Showing posts with label learner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label learner. Show all posts

August 16, 2021

Online Learning, A Pandemic Bandaid

I was hopeful when all of America collectively implemented online learning last year - that people who had never tried it before may come to like it and find it efficient for teaching and learning - but instead the application was poor and many students did not achieve the learning gains possible. Online learning has pretty much been badmouthed in the media - but yet here we go again, rushing to remote learning due to the new rise in more dangerous Covid variants.

Online learning is not for everyone?

Now as another in-person school year is threatened by the Covid delta variant, the same students will be rushed into an online learning system that could produce less than mediocre learning results (and probably being implemented by the same staff badmouthing online learning). It’s normal to be frustrated with technology - but I encourage you to give online learning a try with a fresh perspective and utilizing the tips below.

Through modern curriculum design methods, online learning should be successful for most learners with the proper supports, like having trained teachers (teachers properly trained to support online learners, and who are not overloaded with in-person teaching duties at the same time) and reliable learning management systems. Online learners that are successful are also typically self-motivated and strong readers (usually English is necessary but ESOL programs are available too).

Supporting online learners

To support this rushed transition to online “remote” learning with these students:

Support and structure learning for self-discipline. Use regular turn-in intervals for assignments, predictable activity schedules, mandatory in-person check-ins, a clear agenda posted for each unit, predictable assignment successions, succinct rubrics that are shared in advance of the assignment, and apply metacognitive strategies to maximize your students’ learning. 

Humanize the online environment and build authentic connections. This is really the most important tip - if you don’t build instructor-to-student support, peer-to-peer community, and learner-to-content personal connection; then prepare for your learners to check out from your lesson. Learners are motivated and build connections while learning in an online environment through these elements - these authentic, humanized connections are what we all need in the online environment. 

Create clear instructions. Try to be succinct and don’t be superfluous with your word choices. Sometimes a video is needed to explain an assignment, which is also a chance to build instructor presence. State your instructions starting with a directional verb: look at what is used in this article, telling you to “support,” “humanize,” "build," “create,” and “remember.” Have someone else proofread your instructions (if appropriate, an advanced student in the class) or at least read them aloud to yourself. You could also work in community with other instructors to provide support for each other.

Recognize that every learner is different and will need varying levels of interaction and support to grasp the lesson. The learners that already lack support to be successful in a traditional in-person classroom: these students will likely need the most instructor support on a regular basis. Are you sure that your learners have reliable access to the internet and a device capable of completing the online work? Is there district or school level technical support for teachers to help ensure this access?

One last thought that’s super important about supporting students through this online transition: as we send individual students (or groups of students) home to quarantine for two weeks at a time, are we also sending meals home with them? Hunger is endemic to the children in our school systems. I don’t think this is currently being done. This program could be run similarly to the summer breakfast/lunch pickup program already run throughout the country (through Covid too). Let’s make sure these kids are being taught effectively... and being fed!

What are your thoughts about online learning? Have you had successes or failures - share a comment below. 


March 23, 2019

February 23, 2019

"Strategies for Cognitive Accessibility" at USF Bay-to-Bay Symposium on Diversity and Inclusion


Below is a poster presentation entitled “Strategies for Cognitive Accessibility” that I recently created for the USF Bay to Bay Symposium on Diversity and Inclusion. I connect UDL, ARCS+V motivation theory, and our online course assessment rubric standards (Quality Matters); to share strategies to support learners with varying cognitive ability differences. Cognitive ability differences could be memory loss, trauma or brain injury, aging related changes, dyslexia, learning disabilities, adhd, and autism, just to name a few that you can see in the average classroom these days.

December 7, 2018

Qualitative-Land (A final reflection game board)

Below is my final reflection project for Qualitative Methods graduate level class. Each slide links to the main "game board" and audio was recorded and set on auto-play. The audio is provided in text below each slide (in lieu of hosting the full presentation somewhere).

Hope you like it!

