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e-learning practicum

EDUC 760 E-Learning for Educators   EDUC 762 Assessment in E-Learning   EDUC 763 Instructional Design for E-Learning   

EDUC 761 Creating Collaborative Communities in E-Learning   EDUC 764 E-Learning Practicum


My mind was restless and I was looking for my next challenge. I received an email from Joan Vandervelde promoting an E-learning and Online Graduate Certificate. I read the fine print and decided the program would enhance my ability to support a blended classroom. By the end of my first course, I had started my own website and blog. In all of the courses, the interaction between students and instructors has been tantalizing. The exposure to new resources, at times overwhelming, has been exciting. The experience has been both humbling and fulfilling. My mind is left to ask, "What's next?"

In order to provide a snapshot of my journey, I have selected a few of the posts from my blog.

The Beginning: An idealist first blog posted on February 13, 2011.

E-Learning: Crayons and Computers: I predict e-Learning will lead to the masterpieces of tomorrow. Posted on March 4, 2011.

The Virtual Modality: Feeling an unrefined confidence, I make the case for a new learning modality. Posted on March 5, 2012.

Instructional Design: Enter David Merrill stage right with "demonstration, application, and relevance." You will also find one my earliest online usages of the phrase, "positive learning memories." Posted on June 13, 2012.

Cultivating and Following Your Passion: I attached passion to work ethic as many others have done. See examples. Posted on May 11, 2013.

A Teacher's Insight: We never fully know the future of those we teach. Posted on April 17, 2014.

"Common Core"...The New Swear Word: My first mistake was to call the current debate about curriculum "moot." Posted on July 27, 2014.

I am not a traditional blogger by any means. A daily mind dump is not required. I do not have a legion of followers hanging on or banging on my words. Hence, from an idealistic beginning I have settled into a theraputic release of my thoughts. There's an occasional spike in the statistics when I reference my blog during an online course, but other than that my words simply drift in cyberspace. I assume that finding one's voice online is the same as finding it in life. What must one say in order to be heard?

For me, relevance is the key. If we facilitate the creation of positive learning memories relevant to the students in front of us, then our effectiveness and efficiency as instructors increases significantly. The tools collected during my e-learning certification as well as the assignment for my internship reflect relevance. Enthusiasm, motivation, and positive learning memories easily follow. I am excited about the road ahead.


Merrill, D. (2008, August 11). Merrill on Instructional Design. Retrieved January 22, 2015,                           from

Create Virtual Connections

Regardless of the tools and technology, people matter. If people matter, then we must make their learning opportunities relevant and meaningful. If we take care of the people and the events, then motivation and excitement in learning will be the norm.

Note: Standards should not be the source of our contention. Positive learning memories for all should be the focus.

Let's go!

Going Viral and MOOC Paradigm Shift 

I went viral (over 100 hits on my blog in one day) and have been Scooped. When one is searching to find his online voice, an enthusiastic nudge from a respected mentor is deeply appreciated. Thanks Dennis! 

Well, I am starting to ease up on the criticism of MOOCs. What changed? My perspective. For one who considers himself a positive person, I found myself embracing the negative. I was obsessed with how many students were not completing MOOCs with a "I told you so" mentality. While responding to the post from a Practicum classmate, an article she shared sent me on a tangent related to blended learning environments. I asked, "Could MOOCs offer free resources to embellish a high school Geometry course?" I concluded I need to take a MOOC Geometry course and see for myself. In reaching this conclusion, I realized my perspective was flawed and to be fair, I needed to change. Instead of focusing on how many students did not finish a MOOC, I needed to focus on determining what allowed students to be successful. 

See original post here (the last paragraph is significant):

In the Open Learning in K-12 Online and Blended Learning Environments article you shared, I discovered the following quote, "Blended learning approaches that combine the best elements of online and face-face instruction are likely to emerge as the predominant teaching model of the future." (Graham, LaBonte, O'Byrne & Osterhout, 2014) I must confess when you read that which you already believe to be true, you look around for someone to tell "I told you so." Graham, et al proceed to reveal "Open Education Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license permitting their free use or re-purposing by others." (Graham, LaBonte, O'Byrne & Osterhout, 2014) The OER I use most frequently is Math Open Reference. John Page has created an OER which can be used to teach a complete high school Geometry course. Here is a sampling of the resources available on the website: bisecting an angleslope of a line, and surface area of a cylinder. These online resources allow me more contact time with individual students as I do not have to physically demonstrate all of the components of every lesson. What else has John done? Here are the terms of use and goals and objectives. I am particularly fond of the URL Permanence statement: "We guarantee that the URL of every page will never change. This allows the teacher to produce class materials with programs such as Microsoft Word with links to the site, knowing they will never change." (Page, 2009) In a blended learning environment combining a powerful OER, like Math Open Reference, with hands-on labs and dynamic interactions unites the best practices from both the online and f2f environments. Students benefit from a highly interactive learning environment while teachers benefit from working with eager students.

My next step is to enroll in a Geometry-based MOOC to test for myself the quality of these online experiences. I do believe, though, my skepticism toward MOOCs has begun to fade. I realize my focus has been on the students who do not finish the courses as opposed to the students who do finish. This must change. What can we learn from the successful MOOC students that will improve our effectiveness as online educators? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Alan...pondering the future


O'Connor, D. (2015, January 28). E-Learning and Online Teaching. Retrieved February 5, 2015, from

Graham, L., LaBonte, R., O'Byrne, I., & Osterhout, C. (2014). Open Learning in K-12 Online and Blended Learning Environments. Retrieved February 5, 2015, from

Page, J. (2009). Math Open Reference. Retrieved February 5, 2015, from

Introduction to Geometry. (2014, September 2). Retrieved February 5, 2015, from

EDUC 760 E-Learning for Educators   EDUC 762 Assessment in E-Learning   EDUC 763 Instructional Design for E-Learning   

EDUC 761 Creating Collaborative Communities in E-Learning   EDUC 764 E-Learning Practicum