Author Archives: emmurphy3

The Flipped Classroom


I'd like to begin by thanking Dana Ernst for sending me this link: for the Flipped

Classroom Network.  The phrase "Using Technology to Enhance Learning" often stimulates images of students looking at a computer screen interacting with a software program, or an instructor showing a lengthy powerpoint slideshow to enhance their lecture, or students with laptops open--checking their facebook accounts instead of paying attention to what's going on in the classroom.  For many years, that's often how technology was integrated, and it very often changed little about the way education was delivered or engaged students.  The flipped classroom, however, promises to be something different.

With a flipped classroom the technology actually stays out of the classroom, and what takes place in the classroom are the personal engagements with each other and ideas.  Lectures, which have little interactivity, are provided via pre-recorded video which students can watch, multiple times if need be, from their home.   The work that was once assigned as homework, is now done in the classroom where the instructor can assist, and where students can interact with each other (as we often wish they would outside the classroom).  That's why it's called "flipped".

Explore the videos on the Ning site given above, and see what you think about this.  We're interested in hearing your thoughts.

Also check out this Flipped classroom infographic:

Categories: Web 2.0

Call for Proposals: Spotlight on Faculty

call for proposals

call for proposals

Once again this year, PSU will host a one day event: Spotlight on Faculty.  It's a time when faculty can share with one another some of the ways they are using Technology in the classroom.  It's difficult to keep abreast of all the choices that are out there, and even more difficult to know which are worth your time.  If you are using technology in your classroom, we encourage you to submit a proposal.   And for those of you not inclined to speak about your use of technology, please plan to attend.  There really are a lot of very interesting and dynamic uses of technology at PSU, but most of us simply don't know about them.

To submit a proposal:

Categories: Events, SpotlightOnFaculty, Web 2.0 | Tags: ,

January Jamboree and "Spotlight on Faculty"

Workshops are open to faculty from ALL USNH campuses

Workshops are open to faculty from ALL USNH campuses

Our second annual Spotlight on Faculty is scheduled for March 30th, 2011.  This year's Spotlight will have a much larger audience, as the sessions will be opened up to faculty from all of the USNH campuses.  A collaboration between Academic Technologists from the various campuses is making workshops and other events accessible to faculty from across the University system.  This year proposals will only be accepted from Plymouth State faculty.  We will begin accepting proposals in mid-January.  If you are using technology in your teaching, please consider submitting a proposal.  Last year's presentations spanned a wide range of technologies: from internet radio to mind-mapping.  We'd love to have you participate.

Also, registration for our January Jamboree is now open.  Faculty from all USNH campuses are welcome to attend.  We hope to see you soon 🙂

Categories: Events, SpotlightOnFaculty, Web 2.0 | Tags: , ,

Online Statistics Book with Simulations

There are a number of free educational resources on the web.  Many of them are very good or even excellent.  Today, while looking for a review of "degrees of freedom", I found the Online Statistics Book, a project that was "partially funded by the National Science Foundation".  It's free, or what's known as an "Open Educational Resource (OER)".  No surprise there, as the National Science Foundation has funded other similar publications that are freely available on the web.  This particular book is described as follows: "Online Statistics: An Interactive Multimedia Course of Study is an introductory-level statistics book. The material is presented both as a standard textbook and as a multimedia presentation. The book features interactive demonstrations and simulations, case studies, and an analysis lab."

A list of contributors, and the universities that helped with the development of the project, as listed on the homepage.  There is also a comprehensive table of contents, a link to Rice University's Virtual Lab, and a list of "simulations and demonstrations".  Additionally, the book is downloadable, so it can be read/used offline.

Categories: Research, Simulations | Tags:

Moodle for f2f courses

While most people associate Learning Management Systems (Moodle for example) with online learning, there are a number of ways that an LMS like Moodle can support f2f instruction.  I'll start off with some of the more obvious ways, and then talk about some that aren't so obvious.

First, Moodle can host all the documents you would normally pass out in class (making your course more green) and providing unlimited copies of the documents to students who lose them regularly.  It can also be a place where you post lecture notes, or even recordings of your lectures, so students can review them later.  But, in addition to these, the LMS can be used in such a way as to free up more time for you to interact with students personally, or in way that allows for a deeper examination of content.

One of the techniques that allows for this is called "front-loading".  When you front-load a course, you provide some course content (that normally would be given in-class) online.  So, in essence, the homework comes first.  The nice thing about having this homework online is that you can literally see who looks at it; and if it requires some sort of interaction with the material, you can see whose done the activity.  For example: it might make more sense to upload a recording of your lecture and require students to watch it before class, then in-class provide an activity that will encourage them to apply the information given in the lecture.  This allows you to walk around and interact with the students, drawing them to a deeper understanding of the information.

