Badges and Microlearning: The Perfect Match

Delighted to present at DevLearn 2017 with Dr. Cynthia Gautreau and Dr. Barbara Glaeser, two of my colleages from Cal State Fullerton’s Instructional Design graduate program.


Kahoot Game

Play the Kahoot! we opened our presentation with.


Spark Tutorial Demo

Learn more about the Spark Tutorials.

All New Jeopardy for Open Access Week

Open Access Week is almost here! To celebrate, another librarian asked me to update our existing Open Access Jeopardy game with additional questions and another round. (Note: I’m not responsible for the questions [some of them are crazy], only for developing the game).

I originally developed OA Jeopardy from an amazing Jeopardy template created by E-Learning Heroes member John Harker. I have a habit of making many of my Storyline raw files available under Creative Commons licenses for others to reuse, so my delightful colleagues at Arizona State made it their own! (The power of Twitter!)

For this new version, players must win the game to enter a drawing for Cal State Fullerton swag. This was a design challenge: there are 30 questions altogether related to Open Access and our forthcoming institutional repository. The average person is not going to be able to answer most of them. So how do you determine the necessary points to “win”?

Furthermore, the requesting librarian mentioned that they might load this game onto a touchscreen TV, which would be left in a public space for passersby to play. But if it’s unattended, some people will play only a few questions, and then give up! How do I program the game to automatically reset for the next player? (I was thinking of museum or visitor kiosks and how they reset automatically for the best user experience).

Solutions: I decided that players would have to achieve half of all possible points on the first round to move onto the second round. The score resets at the beginning of round two, which is Double Jeopardy, and players are given a new target, which is again, half of all possible points on round two!

Figuring out the auto-reset problem in Storyline was tricky, because Storyline doesn’t have a feature that allows you to set triggers to jump to given points on a timeline. I wanted to give players a warning that the game was going to time out, not just have it reset on them, so I designed a slide with a ten-second countdown which warned users of an impending reset, and placed triggers on the base slide at a few minutes apart that would jump to the reset slide.

Each question is on a separate layer and the layers pause the timeline of the base slide so that as long as the player is actively playing, they should have oodles of time before a reset slide would appear.

The reset slide jumps to a full reset of the game and ends up on a splash screen that invites users to play and refreshes itself every 60 seconds to draw attention and also keep the images from burning into the TV screen (though, is that even still a thing?).

Anyways. While I’m still not responsible for the questions, I’m pleased with the solutions I came up with to these design challenges. I ended up making two versions: one that you can email to faculty/whoever to play on their own time that won’t reset automatically, and another that has the built-in auto-resets that we can plop onto a touchscreen TV and leave out for people to play.

Try them out yourself, and download the raw files if you like!

Happy Open Access Week!

Play Now and Download

Open Access Jeopardy 2 – Private Computer Version

Open Access Jeopardy 2 – Kiosk Version

You can still download the original one-round version over on my portfolio.

DevLearn DemoFest: APA Citation Tutorial

posted in: Conference, eLearning, Projects | 0

I’m not only presenting on badges and microlearning at DevLearn, I get to show off one of my favorite projects! I’ll be spending two hours at DevLearn’s DemoFest showing off my APA Citation Tutorial, which is a non-linear scenario-based learning experience.

We all know learning to cite your sources using a given style, like APA, is not fun. But the only way to learn it is to do it. Learning APA style is really about learning to apply the style’s rules to given information, but the citation tutorials I’ve seen so far are incomplete and mostly just require students to identify parts of a citation, or drag and drop given parts into proper order.

In this tutorial, students are given a more true-to-life scenario: they’ve finished writing their paper, and now they have to cite the three sources they used! They are provided with browseable virtual versions of the sources as well as an APA style guide. It’s up to them to complete the citations, and they have the option to play games along the way to help them figure it all out!

The goal is to get students to start practicing creating their own citations by having to look up the style information and put it into action, just like in real life. This tutorial doesn’t try to force them to memorize information, just to figure out how to apply it.

I’ve already written a bit about this tutorial in a past blog post. But here, I’ve put together a demo version so that allows you to quickly explore an abbreviated version of this tutorial!

View tutorial full-screen

Also check out these standalones:

Recommended Online Learning & EduTech Conferences

I’m very excited to attend and present at DevLearn next week in Las Vegas, but there are lots of very good online learning/edtech conferences to attend across the country!

I got these recommendations from my own experience and the WCET Discussions listserv (my POW is a member of WCET, which is an education nonprofit).


