They Came for the Cavorite
- Context--As part of the VWBPE MOOC after the 2012 conference, during the machinima week, participants were charged with creating story pieces with the theme of "Cowboys vs. Aliens" to show what they'd learned about the process of machinima-making. This was my entry for the week.
- Reflection--I, again, learned a lot about what not to do as far as scheduling and organization. We didn't have a lot of time and, I think, my vision was a lot larger that what we realistically had time for and I had to cut back and make due. If I had to do it over again, I'd have actually storyboarded everything out, with the needed characters and created appointments with volunteers for shoots as well as gathering all that was necessary for each scene and arranging it in my inventory via folders. All of that said, considering this was a first effort of something more than "talking heads" and with the time constraints, I'm pretty happy with the outcome.
- Context--During the course of the 2007-08, I was honored to be selected to be the official OLLie blogger for the Online Learning Lab. The assignment was to publish 1-2 high quality blog articles per month that would be entertaining and useful for our faculty. Below is an example of one of the blog posts from the summer of 2008.
- Reflection--Though the blog was phased out when the OLL went to a wiki format, the old blog is still getting hits 2 years later. I've learned since to walk a fine line between having timely topics and those that are easily outdated. I've also learned that my own interest and excitement about a topic I'm covering actually does come across to the readers, so even now when I'm posting on my own blogs, I try to find angles or resources that make me sit up and say "wow!". If it interests me, chances are, it'll interest someone else. I hope that sincere enthusiasm still comes through in my older OLLieblog posts.
SAESL Interest Group
- Context--When the Online Learning Lab and College of Education launched USA's Jaguarland in Second Life, we were excited to let everyone in the university who was interested in teaching in SL know about it. Not many even knew what SL was, much less had thought of it as a teaching tool. Dr. Jack Dempsey, Rebecca Reese and I decided to form an interest group. The South Alabama Educators in Second Life group found a home on Ning and quickly began expanding. From it's inception in October 2009, we've held a handfull of group meetings and an in-world virtual world meeting with guest speaker, Marty Jencius from Kent State University. I took on the lead for the group in late fall 2009, having built the Ning.
- Reflection--Getting interest rolling for a new technology is always difficult, I think. With SL, the learning curve throws a lot of instructors who are new to it. After quite a bit of interest at first, we've whittled down to a core group who are quite active in SL. I'll keep the group running for them to have a forum to discuss issues or interesting tidbits. Recently, our we had to move from our Ning that some of us used regularly. We have a new Wordpress site (as of June 2010) that is currently being built up.
Context--I joined the Online Learning Lab in the fall of 2005. Shortly thereafter, I was approached with the news that the Instructional Design program no longer had anyone to put together their yearly newsletter. Because of my experience in journalism and writing, I was asked to take on the assignment and gladly accepted. I was in charge of the newsletter for three years until it was finally phased out due to the loss of funds for its printing.
Reflection--By the end of my third volume of the newsletter, I had learned to make sure to put it on my to-do list each and every day. Sometimes, we are given assignments that do not have any connection with our daily tasks. The lack of connection makes it all too easy to put things off. I found myself guilty of that with the first two. I was very involved at first, then was distracted by my other assignements until the deadline approached. I am proud of my work on all three newsletters--I just think that I learned that my work could be stronger had I worked a bit at a time throughout.
Poe's Tell-Tail (Tale) Cat--A Webquest
- Context--In Summer of 2009, I took a "University Teaching" course in which we were given the opportunity to do hands on work in developing course units, both online and non. We also had the chance to take our lesson plans and materials into the classroom. I taught a 3.5 hour Friday evening course in American Literature. The Webquest below went with the class on Edgar Allan Poe, which just happened to fall on the night before Halloween.
- Reflection--After several attempts at creating a webquest using Dreamweaver and HTML (and it not looking how I wanted it to!), I stumbled onto an online service known as Zunal and fell in love. It's a bit quirky, yes, but I found that it's library of webquests offer instructors choices to add to their courses without their having to "reinvent the wheel" as it were. For those of us who need to create our own, the given format means that the developer can spend more time on content and less time fussing over how the page looks--a real time and headache saver.
Aev's Job in the OLL
Context--When the USA Course Redesign movement really began to get rolling in late 2009, early 2010, committees began being formed to handle the transformation. Many of these committees did not know that the Online Learning Lab existed, much less what our jobs were. We consultants were asked to produce mini-movies of what it was that we did in and for the Lab.
Reflection--When I put together my part, I knew most of my work recently had been done in Second Life, so I decided to try my hand at moviemaking (or machinima) in Second Life. It was a learning experience. I realized I definitely need to look more into filming in-world as a tool for education. While I'm satified with my accomplishments in Second Life, I already realized after making the movie that I needed to go back and refresh my knowledge base in other technologies.
"Katrina Can't Stop Us" Case Story
- Context--In Fall of 2006, a year after Katrina, I took a course which discussed using Case Studies and Stories as a means of training. I decided to try my hand at writing one. The Case Story below is the product of that class.
- Reflection--I really did enjoy writing the story, even though emotions were still running strongly. The community had still not recovered from the storm. I tried to use tools gained from my creative writing courses to flesh out the story to make it more real. What I found is that, while creative writing techniques add flavor and interest, they can also add things that are unneccessary. There is a fine balance to be made between keeping a reader's interest and adding unneeded words (which cost money in publishing) and information (which can be confusing to students).
Katrina Can't Stop Us Case Story--