Recent Posts

The Benefits of Using Digital Badges in an Online Course

When it comes to online courses, faculty members are always on the hunt for new ways to keep their learners engaged. The use of Digital Badges is one form of engagement that has popped up over the past few years, yet many people are still unsure of how it can be applied to their online courses. What are Digital Badges? Badges are visual representations of skills that learners have acquired by mastering a certain skill or activity. Unlike certificates, badges are distributed and posted online and are used to validate settings that are formal and informal (Learning Tech, 2015). In


Lighting Techniques for Webcam Lecture Recordings

Have you ever wondered how the photos on social media look so glamorous? Even the most self-produced “selfies” typically have a lot of effort put into them that may not be apparent in the seemingly effortless final product. In addition to the positioning of the camera lens and subject, using makeup, photographic filters, and editing software, the lighting is a big factor in the quality of an image. The How To Guides section of the Distance Learning website has some tips for lighting for video recordings. This blog post will explain a few cinematography concepts that can make anyone look


Getting Your Feet Wet: Introduction to Course Design Workshop

In October 2016, the Distance Learning Team launched its first iteration of a fully online Course Design Workshop. This workshop is designed to help instructors become familiar with our course design process and to allow them to step into the shoes of an online student. In addition, being in the workshop allows instructors to practice using Canvas and to see what a well-structured SPS course looks like. If instructors have not designed an SPS course or are revising a course, they should take this workshop before they begin course development. Here is a sneak peek of what to expect during


Semiotics of Course Design

Sheena Lyonnais wrote on the Adobe Creative Cloud blog that “in a world where everything is identified by icons and avatars, it is no wonder the study of semiotics is beginning to make its way into the discourse of user experience design.” (Lyonnais, 2016). After reading this, I began to think of ways to classify the elements of SPS course site designs from a semiotics perspective. I will attempt to identify examples in a way that fits with Lyonnais’ definition of semiotics as “the study of signs and symbols.” She breaks semiotics into two parts: the signifiers and the signified.


5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Adding Images to Your Online Course

Introduction We are always looking for ways to make our courses more engaging for students. That might mean more opportunities for students to interact with each other in small groups, developing short videos with in-video quizzing, or creating an interactive map. One way that faculty often try to make an online course more visually interesting is by adding images to slideshows, videos, and pages in the course site. But even with the best intentions, online courses can become crammed with images: clip art that adds little value, photos used without permission and in violation of copyright law, low-resolution images that