Engage with Infographics

With the great focus on improving student performance in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) academic areas, there has also been an awakening for STEAM. The A representing the Arts.

The University of Florida has created a fantastic infographic to describe the reasons why the arts are vital to well-rounded students. The work they put into this is notable on its own. But guess what else they did? This very cool infographic is designed to be a feeder or marketing tool to pique interest in their Online Master of Arts in Art Education!

This type of marketing is more and more prevalent now. We receive emails embedded with cool articles, graphics, etc. and then when we click the “eye candy” we are taken to some sort of advertisement.

How can these lessons of engagement be applied in education?

Professor Liz Farley-Ripple, who is teaching Education Policy and Governance at the University of Delaware, has found a way! The very first correspondence students received from her was this Piktochart news-paper headline engagement piece.

ed policy class 1st contact

ed policy class 1st contact

EDUC 839 Intro | Piktochart Infographic Editor.

Taking a summer class is already a daunting task, but having the first connection be something visual and engaging put me at ease as a student. However, it also piqued my interest to log into the class LMS and start learning!

So, tell me, what ways will you engage students with infographics?


Frustrated Researcher Part Deux

The three areas that I am interested in studying

  1. Understanding the effectiveness of online/distance learning in the higher education environment with a particular focus on cognition and technology
  2. Understanding how administrative decisions (or lack of) are guiding online education
  3. Understanding how instructor training of online education and instructor identification of his/her personal curriculum theory influences student satisfaction and learning

are varied, which leads me to believe that I will need to distill and define what I ultimately want to research for my EPP. With that said, I will discuss why I have a keen interest in cognition and technology, online administrative decision-making, and instructor training. Before I begin, however, I must first state that although my focus is about the online educational environment, I have found that criticisms and claims can be supported for both online and face-to-face teaching methods. For instance, I typically hear people criticize and compare the worst concepts of online courses to the very best of the face-to-face courses. Rarely, do people openly discuss the failings of the face-to-face methods when bashing the online teaching environment. We tend to create distinct separate silos for online and face-to-face, which I believe is an error in the overall goal to promote innovative education opportunities.

Cognition and technology in education needs to be desperately studied and I am very interested in knowing what works and what does not. When the brain is presented with several levels of sensory input, what does it select to use and retain and why? When we know that there are limits to the brain’s working memory, how can we create environments that support this limitation? How can the understanding of this information help


educators make wise decisions when creating online courses, or selecting software tools to license. We cannot fully trust the marketers of these products to rea

lly know what the student needs. We must have a basic understanding of how our brains function for optimum learning in order to make informed decisions for our students.

Yes….there is a part 3 coming…

Florescent lights of the lms…

a lonely florescent breakfast

Yep, I love Jim Groom’s description of the florescent light of the LMS.

I completely support the concept of leaving the LMS behind when it is clunky or commercially cyborged. I truly understand the argument for the use of multiple tools and weaving together “whatever” works for instructors. Yet, is this expectation realistic? There are a handful of people I know who can do this…well. Other instructors need the well-structured universe of a standardized tool or “system.”

Good instructors take some risk, great instructors experiment and bring their students along with them. Unfortunately, I think that most people (students and instructors alike) feel that the stakes are too high to experiment. The student says, “I pay too much money for this.” (Whatever this is.) The instructor thinks, “I don’t want to look like a fool.” So, I think the edupunk movement has two-sides to the coin: instructor risk and student satisfaction.

My dilemma now that I am in an employee training field, is that we need to track employee course completion. Has the employee reviewed OMB circular A-21 or has she completed the necessary online training to handle radioactive material? How can we do this on an institutional scale where we can apply reporting and analytics to ensure that we have met the legal training requirements?

yay, legal documents!

Yet what is really interesting to consider is how the edupunk movement can evolve or expand employee training too, not just what we consider “standardized” k-12 education. Todd Hudson at the Maverick Institute considered this when he wrote the article “Lean Knowledge Transfer.”  How can we bring a new philosophy into training? He cites the lack of responsivity that formalized corporate training embodies. And that it is better to implement a “lean” approach where the learner is driving the experience.

I do think that the edupunk philosophy is critical to the advancement of education and should possibly be the foundation of all learning:

          1. Reaction against the commercialization of education

          2. DIY attitude

          3.Thinking and learning for yourself. (quoted from Wikipedia)

Ultimately, it probably is time for instructors to get some real-life sunshine and step out of the LMS’s artificial shadow.