Main Game Board

Welcome to Qualitative-Land! The game where you explore the main points that Amber learned in Dr. V’s Qualitative Research class this past Fall semester. Click on the game tiles numbers 1 through 10 to move through each learning point, and have fun!


Qualitative Research inquiry involves utilizing several methods that are organic and malleable; these methods allow for data capture from several rich and sometimes unexpected sources.

“anything can be data” –Dr. V

Many of the research studies that we explored utilized unexpected sources, such as the college dorm door art in Nathan’s text; the sound files in the Wailing Women text; and observation of people and characteristics, as found in many of our texts this semester.

Conversation and human interactions are ripe with data, including conversation (what is said, and what is not said), body language, positioning, eye contact, breaths, and other gestures.

Data can be found in big discourse analysis and little discourse analysis, in word choice, in referring terms used, and in how speech is reported whether as direct or indirect re-telling.


Ethnographic research is an often used and powerful tool for collecting data and telling the story of an interaction or phenomenon.

The Princeton Department of Anthropology defines ethnography as “a research method central to knowing the world from the standpoint of social relations”… and that it “involves hands-on, on-the-scene learning.” Researcher Hruska states that her ethnographic procedures “included prolonged engagement, persistent observation, and triangulation.”

Using ethnography, we also can analyze and present our own background biases as the researcher, in addition to exploring all elements of a situation or phenomenon both critically and holistically.


Critical Discourse Analysis involves both the microanalysis and macroanalysis of conversations; conversation collected by observation, or by reviewing an interview transcript or recording. Several frameworks exist to guide discourse analysis, including Toon Van Dyke’s and Gee’s frameworks. Conversations can be analyzed through narrative analysis, coding through counting, and thematic coding. Conversation elements such as multimodals or semiotics can also be analyzed with the text. Very little is spontaneous in speech and typically people want to look good by how they present themselves.


Reflective Journaling can be a key tool for any researcher, especially in qualitative methods where we are making connections, noting differences, and writing down thoughtfully our activities and ideas about a subject.

Through my journal this semester, I have been able to build my thoughts from class and apply them to projects or theories I am cultivating, and fully clarify the perspectives and methods that I have been learning in class.


Coding is analysis (even before the analysis begins).

Many times while working on my own thematic coding project and also the two group coding projects, we made several key decisions of analysis during our coding process that ultimately affected the data received and then formally analyzed. Choosing a deductive or inductive structure for your coding is an analysis decision; receiving the coding themes in project 2 may have limited our themes applied; and sometimes our limited knowledge of a topic develops as we code, so we then need to go back and revise our previous coding applications. Many decisions are made during coding!


Observation will make you feel like a secret agent.

My observation assignment really pushed me out of my comfort zone, but it gave me great confidence at the success of data collection that me and my partner had through that project. Observation is a powerful qualitative tool that can produce great amounts of data. Just make sure you conduct your observations in a public place and stealthy like a secret agent!


Several perspectives are available for your research outlook and also how you analyze your data, including the research perspectives of: positivist, post-positivist, constructivist, modernist, pos-modernist, feminist, critical theory, and grounded theory.

All theories have their strengths and weaknesses; and may not be applicable to the current phenomenon you are researching. Expect to try on several perspectives and frameworks when analyzing your data and approaching problems of interest.


Don’t forget the essential ‘housekeeping’ to research: IRB approval, consent of participants/interviewees, confidentiality, privacy, anonymity, and keeping appropriate relationships.

These important considerations must be addressed up front and any violations of these policies or ethical issues could harm someone, end the project, and possibly end your career.


Triangulation is the confirmation of your data and coding themes across resources or across researchers. Doing so can strengthen your findings and enhance validity of your study.

Triangulation can be conducted at any stage of coding or analysis; it can be conducted multiple times throughout a project; or you can compare what two or more researchers have found in the same dataset.

Semester end!

July 6, 2017

Conceptual Analysis: "Authority" and "Marginal Utility"

Greetings all,
As part of my doctoral class "Philosophies of Inquiry" at the University of South Florida, we were asked to write a conceptual analysis of two educational terms [picked from a menu]. The terms analyzed below are "authority" and "marginal utility." I hope this helps your understanding of the terms in an educational context. Enjoy!

