Recognition at Campus Honor an Educator Event

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It’s not often that I get awards, so I hope you’ll forgive me for being super excited to share that I was recognized at my campus’ recent Honor an Educator event! It’s an annual fundraiser put on by the California State University, Fullerton, College of Education.

I was nominated by the director of the Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology program. I’ve only been teaching for her for about a semester and a half, but she thinks I’m doing a great job and I’m very flattered. I love teaching for the program! My students are the best.

As part of the event, I got this amazing certificate thanks to our California Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva. You bet it’s getting framed and going on my office wall!

Certificate of recognition for Lindsay O'Neill from California State Assembly

Mike and Lindsay at Honor an Educator dinner
Mike and I at the dinner!

Free Downloads are Here!

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I’ve added a Free Downloads page to my website – previously visitors had to hunt for my free templates in my Portfolio. Use and reuse these files for free under the terms of the Creative Commons license assigned to each. I will continually be adding templates to this section, so come back often.

Please cite me and link back to my website – and if you want to share your creations I would love to see them!

Happy developing!

Get Started With Camtasia

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New to eLearning Development? Read this first!

I love Camtasia! I use it regularly at work for anything from simple screen recordings to long informational videos. Everything I’ve published to Pollak Library eLearning on YouTube was made with Camtasia.

Camtasia is a video editing program, but you can create surprisingly robust interactive mini-courses using its hotspots feature. Whether you want to create professional-looking videos, or dip your toe into the eLearning waters, this is a great program to get started with.

Get Started With Camtasia

First, download the free trial of Camtasia if you haven’t already. I also recommend giving SnagIt a shot, it’s a great, simple image editing program. Jing is the free, limited version of Camtasia.

Video Tutorials

Do you have access to Lynda.com? I would work through the Camtasia courses. They have practice files for you to use.

Work Through a Handbook

Alternatively, I also recommend finding a copy of Camtasia 9: The Essentials. This book will walk you through learning Camtasia and also offers practice files. I use the Adobe Captivate edition for teaching students in our Master of Instructional Design & Technology program, it’s a really great book.

Get Started with Free Graphics

There’s not much in the way of free Camtasia templates out there, unfortunately, but Camtasia is fairly simple to pick up.

I highly recommend Pixabay for stock graphics and videos, all of which are public domain/CC0. Remember to respect copyright when selecting images for your elearning!

Conclusion

Making videos is really fun! It’s a useful skill that allows you do make and ship useful tutorials very quickly, with a low learning curve. You don’t need a special server for plain videos, you can just pop them onto YouTube. However, if you do take advantage of Camtasia’s interactive features, you DO have to load the published files onto a server or into an LMS. To do this, follow my guide on Sharing Your eLearning Courses.

Get Started With Captivate

New to eLearning Development? Read this first!

Adobe Captivate 9 is very powerful authoring software. It’s also very challenging to learn. Sure, you can easily pick up how to do screen recordings, but to create interactive tutorials you’re going to have to roll up your sleeves!

Captivate is similar to Storyline, but it does not allow for easy rapid authoring like Storyline does. While Storyline has a similar feel to PowerPoint and allows you to get your feet wet by making something super simple, you’re going to go through a bit of frustration making even a simple tutorial with Captivate. But! Captivate will pay off – it allows you to customize anything and everything, and its Advanced Actions (akin to Storyline’s triggers) are much more powerful and complex. Also, many instructional design job postings want you to know how to use Captivate! If you can do this, you can do anything!

Captivate is also cheaper than Storyline – you’ll pay $300 if you’re an educator or if you work for a nonprofit. Buy a full copy for $1,099 to be able to sell your work.

Get Started With Captivate

First, download the free trial of Captivate if you don’t already have the software.*

Video Tutorials

Do you have access to Lynda.com? I would work through the Adobe Captivate courses. They have practice files for you to use.

