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Follow Best Practices



Audio Reflections on Key Competency 3




Key Competency:

Follow best practices for instructional design, basic web design, responsive Web 2.0 design, mobile learning, e-learning 2.0, social learning, and produce high interest presentations for optimal outcomes

Metaphorical Equivalency:

Follow best practice training techniques, such as stretching, warming up, cooling down, using good form, and wearing appropriate gear for weight training, running, cycling, etc. to get optimal training benefit


Open Educational Resource - a responsive site with social login

Course: ETEC 565M - Mobile & Open Education


Responsive OER Site on Mobile Collaboration

As part of my contribution to a major collaborative project (with partners located in Eastern Canada, Mexico, Angola, and South Korea), I developed a site to host our Open Educational Resource (OER) that focused on Mobile Collaboration. I was also responsible for integrating a “badge learning pathway” (Vogt, 2015) that motivated and informed students with a credit earning system. The URL for the fully responsive standalone site for the OER is


Audio Reflection (1:38):

Tap or click here to see the references for the above artifact and reflection.


Moodle Multimedia Writing Course

Course: ETEC 565A - Learning Technologies Selection: Design and Application


My Moodle Muddle

This major assignment was a key factor in my Moodle metamorphosis.

Until being required to design a Moodle site, my past dealings with the Learning Management System (LMS) software had always been unfruitful and unsavory. Like Charlie Brown repeatedly trying to kick the football, I had repeatedly attempted to learn how to use this open-source sore spot–but had failed every time. However, for this class, it was necessary to overcome all the negativity of the past by opening my mind, setting aside time, and making a real effort to learn why so many educators are still using Moodle today.  As mentioned in the video below, I discovered that there are many affordances available in Moodle that are not provided in other LMS platforms such as my (formerly) beloved Canvas LMS from Instructure.

The video tour introduces a few of those affordances and, at the end, gives the viewer clear instructions on how one can access the Moodle course, itself, should a closer look be warranted. Because I want to continue learning more about the marvelous Moodle–and possibly start using it in my teaching practice–I moved it off the UBC system and into my own domain:, and, as soon as I am completely finished the MET Program, I plan to spend more time with Moodle.

Tap or click here to check the references for the above artifact and reflection.


Online Constructivist Lesson Sample

Course: ETEC 530 - Constructivist Strategies for E-learning


Online Constructivist Lesson Sample

The reflection for this artifact is in the toggle below the image. To see the online lesson, please tap or click here or on the image below:

Reflection of the Online Constructivist Lesson sample:

Because this lesson came from a course that I actually developed with a blended approach, there have not been any radical changes in this revision. It turns out that I have already been using constructivist strategies that are key aspects of the Constructivist Instructional Model (CIM) (Driver & Oldham, 1986), Predict-Observe-Explain (POE) (White & Gunstone, 1992) and Conceptual Change Model (CCM) (Posner, Strike, Hewson, & Gertzog, 1982) approaches, but I just didn’t know the labels for them.

Because the assignment called for the development of an online instructional/workshop lesson that included about 1 hour of instruction, I did have to make some changes in a few areas, though.  For example, the self-introduction was put on video and I eliminated many administrative aspects of the real-life course’s first two weeks (such as setting up students on Gmail and a learning management system) in order to focus on the most essential elements of the course curriculum: developing digital literacy through blogging, photography, writing, and filmmaking.

I also added online surveys that would enable even the quietest, shiest students to have a voice by making predictions about key aspects of online privacy, the future of the internet, and digital footprints. Not all the surveys require students to identify themselves, so under guarantee of anonymity, they are able to reflect sincerely and “speak” honestly about their true beliefs.  This is rarely possible in a face-to-face environment—especially on the first day of classes. Surprisingly, many internet users are still sadly unaware of the need to take reasonable precautions when going online. As a result, Part 1 of the lesson attempts to encourage students to engage in the most serious possible self-reflection before they get started with building their blogs. This is not so easy to do in the classroom.