Back-loading is a technique usually used with graduate level students.  Students are given the content in-class and then homework that is used to stimulate the application of that material.  So, discussions and group-work (for example) would be moved online.  In the online environment it is easier to monitor discussions for all groups, and can encourage students who might be reluctant to share their opinion in-class, to do so.  If a wiki is used for group projects, it will be easier to see who has contributed to the project, and how much they contributed.

Grading quizzes, providing feedback on assignments, etc, are also facilitated in the online environment.  You certainly can't be accused of losing someone's homework, and the date and time they submitted their assignments will be clear as well.

There are a number of other ways Moodle can support your f2f class, and students will thank you for it.

Categories: Moodle

A few tips about your course

When designing your course page, think of it like you would a web page.  If you were viewing your course for the first time (as a prospective student) how would you feel about it?  Is there any text on it that explains the course?  Would it make sense to you?  Would you want to explore?  Or would it simply look like a bunch of documents and links?

Design your course page as if it was a web page.  Design it as you might if you were going to showcase it for other faculty members.  Your students should find the course welcoming, not intimidating.  They should be able to easily scan the course page and get an idea about the structure of the course.  It should make sense visually.

There are very simple things that can make the course more inviting:

1. Add a "welcome" to your course in Topic 0.  Use a large font and make it Bold.  You can even add an image or a banner.  To do these things, turn editing on and click the pencil tool at the top of that section.

2.Put all the general course related materials in the Welcome section (syllabus, general forum, etc).

3. Label each topic: click the pencil tool next to the number of the topic to do that.  Use a relatively large font and make it bold.

4. Use labels to explain some of the items on your course page.  For example: in Topic #1 you might have a label for Readings, Assignments, and Discussions.  You can access "labels" in the "add a resource" menu.

5. Eliminate blocks you are not using--both the ones on either side of the content area, and the topic blocks you aren't using.

These steps will make the course much more inviting, and make navigating the course easier for students.  (It will make a bit more sense to them visually)

Categories: Moodle | Tags:

Making your Moodle courses, like, WOW!

Okay, so Moodle is just plain cool, so why allow your course to be merely a list of links to readings, and a few forums thrown in for interactivity?  Your course could be so much more!  Think about adding a few blocks of html with some personalized text, or adding an occasional poll by using "Choice", or maybe an RSS feed from your favorite news source.  Just a minute of extra time here or there could really make a difference in the look and feel of your course.

And, if you really want to be creative, take a look at these fabulous ideas called 3 Ways to Jazz up Your Moodle:

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

And, when you've got it looking good, share it with us.  We'd love to see it!

Categories: Moodle

Annotating Videos

VideoANT make it possible to annotate a web-based video

VideoANT make it possible to annotate a web-based video

The University of Minnesota has developed a wonderful tool for annotating videos called VideoANT.  The program allows individuals to place markers in a web-based video and then add comments.  This is a great way for instructors to direct student attention to key points in a video, or to ask students to find key points and comment on them.   The link to the annotated video can then be emailed, which would allow students to submit their annotations as an assignment.

It's extremely easy to use.  When you first go to the site, you can watch and experiment with a demo video.  It's a great way to become familiar with the program, and takes only a few minutes to master.

One tip:  I would put the marker (or have students put their markers) at the beginning of a point of interest, rather than at the end or middle.  The markers can be moved at any time.

Categories: Audio, Education, Research, Video, Web 2.0, Writing

Welcome to a New Year

Classes officially begin today and it promises to be an exciting year at Plymouth!  In the next few months we will complete our move off of Blackboard and on to Moodle.  The adoption has been swift and from what I've seen of the courses now on Moodle, faculty are using their creative talents to develop some truly engaging course pages.  There is a block on Moodle's homepage that shows who's online, and at any given time this morning, there were over 100 active Moodlers!  In addition, we continue to see more use of our fabulous ePortfolio system (Mahara).  Speaking of Mahara, PSU will be hosting New Hampshire's first "Focus on ePortfolio Day" on October 4th.  There will be wonderful presentations by folks from K-12 on how they are using ePortfolios in their schools, and panel discussions in the afternoon.  The event has gotten attention from as far away as New Zealand--K-12 and Higher Ed working together on ePortfolios!  We are excited that PSU is able to host this significant event.  If you have not registered, be sure to do so asap as seating is limited to the first 150.  You can register here:

We're off to an exciting start.  Check back often for resources, tips, and news.

Categories: Moodle


MoodleNewsMoodleNews is an online journal that provides all sorts of information regarding Moodle: everything from cool ways to use Moodle, to new techniques, to plugins and addons.  According to the website, they "scour the web for the freshest, most interesting and valuable Moodle information.  I recently saw an interesting article on how to embed Google forms into a course page.  Check it out and see what might inspire you in your use of Moodle.  If you find an add-on you like to have for your course, contact us and we'll see what we can do.   Happy Moodling...

Categories: Moodle | Tags:

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