computer so wherever they are, be it at home or at school, there are already policies in place that govern tech use.

  1. Netiquette matters.
  2. You do not have to post your real name to the forums, but you do need to tell your instructor what name you are using as your screen name in the discussions.
  3. You may create an avatar and use it instead of your photograph.
  4. Do not assume the forums are safe- the forum is open to any student who is taking our class, but that does not mean Ms Getz knows everybody personally.
  5. Be careful about what personal information you share with others. Do not give out your social security number, passwords, or any other information that could potentially lead to identity theft. Also be careful of giving out your residential address, especially if you also mention that your family is going on a vacation.
  6. Be punctual with your responses to other people’s questions.  If you know of a solution, say it.
  7. Choose your words wisely. If you are frustrated, you may want to write about your frustrations offline and not immediately write them into the forum.
  8. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation should follow academic structure and language.
  9. You may link to anywhere on the web that is a legal website for minors, to help explain your ideas.
  10. You may post or upload any documents or images to help explain your ideas, just make sure you are using a machine that has anti-virus software. Some exceptions apply- see restrictions below.
  11. When we have formal discussions, your first post must be from your own point of view and must be posted within three days of the question being released. You will then have another 3 days to respond to one other person’s post, and an additional 3 days to have responded to at least a second person’s post or to reply back to the first person with whom you created a discussion.
  12. If you post something in a “help needed forum” and do not get any response within 24 hours from anybody, you are encouraged to tweet us.  Hashtag to be given out at the time these rules go into place- it may be unique per section.
  13. You should monitor our hashtag channel in Twitter continuously for messages from your peers.
  14. You may not post any answers to any questions on any tests or quizzes. You may discuss the concepts on the tests or quizzes, but you may not release any actual questions or flat out give any answers.
  15. If we are doing projects, you may not upload or link to your code online. You can share your fla files with your instructor, but not your peers. You can post or upload the swf file so we can see what is happening, but we don’t want students to literally be able to copy each other’s’ code.

What we’ll be doing outside of our normal classroom management system software:

    1. Discussion forums
      1. Based on concepts brought up in the course material
      2. Based on your own questions
      3. Based on real-life applications of what you are doing in the class
      4. Setting up rooms so students can asynchronously work on projects together.
      5. Oops, look what I did! …. And what I learned….
  1. I will post reminders about some projects. Since everybody is on their own schedule, you will have to rely on your individual calendar for due dates.
  2. Tweeting links to information that is useful for our content or projects.
  3. Arranging for G+ Hangouts or meetings in our Blackboard room so you can collaborate on group projects simultaneously.

Questions? Comments? Concerns?

Email Ms. Getz at with your questions, comments, or concerns. She set up a Google Form where you can give anonymous feedback.

Resources consulted:

Anderson, S. (2012) Social media guidelines. Retrieved from:

Staff. (2012). A teachers guide to social media. Retrieved from: diagram

Staff. How to create social media guidelines for your school – Introduction to the School Community. Retrieved from:

Tolisano, S. (2012). Twitter in k-8 classroom- globally connected learner. Retrieved from:

My Digital Footprint Plan

My digital footprint plan:

1.    Start using my middle initial in professional postings that would otherwise just have my first and last names.

2.    Finish developing my background information at various sites. The Google I did of myself pulled up a site where I started my portfolio, but did not really finish it. If the stats at that site are correct, my portfolio came up over 1000 times when people did a search just based on the brief information I put there. If I am truly looking for another job, then I should take some time to finish that profile.

image of links using my name as search in Google

Google Me page 1


A second page of Melissa Getzes

3.    I have already been designing my digital footprint. I got my first non-school based email address in 1994 and because of the way I was raised, I have been as cautious as possible with what I put online. My husband attends def-con every August and likes to remind me of the permanency of the Internet.  This resource talks about how our online presence is shaped by our  “ideas and beliefs about identity, privacy, voice, authenticity and power.” Catherine Cronin mentions a hesitation as well as an active sense of being involved in an online community , and that hit me strongly because my success in online courses should not be determined based on my sense of identity and safety, but my enthusiasm and the degree to which I will push myself to share myself with others is definitely determined by how the course is shaped.