Part 2 of the lesson is very similar to the way I currently teach it. Rather than lecture or do a live demonstration of how to set up a WordPress blog, I provide students with short video tutorials that provide just enough information to get them started, but also leave out a lot of details.  This is partly because students generally lose interest after about 6 minutes of video, but mainly because I want them to experience the challenge—and success—of struggling through their Zones of Proximal Development (McLeod, 2014; TCU Psychology of Thinking and Learning, n.d.; Vygotsky, 1978).   Because many of my previous tutorials had become outdated (because of changes in the WordPress interface), I thought that Assignment 2 would be a good opportunity to remake the videos and ended up producing a total of eight.

I also discovered, while building the site, Padlet makes it easy for students to post their blog URL’s on the parent website for the course.  This is something that I have always done myself—and students have frequently expressed the desire to do it themselves, so this is a change that I may be implementing very soon in the real-life course.  

I tried several online collaboration apps and ruled out those that don’t work on Android or that require students to register. (Popplet, Spiderscribe, etc.)  I favored eduCanon, Padlet, and Google Forms because they give teachers the option of allowing learners to interact without being required to log in.  I used Camtasia to create the video tutorials and found the basic WordPress setup tutorial to be the most difficult to produce.  This is partly because WordPress’s interface has changed and become much more complicated than it was when I made my first tutorial.  However, I am pleased to note that the vast majority of WordPress setup tutorials are exponentially longer than mine.

I take a more holistic approach to evaluation because, although blogging is an important aspect of digital literacy, it is also a very ambiguous one, beginning with the issue of how to name a blog: should one use a pseudonym or real name?  If one uses a pseudonym, doesn’t that detract from the authenticity of that blog? On the other hand, is the blogosphere becoming too dangerous for one to use a real name?  Other ambiguities include a wide range of other issues — from aesthetics to politics to art appreciation to the old Apple vs PC debate.  Evaluating blogs, images, videos, or anything else related to digital literacy is not a black and white process.  It is not like math or physics, where the facts are the facts—and very little grey area exists.  With so much grey area in the realm of digital literacy, I think it is presumptuous to formulate a precise set of criteria by which to evaluate students’ work.  For that reason, my rubrics take a decidedly holistic approach.

Although I enjoyed working on a one hour online lesson, I found it impossible to compartmentalize all the best constructivism into just one hour.  In Part 3, students are set up for a 3 week project in which they will collaboratively learn about filmmaking shots—then produce some of them in their own work.  And Part 4, I suspect, may not be doable at such an early stage of the course. It may be more reasonable to ask students to share their newly made blogs after they have had more time to get them organized and looking good.  This, among many other aspects of this lesson, is something that will require careful assessment and reflection on my part.


Online Presentation of Vygotsky's Theories

Course: ETEC 512 - Applications of Learning Theories to Instruction (core)


Modern Web and Instructional Design for an Online Presentation


Our task was to choose a learning theory (or theorist) and build an online presentation that demonstrated not only a solid understanding of the basic theory, but also presented evidence of additional research that went beyond the course readings. Because we all agreed to use a hosted WordPress site, our presentation was able to include interactivities and make Online Learning Communities (OLC’s) (Khoo & Cowie, 2011) (Stodel, Thompson, & MacDonald, 2006) a priority.

I was able to find a good chat plugin so each member of the group was able to engage in synchronous or asynchronous chats with site visitors. Other useful affordances were eduCanon’s interactive videos and the Tricider social voting system system, as featured on the Interactivities page.

In addition to interactivity, two other important design features include navigability and responsive design, and they are both explained/demonstrated in the video, which also serves as the reflection for this artifact.

To see the online presentation, please tap or click here. Tapping or clicking on the thumbnail below will play the reflection video.

Update (07-11-15): Since developing the presentation in November, 2014, some of the apps and plugins have evolved and may not work as originally designed. If you notice this, please feel free to let us know!



