Thursday, January 27, 2011

I've Discovered QR Codes

I used the KAYWA QR-CODE website to generate QR Code for the Instructional Technology website:


Have you seen these in your world? They are appearing on publications, building signs, maps, and billboards.

What are QR Codes?
QR Codes (= Quick Response Codes)are 2D Barcodes (two dimensional Barcodes) developed by Denso and released in 1994 with the primary aim of being easily interpreted by scanner equipment in manufacturing, logistics and sales applications.

In comparison with other Barcodes, QR Codes combine several advantages:

* they can hold a very large capacity of numbers or letters in any language
* their printout size can be very small
* they offer high speed reading
* they can be read from any side (omnidirectional or 360° scan)

Japan, the first country with a highly developed 3G network and high usage of the mobile internet, was also the country where telecoms like NTTDoCoMo and KDDI achieved a breakthrough by bringing QR code readers to mobile phones. By installing QR code readers on consumer phones, if was suddenly possible for everyone to create and read QR codes and to connect easily to mobile sites.

Today QR Codes are so pervasive in Japan that it's almost impossible without seeing one. You can find them in advertisements, mobile campaigns, on maps, in magazines, on billboards etc. and nobody want to miss them anymore.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Tips for Using Streaming Media in Your Blended or Online Courses

If you are thinking of adding streamed audio and/or video presentations to your blended or online course, here are some things to consider.

1. Post complete text versions of the audio portion of the streamed presentations. My limited study suggests that student learning is most enhanced when students can study both streamed presentations and transcripts of the audio. You should encourage students to study both the presentations and the transcripts and advise them to avoid studying only the presentations.
2. Keep your presentations relatively short. I suggest keeping them under 15 minutes. If this is not sufficient to cover all the content for a given topic, then the content should be chunked at appropriate spots into several presentations. Each presentation should come with a table of contents that students can click on to navigate within the presentation.
3. Plan out the slide or video portion of the presentation first. This will allow you to focus on the main ideas that you want to emphasize, and it will provide you with an outline for developing the narration. You should make use of images to illustrate and represent ideas and arguments. This will allow you to present content in several modes.
4. Write out a script of the narration. Doing this will help you to organize your thoughts. It will also result in fewer audio mistakes, since you can add the narration by simply reading the script. Writing out the narration beforehand will also provide you with a text version of the narration that you can post to the course website.
5. Choose presentation software that allows you to easily edit the separate video and audio portions of the presentation and that in a few simple steps converts the presentation into a format for streaming over the Web.

By: Jerry Kapus, PhD in Asynchronous Learning and Trends

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Four Things You Can Do THIS WEEK to Make Your Course More Student-Friendly

The four things that every professor can do "THIS WEEK" to make each course more student-friendly include:

1. Ensure that all readings, articles, presentations and videos (all course material) are available in the course management system.
2. "Create a weekly reading assessment that asks students to formulate or discuss the most important things you wanted them to get out the this week's articles."
3. "Make your syllabus a living document and let students know about changes via class emails - it will put your class in the forefront of their minds."
4. "Use technology to help students engage with one another - create peer review groups for papers or discussion groups online."

Lucretia Witte's research on Technology and Teaching: