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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

You're Invited! Free Webinar on Web Conferencing Tips For Training And Education

Learn the secrets to creating and delivering collaborative training presentations that engage your students and enhance comprehension. Author and e-learning authority Susan Smith Nash, Ph.D. teams up with webinar expert Ken Molay to share tips and guidelines in this informative session.

Register here:

Web seminars are creating new opportunities for instructors and trainers to reach more students in a more convenient fashion than traditional room-based lectures allow. However, presenting information via web conference requires new approaches and skills

This seminar gives you valuable information on how best to create and deliver instructional content for remote audiences. You will gain insight into the challenges and advantages presented by distance learning and come away with an understanding of best practices for interacting with your students and working with conference-based courses.

You will get the benefit of two industry experts sharing their complementary areas of expertise. Susan Smith Nash, Ph.D., author of Excellence in College Teaching and Learning: Classroom and Online Instruction, looks at ways in which web conferencing technology affects teaching and learning styles, giving guidelines on how to adjust your training to take advantage of the medium. Ken Molay, president of Webinar Success, shows you additional tips to meet the unique demands of the web seminar format.

The one-hour seminar includes time for an interactive question and answer session with both speakers.

The information is appropriate for trainers in educational institutions or in business environments.

  • What types of content work in a web seminar and what should be avoided
  • Ways to improve student comprehension and retention
  • How to improve your presentation and instructional style
  • How to combine online training with traditional coursework

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Interview with E-Learning Professional: John Erdner, Nfomedia

Today's interview is with John Erdner, founder of an innovative learning management system and philosophy: Nfomedia (, which brings together social networks and e-learning. Nfomedia is remarkable for its short learning curve, simple to use technologies, and Web 2.0 integrations.

What is your name and what is your involvement in e-learning?

My name is John Erdner. I am founder and CEO of Nfomedia Inc. The company originated in Stillwater, OK (2005) and is now based in Austin, TX. My educational background and work experience is software development/engineering management. Most of my colleagues, friends, and family are professionals (faculty/administrators) in the education industry.

What is Nfomedia, and what is its vision?

Nfomedia is a social e-learning platform which uses the latest Web technologies. Most of the features are familiar to our users from other social networking sites like Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn. The familiarity is especially true for students and growing for instructors. Nfomedia offers the standard social networking features which includes user profiles, friends, discussion boards, text messaging, wiki editing. These features are put into a learning environment by grouping them in private areas called course sites. All course sites also include grade book, announcements, exams, student journals, and content editing.

What do you like best about Nfomedia? What are some of its advantages?

The simple user interface and short learning curve for faculty and students. Faculty with limited Web experience can deploy a secure course website in a matter of minutes.

In what ways has e-learning changed the way that students and instructors interact with each other and the course material?

We’ve found course blogs to be very popular. Students are sometimes more willing to communicate ideas in an online format which leads to great discussions that may not occur inside a traditional classroom. Additionally, I've been told by faculty that online participation (course blogs, message boards, chat rooms, etc.) greatly helps to develop/improve critical thinking and writing skills.

What do you think will be then next big breakthrough in distance learning?

Nfomedia is planning to have discussions/questions on content pages. This should make it easier for students to ask questions while studying online content/material (no need to jump to another area on the website, like a discussion). The instructor will be notified when a new comment is posted. Also students/instructors will be able to sort by ‘most discussed areas’. Over time content should improve because the instructor can easily pin point areas that receive the most questions/comments. These discussions can be cleared at the end of a semester.

Also, I expect to see webcams integrated more into the learning environment. For example the instructor might give live lectures and use a chat window for real-time questions. Similarly, a student with a webcam could connect via their webcam in ‘picture in picture’ mode to ask a question. These sessions could be recorded and replayed by students. Another possibility is a video blog where student can post presentations using webcams.

Have you recently read a book that has made you think in a new way? What was it?

One of my goals is to read more books on e-learning. I spend most of my free time keeping up with emerging Web technologies by reading blogs. I'm always looking for new ways to use these technologies in an online learning environment. The groundwork for Nfomedia has been created (i.e. we have an excellent development toolset). Therefore we are able to add new features very quickly.

Optional question: If you were a political strategist, how would you harness the power of Web 2.0 applications?

Certainly the 2008 presidential campaigns have used Web technologies effectively for presenting political viewpoints and fund raising like never before. However outside of an election, using these technologies in politics is a challenging question.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Corgi Big Bark Awards, Plus "Corgi Tail Wags" Special Commendations

E-Learning Queen's Corgi Big Bark Awards were created to recognize innovations in e-learning, the awards are a way to encourage people who have a dream and a ision, and whose energy provides very welcome inspiration and affirmation for all involved in e-learning.