4.    Do more Twitter chats. I don’t know how much I’ll be using GetzTech, but I am sure glad I am not using ntropi for our assignments because there are people following me and I don’t want to share my assignment tweets with them because I like to craft my tweets from my passions and not based on obligations.  I already have a history of passionate chats @ntropi so I may be judicious about which chats I am @ntropi and which ones I am @getztech because after I am done with the obligatory tweets, I could turn @getztech into a powerful mouthpiece.

5.    Branching out with my name. I’ve already started with my EdTech learning log being Melissa Getz’s learning log. I put on my resume. I will probably have forward to Embrace Challenge because that is where I first started building my world about me. Just last month I created for my students. This is where I am putting up tutorials for chemistry students, showcasing my students’ projects, and putting up step-wise videos to help students see how they are supposed to do their projects. The resource, You need to be clickable, came close to describing what I already do so I listed it as the resource.  The Modeling for Students part is exactly what I am doing in the Examples section at GetzGuides.

6.    Buy my name domain name. I’ve already done what is mentioned in this reference, but I need to continue with a plan so I’m mentioning it here. Of course there is more I need to do to develop each of these names / websites into a representation of me.  I have paid at least $10 a year for these names and I bought them at least a few years ago so that someone else would not take it. I am going to let the .me domains expire because they are still expensive and if the other Melissa Getz wants to pay for it, she can have it. Yes, I have already become familiar with the other Melissa Getz, thus me putting the “B” in my first step. Her middle initial is not a B and she is a teacher.

Note: Handley is my married name that I have not taken yet because I don’t know how to merge Melissa Handley into being recognized the same as Melissa Getz. I want to take my husband’s name because I don’t have any major affinity to “getz”. Getz is my stepfather’s name; he adopted my brother and me when we were little. There is no way my students were going to be able to say Gomborov so I did not use my genetic father’s name as a professional.
As for ntropi, I really hoped that is how I would be known in my professional life. When I worked for UC Berkeley and had to be professional, I  bought the domain name “melgetz” so people could email me easily. just did not make sense to most people and it became tiresome explaining it to them. I became in 2005.


7.    Maintain my Melissa Getz Facebook account and see if I can get Melissa B Getz added to it somehow.  This resource mentions how employers look us up at our Facebook accounts.  I hope they do. I am very proud of what I have done with my life and where it is going. I want to show off where I have worked and that many of my “friends” are former students who still let me know what they are doing in their lives. I love “liking” the pictures of their babies and notices of degrees they are earning or jobs they are getting. I am so proud of my students that in so many ways, my Facebook account is a way for me to keep track of them and continue to celebrate their successes. I want future employers to see who I have had an opportunity to influence and what has become of these kids, in part, because their high school teachers let them know they could become whomever they wanted to be.

8.    Why I am getting multiple accounts at popular places like Twitter and Facebook. It is really easy for me to lose jobs. The main reason I’ve been losing them so easily is because my body is a piece of profanity. It is like I really get into having a job and then something goes wrong. I started with vertigo in Dec 2009 and fortunately my current acupuncture doctor managed to clear that up in 2012. I am still being dizzy, though. I thought we had kicked the dizziness and then a couple weeks ago, it started up again. I am most worried about losing my current jobs because my idiotic body can’t handle it. I’ve already gone on a break with EO so at the moment I really only have 1 job and this class. Even so, I’m still fighting the dizziness by drinking really nasty tasting Chinese herbs. What does this have to do with multiple online accounts? I need accounts that are “clean” so that I can use them in school settings. If I were to do Facebook with students, I would use the Mel Getz account. I created it so that I could be a student and so that if I ever had students that I did projects with online in the Facebook environment, it would be my professional Facebook location. After they graduate, they can call me Melissa and I am happy to be their social Facebook friend. Before they graduate, I am either Ms Melissa or Ms Getz. I am not there to be their friend when they are my student, but if we happen to develop a friendship, I’m not going to fight it. I need to segregate my professional life from my social one, even though they tend to blend together and my body does not understand the concept of boundaries.  This particular reference applies to getting fired because of what I say online. I do not have one of my websites listed at Twitter, Facebook, or Linked In because I do use that space to say things that are not always complimentary. If I can manage to keep that blog separate from my professional me, I will be very happy. Needless to say, I have not posted there in about a year because I am afraid that what I say may cause me to not get hired somewhere.

