Improving Your Online Course – QM Style

IMG_0749Faculty from the Kate Tiedemann College of Business got busy with their online courses last week during the QM training, Improving Your Online Course. The training is designed for faculty currently teaching online and provides a hands-on opportunity to create a course improvement plan using the QM rubric.

Congratulations to all the CoB faculty in receiving their IYOC certification!

Don’t hesitate to contact us here at OLITS to learn more about QM and all of our professional development workshops.

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Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology Companies

The relationship between education and technology has always been an interesting one. Technology companies have long made the claim that their products and innovations offer the answers to many, if not all, of the problems within the educational community. Of course, leaders in education quickly adopted such technologies only to have high hopes fade away as things fail to work the way they expect.

The prospect of making money is certainly a driving factor for educational technology companies. Perhaps equally motivating for the educational community is the opportunity to solve issues with one purchase. So why, then, does this relationship seem to fall short of success so often?

Those of us in the online educational realm are often caught in the middle of needing to use the adopted technology and trying to maximize its positive educational impact. Instructional designers, educators, and students could all benefit from a more collaborative approach between the technology companies and the educational community.

Dan Schwartz, the new Dean of the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University, offers valuable insight into this topic. His experience advising educational powerhouses like Leapfrog and Pearson have given him a unique perspective. He recently did a Q & A session with Rachel Hamburg of edSurge, in which he described this relationship as struggling because  “there’s not enough expertise on learning; there’s more expertise on business.”

Will educational technology companies work with learning experts to finally start having a more symbiotic relationship with the educational community?  Or are we destined to continue watching this clumsy dance that seems to be missing several key steps?

The link below will take you to the edSurge article.

edSurge interview of Dan Schwartz

E-Learning Tides are changing

Below are two articles that outline changes to the e-learning landscape that signal a larger shift that is sure to be felt in the future.

The first article is a bit dense but worth a read.  The author points to how open source ownership is lowering the value of content (YouTube creators, faculty, etc.)  and valuing the brand and ownership of the platform.

Here is another article that talks about shifting from the separation of online and face-to-face in higher ed to a more unified digital approach.  A quote from the article:

“I see the shift not as one from online to digital,” said Eddie Maloney, the executive director of the center for new designs in learning and scholarship at Georgetown University, “but as a shift from a content-driven or faculty-driven curriculum to an intentional design and assessed curriculum. It’s really about a growing focus on learning design.”

Are these two articles pointing to a larger shift in the higher ed landscape?

Congratulations Karla Kmetz-Morris

I wanted to share some exciting news about Karla Kmetz-Morris, lead instructional designer here at USFSP. She received a call last week asking her to serve on the Board of Directors for the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology, which also serves as the State Advisory Committee for the Assistive Technology Act.

In this role she will collaborate with other board members and key stakeholders across the state and nationally on issues surrounding funding, awareness, training, programs, device loans, and advocacy for assistive technology and services.

This is amazing news for USFSP and I know Karla is happy to represent USFSP with this important work. As you can see, we have a really impressive team in OLITS! We are very honored and proud of Karla for how she represents USFSP, the Nelson Poynter Library and OLITS!

Karla was also elected as Chair of the Webinar Committee for the Quality Matters Instructional Designers Association. She is working closely with a few other instructional designers in the QM network to develop and facilitate a webinar series that provides professional development opportunities to instructional designers in the areas of design research, strategies, QM implementation, etc.

Congratulations Karla!


Quality Matters Recognizes Dr. Tiffany Chenneville

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Online Learning and Instructional Technology Services at the Nelson Poynter Library is thrilled to announce that Dr. Tiffany Chenneville has received Quality Matters recognition for her Developmental Psychology course, DEP 4053. Through the faculty-based peer review process, her course has been found to meet the highest national standards for online course quality and design.

