E-brary of Resources

“Mere colour, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.” Oscar Wilde
“Mere colour, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.” Oscar Wilde

Unit 1 – PLE E-brary of Resources
Searching the open journal for online learning management systems within my context was a rather simple choice between two articles. The one I chose is Marketing Communication in online social programs: Ohanian Model of Source Credibility by Serban Corina from The Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies The Faculty of Marketing
The article talks about the “Ohanian model” in the online environment – the premise of which is that the persuasiveness of a message depends on the considered characteristics of the source. Ohanian, Roobina 1990
Non-profit organizations must provide well-structured websites that can be easily searched with appropriate keywords. Non-profits to be embraced by both public and private funders must demonstrate that they are credible, attractive, use persuasive messages, and have demonstrated expertise. Andreasen A. 1995
When it comes to the non-profit world of marketing you can visualize the caveman I spoke of in the first mod still sitting there thinking about how to resolve the dilemma of the dinosaur. It has just been in the past 2 years that the agency I work for has stepped out and started posting on Facebook. The only persons that are “permitted to initiate a post” in this format are 2 designated staff out of 500+ at the agency.
I am not entirely certain if it is because of the Community Action Agency 501c3 status which legally states that a non-profit may not be perceived as “lobbying” through advertising or marketing campaigns and that they are only permitted to “educate” through media. I have also been told on a regular basis “if we tell people what we do… then everyone will want help and we couldn’t possibly handle the work load.” (Insert Disney’s head shaking sound here)
However, we do see very successful marketing of more familiar non-profits such as AARP, ASPCA, and Save the children. Not only do these three organizations give help through their marketing efforts they also receive help, such as monetary donations and volunteers. These organizations also make use of celebrity backing and support such as Billy Crystal, Stevie Nicks, Gladys Knight, Martina Navratilova and Melissa Etheridge for AARP, Roma Downey for Save the Children and Sarah McLachlan for ASPCA. These celebrities are chosen specifically to educate and build trust. Point in fact Roma Downey was the angel in the television series “Touched by an Angel.” Canning L. 2006
In conclusion consumer impact is generated by establishing trusting relationships with people who visit the online website containing social programs. “Non-profit organizations active in online communication are based on the quality of their provided information.” Cugelman, B. 2009


Andreasen A. 1995, Marketing Social Change: Changing Behavior to Promote Health, Social Development and the Environment, Georgetown University.

Canning L. 2006, Celebrity Endorsement in Business Markets, 22nd IMP Conference.

Cugelman, B. 2009, The Dimensions of Web Site Credibility and Their Relation to Active Trust and Behavioural Impact, Communications of Association for Information Systems, Vol. 24.

Ohanian, Roobina 1990, Construction and validation of a Scale to Measure Celebrity Endorser’s Perceived Expertise, Trustworthiness and Attractiveness, Journal of Advertising, no.19.

Unit 2 – PLE E-brary of Resources
When I think of the growing popularity of online learning I return to a time when I was looking at online education and homeschooling my daughter. In a pre-k meeting I was told by a teacher, principal, special education aid and DCF worker that it was a “bad idea.” In retrospect I wish I had followed through on what my gut told me would be better for my child with Reactive Attachment Disorder due to multiple placements in her first two years of life.

Reading the article Exploring New Literacies in Online Peer-Learning Environments Cynthia C. Choi and Hsiang-ju Ho (2002) The main thought was that developing children need face to face socialization in order to progress and to not feel isolated. However, Kiesler et al state that within the growing collection of literature on the social phenomena of online communities, research shows that interactions in online spaces share many of the characteristics of face-to-face interactions (Kiesler, Siegel, & McGuire, 1994).
In the online education world peer interaction and motivation triggers the desire to reach a shared goal. The teacher, acting as a facilitator, rather than a scheduling nightmare behavior modifying guru, actually can focus on those that need encouragement and guidance. The research in this article would even lead one to feel that the child/student would be able to focus and learn more in a shorter time span. How much of the actual day is focus centered learning? In the physically present face to face school day, routines are full of interruptions – bathroom breaks, recess; children acting out, lunch periods, assemblies, and the list go on.
Choi and Ho gave this example in a study of seven year old students; one parent expressed her frustration to another parent who believed that her first-grade child was not adequately prepared to be a “fluent computer user”. Turns out this same child was not challenged by the “archaic use of coloring books and written work” in the classroom. The other parents of the group felt that the children working online to read were terribly bored by reading paper text. Looking at how young learners participate in activities on home computers and virtual classroom activities such as “Type to Learn”, “Math Blaster”, and “Logic Blocks.” One can only wonder how engaged and challenged is the child with coloring book and crayons?
Choi, C. (2001). Emerging community: The nature of online peer interaction in a distance-learning educational administrator cohort program. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Colorado, Denver
Kiesler, S., Siegel, J., & McGuire, T.W. (1994). Social psychological aspects of computer-mediated communication. American Psychologist, 39, 1123-1134.
Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Choi, C.C., & Ho, H. (2002, July/August). Exploring new literacies in online peer-learning environments. Reading Online, 6(1)