Adobe has a robust collection of videos on YouTube as well. Get used to Pooja, you’ll see a lot of her! Her videos are really clear and helpful.

Work Through a Handbook

Alternatively, I also recommend finding a copy of Adobe Captivate 9: The Essentials. This book will walk you through learning Captivate and also offers practice files. I use this text for teaching students in our Master of Instructional Design & Technology program, it’s a really great book.

Templates

Adobe Captivate 9 includes free templates from the eLearning Brothers, so definitely take advantage of those.

In general, there doesn’t seem to be as many free downloads for Captivate templates as there are for Storyline templates, unfortunately. If you intend to do a lot of development in Captivate, I would work on creating your own templates and themes. Challenge yourself by attempting to recreate a neat Captivate tutorial you saw online.

Important to Learn

I also suggest learning to create your own image buttons, because Captivate’s buttons are mostly ugly. I also highly recommend learning to use Captivate’s Advanced Actions – which are equivalent to Storyline’s triggers, but allow for much more complexity and reusability.

Conclusion

What’s important is diving in and getting going – a lot of people find Captivate to be more challenging to pick up than Storyline, but done right, I think the software can offer a lot more customization and power.

You want something instantly pretty? Use Storyline! Want to challenge yourself and learn a marketable skill? Get going with Captivate!

*Important note: If you download a free trial of Captivate, your files will expire at the end of the trial period. So, if you want to keep evidence of them, perhaps take lots of screen captures or screen recordings to document your work. If you end up getting a paid copy of Captivate, you can reaccess and republish your files.

Get Started With Storyline 2

posted in: "How To" Guides, Blog, eLearning | 1

New to eLearning Development? Read this first!

I love Storyline 2! It’s the authoring software I use most often. I used it for creating the Spark Tutorials and for several of the items in my Portfolio.

Storyline is fairly easy to learn. Because it’s similar to PowerPoint, you can use Storyline to make something as simple or (almost) as complex as you want. Storyline has some limits with the complexity of “triggers” you can use compared to Captivate, but, it makes up for it by ease of use. You can create something very beautiful and usable very quickly!

Unfortunately, Storyline is expensive! You get half off if you’re an educator or a nonprofit, but it’s still about $800. In contrast, Captivate is about $300 for educators. You can always download a 30-day trial, though, enabling you to get a taste of Storyline and create something really nice for your portfolio!

Get Started with Storyline

Download the free trial if you don’t already have the software. Articulate now offers a cloud-based suite called Articulate 360 that includes Storyline if you’d like to give that a shot also, but it’s very expensive to subscribe to it.

You can always just dive into the software and see what it does, but to take advantage of Storyline’s power and to understand how to publish, check out one of these options:

Articulate’s YouTube Channel

Articulate, the company behind Storyline, has a pretty great YouTube channel with a nice “Get Started with Storyline” playlist. Start with the overview, move on to interactivity, and then learn to use layers, triggers, and states! Unfortunately this option doesn’t seem to offer any practice files, so you’ll have to pay close attention to the videos and just practice on your own.

Lynda.com

Do you have access to Lynda.com? If you work at a college or university, there’s a good chance that you do. Some public libraries offer free Lynda.com access as well. Check with your employer also – you never know!

I highly recommend working through the Articulate Storyline courses. They have practice files for you to use to follow along with the videos. Complete a whole Storyline course and get a badge/certificate of completion to put on your LinkedIn profile (keep in mind this only offers proof you watched the videos, your projects don’t get reviewed or graded).

Up and Running with Articulate Storyline 2 is a good course to begin. I encourage you to check out the Advanced Techniques course also to get some really great ideas and more hands-on practice with advanced features.

Work Through a Handbook

Prefer a book? I recommend finding a copy of Articulate Storyline 2: The Essentials. This book will walk you through learning Storyline and also offers practice files for you to learn. I use the Adobe Captivate edition for teaching students in our Master of Instructional Design & Technology program, it’s a really great book. You have to download the practice files from the publisher’s site, so make sure you do that first before you get started!