WhatDevLearn (of course!) is put on by The eLearning Guild. It’s pricey (I’m starting to suspect this is common for edtech conferences) but there is a discount for nonprofit/academic.

What is The eLearning Guild? “A member-driven organization [that] produces conferences, online events, online and blended training courses, eBooks, white papers, research reports, and Learning Solutions Magazine—all devoted to the idea that the people who know the most about making eLearning successful are the people who produce eLearning every day in corporate, government, and academic settings.” (From About page). As far as I can tell, it is NOT a nonprofit.

Why: DevLearn is more corporate than education – it brings together hundreds (thousands?) of instructional designers, program directors, etc. These are my people, and I love this conference! I’ve been twice now. It’s a great conference to talk about specific technologies and latest trends in educational technology.

When and Where: October 25-27, 2017 (Every year in fall in Las Vegas!)

EDUCAUSE Annual Conference

What: EDUCAUSE Annual Conference

What is EDUCAUSE? “EDUCAUSE® is a higher education technology association and the largest community of IT leaders and professionals committed to advancing higher education.” (From About page).

Why: This conference has a focus on higher education IT, which includes edutech. They have a HUGE expo with hundreds of technology providers. There are programs for those in leadership positions, and several conference “program tracks” for attendees to follow.

When and Where: October 31-November 3, Philadelphia

OLC Innovate

What: OLC Innovate. OLC is the Online Learning Consortium, and they’re putting this conference on in conjunction with MERLOT, which is the Cal State system’s learning object referratory. Looks like a “big picture” conference that looks at educational innovation as a whole.

What is OLC? “The Online Learning Consortium is the leading professional organization devoted to advancing quality online learning providing professional development, instruction, best practice publications and guidance to educators, online learning professionals and organizations around the world.” (From their home page).

Why: Call for proposals is open until November 1, 2017! Okay, I realize that’s not really a why, but I’m a compulsive presenter since I’m tenure-track. Anyhoo, OLC puts on a lot of conferences, nationally and regionally, focused on higher education. You can check out 2017’s program for an idea of what proposals are accepted – looks like a really nice variety of “how-to,” and “how we did its.” This is one I’m seriously considering attending. “Topics may include: Teaching and Learning Innovation; Leadership and Change Management; the Education-Workforce Continuum; Processes, Problems, and Practices; Effective Tools, Toys and Technologies or Research Highlights and Innovations.” So, more big-picture stuff.

This conference focuses on educational innovation (vague, but interesting!) and seems to emphasize hands-on workshops for attendees.

When and Where: April 18-20, 2018, Nashville. (Which means I can’t go because California won’t fund travel to Tennessee due to discriminatory laws passed there! Wait, isn’t that hypocritical that MERLOT is jointly organizing? Anyways. Must’ve been planned way in advance).

OLC Accelerate

What: OLC Accelerate.

Why: This one focuses on eLearning! “Topics this year will likely include Gamification, Women in EdTech, OLC Quality Scorecard, Policy Development, Open Educational Resources, and much more.” (From About page).

When and Where: November 15-17, 2017, Orlando (EPCOT!)

(Here’s more info on OLC’s various conferences!)


What: ISTE conference

What is ISTE? International Society for Technology in Education. “The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is a membership association serving educators committed to leveraging technology to solve tough problems and advance learning. ISTE serves more than 100,000 education stakeholders throughout the world.” (From About ISTE).


“The ISTE Conference & Expo is recognized globally as the most comprehensive educational technology conference in the world. For more than three decades, educators and education leaders have gathered at the ISTE conference to engage in hands-on learning, exchange ideas and network with like-minded thinkers seeking to transform learning and teaching.

The annual event attracts over 16,000 [emphasis mine, holy cow that’s a lot of] attendees and industry representatives, including teachers, technology coordinators, administrators, library media specialists, teacher educators and policymakers. Attendees also enjoy world-class keynotes, hundreds of sessions in a variety of formats and a massive expo hall.” (From About ISTE).

I kind of want to attend this one, but it sounds a little too big for me!

When and Where: June 24-27, 2018, Chicago

Distance Learning & Teaching Conference

What: Distance Teaching & Learning conference. Small conference organized by UW-Madison’s Continuing Studies’ Distance Education Professional Development team. Higher-ed focused.

Why: “The conference program emphasizes evidence-based practice, educational innovation, practical application, and peer to peer networking and collaboration. The goal is to provide a transformative professional development experience at an affordable price.” (From About page). See more on Goals & Info page. Sounds like it will probably mostly draw attendees from the regional area, but Madison is a great city to visit (except it is very white, FYI) and if you are local-ish or don’t mind the travel, “affordable” and being able to learn from elearning professionals sounds like a great reason to attend!