Unit 3 Article 1

In the news and in the media we are constantly bombarded by the effects video games are having on children. Some are not with the best outcome while others have chosen to make a passion of the children into an opportunity to make a connection to learning and education. I chose the peer reviewed article “Gamification and Web-based Homework” Geoff Goehle (2014)

Goehle (2014) discusses the relationship between video games and online work seeing this connection as the way to reach students. The thought is that by making use of progressing learning through the game level format of video games a student will pick up first simple tasks and progress to more complex functions without realizing this is occurring.

In a trend known as “gamification” – using game-design elements in non-gaming contexts (Landers, Callan 2011) believe that some of the techniques of game design have started to see use outside of the video game industry. We see this is the case in elementary grades and pre-k activities where students are using iPads and Learn Pads. Other examples related to adult learning through “gamification” are the website “Fitocracy” (2011) which uses video game mechanics to encourage people to exercise, Chore Wars (Davis 2007) uses video game mechanics to make doing household chores more engaging. Smith-Robbins, S. (2011) states, that in the same fashion that these websites use ideas from game design the same is true for “gamification” to enhance education.

I think of how many people will spend hour upon hour playing games like “CandyCrush”, “Words with Friends” and “Bubble Witch Saga” without realizing how much time has passed. Children and adults have no hesitation or concern about sitting for hours to play a game yet when asked to do homework that is a chore that gets pushed easy aside. Imagine students looking forward to studying and doing homework because it is fun? I see it happening now in the younger children.


Goehle, G. 2014 Mathematics and Computer Science Department, Stillwell 426, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC

Landers, R. N. and R. C. Callan. 2011. Casual social games as serious games: The psychology of gamification in undergraduate education and employee training. In M. Ma, A. Oikonomou, and L. C. Jain (Eds), Serious Games and Edutainment Applications, pp. 399–423. London, UK:Springer.

Fitocracy. 2011. Fitocracy. http://www.fitocracy.com/ Accessed 20 December 2011.

Davis, K. 2007. Chore Wars. http://www.chorewars.com/. Accessed 20 December 2011. Cohen, A. M. 2011. The gamification of education. Futurist. 45(5): 16–17.
Unit 3 Article 2

When I first returned to school in my 40’s I felt uncomfortable being in classrooms with students that were half my age. My thoughts were that these students would find my archaic ways and greying hair not worthy of a seat in “their” world. It turned out to be not such a terrible experience, there was always an encouraging tone, comments like “I wish my mom would go back to school” and “can I work on the project with you? You are more mature then the others in the room and I’ll stand a better chance of getting a better grade.” Then there were the challenges I faced having to take my 7 year old daughter with me to class. Raised eyebrows from some professors and a few “don’t let this happen to often” from a few others. I have to say I was honored as she named off all of the body parts we had studied for my Anatomy and Physiology Class. The only problem was we were doing a lab midterm, going station to station and she hollered out “hey mom look at this green stick fracture on this radius.” I was very intrigued by peer reviewed article Never Say Never: Opening New Doors to Online Learning Johnson, Kimberly P. (2010) as I was one of the students that fully embraced online classes. I could spend time after work with my daughter and would do my school work when she went to bed. I set a routine where I would spend a reasonable amount of time in the evening and then, being an early riser, I had time to check my work before submitting it. Johnson talks about her misgivings related to online classes seeing them as a technological whirlwind for graduate school students. Allen & Seaman (2008) state that in the United States data shows that there are almost four million students enrolled in online learning. The most beneficial part of online learning to Johnson was as I feel a more robust conversation about topics that would not occur in a traditional classroom. I also find that I am less stressed by online learning.


Johnson, Kimberly P. 2010. Never Say Never: Opening New Doors to Online Learning Journal of Continuing Higher Education, v58 n3 p189-192 2010 Allen, I. E. & Seaman, J. 2008. Staying the course: Online education in the United States. Inoue, Y. 2007. Online education for lifelong learning.