Play With Free Downloads

I offer lots of my Storyline raw files as free downloads – you can reuse the Spark Tutorials, Keyword Generator, or Branched Scenario. Just use the files according to the Creative Commons license assigned to each one.

There are lots more free info lit Storyline raw files from Marquette University that you can reuse.

I have a lot of “how’d they do that??” moments when viewing other people’s projects, so being able to see the raw file is enormously helpful to learn new things.

Join the Community

Finally, get involved in the E-Learning Heroes community (managed by Articulate!), if you haven’t already. They have lots of fun Storyline challenges and LOTS of free downloads for you to reuse.

Articulate’s outreach and marketing arm is strong. Their bloggers and content creators are frequent presenters at conferences. They do their best to help you be successful with Storyline!

Conclusion

Don’t forget to save your projects early and often! I save my Storyline raw files on my local hard drive, then copy them over to Dropbox every time I close it out. I also save “versions” periodically – I’ll “Save As” each new day or week. Sometimes you regret making a major change, so you can always go back and redo what you undid if you have multiple versions. This strategy can also help save you in event of a file getting corrupted, or your computer crashing (which has happened to me TWICE in two years!)

Above all – build your portfolio! Telling employers and clients that you know Storyline isn’t enough, you need to have something to show them!

Sharing Your eLearning Courses

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So you’ve built an eLearning course – congratulations! Now, you want to give your learners access via the open web. (If you want to host it on an LMS, that’s a whole ‘nother topic!).

Maybe you’re building your portfolio, maybe you want the SME to review it, maybe you just really enjoy building tutorials and you want anyone to be able to complete them. This blog post is for you!

If you publish your eLearning as HTML5 or SWF/Flash (aka: you’re publishing with Storyline, Captivate, Lectora etc) – you need to have web hosting for your tutorial to be easily accessible. When you publish in one of these formats, you’re basically creating a fancy self-contained website. Your final published file consists of html files, javascript files, and the images and videos and other assorted code that brings it all together.

You could always zip everything together and upload it to Google Drive or Dropbox – but then your learners would have to download it, and that’s no good, and not only because of the enormous sizes possible with elearning, you can also spread computer viruses this way.

Web hosting is just to allow your tutorials to be made public – without an LMS, you won’t collect information about your learners or their progress, though you could set your tutorials to issue certificates of completion, or maybe you could add an option for results to be emailed to you, though that’s not a perfect solution either.

In any case, your free options for web hosting are limited, unfortunately! For stability and longevity, paying for web hosting is the way to go.

The Free Option (Amazon S3)

Check out this article on sharing your courses using Amazon’s web services. The first year of 5GB of hosting is free.

You may be interested in using this option to publish your files to the web so that you just provide a link and your learners can instantly view and complete your courses. This is also a nice option for a place to put your amazing work so that you can link it to your growing portfolios!

This option does take a bit of setup. You have to create an Amazon S3 account, download their software, and do some minor code editing.

But, once you’re done and your courses are uploaded, you just have to share a link and your learners/portfolio admirers are good to go!

The Pay Option (Web Hosting)

I use GoDaddy to host my website. I can’t remember how I chose GoDaddy! They were probably running a special. I’ve had a site now for a few years. But any major web host is basically the same – you can get a custom domain and server space. My website costs me about $145 a year (I pay extra (~20/yr) for private domain registration so that my home address isn’t published to the web).

Uploading elearning files can be a pain – I log into GoDaddy manually to upload my courses, but you can also use an FTP program like Filezilla.

A helpful web hosting provider will also give you tools for easily building a website – usually you can install WordPress with a click of a button (I use WordPress for my site), or it will have some other tool for creating a simple home page. I really like WordPress, it’s pretty easy to learn and you can choose from thousands of free themes to make your site look nice.

