Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Rubricizing, Lost a Close Friend, and Recent Wiki Articles

I've applied my rubric to two courses and have tried a third course but have had trouble finding the lesson materials. But, fear not! I have other alternatives! I started writing my report last weekend and shouldn't be a problem to complete it by Saturday.

Last night I came home, got Dakota (our half German Shepherd half knothead, and God knows what else) his dinner, went out to give him supper, and I had a stiff pup on my hands. Dakota and I had become very close, over the past 6 or 7 years especially. Kath (my wife) is always close to her pets. He was almost 14 years old. Lessee, that's somewhere in his 80s for a dog his size. He had a good life. We had a lot of good times...still doesn't make it easy. Dakota was with us since weaning as a young pup. Josh picked him out and reminded me how Dakota's mom, Gretchen-who lived next door, used to come to our back door and whine 'cuz she knew we had one of her pups. There are a lot of good memories. Kath reminded me of the time he had a cat treed and the cat wasn't gonna come down for love or money. Dakota just sat down at the foot of that tree until the cat decided to come down and promptly chased the cat into next week! He was a smart dog. We had a grey cockatiel named Mosby. Mosby got outside one day and flew away or so we thought until we heard Dakota barking from the back yard. Kath got out there and there was Dakota with his paw on Mosby gently pinning him to the ground and a smile on Dakota's face! Then there was the time he shoved the kitchen chair up against the counter, got on the counter, and drug down a bag cheese flavored chips and had a feast. Kath came in the kitchen as he munched the last of the chips and asked, "Would you like some dip with that, Dakota?" Then there was the Christmas he ate a whole box of chocolate covered cherries. And once when the fridge we had had a bad seal on the door and he nose that door open and helped himself to a whole, thawed out, uncooked chicken with a sheepish grin on his face! At least he died (we say moved) easy and we didn't have to have him put to sleep. That'd probably be worse. He had the typical German Shepherd problem of bad hips and arthritis in his front right leg. Still he was always game for a car ride and a walk along the Mississippi. Buried him in one of his many holes he dug in our back yard, right near his dog house. No other dog will ever replace Dakota...we know that...just the same we're on the lookout for a Scottish Terrier pup. May have found one out southwest of Iowa City for a very reasonable price. Kath would really like a Scottie.

Earlier yesterday a couple of articles about Wikis came to me via email...thought I'd share them here. They both came from eWeek and provide some worthwhile reading. Here's their links...
25 Tips for a Better Wiki and Wikis While You Work

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A Brew of Note

A friend of mine came back to visit his fam for Thanksgiving brought me a treat. He brought a 6 pack of Bell's Oberon Ale from Comstock, Michigan. He says every time they brew this particular ale, maybe it's any brew, they have an article in the newspaper announcing it. Apparently it's a very popular brew from Bell's Brewery, an area favorite in the Kalamazoo, Michigan region. With home hot-air popped, buttered (real butter) and cheese flavored, popcorn, my Friday night was complete! One of those "priceless" moments.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

3 or 4 Things

I was rearranging some elements on the left hand sidebar today and was thinkin' about gettin' rid of my tab of Netvibes IDT 516 Blogs. Then I remembered how it actually helped me out at work. Where I work there's restraints on what we can access. Blogs are one thing that is blocked from access by employees. So, Dr. West's links can't be accessed either. The strange thing is, is that I can at least see the front page of the blogs from my tab of IDT 516 blogs. Sometimes I can even navigate into it a bit but usually that just kicks a block on the page. But I've been able to retrieve some bits of information over the last week or two as a result. That's been a beneficial mistake. I think I'll leave the link up there awhile longer.

There was a quote on the in-house tv they call "Channel 9." by Conrad Hilton I've been noticin' this month, "Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don't quit."

I've removed the Fire In The Belly pics. The band now has its own blog,
as does the duo I play in, Lost In The Weeds (links also on the left hand sidebar under for friends bands!)

Completed the Rubric today. It contains 72 pieces of criteria in 6 categories under Dr. West's 3 headings. It may be overkill!!!
I hope not.
The categories are:
Instructional Design
Presentation Design
Interaction Design
Learner Engagement

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Completed Rubric Question Selection

Pretty well finished up the question selection for the Rube today...added some assessment related questions. One last look at the verbage and it'll be ready to apply to some courses. Maybe if I'm fortunate I'll get some of that done before Thanksgiving Day but if not Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday are the target days. Hope to have the writing completed earlier than the due date. That's the plan but life events happen and ya just never know.

Here's a new construction proposed for New Orleans.(This image comes from where you can see some very creative and talented Photoshop work!)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Global Rubric 90% Complete

Spent a lot of time developing a global rubric today...have about 90% of it complete...maybe it is complete...I'll need to look at it tomorrow.

