Archive | August 2009

Signals at Purdue U. – Increasing Student Success


To increase the success of their students Purdue University has implemented an intervention system called Signals. It combines predictive modeling and the data mining of their Blackboard Vista system to identify students who are academically at risk. Risk ratings are assigned, integrated with Blackboard and available on the student’s Blackboard homepage. Signals also provides intervention e-mails from instructors and communicates available campus resources to assist the student.

See Purdue’s description

My e-Learning Toolbox

Every so often I see my fellow bloggers posting lists of what they have in their e-learning toolbox. These posts are always interesting and helpful. It is a glimpse not just into their development tool preferences, but it also provides some reflection into the approaches they take in creating courses.

Here is what I have in my e-learning toolbox and some notes on how I use these tools.

  • ToolBook authoring tool – this is the DHTML authoring tool used at my company, but prior to this I used TrainerSoft (now Outstart Trainer), which is my preference.
  • Adobe Fireworks – editing graphics.
  • Adobe Flash – creating interactive elements, including animation, games, immersive learning simulations, etc.
  • Adobe Captivate – creating simulations (software sims and occasionally soft skill, branching sims).
  • Sumtotal LCMS – already determined by the company I work for, but no complaints.
  • SnagIt – grabbing screenshots.
  • Adobe Dreamweaver – creating web pages and occasionally jerry-rigging the HTML in courses.
  • Adobe Acrobat – creating PDFs included in courses (e.g. job aids).
  • Notepad –  editing XML.
  • Windows MovieMaker – editing WMV files.
  • PowerPoint – creating storyboards.
  • WordPress – editing and publishing my blog.

FYI: Most of what I make are asynchronous WBTs. Please feel free to share what is in your toolbox or any recommendations on tools I should add.

Hurricance e-Learning Resources

Hurricane Fran

It’s hurricane season, so I thought I would add a few hurricane resources to the Free e-Learning page.

Here they are:

Forces of Nature – National Geographic

Hurricanes – KidsKnowIt Network

Hurricane Motion Gizmo – ExploreLearning

Be Red Cross Ready – American Red Cross

Hurricane Preparedness – Propane Exceptional Energy

3-D Virtual Learning Environment – Right Here in Baltimore

This looks fantastic and is a great opportunity for students here at a local school in Baltimore (reported as a first of its kind in any U.S. high school). Johns Hopkin’s Applied Physics Lab (APL) worked with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and the University of Baltimore to deploy a 3-D Virtual Learning Lab. This is a state of the art learning environment modeled after the facility APL uses for DoD and NASA projects.

The first project will be exploring and learning about Mt. St. Helens.

Peloff said the area around Mount St. Helens was chosen because the ecosystem has changed dramatically over the past 30 years and is a great place to begin integrating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts into the virtual environment.

And they are planning a Moon environment too!

I am very confident these high school students will learn a lot from this technology and have fun at the same time. It will be great to hear more about this project and the results of learning through games and simulations.

A big kudos and thank you to Baltimore County Schools, Hopkins ADL, University of Baltimore and their private sector partners for putting this together.

Read more about it –

Flash on Blackberry Rumor…We will still have to wait for Flash on Blackberry

Quick update on my recent post regarding Flash players being added to Blackberry browsers next summer. This does NOT appear to be happening, sorry for any false alarms. Thank you Yogesh from Upside Learning for confirming that the reports are rumor. Here is the link he sent me for more info – (John Dowdell of Adobe comments that these are only rumors).

Flash on Blackberry… Next Summer

Adobe Flash logoAccording to the Boy Genius Report, RIM is planning to add full Flash support for the Blackberry browser by next summer (2010). This is not Flash Lite, but a full Flash player. It will also support Silverlight. This has a lot of potential for m-learning. A significant portion of the m-learning developed is targeted for Blackberry devices, especially in the corporate world.

If Flash does arrive on Blackberries it will mean opportunities to develop more  interactive m-learning for these devices and expand users’ access to m-learning currently developed in Flash and Flash Lite. Because of the number of Blackberry users and the amount of m-learning targeted to Blackberry users, having Flash as a development tool will be quite a boon for m-learning designers and users alike. Plus, this may be a motivator for Apple to add Flash to the iPhone.

m-Learning Devices

The Don’t Waste Your Time blog posted a poll regarding the best devices for delivering m-learning. The list was comprehensive, but made me think about when is it not e-learning and becomes m-learning. There are gray areas such as laptops and netbooks. Technically they both should be included, being very mobile, but I am still hesitant to include these as m-learning devices. Probably because what is typically accessed on these are e-learning courses and not courses designed specifically for mobile devices. As far as the other devices like phones and PDAs, you must apply “m-learning” design due to such things as the small screen, limited processing speed, lack of Flash players (in some cases), etc.

I can be swayed a bit on netbooks due to some design considerations needed. However, if m-learning is defined by the design approach not the device, then laptops are off my list.

Here is the list from the Don’t Waste Your Time…poll:

  • Phone / iPod Touch
  • MP3 Player
  • Mobile Phone
  • Smart Phone
  • Laptop
  • Netbook
  • eBook Reader (Sony, Kindle, etc)
  • PDA
  • Games Console (PSP, Nintendo DS, etc)
  • Thanks Don’t Waste Your Time.. for this comprehensive list. Myself, I cannot think of any devices to add, but if anyone out there does, please feel free to comment. And take the poll too.