The features get much fancier for web hosts from there, depending on what you want out of your website. Some offer shopping cart functionality or other support for running advanced scripts and things, or for having a custom email address at your domain.

I found this helpful guide to choosing a web host. I’ve always been into coding simple websites and have taken a couple of web programming classes, so definitely consider your own comfort level when you look into service providers.

How do you host your courses?

So You Want to Get Started With eLearning Development

I love developing eLearning! It’s on of my favorite parts of my job. I developed my first Camtasia video as a library intern, and then dove deep into Camtasia, Storyline, and Adobe Captivate as a student in my master of educational technology program.

Now, I use Camtasia and Storyline regularly to design info lit and library research tutorials for my library. I also occasionally use Adobe Captivate, and I teach Captivate as an instructor in Cal State Fullerton’s Master of Instructional Design and Technology program.

Learning the software can be tough – but it’s only half the battle. No matter how much of a pro you are at your authoring software of choice, if you aren’t following good design practices and proven learning theory, your tutorials aren’t going to be an effective learning experience.

If you feel like pursuing a certificate or master’s in instructional design or educational technology – you should!!

No time or money for that? Read on for suggestions on how to become a better designer!

Good Design

To that end, I’ve got several recommendations for educating yourself on effective design. First, get started with learning about good design and how people learn. Then, learn about how people navigate online content and visual content.

Only then should you be producing eLearning content!

All About Good Design

The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition

The Design of Everyday Things
This book seriously changed how I view the world! I HIGHLY recommend reading it.

How People Learn

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Design for How People Learn
This book is well illustrated and breaks down the basics of how the brain works!

How People Navigate Online Spaces

Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (3rd Edition) (Voices That Matter)

Don’t Make Me Think
This book focuses on web usability. Your tutorials are going to be web-based. READ IT

Effective Visual Design

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Non-Designer’s Design Book (This book breaks down the basics of graphic design so that you can create effective layouts).

Bonus Reading

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Designing Interfaces (Your tutorial is really just an interface your learners will use – you’d better make it usable!)

Have you read all of those? Good!

I also recommend getting a handle on copyright – don’t just copy and paste images you find on the web without considering the legalities first. Here’s a great video I recommend watching: Copyright or Wrong? A Brief Guide to Finding and Using Online Images. 

Now, and only now, it’s time to move onto learning authoring software:

Instructional Design Librarian Job Descriptions and Postings

As an Instructional Design Librarian I get asked periodically for my job description. (I’m trendy!) Since I started this job, I’ve been curious what other ID Librarians do, so I collect job postings as I see them, and I also Tweet out any ID-related librarian job postings that I see.

You can download a zip folder of a selected few ID Librarian job postings that I think are pretty good, and are all titled as “Instructional Design.” This folder includes:

  • Instructional Design Librarian (Faculty Position) – Cal State Fullerton (this is my current job)
  • Instructional Design Librarian (Faculty Position) – University of Alabama
  • Online Instructional Design Librarian (Faculty Position) – Cal State Northridge
  • Instructional Design Librarian (Not sure if faculty) – Nevada State
  • Instructional Design Librarian (Faculty Position) – Southern Minnesota State
  • Instructional Design Librarian (Not sure if faculty – University of Waterloo, Canada
  • Instructional Design/Technology Librarian (Not faculty) – UC San Diego
  • Instructional Design Librarian (Faculty Position) – Notre Dame

Download IDL Job Descriptions

Other ID-Related Job Titles

  • Instructional technology librarian
  • Online learning librarian
  • eLearning librarian
  • Online instruction librarian
  • Digital learning librarian
  • Digital literacy and instructional design librarian
  • Online and hybrid learning librarian
  • Emerging technologies and instruction librarian

Third Year Adventures as an Instructional Design Librarian

I’m now halfway through my third year as an Instructional Design Librarian! This is officially the longest I’ve ever held a single job. This is also the first time I think of my stay here in terms of which year I’m in as a result of the tenure-track process. I had to turn in my 2nd year file in fall 2015, I had to turn in my 3rd year abbreviated file in fall 2016, and in fall 2017 I have to prepare another full portfolio to justify my continued existence. I suspect that, once I get tenure, I’ll miss the progress of the tenure-track even though it’s a lot of work!