9.    Continue to develop @GetzTech with a professional flair.

10.    Continue to attend webinars and chats and say nice things.
Reference: common sense, although some people may appreciate my cynicism

11.    Start a Follr site
I’ll be doing a free personal Follr site at first to keep track of where I have all of my fingers online.
Another reference: webinar on Conflicting Visions of Cloud Identity

12.    Read the resources on Digital Identity Management even though downloading the manual caused Firefox to crash. Restarting Firefox finally let the other pdf load: The Value of Our Digital Identity
Reference: and  and and

APA formatted references:

Cameron, K. (2012, May 5.) Conflicting Visions of Cloud Identity. Retrieved from

Koekemoer, A. (2012, July 8). Your digital footprint in a social media world. Retrieved from

Popkin, Helen A.S. (2009, March 23). Twitter gets you fired in 140 characters or less.  Retrieved from

Richardson, W. (2008, June 1). You Need to be “Clickable”. Retrieved from

Shareski, D. (2008, June 16).  Is your identity worth $10 a year? Retrieved from

A copy of what I wrote for the assignment may be found by clicking here. At least the APA is formatted properly there 🙂

Worked Example Screencast

This was fun because I needed to create a mini-lesson for a student I’ve been working with in my day job. I decided to create a short lesson on the equations used for solving pH and pOH problems so she could get through that part of the unit. Now that I am learning in the EDTECH program how to spice things up, I added a little flair, but was very careful to not have audio conflict too much with written words. After the first slide I made a separate button for the  viewer to click if they want to hear an explanation. I felt like I was creating the narration that accompanies museum walking tours. I leave it up to the listener to decide if they want to listen or not. For students who are in an area where sound would be a problem, there is enough on the slide for them to be able to think about what they are being shown. The Articulate Storyline player also has a mute button so if they are not allowed to listen to the first slide, they can at least watch what goes on in the slide. Only the first slide has automatic narration. I also have much of the problem solving demonstrations enter in steps so that the student is aware there are steps to solving the problems. Answers do not just magically appear.

I put the video up at my website because I want people to be able to interact with it. I don’t know what is happening with our stuff on the EDTECH servers, especially when we graduate, so I might as well put this up at Embrace Challenge now. That was the link to the shockwave file. It is also available in HTML5 because Articulate is just that cool. WordPress, however is not, so I put in the long url to the swf and there is another shorter link that will hopefully take you to the presentation. My student was so cute- I had her use this the day after I made it and she said I could make money doing this. Little does she know what really amazing tutorials are already out there. I’ll be happy if somehow these can be accessible to my students.

pH and pOH equations


Melissa’s Digital Story

Although not every image matches my words as well as I would like it to, nor are all of the images impeccable, however, this did not turn out all that bad. I put it up at YouTube in a private setting so I think you need the URL: to see it. This was quite an interesting assignment because it took several different drafts and many hours to decide what to say. My first “drafts” were about 20 minutes long which is not what I wanted to create. I spent many hours scanning paper photos to make them digital and am glad I had the means to do that. Although my final story is as simple as I could make it, I did get to include on image among the ones I found that my mom has already passed along to me.

I did not get to go in depth about why I have the personality I have, which was one of my original goals, but I think I was able to express enough for people to get an idea of my neuroses and obsessions. I did not get to elaborate how I never expected to see 40 until it happened because my genetic father died when he was 39 and 3 days old. It would have taken too long to include that history so I’ll mention it here. It is because he died when I was 7 and the impact it had on me that I led the path I chose until the last time I left the classroom. I was 41 in 2010 when I left the rooms with tables and chairs for the second time, and will probably be the last one. Every day after age 40 is truly a gift and It is pretty neat how I get to live a life I did not spend years planning, like I did in my first 40. I just get the benefits from the crap I did in the first 40 so that my next chapters are not as difficult as they could be.

Yes, I am aware I broke rules of Multimedia Design, but I HAD to put labels on some of the images even though I am talking and telling my story simultaneously.

I hope you enjoy my story and don’t find it 5 minutes of boring rhetoric. Enjoy!

I made a podcast!

I’m taking 513 this semester and am loving it! Diane has us doing projects that are taking me just a little further than where I was before starting the Boise State EDTECH program and it is perfect. I’ve done plenty of audio files in the past, but I’ve never tried to emulate an actual podcast series. For the last several months I’ve been contemplating writing a book on my trials and tribulations for getting teaching credentials in various states. Until about 3 weeks ago, I was not seeing any benefit to having a credential in 13 states because nobody wanted to hire me. I figured I am putting all this money into catering to all of these states, somehow I had better get back the money I put in. I was keeping track of everything I spent at first, but more recently I’ve become a slacker and I’m not logging every envelope to each state or all of the fingerprint charges.