The Rubric (y'know I'm just gonna call it "The Rube" from now on...just so y'know.) has three main sections as suggested by Dr. West; Instructional Design, Presentation Design, and Interaction Design.

Instructional Design, which evaluates design elements such as; course structure, learning objectives, and strategies, of online course elements, has two main sections; Syllabus and Content. I've got 13 questions under each section.

Presentation Design evaluates how the course looks and how the course works. The two categories I call Looks has 8 questions and Works has 11 questions.

Interaction Design evaluates how well the course engages the learner. At present I have one category, Learner Engagment which has 14 questions.

The research and development of the Rube has turned into an interesting project. I've read a thesis by a South African on utilization of computer-based training in South Africa. It's an engaging thesis. One attitude that I've read in researching this topic is that a Rube, good instructional design, is or should be evaluated and implement changes when necessary. In today's high tech culture that's so important because of the rapidity of change.

There's undoubtedly more questions to add but what I've got is a good start. One of the resources stated that there is no magic number of questions or categories, rather you can add as you go along and make adjustments down the road. Kinda like adding a bit of seasoning or spices when cooking is better than putting too much.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Last 48 hours....

Been burnin' some midnite and daytime oil gettin' this Unit 6 assignment finished up in time for the due date. It's been a kick workin' in the group I was privileged to work in. This time our group consisted of 3 individuals, Kim A., Mariann B., and myself. It's really a challenge working in asychronous mode. Thank God and Alexander Graham Bell for telephonic communication as that helps to speed up understanding and clarifies other's thought processes and approaches. At least for me it does.

A previous group project in 510 was a little cumbersome, especially after working in a Wiki. I'd have preferred using a Wiki to setup the document and implement changes. Unfortunately that wasn't available to us. So, I went outside of the WIU environment and, as I already have a Gmail account, utilized the Google technology by setting up a group and inviting Kim and Mariann to the group so we had our space for file storage, sharing, and easy access. I thought was a pretty good solution. We wrote our documents solely in Word to facilitate the process. I've used the Google document utility but Word worked the best for the end-product as well as providing some learning ezperiences using that product.

The biggest reason I set up a Google Group for us was so I could access this project from work. My employer is very supportive of training, it's required, and imperative that we constantly seek improvement in our capabilities through whatever means available. If work is slow as it has been at times, especially this past week, my boss allows me to work on course work. Because of the stringent firewall and security that we have at work, I'm unable to access my WIU coursework at work. Needless to say, Google was a saving grace in this instance as I am able to access Gmail and Google.

The great news is the project is done, delivered, and on time. We feel pretty good about the project. It's very tight and is, I believe, a quality work. We'll see if our instructor agrees! (check back to see how we did.)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Enterprise 2.0, Federal Computer Week article

Been very busy at work and my IDT 510 class. The IDT 510 class has a group project we're workin' on that's due Saturday night. Even though there's always a 3 day grace period, I like to get it down. Our group's tryin' to get it finished and submitted Friday night. Not sure we'll make that. Had a phone conversation with Dr. Harris which clarified a couple of questions as well as two of the key elements and how they need to be processed.

Today at work I came across an article in Federal Computer Week about Enterprise 2.0. The 2.0 caught my eye and sure enough it has to do Web 2.0 tools, and the application of such tools in business and government. It's an interview of Andrew McAfee, an associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, studies the potential uses and effects of Web 2.0 technologies. Ben Bain was the interviewer. Interesting enough I thought I'd share it here for anyone who wants to peruse it. The name of the article is
Enterprise 2.0 and you

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

News and Help from Sue, Spreadin' The River Radio and Future House USA Gospel!

Two things:

1. On the IDT 516 Web 2.0 final project front, Sue McDaniel provided me with a couple of classes to evaluate with my rubric. (God bless you, Sue!) It's very gracious of the instructors of these classes to allow me to apply my rubric to their courses. Thank you. I hope this is okay with Dr. West.

2. A friend of mine, Lewis Demetri, I've known since we were 5 years old has an internet radio station up that some of you might enjoy. It's called The River Radio and is all original music composed by Lewis Demetri and friends. Lew's a tremendously talented musician and songwriter who plays keyboards, drums, bass, guitar, and sings. He's also a gifted recording engineer.

One of Lew's recent forays as a human being has been to become embroiled in alternative energy and alternative energy in building (commercial and residential) design. He's heavily involved in a project called Future House USA. Below's a video from YouTube about Future House at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. This video features featuring George Bialecki Jr., founder/director of Alternative Energy Living Foundation and President of Alternative Energy Builders, Inc.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

More Rubrics

At work today I found three rubrics I'd forgotten I found.

