Archive for 1.1 Instructional Systems Design

EDTECH 551: Websites to Write Home About

The “Owl” is a familiar friend that is reminiscent of my dog-eared 5th edition Bedford Handbook (1998). Like the handbook, Owl is organized into color-coded topics for research and writing.Another similarity is the structure of the content. Unlike the written text, the OWL’s search feature quickly points me to a writing topic.

I frequently refer to the site because of its intuitive navigation, quick loading pages, and reliable content. Purdue has long been recognized as a top research school. Their Owl online writing lab has been available since the early “gopher” years of the internet. I first became aware of the site in 1997, but it was available even earlier, according to the site. I referred to it regularly during my first Master’s Degree (2000-2001) and continue to do so.

Despite its longevity, the site is updated and current (2013). The appearance of the site has stayed consistent, with incremental changes on the backend keeping it clean and organized. One aspect that lends credibility is that the articles are dated and contributors are cited.

I expect to continue to use OWL as I pursue my doctoral degree, and will continue eto recommend it to others.

The NAID site is a good example of a government site that targets a specific audience. For those who may have specialized needs in science and healthcare technical writing, I found the NIH website informative, current (within past six months), and relevant. The site appears to be written for a professional audience, specifically in the health care industry.

The pages loaded quickly and are organized in an aesthetic manner. The grammar and format are correct and readability is enhanced by the sans serif font. I found the color palatte also lends to readability as it was a dark on light approach. One factor that reduced readability was the site’s extensive use of hyperlinks. On the opening page, nearly every other line is a hyperlink to an explanation or further detail, with some links locked for NAID staff only.

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EDTECH 597 – The Component Designer

This app design has been an intriguing challenge that fits right in to my life of predicaments and situations. I switched smart phone platforms for this course and have struggled with something akin to regret these past few months. An accomplished iOS user, I feel clumsy and frustrated with the Android, but I persist in my overcoming this obstacle. Last week I determined to get my apps organized into folders. I was successful, but in doing so, I inadvertently changed some setting within my Android that has prevented me from connecting (blocks editor does not see my phone).
I plan for my app to be used by EMT’s on the ambulance or on scene. They will enter patient information that can be sent via SMS to our local ER prior to our arrival. We have to be cautious about providing a patient’s name over our radio communications, but there are several “hot spots” during our transport that an SMS message can be sent prior to our arrival (we have a minimum 45 minute transport). I designed the app so that the user will interact via text box entries, check boxes, gps positioning. and SMS messaging. The environment has varied lighting, so I avoided the use of color, choosing a neutral dark gray and white for the primary screens.
I like being able to drag and drop functions in the Component Designer. It gives me an opportunity to play with the layout. The file size constraint is a potential setback. I am worried that as my app continues to grow, the size might get too big, so I have been resizing the photos in Photoshop to stay within the 5MB limit. I have frequent problems launching the blocks editor and am wondering why at this late date it is beginning to give me problems.

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EDTECH 506: White Space

The activity for white space clarified my vision of the course appearance. This portion of the assignment solidifies the main tenets of the activities, so I decided that keeping it simple and clean reinforces what my students are learning in the course’s printed materials and face to face skills practice. I allowed a generous amount of white space around the text to help the readers access the more “personally relevant” information (p. 274), and I placed the navigation buttons on opposing sides of the page to create a symmetrical appearance and help to balance the page (p. 275). Initially, I kept the circle that I had developed previously intact. My reviewer daughter suggested that I somehow emphasize the step I am on in the diagram, so I enlarged the yellow quadrant and agreed with her opinion. I will keep her change. I might also change the “Step 2 – Assessment” position to the center to further balance the white space.
Before:
ACEPAT1Click here for full size

After:
WhiteSpace Full SizeClick here for full size

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EDTECH506: FICK MODEL

After reading about the relationships between organization and learning, a looked over print and web learning material for both good and poor examples of Lohr’s principle of organization. The thought process behind developing a learning site surprised me. I realized that in fact, most of the process goes on in the head and on the design pad. This chart represents the Fick Principle or the metabolism of oxygen, and provides a clear understanding of the interaction between what we term as the ABCs – Airway, Breathing, and Circulation. We need oxygen to live at the most basic cellular level. Oxygen is our primary fuel, and our bloodstream is the transport for that fuel to become metabolized. I chose the shapes because they represent molecules of oxygen or carbon dioxide. The red arrows symbolize the blood stream that transports the oxygen. I used a circular model to emphasize the circulatory nature of the cycle with the inhalation situated at the top and moving in a clockwise pattern as common to western culture and the thick arrows suggest a strong relationship between each action (p 128) – if any part of this chain is broken, the cycle becomes incomplete and the human body systems begin an attempt to compensate for the loss. This compensation is known as “shock.” I placed the beginning of the cycle at the top-most position, knowing that my learners are used to a left-right reading order (p. 135). But I will change it to add a slightly larger circle to more clearly define where to begin the cycle.

Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: lessons in visual literacy (2 ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill. Retrieved 2012

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EDTECH506: Picture This

My adult learners are often fatigued when they come to my evening classes. Despite thier lack of energy, I need for them to be alert. To provide an energy boost and give them some mental stimulus, I choose to use patriotic red, white, and blue color scheme (p. 265). Not only does each color stimulate their senses, each color represents an aspect of pre-hospital care that few see. Red represents blood, blue represents courage, and white represents cleanliness or purity. I chose hues with contrasting values – the bright (high intensity) red and the deeper (lower intensity) blue. My assignment is a cardiac label that will be used to indicate blood flow, identify electrical impulse areas, and identify structures of the heart. For a representation of reality (p.254), I chose to use blue font to represent the unoxygenated blood returning from the peripheral systems. I then chose to use red to indicate oxygenated blood flow.
Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: lessons in visual literacy (2 ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill. Retrieved 2012

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EDTECH 597 – QUIZ BOWL

I have finally made an app that I will use for more than a cool curiosity, but not before life got in the way. This weekend was spent up north helping my husband recover from an unexpected flood caused by a burst water gasket/hosing in the RV. We found an apartment and got him relocated, but the hours spent helping him has really put a divet into my coursework for the three EDTECH classes I am taking. Nevertheless, I was able to spend about 7.5 hours on this project, and I am pleased with the results. As an EMT instructor, I found the possibilities for an EMS quiz app enticing. Users could refresh their knowledge and prepare for certification exams. It took some time to find Creative Commons pictures that would be applicable to this app. Initially, I would like to put the “correct” answers in a number of different ways, since the app is prone to unforgiving syntax errors. To counter that problem, I added the correct answer to the “incorrect” message, so that if a student was close, or needed an uppercase or space, he or she would know the response was actually correct.

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EDTECH 506 – Natural Selection

There are many factors to providing critical prehospital care. EMTs must gain the skills necessary to quickly determine if a patient is in immediate need of advanced care. I wanted the design of the critical care page to be comprehensive, yet clean. As students enter their practical skills, they need to easily remember the information presented. There is a lot to remember in this section, so the design demands that a lot of information is concentrated in each section. I enhanced the text with contrasting colors for cohesiveness, but the sheer volume of text still needed something more to make the steps more concrete. Because a picture is worth a thousand words, I am seeking representative images to further solidify the different steps.
References
Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual literacy. (Second.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

Critical Care

There is a lot to remember in this section, so I concentrated a lot of information in one spot. In doing so, I also designed it to be concise and concrete with the white text dominating the field. The generous white space offsets the high contrast of the blue and red.

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EDTECH 597: Do Not Disturb

What a week to begin complexity! Just as I was beginning to get the hang of App inventor and spreading my wings to put out new versions of the basic apps, along comes an assignment with location generators, memory, and text-to-voice capabilities. In the midst of it all, widespread ISP server failures, two ambulance runs, and a wounded foal only added to the confusion. The tutorial seemed straightforward, but I kept encountering problems such as having to search for components the drawers. My Blocks Editor did NOT match the screens in the book because the instructions have me rename elements, but their tutorial images are not renamed. I work late at night, so had difficulties finding a second phone. My emulator kept crashing despite multiple reboots. After more than six app hours, my tutorial app worked and was ready to be saved. This experience has given me a lot of insight into developing course materials for online activities. How many times do we educators fail to provide visual or contextual clues on how to proceed when technology fails? How often do I provide my students with misaligned images and text? How do my learners approach new challenges, and what is my role in guiding them through the course? Finally, and most challenging of all, what to do for extending the app? My family members seem to have a deep-seated need to know where I am at all times…given my schedule this past week, perhaps a “Do Not Disturb” is in order.

ET597DRoid

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EDTECH 506: The Shape of Things to Come

Sample of Unit page

Unit 3 – Bleeding Control and Shock Management


One of the first lessons I learned in elementary school was the use of shapes in art. Like many of my classmates, I happily drew triangles, circles, squares, and rectangles intermingled with lines of all lengths and thicknesses to represent happy families, houses, flowers, trees, and the bright shining sun. As time passed, I used ovals and more lines to practice the alphabet and numbers 0-9.

Shapes and lines continue to play an important part in my hobbies of photography and drawing. My eyes seek out and find shapes and patterns everywhere I look. This chapter has been by far a favorite as I gain new insight to some of the visual characteristics of shapes and how they communicate unity, emotions, or organization. I was intrigued by the examples Lohr sets forth in Figures 10-2 through 10-6 (pp. 251-255) and noted that I am usually drawn to those layouts that depict unity and those that separate and define. Therefore it was no surprise that I chose to use those elements in my own layout for my unit. I chose to use simple rectangles to organize the information on a standard computer display. Other units can be quickly accessed on the lower ribbon links. I like the way rectangles highlight and organize the information with clean lines. My use of color parallels the colors we use on our local EMS logo and ambulance. When my daughter pointed out that my page looked a little bit “cluttered” I added the broken circle in an attempt to unify the page elements and a solid line of a different color to separate and define the other units. I am pleased with the results, but knowing my penchant for revision, left the layers intact for future editing.

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EDTECH 506 Learning by Design

Visual representation plays a vital role in my life. I remember putting on my first set of glasses and realizing for the first time what a difference detail makes in our world view. That impression gave way to a lifelong study of detail that impacts every aspect of my life. The past weeks in this course are no exception as I considered what is universal design, what would be a useful unit of instruction, and how might I best represent myself through visual clues. After submitting the project plan, I nearly changed topics when reading the typography assignment. How might I create what I might consider illustrated text that conveys meaning. I was surprised to find that the exercise, though challenging, was a pleasant task.

Four Words

Vital words for bleeding control and shock management unit of instruction.


When referring to Mayer’s (2001) research, Lohr emphasizes that “visuals be designed so that they support cognitive processes of selection, organization, and integration” to maximize learning (2008 p.63). Using that formula, I hope to create a unit of instruction that will be easily remembered, and easily implemented when conditions call for it. After all, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

Reference
Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: lessons in visual literacy (2 ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill. Retrieved 2012

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