Examples of Educational Media

Evolution Simulation

I have been working with Ms. Anya Johnson, a graduate student at Michigan State University, to develop an educational simulation that demonstrates how variability in individual organisms enable a species to adapt to take advantage of its environment.  The simulation uses computational evolution to demonstrate evolution in a fictional alien species.  This program and associated materials are suitable for AP biology course or college biology, ecology, or evolution courses.  It is currently available for PC and Mac and is available for free at Ms. Johnson’s website.  Instructions and a lesson plan are also available at this website.  Thank you to the NSF and Beacon group for support in developing this educational simulation!!

Online US History Course

One of the challenges in moving a course online is finding suitable ways to maintain active learning.  Learning activities that are easy to stage in the classroom can be difficult to replicate in an online course.  When Dr. Amber Moulton asked how she could have her students debate – live – the issues that lead up to the American Civil War, I suggested a Second Life roleplay!!  UWW’s College of Letters and Sciences hosts several courses each term on our Athena Island, and creating a section of the White House for the class would allow students to “meet” for their debate just as if they were physically present in class, but it would be much easier for them to get into character if their virtual presence could actually LOOK like their assigned character.

Our team of students (and one hired clothing designer) created a section of the White House as it looked in the 1850s, including the Green Room, and period costuming to help students get into their roles.  Students met in world in pre-arranged sets of 6 or 7 people to debate the issues of slavery and states’ rights, having researched and created a character whose values and position they would present during the debate.

Getting students into Second Life is sometimes a challenge, made even more difficult when they do not meet on campus to get face to face help.  Hence, I created a couple of instructional videos to help them get to the island and in character for their debate.  We also had instructions written up in Word and available online for students who needed or preferred that method of instruction.

Second Life Introduction

Getting Dressed at the White House

An example of the debate room.  The fox is the professor, giving instructions to the students before settling back to observe their debate.

Late 1850s Green Room of the White House in Second Life

Late 1850s Green Room of the White House in Second Life

Introduction of Instructor to Students

This is an example of how to use video (this was created using iMovie) to introduce yourself to a group with whom you will be working remotely:  For many situations, this is the only time you need to record your face as well as your voice, but I am often surprised at how much students value such opportunities to get to know their faculty members as more than words on a page.

Direct Instruction for Online Courses

I have used the University of Minnesota’s CLA Media Magnet site to make streamed, narrated PowerPoints available for online classes, such as this one introducing my intermediate research methods course.  This was created using Camtasia Relay to capture my screen as I created the voice over.  It would be ideal for demonstrating how to perform a function on your computer (such as running a calculation in SPSS) while explaining what you are doing for the class.  SMARTboards also can be used to record audio while demonstrating a task – such as solving an equation.

Support for Classroom and Lab

eGradebook version 1 (designer and project manager)

Vectors (With Elizabeth Fochs, Industrial Engineering, Lake Superior College).  This program was used to help students practice vector calculation and check their answers.  Originally intended for the iPAQ, it was modified during development so that students could use any web-enabled device to access the program.  This program no longer runs for security reasons since Dr. Fochs moved to Lake Superior College.

Experiments and Throw-Away Code

This fun page shows a few features of interactive web pages.  This current development section is where I am refreshing my knowledge of HTML(5), CSS, and Javascript.

Web Development for the Educational Department at University of Minnesota – Duluth

Preparation for NCATE visit Fall 2010

Websites for the UMD Education Department, Doctor of Education program, and Ed. Ad. Licensure

Increasing Diversity in STEM Fields

Placement site for CS/Math/Stats introductory courses at Grinnell College (consultant)

Tech Savvy Girls

Original design of Website and Blog

Creation of Tech Savvy Isle (Teen Second Life) in collaboration with Dr. Elisabeth Hayes, Dr. Elisabeth King and the Tech Savvy Girls themselves!