Something good has to come of my having gone though all of the hoops for various states. If I can figure out how to do a RSS feed from my website, I may pursue how to get someone to advertise in my podcasts like some of the commercial ones that can be downloaded at iTunes. Until Diane had us examine podcast architecture, I had not realized that there are advertisements wrapped in some podcasts. Maybe instead of self-publishing a book at Amazon, I will self-publish podcasts on my adventures on becoming a US-wide educator.

Given all this talk of the podcast I created, I should provide a link to it. Podcast on States’ Rights in Education: Arizona I also read from a script, so here is a transcript of the podcast. I hope you enjoy the podcast. This is one of the better assignments I have been asked to do in the program. There were no tears with this one and I was able to use what I learned while planning and making the podcast to figure out how I’m going to clear my credential in Arizona. Win-Win!


EDTECH 523: Communication Plan

This Communication Plan is supposed to cover:

  1. Routine Tasks
  2. Critical Thinking Prompts
  3. Management Issues and Strategies
  4. Online Discussion Forum Checklist/Rubric
  5. One original idea, category or thought

Routine Tasks:

  1. Check discussion forums daily to see if there are new posts.
  2. Check email to see if students tried to contact me.
  3. See who has turned in assignments.  If students who did not turn in assignments are on an IEP that requests they get additional nagging, nag them.
  4. Check to see what is coming up for due dates and post a reminder in the news forum or similar place.
  5. If there is a synchronous session about to happen, check my audio and video equipment to make sure they are working properly.
  6. Find a parent to call with good news.
  7. See if there are parents to call with less than happy news.
  8. Grade anything that needs to be graded.
  9. Write feedback to myself about how well things are working so I  can note what needs to be changed the next time I teach this topic.

Critical Thinking Prompts:

Starting discussions with leads like:

  • What do you think about…
  • How would you determine…
  • Why do you agree or disagree with…
  • Evaluate famous person’s quote.
  • Give feedback on the paper,- post a journal article or link to website for students to read
  • Why is person’s ideas realistic, successful, or other adjective?

Discussion Board Strategies

  1. Have students start threads so that they can have a variety of places to share their “reply” type of responses
  2. I liked Adam’s suggestion of using a discussion forum as a way to do a jigsaw. Have questions already posted, students pick one question to answer, then they respond to something someone else said.
  3. Send students on a mission to find something online. It could be a picture, an explanation, or a specific website that gives specific information about a topic. They need to come back and share what they found to the rest of the group.
  4. Like we do here in the EDTECH program, students can post their unique projects to a forum for others to evaluate and to give feedback or suggestions for improvement.
  5. If there is a challenge question, you can have the forum set up so that you can’t read anybody else’s posts until you make one yourself. So let’s say there is a dilemma and you ask students to problem solve it. Each person needs to put up their own solution before they can read everybody else’s.
  6. I liked Glori’s idea of doing case studies. People would propose their recommendations for their case study. Then they would examine what everybody else put up to formulate a better idea or guide their peers toward more in depth thought.
  7. Ethical dilemma- students brainstorm how to solve an ethical dilemma. This is similar to a case study, but far less involved.

Management Issues and Strategies:

I am not excited about managing anything- my classroom management is pure dumb luck. I would kill my kids with kindness and make them feel too guilty to cause trouble for us. Discussion boards are not something I am looking forward to managing because I expect students to avoid them. So, to motivate students to post to boards or to continue posting, I can try:

  1. Positive feedback with words in the forum or through a personal email.
  2. Bribery with extra points as an incentive to just get students to be on the board.
  3. Ask students to talk about themselves. Let the discussion area be student-centric at least at first. Let students take ownership of the space before you squish their brains by having them expand their content knowledge in a forum.
  4. Use icebreakers. Our class came up with some amazing icebreakers to get students to share something about themselves. My peers did a wonderful job of organizing work we have done in the class and collected our icebreakers here. 
  5. Do landscape style summary posts to recognize at least one contribution from each student up to that point.
  6. Although I will have a list of netiquette suggestions available in our first section, I want to invite students near the beginning of the class to share reasons why netiquette is important. I would also like to discuss what bullying looks like and why it is inappropriate. Some students may not realize that what they say is interpreted as bullying so I want to make sure students are aware of how to make our space safe. In this discussion I also want to include a review of what type of information is OK to put online, what information should not be shared, and the differences between where our class discussion happens and social media in general. Within this discussion I also want to point out why “I agree” or “Hello” posts are ineffective.
  7. In fact, we will have to have a forum where we set some ground rules, if I have not mandated them already. If this is my students’ first time in a discussion setting, we need to condition each other on to how to come to terms with too many posts to read. Part of the learning curve with online learning is to forgive yourself for not being able to read everybody’s posts. I want to discuss strategies with students about how to choose threads to open. I want to caution them about types of posts to make or not make if you want people to open your thread. I am an expert at turning people off in discussion forums so I know very clearly what to post to stop a discussion or truncate it before its time is exhausted. I can advise my students accordingly. We will have to have an introductory forum where we play with what to do and what not to do. I also want students to collaborate on strategies of what to pay attention to in our class’s LMS setting, what can be pushed aside until you have more time to spend reading, and what could possibly be ignored for a while without it causing too much trouble. (Number 7 is somewhat of a twist on what Palloff and Pratt say in chapter 4 of Building Online Learning Communities.)
  8. I want to have a survey always available for students to give anonymous feedback. I will address their feedback somewhere in the course so they can see that I am taking their suggestions seriously. If they know I care about their ideas and find them to be valid, maybe they will share more of them within the real forums?
  9. What is in chapter 7 will be very valuable. At the moment it is very difficult for me to hypothesize what my online classroom will be like because I have yet to experience an online classroom where I have freedom to make decisions like the ones that are described in many of the samples in chapter 7. I can make a list of what students can expect from me, though.
What students can expect from me, their instructor:
  1. Feedback from emails or phone calls within 24 hours.
  2. Honesty.
  3. Someone who cares about students’ academic lives.
  4. Someone who expects students to make mistakes and to use those mistakes as learning opportunities.
  5. Someone who has high expectations and therefore will push every student to succeed. I will happily listen to challenges students face and will brainstorm with you ways to conquer currently perceived obstacles.

Online Discussion Forum Checklist/ Rubric:

Discussion Board Rubric

My discussion board rubric tool:

I am using the PBS rubric and Alexis Alexander’s rubrics to guide my discussion board rubrics. These rubrics rely on students being able to physically start a new thread when they reply to a general question.  There is a diagram at the end that shows a graphic for how this type of forum can work.

What is expected in a post:

  • Minimum of 50 words; no maximum
  • Relates to the question posed or directly reflects what someone else said in response to the question
  • Sincerity
  • Unique ideas or properly cited if not unique
  • Proper grammar and usage of the English language

What could make up a post:

  • Additional questions that expand the breadth of what has been said
  • Personal anecdotes that relate to the question posed
  • Quoted responses from the readings with your interpretation of what it means
  • A respectful dissension of what someone else has said
  • Discuss a related issue about which you would like feedback
  • Provide an additional source that contributes to this topic that was not already provided in the course material. Tell us why you think this is appropriate.

Scoring Rubric:



Needs improvement

When did you post? Your first response starts a thread within 4 days of the forum opening. Your follow up two posts are within two weeks of the forum opening. You are not limited to only doing two follow-up posts; this is the minimum required. Your first response does not start a thread, but your posts stimulate discussion in the forum.


Your first response happens later than 4 days after the thread starts, but it still stimulates discussion.

Your first response does not start a thread, nor do any of your responses stimulate discussion.


Your first response happens after 4 days after the thread starts and it does not stimulate discussion.

What did you post? Initial post and responses are on topic, demonstrate thorough understanding of it, and stimulate other people to think. Initial post and/or responses are somewhat on topic, demonstrate some understanding of it, and/or stimulate some productive discussion. Initial post and/or response are off topic, demonstrate faulty understanding, and/or do not stimulate any additional productive comments because of the quality of what you posted.
Usefulness of posts? What you say contributes to other people’s schema. Others can use your ideas to generate their own, or to expand their thinking. You are able to get other people to consider a perspective that they may not have already thought about. What you say does not stop discussion, although there may only be a few people who can relate to your suggestions. Your posts are difficult to understand, do not provide concrete ideas others could use, or are very limited with their application.

