Archive for January, 2015

art pallet

stack of booksInteractive Tours – Distance Learning Challenge

Scenario: A high school history teacher, located on the west coast of the United States, wants to showcase to her students new exhibits being held at two prominent New York City museums. The teacher wants her students to take a “tour” of the museums and be able to interact with the museum curators, as well as see the art work on display. Afterward, the teacher would like to choose two pieces of artwork from each exhibit and have the students participate in a group critique of the individual work of art. As a novice of distance learning and distance learning technologies, the teacher turned to the school district’s instructional designer for assistance. In the role of the instructional designer, what distance learning technologies would you suggest the teacher use to provide the best learning experience for her students?

From a study of different types of Course Management Systems (CMS), there is no one size fits all when it comes choosing the best system. Use of CMS will be able to mitigate more of the challenges faced by this instructor. From my experience so far, I would recommend CourseSites as a starting CMS for the teacher, if the institution is not currently using a CMS. “Course management systems also typically provide pages for annotated hot links to relevant websites that can be organized by topic” (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright & Zvacek, 2012, p. 185). This functionality would enable to instructor to post the link to the virtual tour within a course and allow students to access this within the classroom or from offsite.

Because the CMS will normally be contain some type of asynchronous communication to allow for group discussions (Simonson et al, 2012). The teacher could then post pictures of the different pieces of art selected from each of the exhibits and assign these to different groups for discussion. CourseSites would make each of these tasks easy for the novice to distance learning technologies fairly easy to accomplish. Using the LMS to post the pictures of the pieces of Art for the students to critique is one of the ways CMS improve student performance. “Visual learning improves student performance in four major ways: critical thinking, retention, comprehension, and organization” (Green, 2008, para. 1). Using the virtual tour and additional photos would enhance the learning experience of the students.

To enable the class to interact with the curator, I would suggest using some type of a live video chat with the curator. This could be done via multiple different programs, or even in a Webinar format. The curator could have prepared materials to present and receive questions, or it can just become a question and answer session with questions submitted either verbally or typed in to the live forum. This could be accomplished for free with the program AnyMeeting. This would allow for the Webinar to be held within the class time. While much of the other learning is done online. This type of blended-learning is successful. A study in 2009 pointed out that online students were performing better than traditional face-to-face students and “blended online and face-to-face instructions increases the advantage” (Baker, 2013, para. 4).

To round out the course, I would suggest a collaborative discussion with each group presenting in a face-to-face setting their critique of each piece of art their group was assigned. This would provide a nice balance between the online content and the face-to-face content.


Baker, C. (2013). Blended learning: Teachers plus computers equal success. Deseret News. Retrieved from

Green, R. (2008). Learning Management Systems Success. Retrieved from

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.


Defining Online Learning

Posted: 01/12/2015 in Assignments

Defining Distance Learning

I would say in the past my definition of distance education , was more ‘a method by which required information and resources were made available by an accredited university to gain understanding and knowledge regarding a specific topic; demonstrate understanding of this topic through writing a scholarly paper or successfully passing a test on the topic’. This definition was based mostly on my experience as an undergraduate completing my Bachelor’s degree through an online university.

During my undergrad experience the burden of learning was placed on the learner/student, through reading textbooks and writing papers showing understanding and application of the materials. Many of the courses contained tests and quizzes to test knowledge. The majority of these were multiple choice which “test higher-order learning, including conceptual reasoning” (Morrison, Ross, Kalman, & Kemp, 2013, p. 281). Course work included, course readings, individual research, weekly discussion question(s), team assignments, individual assignments, quizzes and tests.

Since starting this course (EDUC 6135) and others at Walden my definition of distance learning is now best describe as “an educational process in which a significant proportion of the teaching is conducted by someone removed in space and/or time from the learner” (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Svacek, S., 2012, p. 34). The difference to me is the interaction and two-way communication between student-teacher and student-student. The instructors at Walden have made it a learning experience not a self-education process. Feedback in the past was minimal, especially on the tests and quizzes, you were only supplied with the question number you got wrong, and not why your response was wrong.

Based on what I have learned this week I have received both instruction, assessment, and personal feedback through two-way communication with instructors and fellow students creating a learning experience (Simonson et al., 2012). This has changed my definition. I am learning from an instructor who has a vested interest in my success, I have received constructive feedback to improve my skills, and I am applying my knowledge in a practical manner critical to the skills needed for my field. I can now “discriminate between well-designed and poorly-designed e-learning” (Moller, Forshay, & Huett, 2008, p. 71).

I can see if the right methods are undertaken to improve and set standards for e-learning, there are opportunities for new strategies and potential means for further personalization of learning experiences far surpassing what is available in a traditional classroom environment (Moller et al., 2008). I do not believe the traditional classroom will disappear. Rather, e-learning will become inclusive to the traditional classroom, and will continue to gain more acceptance as an alternate and effective method for learning. I hope to see the day where an online degree has equal footing as its brick and mortar counterpart in both the academia and the corporate world.


Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 1: Training and development). Tech Trends, 52(3) 70-75.

Morrison G.R., Ross, S.M., Kalman, H.K., & Kemp, J.E. (2013). Designing effective instruction (7th ed.) Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Simonson, M. Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.


 Click for Full Size Image of Mindmap

Distance Learning MindMap

Distance Learning MindMap


Happy New Year!

Welcome to my blog. Looking forward to expanding the use of this site throughout this course. Welcome to the new classmates! To those familiar classmates, great to see you all progressing into the new year, looking forward to more interesting interactions in 2015!