They are:
Online-Course-Evaluation-Rubric.pdf, came from the University of South Florida from, (I think this is the one I referred to having seen on Sue McDaniel's blog in yesterday's post.)

gmbacourseeval.pdf, came from the University of Texas at Dallas, and is titled, The University of Texas at Dallas Global MBA Online Course Evaluation from,

and Greenhouse Exemplary Course Awards Rubric 2006.pdf, came from Blackboard Connections is "Bb Connections is a central hub, a town square of sorts, where Blackboard and WebCT users can collaborate and share best practices, to deepen their knowledge and expertise in all things e-Learning." (quoted from the Welcome to Bb Connections, Welcome page at

Monday, November 12, 2007

Rubrics & Courses to Evaluate

So far I've identified 3 rubrics:

Pisik, G. B, (1997). Is this course instructionally Sound? A guide to Evaluating Online Training Courses. Educational Technology, July-August 1997, 50-59 (ERIC #EJ547832).

I found this one digging around The Sloan Consortium website. The Pedagogy Effectiveness Index (PEI) from MIT developed by Dr. Nishikant Sonwalker
The PEI serves as an indicator of the pedagogical richness of a course.

Evaluation of Online Course (based on Principles of Online Design, which I first saw reference to in Sue McDaniel's 516 blog and as it came up in two of my database searches, I, too, decided it was a worthwhile resource.

I appreciate insight into the Pedagogy Effectiveness Index. It seems to be a rubric but the article seems to focus on a formula for determining the score of rubric, though the criteria Dr. Sonwalker utilizes seems very close to the requirements laid out by Dr. West. Maybe I need to find a better or different example. And maybe I just need to read the article a time or two again...?

As for courses to evaluate, I could evaluate the IDT 510 and IDT 516 classes but maybe that's just plain silly?

In my research I came across a course on HTML I had used years ago to learn and refine some of my HTML skills found at Maricopa Center for Learning and Instructions. It is a dated course as it hasn't been updated since 2000.

Another consideration of mine is to evaluate one of Web Monkey's tutorials out of the following three categories; Authoring, Design, or Multimedia.

Any input, words of wisdom, insights (especially from Dr. West), are appreciated.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday Post - Still Playin'!

Left to right: John Kinser on Bodhran (pronounced: bow-ron), Josh Nobiling on guitar, Joe Nobiling on fiddle, and Lottie Truedell on pennywhistle (pennywhistles used to cost a penny many years ago, hence the name).

Josh lives in Carbondale, IL in pursuit of a Masters in Fine Art. Chris Dunn is taking Josh's place but we don't have a group shot of us with Chris, yet.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

eLearning Rubrics Netvibes Link

Getting closer to narrowing this field...haven't completed my rubric yet...but a lot closer to completion than I was last weekend which is good.

Thought I'd share my elearning Rubrics tab/universe (which contains potential websites, articles, etc., useful in completing Option 2: eLearning Rubric) from Netvibes. Add to Netvibes

Friday, November 9, 2007

Too Much Fun!

Annie Colbert asked me if my band played fiddle tunes...since I discovered how to customize my blog with images and such, I've added a few things such as individual pics of Fire In The Belly playing at a St. Paddy's Day gig in 2006. The pics were shot by my daughter, Heather, who's got a pretty good eye for interesting composition. Hopefully, this is not just a proud dad comment but those that see the pics think so, too. I've also changed the Blogger header and placed an image in the background of the Blog title.

It's funny as I tried to do a blog a few months back but I just couldn't work out. I had too broad a focus where now the focus is on journaling about the IDT 516 final project which seems to have made things click. Even though I'm tending to go down some 'rabbit trails.' It sure doesn't mean my mind isn't working on things. A lot of the time I have to involve myself in other seemingly out of the way or off the track things to give my mind time to work on stuff or solve a problem in the background. Stuff that's related to the actual task. Hopefully, I'm not too cryptic on this verbal meandering.

I totally forgot why I was putting this post up, the second one on the same day! It's to see if I understand how Dr. James West got his IDT 516 Blogs to show up with the latest posts showing. I think it's because he posted the blogs through the Blog Search under the Search menu. I burned through putting all the class blogs on a module in Netvibes using the web page under the External Widgets menu. Dr. West's is definitely the more preferable of the two as his list of the IDT 516 Blogs shows the new postings as they happen. Thanks, Dr. West, for being actively engaged in this class like you are!

Gotta Be Careful and Courses to Apply a Rubric to.

There's so much cool stuff out there. The Tony Karrer articles are really worthwhile to me but I've got to stay focused on the eLearning Rubric option and not go down too many 'rabbit trails.'