The Corgi Big Barks are awarded to products and services that achieve a high score in the following categories:

* meets a need in a new way
* is easy to use
* encourages the user think of new ways to teach and learn
* makes one think of new ways to communicate / share / collaborate
* demonstrates a sense of whimsy, humor, beauty
* is practical and affordable
* promotes social responsibility

Neulio Learning Communities
These video-based learning modules are uniquely accommodating to all formats (video, presentations, assessment), along with being remarkably easy to use. The learning community concept encourages the sharing of information and knowledge, as well as an approach that take the Socratic method deep into Web 3.0 territory.

Texas State Technical College West Texas Wind Energy Program
Texas State Technical College West Texas began offering a two year Associates degree in Wind Energy at the Sweetwater campus in 2007. What sets this alternative energy program apart is the fact that the certification program is 100% online. Wind energy and turbine technology certification is one part of a major sea change that is rippling through our world. Education that works is community-oriented, online, accessible, earth-friendly, alternative/independent in terms of energy, and infrastructure-enhancing.

Nfomedia is a free social networking utility designed to enable blended or hybrid learning for higher education courses. The interface is remarkably easy to use, and it encourages one to think of hybrid applications, both e-learning / face-to-face, and hybrid with e-learning and mobile learning.

Wolfram Demonstration Projects
Some of the mathematical modeling projects showcased here are so beautiful and elegant they absolutely mesmerize one. At the very least, they inspire math teachers and students to start thinking about how they can share both useful and simply elegant mathematical models. Examples of recent demonstration projects include individual models in 3D graphics, computational geometry, and recreational mathematics. Wolfram Demonstration Projects represent the pinnacle of productive social networking: the results will eventually manifest in the phenomenal world as technological innovations and conceptual breakthroughs. It is a mathematics "sand box" writ large.

Corgi Tail Wags:
These programs and initiatives get "Tail Wags" for being innovative and for seeking green energy alternatives. They have great potential to be further developed by introducing e-learning and mobile learning elements.

Outlook for demand for wind energy, profile of the jobs and the
technology, and overview of employment (that can't be outsourced):

Laramie Community College: Associate of Science and Certificate Program in Wind Energy (new Fall 2008)
Not online, and has hands-on lab. The field work would be very compatible with mobile learning.

Lawrence Technological University: Associate in Alternative Energy Technology
The Associate Degree in the Alternative Energy Technician Program gives future technicians a working knowledge of Alternative Energy systems.
Many of the courses in the core program appear to be very amenable to e-learning delivery.

Iowa Lakes Community College: Wind Energy and Turbine Technology
Alliant Energy is collaborating with Iowa Lakes Community College (ILCC) to develop the curriculum for their Wind Energy and Turbine Technology program. This two-year Associate in Applied Science degree prepares students to install, maintain and service modern wind turbines. Graduates will be ready to support Iowa’s growing wind infrastructure as companies rush to build renewable energy generation.

Minnesota West Community and Technical College
Associate Degree in Wind Energy
As energy costs continue to escalate, the demand for lower cost, more efficient, and renewable energy sources continue to be explored. The career of Wind Energy Technician includes everything from installation and repair to troubleshooting of wind energy towers. This technician will be capable of working closely with clients with an understanding of environmental issues and politics, written technical skills, and data interpretation.

The Ogallala Commons
Ogallala Commons is a nonprofit resource development network, offering leadership and education to reinvigorate the commonwealths that form the basis of all communities, both human and natural. Ogalllala Commons country overlies the vast High Plains-Ogallala Aquifer (shaded blue on the map), covering about 174,000 square miles across parts of eight Great Plains states. The backbone of Ogallala Commons extends along the long north-south axis of U.S. Highway 385 (road line on map) and the 102 Meridian(see our logo)... but our commons also stretches west to the Rocky Mountain foothills and eastward to the river-braided prairies of the Midwest (symbolized by the four directions on our logo).
This is a wonderful endeavor to create leadership approaches that support rural communities, environments, educational endeavors, and a "whole person" spiritual life. Because the communities are so geographically scattered, elearning would be ideal. This is a great opportunity to test new ways to overcome new digital divides (lack of broadband), and to implement new mobile learning techniques and technologies. Access is fundamental.

** (the Corgi is Gizmo, proud resident of Dumas, Texas)

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