Diagram of how forum responses can be structured:

image of how Melissa wants to set up discussion areas

A forum set-up so that discussions have threads.

DiscussionParticipation is a pdf copy of the diagram.

Naturally there are more than three students in the course. The idea is that each person does an initial post before writing a response post. You continue to write response posts until you run out of ideas.

One original idea, category, or thought:

Teaching presence- is it possible?

Several education scientists have published their views on how discussion forums work. They analyze what students say, when they say it, how things are said, and anticipate the learning outcomes based on this information. There are three main presences that have been described: social presence, cognitive presence, and teaching presence. Much of our discussion in this class has focused on the social presence because that is the perspective our book, Paloff and Pratt (2007), uses when they explain how they see online teaching and learning will happen. To be thorough, they mention other presences even though they do not go as in depth with them. In 523 we had the opportunity to try out the teaching presence. Although I am usually an advocate of putting as much as possible into the hands of the students, I do not advocate having students lead discussions. I know that it is essential for those who want to be discussion leaders to be trained in how to facilitate a discussion and for some people in our class, this was their first opportunity. I bet it was amazing for them and they will have learned skills they did not realize could exist. At what expense is this done to the other students?

For this class, participating in the discussions was not a priority for me because I kept doing it wrong and therefore did not get the validation I am used to having in online classes that have active discussions. I think this is my twentieth online class so I arrogantly consider myself to be very experienced with how to maneuver in discussion forums. As you can see above, I am very much in favor of giving students the responsibility of starting threads. Within their thread, they own the pathway if they choose to respond to people who reply within that thread. I see it happen often in the 506 posts- we put up our image and people offer suggestions or ask questions. A dialogue forms between the one who started the thread and those who choose  to volunteer their insights on the image that was posted. In a way the original poster can assume a teaching presence, although many of the replies to the original post are actually suggestions on what to improve and how to do it. In that way, a teaching presence can be seen in many of the posts.

In courses where the instructor oversees the path of the discussion, I rarely see a teaching presence allowed to happen by anybody except for the instructor. Even in some classes where students form their own threads, when the instructor posts in the threads, sometimes the discussion becomes one on one between the instructor and the person who started the thread. For me, I do not see that as being a productive use of time and space. Instead I think instructors should use email to directly address some of their questions designed to move a discussion forward that really only push one person to volunteer ideas. I see the instructor’s responsibility to help unify the group and interpret what others have said so that the ideas can get broader and more diverse. I am not convinced that students who have not had training in techniques that can be used to broaden discussions should be made the discussion leaders. Instead, I think students should be responsible for starting threads so they can have a microcosm of the discussion under their guidance. The instructor can still step in and offer engaging questions, but they do not have to be the only ones demonstrating a teaching presence.

Teaching presence actually has two “definitions”. Both have to deal with who is guiding a discussion, but one focuses on the teacher and the other focuses on the students. For the community of inquiry, the focus is on how well the students are able to guide the discussions. The research does not measure what a good job the instructor does of being the guide on the side. It measures how often or how well students step forward to cause inquiry to happen. In other words, are students posing the questions that guide future discussion or is the only one posting questions the instructor? Be careful if you decide to research the teaching presence because some people elaborate on how an instructor can manifest their presence in the discussions rather than how to get students to take leadership roles in the discussions. When students take on the leadership roles, then they are exhibiting a teaching presence.  Chapter 8 in Palloff and Pratt elaborate on how to get students involved in the class. They have sections called, “Dialogue as Inquiry” (p. 170), “Encouraging Expansive Questioning” (p. 171), and “Sharing Responsibility for Facilitation” (p. 173). Although they don’t publicize that they are giving strategies for creating a Community of Inquiry or for getting students to develop a teaching presence, their ideas in chapter 8 align with those theories.

Articles or publications that elaborate on developing a teaching presence in students:

Garrison, Randy D. and Vaughan, Norman D. (2008) Blended Learning in Higher Education.

Community of Inquiry- a website including explanations and papers

Video that addresses how to establish the course such that students are aware of the instructor- I did NOT create this video; it is just here as a resource for anybody who may be using this edublog for ideas

Slideshare- a presentation on face to face learning with a transition to applications online