When and Where: August 7-9, 2018, in Madison, WI.


Of course, there are many more! Check out this infographic from EdSurge that features dozens of interesting conferences.

Connecter, Adviser, Creator: The role of the instructional design librarian in campus OER initiatives

Notes and resources for my round table at the Open Education Conference 2017 on the role of the ID librarian in campus OER initiatives: Connector, Adviser, Creator.


Download handout from Dropbox

More Resources

Things I’ve Developed as an ID Librarian

Pollak Library Elearning YouTube

Pollak Library Elearning Repository


Blog Posts That Might Be Relevant

How to become an instructional design/elearning librarian

Instructional Design Librarian Starter Kit

Get started with elearning development

Technology and 21st Century Skills/Free Graphics, Audio, and Video for Education

Just because it’s on the internet doesn’t mean it’s free! In this hour-long webinar, you’ll learn where to find media while respecting creators’ copyright. We’ll go over the basics of “Creative Commons” licenses and what it means when something is “open”. You’ll learn how to use Google Images and other sources to find open and openly licensed images. Come and learn how the basics of media may be reused, adapted, and legal while feeling guilt-free!

This presentation is part of California State University’s College of Education Webinar Series, 2017-18.

Download my slides under CC BY 4.0. 

Learning APA Style Through Games and Simulations

I’ve been working on an APA citations tutorial for almost two years now. Yes, two years. I started an APA citations tutorial in Storyline in November 2015. There was a long hiatus in there somewhere, and then a complete change-of-course altogether. I’ve only been ready to show this project since July. I was fortunate to upgrade to Storyline 3 over the summer, but of course I had to iron out the bugs after upgrading the file.

Screenshot of title slide of Citations APA Style

This tutorial is worthy of its own post because of its format: it’s a series of games and self-directed learning opportunities wrapped in an essay-writing simulation. The scenario is that you, the learner, have finished writing an essay and have only to complete the citations to finish it all up! (If you’re anything like me, citations take as long as the writing did!).

The learner’s home base is a simulated desktop, compete with computer, the three sources they “used” for their paper, and an APA style guide (written by yours truly).

Screenshot of desktop-type landing screen in tutorial

Learners may click on the computer to complete their references. On the left, the book, the iPad, and the phone each represent a source used for the paper. The APA book is an online style guide for reference.

Learners have to complete three references: a book, a website, and an article. Each reference is completed via quizzes, complete with multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, and hotspot questions that step-by-step build each tutorial. The learner has access to the APA style guide every step of the way – and has the option (self-directed learning!) to play a game prior to attempting each reference to build their APA knowledge.

There are three included games, one in each reference module:

  • APA Reference List Tic Tac Toe (website module)
  • VIP Game (article module)
  • Authors APA Trivia Game (book module)

The trivia game is pretty straightforward – it’s a set of multiple-choice questions about how authors’ names are formatted in citations. I got the template from Tim Slade.

The Tic Tac Toe and the VIP Game are both completely built from scratch.

The VIP Game is a modification of my Spaceshooter game – learners have to shoot down the incorrectly formatted “VIPs” – the Volume/Issue/Page facet of any APA article citation. It’s impossible to win, but learners can replay to achieve higher scores.

I’m especially proud of the Tic Tac Toe game. Each square leads to questions related to formatting a paper in APA style – the learner must answer three questions correctly, in a row, to win the square. Otherwise it goes to their “opponent.” Each square is linked to a question bank, so that the questions appear randomly, and the learner never plays the same game twice. If the learner scores three boxes in a row, they win! This game took a lot of development time all by itself.

I’m still working on testing this tutorial, and figuring out how best to make it play nice with our learning management system so that students can earn a badge for completing it. When it’s all done, I’m going to publish each game individually as well.

Here’s what the structure looks like, including a scene off to the side of unused just-in-case slides:

Visit the live tutorial demo!


Spark Tutorials recognized as ACRL-IS Site of the Month!

posted in: My Work | 0

I regularly submit my tutorials to ACRL Instruction Section’s PRIMO Database, which peer-reviews instructional materials created by librarians. I’ve been very fortunate to have several accepted!

My Spark Tutorial “Finding Articles and Databases” scored high enough on the reviewer rubric to be selected as a Site of the Month for June 2017!

Read my interview about this tutorial and the Spark Tutorials project over at the ACRL Instruction Section blog.

You can try out my Spark Tutorials as well! I’m currently in the process of updating them for our new website and discovery tool.

screenshot of ACRL instruction section blog

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