Unit 4 – Engagement of Online Learners


In order for a learner to feel that online learning can be as rewarding as face-to-face learning they must be open to explore, develop and grow. It does not take long before learners become familiar with one another. Learners can see personalities develop through personal writing styles that come out on discussion boards, shared activities and through the methods the teacher/course creator uses to engage learners. For instance, Chen, Gonyea and Kuh (2008) claim that “by being engaged, learners develop habits of the mind and heart that promise to stand them in good stead for a lifetime of continuous learning” (para. 2). It is this engagement that can also bring a typically quiet reserved learner out into the necessary participatory parts of online learning. There is a leveled playing field where all are concerned. Personal engagement, which therefore begins before the learner enrolls, also requires learners to hold a belief that they can succeed at this level, continue to learn and develop (Dweck, 2006), and have a degree of cognitive capacity – that is, a will to learn (Riggs & Gholar, 2009).

From a teaching perspective online classes are a treasure because learners truly have to decide, before they sign up for the class, to want to be part of this style of learning. he learner choosing to take an online course has already chosen and understands that in order to be successful they must be engaged in the lessons and discussions. There is no opportunity to just sit and absorb what is going on around them.

Peer Reviewed Journal: Pittaway, S. M.; Moss, T. (2014) “Initially, We Were Just Names on a Computer Screen”: Designing Engagement in Online Teacher Education Australian Journal of Teacher Education


I found this article fascinating in that it discussed how multiple personas representing learners with disabilities would be helpful to the learner with special needs. This use of personas is an excellent strategy for personalizing accessibility training. The learner may choose the best fit of a matching persona based on the criteria of their disability. Having been raised with a special needs child I saw first hand what her frustrations were trying to cope in the real world of education. She was very high functioning but some very simple tasks just did not make sense. Zdenek (2008) states, “Learners with disabilities are in danger of being either excluded from the new media revolution or accommodated as after-thoughts of pedagogies that fail to anticipate their needs.” Through my sisters eyes I could see how learners like her were “pushed through” or ignored. This would come forward to help me to get special learning conditions and assistance for my gifted child. Odd and puzzling that our education systems and society can put disabled and gifted in the same classroom. According to Scott Ambler & Associates (2013) It is quite common to see a page or two of documentation written for each persona. The goal is to bring your users to life by developing personas with real names, personalities, motivations, and often even a photo. In other words, a good persona is highly personalized. If my sister were alive to see this today she would have been thrilled to know that someone actually thought this through and she could learn as well or better then others.

Peer Reviewed Journal: Betts, K.; Cohen, A. H.; Veit, D. P.; Alphin, H. C., Jr.; Broadus, C.; Allen, D. (2013) Strategies to Increase Online Learner Success for Learners with Disabilities Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, v17 n3 p49-64 

Unit 5 – Instructional design for online courses


This journal discusses the challenges of instructional design for online courses and how it is difficult to be able to provide the same instruction as face to face classes. Instructional Design Processes and Traditional College courses that are not designed with careful attention to media considerations and online pedagogy can be frustrating to learners (Fabry, 2009). We have heard quite often in online learning courses that the administration decides what must be taught in order to meet a certain criteria. The teacher has to try to present programs and make media fit rather then the other way around. More often then not the type of technology required is unavailable for a multitude of reasons, costs, licensing, updates, availability of tech support, etc. As Heifetz and Linsky (2008) indicated that change “demands that people to give up things they hold dear: daily habits, loyalties, ways of thinking” (p. 448). Many administrators hold stead fast to the adage “this is the way we have done it for years” and refuse to budge into new methods of learning. It is like trying to fit the proverbial square peg into a round hole. I have had the pleasure of trying to learn in an online class with a teacher that was obviously forced to grow or get out. It is sad but also drives home the fact that being adaptable is a good thing for administrators, teachers and learners.

Peer Reviewed Journal: Vasser, N. (2010) Instructional Design Processes and Traditional Colleges Capella University Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, Volume XIII, Number IV, Winter University of West Georgia, Distance Education Center


This article discusses designing courses of a universal nature, where everyone regardless of ability or disability can participate equally. The technology rich environment of online learning provides natural opportunities to create accommodations and accessible environments for learners with disabilities (Kinash, Crichton, & Kim 2004). The belief is that as technology improves and becomes more generic as well as user friendly, the abilities of the course creator do not face the same challenges as those of the “DOS and Fortran days.” As a technologically-savvy generation of learners enrolls in online courses at the postsecondary level, universally designed courses will provide valued learning options while proactively accommodating many of the needs of an increasingly diverse learner body. (Rupnow 2004) The cost of having the software and licenses is also reduced as the market picks up development speed and competes for the almighty dollar. Many programs and websites are free to the basic user and it is only when more is required of the program that cost comes into play. Going back to my high school days and the Univac 2200 that was housed on the entire 3rd floor, required a special air-conditioning system and backup generator. The cost of a single Snoopy character outline was $50.00 for the discounted student rate and we had to fill in the bubble cards ourselves, which took an entire semester to get right, purchase our own trays to store the cards and sorters. Currently learners can download any number of programs from the internet in seconds without cost and perform more tasks then Snoopy getting ready for his Halloween party.

