Perpetually Online

Despite what I might tell my eye doctor when I go for a check up, if I’m awake there is a very high chance I’m using a screen. Let’s be honest, we’re living in an online world. Technology is virtually inescapable. In fact, in my line of work I can’t do my job without it. I am an Assistant Instructional Designer at the University of Regina. What that means is that I spend my work day developing and maintaining the online classes offered through the university.

Most online courses offered through the university run through URCourses. This is the hub where all course sites are held. It allows students to access the courses they’re in for the current semester, and it allows me to access the courses I support (Which often tend to be any course that begins with the letters F through N). URCourses isn’t actually a unique creation by the university. It’s an L.M.S (Learning management system) known as Moodle. Over the past five years I have become fluent in Moodle. Gathering a better understanding of the little intricacies to consider when creating resources and activities such as quizzes, assignments, forums, books, videos, and my personal favourite H5P’s

H5P’s are interactive content that can be placed into a course, or anywhere where H5Ps are enabled. Unfortunately, no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to add any H5P content to this blog. That’s too bad as I had just created a couple slides with two buttons where you could only proceed by pressing the green one:

H5P’s have been a fantastic addition when developing classes. Often instructors like to use them as a no risk “Test your understanding” activity at the end of a book or unit. They can also be used to break up content when it’s just blocks of text one after another. H5Ps can be smaller activities like one off multiple choice questions, or fill in the blanks. Bigger study materials like flash cards or drag and drop questions. And even bigger concepts that might seem out of the question at first. My favourite example of this is a murder mystery activity I created when I first started at the university. It seemed like an impossible task at first, but with a lot of hard work turned into one of the best projects I’ve worked on. Students work their way through the mystery, investigating clues, interrogating suspects, and using knowledge learned in class to find a reasonable explanation for the murder that has occurred. Just look at all of the branches!

But this work couldn’t be completed without the help and input of my coworkers. I work fully remote, but easily stay in contact with everyone via Zoom’s messaging system. We can share documents and ideas, help problem solve when we’re running into unforeseen issues, or just take a moment to share a laugh or some GIFs to showcase our mood. Zoom helps us to stay connected even without in person contact.

When I’m not working there’s still a very high chance that I am doing something with technology. Whether that’s playing video games with friends, watching Netflix/YouTube, walking my dog and listening to Spotify, or more recently, reading articles and doing research. We’re living in an online era, and I am here for it!

6 thoughts on “Perpetually Online

  1. Hi Josh, thanks for sharing! I found your post very interesting and easy to read. I too, have maybe been not entireeeely honest with my optometrist (ha). Thanks for sharing your knowledge about H5P’s. Until reading your post, I hadn’t heard of them. I will be looking further into them as they seem awesome from your description!

  2. Hi Josh, great post! I think your job is very unique and you are the first person I have met with this specific job. I only have a little knowledge about H5P’s as I learned about them in Katia’s Winter 2024 class this year. I really enjoyed learning about Lumi and putting together interactive videos for my math lessons. I will be using Lumi in the future again for sure.

  3. Great post Josh. I started my undergraduate studies back in 2013 and I have been using UR Courses pretty extensively since then. So it was quite interesting to read a little bit about the process that goes into creating an online course through UR Course.

    Ironically, Moodle is something I have been meaning to look into since the pandemic started back in 2020, but there just never seems to be enough time in the day.

  4. Hi Josh! The way you put everything here is quite simple. I couldn’t agree more. There is no doubt that we are so inextricably depended on technology. I have been using UR Courses like all the other students. I found it quite amazing. I can learn about my peers even before the class takes place. I feel it’s easy to understand though I have only been using this for last few months. Thanks to you that I get to learn about Learning Management System and UR Courses is actually an L.M.S.!

  5. Hi Josh, when I read your post, the first words that came out of my mouth were “Wow!” Despite not having experience as a teacher, you have so much in your role that’s new to me. Your job seems really unique, and you’re very talented I must say. This H5Ps topic is so new to me, so thanks for sharing, buddy!
    I really loved reading your blog!

  6. Thank you for sharing this engaging post, Josh! Your deep dive into your role as an Assistant Instructional Designer and your use of technology like Moodle and H5P is both fascinating and informative. Your passion for creating interactive and engaging learning experiences is evident, especially with projects like the murder mystery activity. It’s inspiring to see how technology can transform education when used creatively and thoughtfully. Keep sharing your insights and experiences!

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