JoAnn Major

North Carolina State University designs a 1-credit Online Orientation Course

The paper Preparing for Distance Learning: Designing An Online Student Orientation Couse describes the analysis undertaken to design a 1-credit-hour online orientation course for students new to online learning at North Carolina State University. In designing the product the institution identified specific problem areas encountered by novice students of online courses and the ID team…

Fly In, Box Out, Checkerboard Down – Oh No, not another PowerPoint Show!

PowerPoint has become the standard product for presentations. Whether it is used to create the transparencies or use in an electronic slide show, this application has developed a life and religion of its own and its followers proclaim its virtues.

On the other hand, we have those who make a career out of attending conferences who groan and squirm at every click of the mouse that executes flying text and twirling letters, not to mention sound effects that accompany every movement on the screen. So who is right?

Is it penny pinching or just another carrot?

In government and politics department at the University of Maryland Between the traditional paper syllabus is quickly becoming a thing of the past. The syllabus printing line item has been removed from the budget, and faulty are encouraged to post their syllabus on the web. I agree with the move in theory but I am…

Instructional System Design (part 3 of a 5 part learning series)

“The Internet is perhaps the most transformative technology in history, reshaping business, media, entertainment, and society in astonishing ways. But for all its power, it is just now being tapped to transform education… There is no going back. The traditional classroom has been transformed”.
Report of the Web-based Education Commission to the President and the Congress of the United States, December, 2000

Lesson design presents that difficult melding of technology, curriculum, and learner needs and styles (along with countless other things). It involves the demanding delicacy of making everything work together for the learning of the student.

Instructional System Design ( part 2 of a 5 part Learning Series)

“It’s not what the vision is, it’s what the vision does.”— Peter Senge —

“If you don’t know where you’re going,” the Scarecrow said to Dorothy,
“it doesn’t matter which road you take.”— The Wizard of Oz —

In their book The Systematic Design of Instruction, Walter Dick and Lou Carey list three reasons for using a systems approach to design.

Exploring Learning Theories (Part 1 of a 5 part series)

In my more jaded and skeptical years, I saw discussions of learning theories in the same light as the early theological discussions concerning the number of angels that could dance on the head of a pin. It was often hard to see the relevance to actual teaching and learning.

Having been sufficiently socialized, however, I now feel a good theory provides insight into the learning process, and it provides a useful working metaphor. As Moore & Kearsley (1996) point out in Distance Education: A Systems View:

“A theory is a representation of everything that we know about something. Theory gives us a common framework, a common perspective, and a common vocabulary that help us ask questions in a sensible way and make sense of problems.”

So what changed my mind?