Peer Reviewed Journal: Kavita R., Adam T., (2011) Curb Cuts in Cyberspace: Universal Instructional Design for Online Courses Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability 24(3)

Unit 6 – Instructional strategies grounded in engagement techniques

High quality instructional strategies are grounded in superior engagement techniques. To have a fully engaged learner is to see a successful outcome both for the learner and the instructor. Some reviewers have cited data that indicates that approaches that provide minimum guidance are often ineffective and inefficient (Kirschner, Sweller, & Clark, 2006; Mayer, 2004). In this journal Merrill 2007 writes about the “Pebble-in-the-Pond” approach to whole task learning. As children we were mesmerized by the effect of tossing a small pebble into a puddle or tapping a hand to the bathtub water to see the ripples it makes. In this type of task centered learning each task is complete before the next. Instructional design is task centered engagement, followed by motivation, revelation (aha moments), putting learning to use and integration. We have all heard the admonition, “You won’t understand this now but later it will be really important to you.” How much of such incomplete knowledge have each of us acquired for which we never got to the later where this content would be really important. Algebra comes to mind. It is not until the program Excel that I found a great use for the Algebra idea. Perhaps not with the same meaning or outcome that was intended but every time I create a formula that works to provide me with the information outcome I need I smile and think of my Algebra teacher. Relevance is a very important component of motivation (Keller, 2007).

Peer Reviewed Journal: Merrill, M. D. (2007) A Task-Centered Instructional Strategy Journal of Research on Technology in Education

Unit 7 – Development of online modules 

In order to develop online modules a pretest or prequalification of participants must occur. An online course would not do well if the topic material was well over the heads of the learners the converse is true if there was not enough of a challenge to keep the learner engaged. For example, Guskey (Guskey, 2000) makes the point that it is important to evaluate the user experience along with whether or not participants achieved the desired learning outcomes because a positive experience along with achieving learning outcomes are both necessary conditions for making effective changes to teaching practice. The success or failure of a course is dependent on this positive experience as is the success of the course creator. Online learning is becoming more prevalent and easier for the learner, particularly the adult learner that has time constraints as well as wanting to get the most out of their education investment. There is also no longer a need for the adult learner to stay local, online classes are open for the world and to the world. At a summative level, a portfolio can be used to evidence teaching performance during reviews, when applying for promotion and when applying for teaching grants or awards for excellence in teaching (Seldin & Miller, 2009). A quality online module with much success could possibly see a teacher with learners from all over the world learning without the restrictions of space and time. 

Peer Reviewed Journal: Doherty, I. (2010) Learning Design for Engaging Academics with Online Professional Development Modules. Journal of Learning Design

Unit 8 – Assessment within online learning environments

When assessing learners within an online learning environment it is important to have clear understanding. Assessments should be done throughout the course rather then waiting until the end. Designing an assessment strategy requires an understanding of the differences in the ways that teachers and learners think about the sequence of events that occur in an online course. To the teacher, assessment is at the end of the teaching-learning sequence of events, but to the learner it is at the beginning (Biggs, 2003). When doing assessments feedback from the teacher should be quick and almost synchronous. We all know of teachers and learners that will wait until the last hour or minute to complete a paper or project. Having a clearly designed time frame of expectancy is something which has to be set. The learner is quick to pick up on the teacher that falls into a lackadaisical fashion of marked actions or lack thereof. The learner loses their own drive to achieve success. Literature on assessment argues strongly that providing learners with a well-articulated assessment strategy as well as the criteria by which they will be assessed helps to orient them to the amount of time and effort that will be required of them to complete the requirements of the course (Brown & Glasner, 1999: Gibbs & Rowntree, 1999; Thorpe, 2000).

Peer Reviewed Journal: McCracken, J.; Cho, S.; Sharif, A.; Wilson, B.; Miller, J. (2012) Principled Assessment Strategy Design for Online Courses and Programs Electronic Journal of e-Learning



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