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May 31, 2017

Google+ Lesson Plan

Collaborative content curation on Google+ for a freshman/sophomore poetry class

Sample Lesson Plan (prior to integrating technology)
Main page - (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Lesson page - (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Teaching Materials for First Year Composition at East TN State University:
In-class exercise: Style and Fluency
Translate your prose into lines of verse
Engl 4057/5057 ETSU, O'Donnell, Weds Feb 1, 2012
(O'Donnell, ETSU, First-year composition course materials (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.)
1.  In the essay you plan to turn in today, identify a paragraph, or portion of a paragraph, that you think is particularly fluent/ musical.
2.  Transcribe that passage into your notebook, as lines of verse and stanzas.  Feel free to modify the passage, as you transcribe it, if you feel some changes will make it flow better.
3.  Be prepared to present your verse to the class, using the "doc cam."

“Life Before TIM”
Since the learners are directed to use the doc cam for their in class presentation, this is a simple and effective in-class tool for sharing a paper document and this qualifies the current lesson as a level 2 on the TIM, called “adoption.” “Adoption” is described as when “the teacher directs the students in the conventional and the procedural use of technology.” The doc cam is the only required technology indicated in her lesson, since she indicates the use of a notebook for writing instead of a word processor or online presentation tool. This part of the current lesson would barely be considered level 1 or “entry” level, if you consider a notebook and pen/pencil technology. There are several opportunities to enhance the lesson with technology to better motivate students, encourage the development of 21st century skills, increase efficiency and leave more in time class for discussion, and widen the audience to the student work. From my personal experience, this lesson plan example is often how a first or second year composition class is taught: typically very lecture based, heavy reading outside of class, and sometimes essays are the only “creating” around the material that the students are allowed. What if we used technology to make the lesson more successful and more fun?
The instructional goals are not stated in this lesson plan, but are assumed to be similar to:
  1. The learner will be able to identify basic components of poetry (“verse” “stanza” “meter” “rhyme” “rhythm” and other key terms related to poetry).
  2. The learner will be able to create an original work of poetry.
  3. The learner will be able to present their original work.

“Life After TIM” - Lesson Plan after Technology Integration
Students will utilize the popular social media tool “Google+” to create a collaborative online community showcasing student work while curating a collection of poetry related digital reference material. To complete the updated lesson on poetry, students will use several additional technologies:
  • Optional: A digital word processing tool to create their original works - this can be Word, Google Doc, a blog, etc.
  • A internet search tool - Google search, Google scholar, and YouTube will probably be the best resources
  • A Google+ account, accessed by app on a mobile device or through a computer browser

 While students are still welcome to create their poetry outside of a digital tool, the text must be inputted into a digital format and can be done so directly into Google+. Students can also input their poetry into a word processor if they so choose and that is why it is listed as optional. Many times I will create my text outside of a social media tool because 1. It is easier to edit for grammar and punctuation in a word processing tool; and 2. I can save a copy independent of the tool for later reference. Learners will also utilize a search tool to find interesting resources related to poetry or an article, video, or image that directly teaches or expresses their specific topic with the class.
By using the technologies suggested, the lesson will increase to at least a level 3 “adaptation,” which is described by the TIM matrix as “the teacher facilitates students in exploring and independently using technology.” Time in class for discussion will increase because the walls of the classroom will disappear. What is meant by that is once you introduce a social media tool such as Google+, Twitter, or other always-on and available on any device tool, you open your learning beyond your course times as learners engage with the technology. Social media as used in this lesson plan employs the Connected Learning principles of:
  • Interest powered: since learners are developing their poetry from their own essay content, the topic can be anything of interest to the student that they wish to develop. So the lesson is already very interest powered. What takes this up a notch is the introduction of the internet search and the curation of a digital collection - students can become even more interested searching for informative material about their topic or about the development of poetry. Learners will hopefully become interested when reading their classmates’ resources as the post together on Google+.
  • Production centered: although learners were ‘producing’ a poem in the original lesson, now the entire world can be the audience for the products [poems] created by the learners. Learners should be encouraged to share their original works with the world. Experimenting in writing poetry can be a rewarding experience and it also prepares learners to ‘produce’ something for the world one day in a profession.
  • Openly networked: by introducing a always-on digital tool like Google+, learning has little boundaries and learners can review their classmates’ work on the go. The learners can interact, comment, and “+1” posts or comments that they like to interact with each other. Google+ is a free tool and is utilized by many professionals and businesses.
  • Academically orientated:
  • Peer supported: Google+ is a rich social environment where learners can connect, support, and comment on each other’s work and resources. All learners within the community and worldwide visitors will benefit from the learner’s creations.
  • Shared purpose: creating an original work of poetry is a beautiful gift to the world and using social media is a great way to share it with others.

