Back to School: The Next Step to Becoming an eLearning Expert

It’s that time of year again (if you work in education anyway). Students are returning. Classes are starting. Here in the Midwest, we’ve got crisp fall mornings and dew on the ground. Syllabi are being doled out like (unwanted) candy, and expressions of eagerness and anticipation will soon be replaced by glazed eyes and existential dread.

And for the first time in about a decade, I’m joining the crowd.

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Engage Learners with Instructional GIFs

You can’t really go anywhere on the internet without running into the ubiquitous animated GIF (graphical interchange format). Originating in 1987, GIFs shaped—and grew—with the internet in the following 30+ years (for those who missed the 90s or want to reminisce, the Internet Archive created a search for early GIFs).

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What Makes a Good Informational Video?

As instructional designers, we try to use the best tool for the task when communicating with a learner. Video is a great format for conveying information, but how do you know if it’s done well?

This week, we’ll hear from our summer student worker, Kyle Winchell. Kyle is a Digital Media Broadcasting major and editor of Spring Arbor University’s weekly chapel video, Almost Chapel. After graduation he plans to fill various roles for local film productions, specifically in the roles of director of photography and production assistant.

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Formatting eLearning Documents: Collaboration Station

Now that we’ve discussed many of the important formatting tools in MS Word, let’s turn our attention to collaboration. In the first post of this series, Back to the Basics, we explored the highly collaborative environment of eLearning.

After adding hyperlinks, page breaks, tables, and photos, it’s time to share your material with your fellow collaborators. And, using MS Word’s Review tab, you can work with them to discuss, edit, and update your document.

Let’s take a look at this Review Tab, our Collaboration Station™.

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Announcements: Finding the Balance Between Posting Too Little or Too Much

What if you entered a face-to-face classroom and found no instructor to welcome you to class, give you an overview of the semester, or guide you through your projects? Or what if your instructor made an appearance the first day of class, but slowly became less and less engaged as the semester progressed?

You’d be in the dark for most of the semester and probably pretty frustrated with your instructor, right?

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Building a Skilled eLearning Team

A familiar African proverb says it takes a village to raise a child—it means the entire community must interact with children for them to grow up to be a healthy member of society. Similarly, it takes a village to create a healthy learning environment.

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Encourage Collaboration on your eLearning Team

Like all design environments, our eLearning ecosystem includes a range of job titles, skillsets, experiences, and personalities. Building a successful team takes more than bringing skilled individuals together—you also need to encourage collaborative team culture.

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The eLearning Professional

You don’t become a professional by just calling yourself one. One key difference between professionals and non-professionals is this: professionals are bound by ethical codes. 

So, what’s the professional code of eLearning?

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Empowering Students to Seek and Find: An Interview with Kurt Hoffman

Kurt Hoffman clasps his hands close to his face and looks directly toward the camera.
Photo credit: Colleen Anderson, SAU 2019 Photography grad

Kurt Hoffman is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Spring Arbor University (SAU) in Spring Arbor, Michigan. He has two Master’s degrees from Arizona State University: Master of Public Administration and Master of Social Work. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in Humanities, with a concentration in the anthropology of human flourishing and the philosophy of social issues, racism in particular. Kurt lives in Concord, Michigan with his wife and three children.

This is only a tiny slice of Kurt Hoffman.

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Creating Effective Rubrics

Wendy and Ann have often worked together on rubrics sent to them by instructors. Today they’d like to discuss the importance of effective rubrics and walk you through the process of creating one that visually communicates your expectations. Ann’s going to start by discussing the importance of rubrics.

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