I realized the first pdf I'd gotten of an article by Pisik, who works(ed?) for AT&T and developed a rubric for their training courses was short all the illustrations. Funny thing, I had put my librarian at the Corps to work on finding the article for me as my database search brought it up in ERIC. The Corps librarian found it at St. Ambrose University, but with only 2 pages instead of the 8 or 9 it really contains. The librarians or staff at Ambrose mustn't have scanned the whole article. But, wouldn't you know it, WIU had the complete article. I should've tried that first but, live and learn. The pages that were missing in the article are the actual rubric that Pisik developed for AT&T. It didn't take the Corps librarian long to find the complete article...he said it was a phone call away.

Now to decide what elearning classes to evaluate. Hmmmm...I could evaluate the two classes I'm in this semester, IDT 510 and 516. Is that silly or what? I've taken some online training for software from,, and there's always the training that Army pushes at us once or twice a year. I'm probably gonna need some input or ideas on a third source to evaluate. So, if anyone has any suggestions, feel free to suggest! I really don't want to have to pay for a course and that's what I'd have to do to evaluate a or course. Plus, the timeframe to complete this final project will not allow for completion of a course and then an evaluation. Hmmmm.....

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Web 2.0 Blog(s)

In research for my IDT 516 final project, I ran across the following
two very worthwhile items that I thought I'd share...

This Learning Circuits website has an article by Tony Karrer titled, Understanding E-Learning 2.0

This blog is by Tony Karrer and is a very good resource for Web 2.0.

Karrer is a pretty sharp dude. He even uses the word, "cruddy!" I haven't heard that used in quite some time!!!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Evaluating Elearning: Google Database Results

My most recent search (evaluating elearning, database) on Google has yielded some worthwhile results that after a quick scan seem to provide some good material.

Here's what I chose as the most relevant articles and/or websites:

  • From the University of Melbourne, Australia, Information Services: Learning & teaching support for staff, Evaluating e-learning environments webpage

  • a thesis paper in PDF format by a Chinese student, Chun-Chia Lee, written in 2003. This document may not be worthwhile unless I can find an English translation as Acrobat had to download "Traditional Chinese Character Font" in order for anything to appear in this 89 page document. Does anyone know if Acrobat can translate a foreign language document into English or if there are any plugins for Acrobat that will do that?

  • A paper entitled, Evaluating e-Learning Resources, by Paul Riddy and Karen Fill University of Southampton delivered at Networked Learning Conference 2004

  • A website with a downloadable Powerpoint file, Planning and Evaluating e-Learning Practice by Sarah Knight and Ros Smith, JISC e-Learning Programme, presented at the Post-16 e-learning conference 2005 in the United Kingdom.

  • A Powerpoint presentation titled, Planning and Evaluating Effective Practice with e-Learning, prepared by S. F. Hearning and G. Jones in 2005.

  • and this website article,

    There appears to be quite a bit here plus some of the articles lead to other resources, a few of which are listed below.

    One of the resources that looks to be worthwhile is Flashlight Program from the University of Melbourne site, the second one in the list above.

    This article, Pisik, G. B, (1997). Is this course instructionally Sound? A guide to Evaluating Online Training Courses. Educational Technology, July-August 1997, 50-59 (ERIC #EJ547832), looks to have value but have to access through ERIC.

    An offshoot of the last article in the above list yielded this intriguing article, which addresses Web 2.0 elearning and shows a comparison of 3 generations of elearning.
  • Social Networking Article in Government Computer News

    There appears to be some savvy use of Social Networking going on within various governmental agencies as evidenced by this article from Government Computer News that I received at work the other day.

    Friday, November 2, 2007

    Still gettin' my keister kicked at work

    Haven't had as much time to devote to school this week as work has pretty well put me out of commission along with some weird creeping crud, Halloween with grandkids (5 boys and their two moms) invading our little piece of paradise putting Tuesday evening totally out of reach for accomplishing anything worthwhile. Been catchin' up on sleep lately it seems as I've been goin' to bed earlier, except tonite, just so I can get to work in the morn. Got a garage roof that's got to be replaced. Started it today after work and will have it accomplished tomorrow plus play two short musical gigs. So, I'm lookin' forward to Sunday and gettin' caught up with class work. Though I have done some things like try to get this posted to my blog, beef up my Netvibes's good to know that y'all can see some of my portal as I wasn't sure how that was gonna work. I've found out that tabs can be shared with Dr. West or anyone else only one tab at a time. Universes, which is the equivalent of what we've created on Netvibes...our own personal internet universe...can't be shared yet as Netvibes hasn't allowed it for whatever reason...maybe they've not perfected that concept yet. At least I'm gettin' something done and work at my day job has let up enough that I think next week won't be so much of a brain drain.