Helpful Guides for Learning Google+

Google Plus: An Easy Guide to the 3rd Social Network
How to Earn a Black Belt in Google+

In conclusion, try the lesson with your learners and have fun creating your poetry!

Example Google+ feed:

January 31, 2017

Design Process: Rapid Protoyping

Hello everyone! I am super excited to share this graphic I created about the instructional design process "Rapid Prototyping." Rapid Prototyping is a design methodology where you quickly create a basic, functioning product model and then begin testing the model, instead of launching an entire design analysis prior to building your first prototype/model. Below is a gamified version of the model that I hope you will enjoy:

January 24, 2017

10 DO's for a Successful Semester Online (for learners)

Hello everyone,

I thought you might enjoy this class project I just completed last week. It is entitled "10 DO's for a Successful Semester Online." Get ready to have a great Spring semester by following these simple tips for students - or share these tips with your class!

The design could be improved with more time, which I might come back and do at another time. Enjoy the tips! :-)

January 3, 2017

Back to the grind... Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligences

Welcome back everyone and welcome to 2017! I am excited to be back at work and with classes starting next week, I still have a little breathing room in my schedule. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday break and are ready for a refreshed, reinvigorated, and reinvented 2017!

I wanted to share another piece of coursework I created over the past year that I thought might be helpful to others. This was a really fun cartoon project created in the Gardner's Multiple Intelligences unit. Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligences states that learners can have one or many of these 8 intelligences displayed as a primary learning mode. You can read more about Gardner's theories here.

This cartoon strip is an imaginary take on the interaction of these 8 intelligences:

Fun and informative!

December 21, 2016

Happy First Day of Winter! - "Metacognitive Strategies" (Student Study Guide)

Welcome to "winter" everyone! Heat is breaking here (for at least a few days) here in sunny Florida. I wanted to share a job aid I designed entitled "Metacognitive Strategies for Faculty and Students." Using these simple strategies based on Educational research, students can maximize the effectiveness of their studying. Faculty and teachers - pass this on to your students to give them a study boost...

What tools or strategies do you use for studying? Did these suggestions work? I know I will be using these strategies this Spring when I study for my M.Ed. program comprehensive exam!


October 1, 2016

Welcome to my blog!

**2021 update - I earned my masters in 2017 and have continued onto my doctorate. I'm currently working in a freelance capacity.**


Hello everyone! Welcome to my blog. A little about me first (my bio):

Ms. Amber C. Lee is a seasoned technical communicator currently working towards the completion of her Master's degree in Education with a concentration in Instructional Technology. Her career goal is to become a successful Instructional Design Faculty member in an institution of higher education. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at USF in English with a concentration in Professional & Technical Writing.

Previously with Hillsborough Community College, she held the positions of Resource Coordinator, managing all sustainability and training initiatives for the hospitality vendor of HCC, and district Sustainability Specialist, leading HCC to earn the inaugural Green Genome Award from the American Association of Community Colleges in 2012.

In her free time, Amber enjoys spending time with her family, being outdoors, and learning new things. She was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and has traveled throughout Europe and North America. She believes in excellence and integrity as guiding principles in her life.

And a pretty picture to get us started (that I took out West):

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