Lumi Tunes

Ladies and gentlemen, you’re about to witness…

I have to admit that I was a little nervous going into this week’s activities.  I had never heard of Lumi, or H5P, let alone used them before.  Turns out H5P stands for HTML5 package; essentially it uses JavaScript to create interactive elements that we can share on our websites.  Since my online course uses a lot of video elements I thought it would be most fitting to add interactions to several of them.

There was only one small problem – I didn’t have any videos yet.  So I decided to create a few from scratch.  But isn’t that placing the cart before the horse?  My course would certainly need a syllabus.  Right?  Okay, no problem I can put one of those together.  What about a teacher introduction?  A quick start guide?  How about several sleepless evenings of feverishly creating content so I could get back to adding interactive elements to the videos?

I forgot.  I hadn’t made them yet.

Cue the internal screaming.

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Avoiding Awkward Silence – Planning for Student/Instructor Interaction

A drill sergeant leans in close towards a young man.

USMC-02659 by Staff Sgt. Thomas Perry, Public Domain.

Creating a Conversation

According to Michael Welsch an online course should feel like a conversation.  In his opinion, meaningful dialogue occurs when one engages in responsive teaching practices (integrating student questions and observations into lesson materials, using video introductions, etc.).  This builds a sense of trust and comradery amongst classmates and leads to higher engagement.

Looking at my own course it feels more like an awkward family supper with the in-laws.

Essentially, Welsch is emphasizing relationships, which is hardly a revelation to any veteran instructor.  So why is it so difficult to transfer these practices into online spaces? Why do I find planning a blended course so difficult?

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Blended Learning: A Mixed Experience

Blended What?

Sometimes the simplest tasks can cause the most trepidation.  Take for example this week’s blog entry: the relatively simple task of describing my experiences employing blended learning in my classroom.

Easy.

Except that until 48 hours ago I didn’t know what blended learning was.  But no matter, academia will come to the rescue.  Certainly there must be a measured consensus on what constitutes blended learning?  As it turns out the spectrum of modalities (and associated pedagogical practices) through which blended learning may be delivered has resulted in semantic chaos in the literature.

Okay, that may be a bit of hyperbole – but the fact remains that we need a working definition for today’s discussion or we will be chasing our tails all day.  For our purposes we will call blended learning “an approach to education that combines online educational materials and opportunities for interaction online with physical place-based classroom methods.” With that out of the way let’s talk about the elephant in the room.

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