Anyhow, I’ve been meaning to take stock of where I am and how I’m doing as a new librarian. I still think of myself as a new librarian. I’m less lost than I was, but still feel inexperienced, young, and naive. I’m still stubbornly maintaining my optimism, though! It’s what keeps me motivated.

Progress!

Two years ago I wrote The Making of an Instructional Design Librarian over at ACRLog about my experiences as a brand new librarian. I’m surprised and pleased to find that my goals and plans for this position were not only on the right track, but I’ve accomplished most of them. I’ve developed lots of new video tutorials, I’ve developed several interactive tutorials that issue badges (and concurrently advocated for and then built the infrastructure to make the badges happen). I also developed a mini learning object repository that will be transitioned over to our forthcoming institutional repository. I’ve worked with faculty and staff on lowering the cost of textbooks for their students and done several trainings for my colleagues related to instructional design and educational technology.

I have two peer-reviewed articles being published this winter (my minimum tenure requirements are MET!), a book chapter is in the works, I’m working on an article with a colleague in another department, I have three (THREE!) national conference presentations coming up, and also, I’m lecturing part-time for our Master of Instructional Design and Technology program.

Life is good!

Academia is STILL Weird and Will Apparently Always Be

I feel like I’ve written a lot about how I find academia to be a strange cultural experience, since I’m a first-generation college student and I come from a blue-collar family. Seriously, I’m the only one in my family with a college degree, let alone two masters degrees. I identified a lot with a recently published article in the Chronicle, “I Fit in Neither Place,” about a first-gen PhD that doesn’t feel like she fits with her colleagues nor with her family and friends outside of academia.

This is a weird thing that I would like to help other first-gen colleagues with, but to do so, we’d all have to out ourselves as not fitting in. It unfortunately tends to cause sideways glances and awkward silences with my colleagues when I say blue-collar things. On the flip side, my family has no idea what I’m talking about when I talk about publishing in journals and pursuing tenure. They do not share or apparently comprehend my excitement at getting not one but TWO proposals accepted to ACRL!

I am very pleased, though, to work at an institution with an incredibly diverse student body and a very high percentage of first-gen students. If my colleagues don’t get what they’re going through, I do, and I can help students. My family is still proud of me even if they don’t know what I do.

Continuing Projects

I’m really happy with the success of my Spark Tutorials, which are Storyline courses embedded in our Learning Management System – I’ve issued 2,907 badges so far to students for tutorial completion. This adds up to about 500 hours of library instruction that did not require in-person librarian time. I’m working on developing more tutorials in collaboration with my colleagues and am continuing to market these to faculty. This program will continue to scale up our instruction.

I continue to work with our Faculty Development Center and Online Education and Training department to help faculty find low-cost or free replacements for their courses’ expensive textbooks. I’ve dived deep into navigating Fair Use, Creative Commons licensing, and troubleshooting permalinks. I enjoy all of these things.

I love teaching in our Master of Instructional Design and Technology program! It’s entirely online but I’ve gotten to know my students well. I taught my first class last fall and am teaching another this spring. I’m enjoying the time off, though, from teaching right now until classes resume in two weeks.

I still struggle to balance all of the things I’m supposed to do: Ref Desk, online reference, research consultations, subject liaising, committees, research, publishing, presenting, more committees, service, collection development, instructional coordinating, plus my core duties as an ID librarian. I wish I could devote more time to developing elearning, it’s kind of my favorite thing, but also the most time-consuming!

While I have a full plate, I also want to start my own side business for freelancing in elearning development. Stay tuned!

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