Tap or click to check the references for the above artifact and reflection.




Wiki Page on Google+ Hangouts and Drive

Course: ETEC 510 - Design of Technology Supported Learning Environments (core)



The following video is a tour of my wiki page and less than 90 seconds in length:

 You can visit the actual wiki page by clicking here. (The page is hosted at UBC and sometimes gets updated by other students.)

Reflection on Starting a Wiki Page

Inner Conflict

Starting this wiki page created quite an inner conflict.  As someone who had always used either WordPress or a WYSIWYG editor for web design,  I felt that having to re-learn some basic html coding skills was regressive and a waste of precious time.  (Unfortunately, wiki sites rely heavily on html.)

On the other hand, I was elated to be dealing with two of my favourite collaboration tools, Google Drive and Google+ Hangouts.  I had actually already started using them with my students before beginning on the MET Program, so it was encouraging to be learning about the constructivist theory that supports the collaboration and group activities that these tools afford to anyone with a Gmail account.

To make the assignment even more challenging, our instructor pointed out that it was important to do the research and provide a solid written foundation so that future MET students who have similar interests could work on the same page without having to delete everything because the original author had not been accurate.

Because I knew that someone else could easily revise the entire wiki page, I made a quick video tour of it shortly after completing it. It has been more than two years since it was finished and, when I checked it out last week, things hadn’t changed much. That means one of two things:  either I did a reasonably solid job on the Google Drive / Google+ Hangouts wiki page or perhaps folks are just not interested in those apps any more. 

Of the one or two additions that have been made to the page, I only wish that the alignment of the ‘Transmediation‘ video was correct. I see this as not so much the fault of the student who added it, but as a major weakness with wiki sites in general: the requirement for wiki authors to know how to code in html is an unnecessary obstacle that should be removed. Perhaps another platform will soon emerge to replace the outdated html wikis and create new possibilities for more collaborative authors to share their knowledge in a modern, unimpeded web space. One can only hope.



Video Tutorials about Mobile Learning, Social Login, Badges, and Augmented Reality

Course: ETEC 565M - Mobile and Open Education


Video #1

The purpose of the video below was to convey information about our group’s ETEC565M Open Educational Resource on Mobile Collaboration. As shown in the videos, I made use of an app that allows one to capture the screens of both mobile devices and personal computers simultaneously. This made it easy for the audience to gain a clear understanding of how the social login and badging system worked.  As a result of this tutorial’s logical sequencing, clear demonstration, and helpful voiceover narration, I did not receive any complaints or requests for additional assistance.


Video #2

In this next video, I tried to demonstrate the value of a popular Augmented Reality (AR) app. My interest in AR had been sparked by an excellent OER developed by another ETEC565M group, which is an excellent example of how the constructivist online courses UBC MET Program are so effective. Every course is designed to promote collaboration and learning communities so that students can learn from/with one another at distributed and deep levels of cognition that are unattainable through conventional lecture-based courses.

Frankly, as I reflect on this AR Flashcards video now, I find the background music and my opening chitchat to be just a bit too folksy for academia; however, the use of the Teamviewer app that allows one to capture both mobile and computer screens simultaneously is truly a major asset.

Perhaps most significant of all, however, is the fact that the making of this rather lame video led, along with my increasing interest in AR technology to a very polished film for the final “forecasting” project in the Mobile and Open Education course.

Tap or click to check the Mobile Learning, Social Login, Badges, and Augmented Reality references.


Real Life Examples of Linking Theory to Practice:

The following blurbs will connect you to current examples of linking theory to practice.

More About Gary

additional information about Gary’s background & current practice

Reflections on HYU Practice

ongoing initiatives to support learners and faculty at Hanyang University

Overview of Current Sites

e-learning spaces that Gary currently uses in professional practice

Links to Old Spaces

discontinued spaces that trace Gary’s online footprint back to 2001

References for Key Competency 3

Tap or click to view all the references for this Key Competency


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