Dr. Chenneville’s course is now on the list of award-winning courses from colleges and universities across the nation, bringing positive exposure to USFSP’s College of Arts and Sciences and to the campus. Additionally, the QM seal of recognition will now be proudly displayed in her online course.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Chenneville on this significant achievement!

Contact Online Learning and Instructional Technology Services for more information about Quality Matters.

Why are visual aids important?

title of a PPTFrom the beginning of time, mankind has always configured ways to communicate, and the Cave paintings in the Lascaux, France are a historic reminder of such attempt at visual storytelling, dating back to the 15000 BC. Fast forward to 2015, and we, as a society, are still searching for innovating forms of storytelling.  Current technologies facilitate conveying new ideas to all types of audiences around the world, and with it, the transferring of new information.  This information is created at a rapid rate to provoke the masses, all with the goal to encourage, inspire change, and ultimately, change their minds.

In this context, visual aids are an expression outside of just two people having a conversation, which at times is more creative, and at others not as easy and natural as words.  In this world of corporations, and money hungry paradoxes, communication Places-to-Visist-in-France-Lascaux-Cavesthrough visual graphics has become one of the biggest trends in eLearning, but questions arise when examining how many of these presentations are actually “successful”. The juggle starts when presenters blame the lack of resources available, but the truth of the matter is that the key to success lies in the presenter creating the content.  He or she, in this case, is the one responsible for delivering an idea effectively to their audience. In this blog, we will briefly review some key ideas that can boost your presentations; and yes, in PowerPoint.

Visualization GlassesThe idea is to encourage you to become more confident about what is being visually communicated when preparing content for your students, who are in reality 21st century learners. In the book Slide:ology, by Nancy Duarte, she shares that “Every presenter has the potential to be great; every presentation is high stakes; and every audience deserves the absolute best”. Your students deserve the best, and no, in trying to do so you do not have to feel like you are committing what Duarte calls “suislide”.  The idea is to think about your presentation as a back end to your professional brand.

Students, as well as other members in your profession, will remember you not only because of the content in your presentation, but also because of the powerful delivery through the branding of your presentation. When creating visual stories, one has to think in terms of visual thinking; the approach in graphic design, motion design, and lastly, how content is visually aligned. When creating your next presentation keep in mind how images map your brand, rather than just illustrating concepts, Duarte calls this “the eye flow” for your audience. Finding your inspiration is essential, as this will help you brainstorm through each slide.  Duarte shares a story about Dali, and how he found inspiration by changing his environment. In his case he found inspiration in the tub, where in your case stepping out to the harbor outside the Poynter Library might be less eccentric, and perhaps enough. Remember, this approach could be an opportunity for a “brand makeover” and yes, you can transform your content into a brand, and change the way the world views your expertise one presentation at a time.

For more in presentations, visual storytelling and creating powerful slides please come visit us here at OLITS, and meet with one of our instructional guru designers in creating powerful presentations.


Duarte N. (2008). Slide:ology: The art and science of creating great presentations. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: O’Reilly Media

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Christopher Davis, Systems Analysis and Design Receives Quality Matters Certification

dr.d5Online Learning and Instructional Technology Services at Nelson Poynter Library is very pleased to announce that Dr. Christopher Davis’s course, Systems Analysis and Design (ISM 3113), received Quality Matters Certification on March 30, 2015. Not only did Dr. Davis’s course meet QM standards, he received a perfect score of 99 points.

This QM Certification process consists of a peer review guided by a research based rubric for high quality distance learning course design. The eight elements of the rubric include: Course Overview & Introduction, Learning Objectives, Instructional Materials, Learner Support, Accessibility, Learner Interaction and Engagement, and Assessment & Measurement.

Participation in the Quality Matters review is just one of the many ways that Dr. Davis expresses his commitment to high quality online courses at USFSP. Over the years, Dr. Davis has conducted design based research on accessibility and universal design, learning analytics and student engagement to continue to improve the teaching and learning experience within his online and hybrid courses.

Congratulations to Dr. Davis! To learn more about Quality Matters, visit our website.