About Me

Hi and welcome to my blog!
My name is Debbie Morris.
I am currently a Career Technology Coordinator
at our local high school. I am a Walden University
student. This blog was created as part of my
coursework for Walden University. I hope you
enjoy my blog!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Concept Map Week 5


Moving Toward Dynamic Technologies

As I evaluate myself on where I am currently in my journey of being a dynamic technology user, I see myself as having experienced both static and dynamic sides of the map.  Prior to taking my Walden University courses, I had experienced only a few of the areas listed on the map.  My courses have strongly  emphasized the use of  media tools such as Wiki, Blogs, Skype and class discussion boards.  I know as I journey through the remaining courses and my teaching experiences  I will become dynamic and familiar with all the areas listed in this graphic organizer.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Module 4

Module 4: July 28th

The ongoing growth of the Internet for teaching and learning will likely continue to raise networks as a prominent means of representing knowledge and the learning process (Siemens, 2008).  We are certainly observing this in our present educational arena.  Society has recently shifted from the total face to face classroom setting to incorporating online distant education with comfort.  Distant education is growing rapidly and tools have been created to assist these learners.  Some of these tools were first introduced as a social means of communication.  Educational institutions have transferred many of these tools into the classroom in order to provide a means for collaboration and communication.
Collaboration tools that are now being used are blogs, wikis, virtual communities, and chat forums.  Tools such as these provide students with a means of creating dialogue and sharing information.  Collaboration between students expands the boundaries of knowledge being shared by professors and students. Very often a student’s greatest academic gain is obtained from the student to student communication process.
 The internet has caused a power shift in classrooms, as learners now have greater access to information, experts, and peer learners (Siemens, 2008).  Communication is essential in the distant education classroom.  Email, Skype, Discussion Boards, and Twitter allow communication lines to flow smoothly between the professor and student and between students.  It is essential for everyone to participate in the communication process.  Clarification of assignments, posting, and responses are most important and should be completed in order for distant education to be successful.
The Internet provides access to a wealth of information.  There are many different tools that provide the “transportation” to this wealth of information.  Search engines, software, Moodle, Blackboard, Web page, and podcasting are resources that allow you to search many different topics.  A student must note the importance of carefully selecting the correct tool to use when searching for data (Durrington, Berryhill, and Swafford, 2006).


Durrington, V. A., Berryhill, A., & Swafford, J. (2006). Strategies for enhancing student interactivity in an online environmentCollege Teaching, 54(1), 190−193.  Academic Search Premier database; Accession Number: 19754742

Siemens, G. (2008, January). Learning and knowing in networks: Changing roles for educators and designers. ITForum. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Assessing Collaborative Efforts
Module 3 assignment    July 13, 2011

In looking at the many types of learning environments, including face to face and distant learning, the majority of assessment and evaluation should be completed by the instructor.  Guidelines are beneficial for both the student and instructor.  These guidelines are made clear through the use of a syllabus and rubrics.  Rubrics are an effective tool and give accurate assessment (Palloff & Praff, 2005).  Rubrics provide an outline of what is expected, give students expectations and allow them to self evaluate their work (Palloff & Praff, 2005).  I find a rubric very helpful and use it as a check off when self evaluating my work.  Although the majority of the assessment process comes from the instructor, a student is continuously evaluating their own work.  Also, students benefit greatly by having a peer review their work. George Siemens, (Laureate Education, 2008)  includes peer assessment in his assessment model for the collaborative learning environment.  I personally prefer implementing peer review rather than peer evaluation.  I find it very difficult to evaluate my peers.  This is especially difficult when the work is unclear and difficult for most of the class.  As a classroom teacher, I thoroughly enjoy using peer review.  I see students growing in their academic skills, learning the material, increasing expression skills and social skills.  Students provide valuable feedback for one another during review sessions.   However, I look at peer evaluation as something totally different.  I feel the instructor is in the best position to evaluate student’s work for a grade.

Online communities and learning environments have common goals and work together in reaching these goals.  This is basically how the majority of corporate life works.  I do have to recognize that some students really work better alone.  I find this to be the case in any type of learning environment.  Some people just function better when working alone.  We are all unique and different.  As a classroom teacher, if a student asks to work alone on a project, I usually allow this.  Instructors in a face to face classroom setting have an advantage in that they know the personalities of their students and are able to answer immediate questions and provide feedback right away. 

Online communities have to be assessed individually and as a group.  Instructors have to consider factors such as students completing post on time, discussions and responses to classmates.  They must investigate if an individual student was not able to complete an assignment due to a classmate’s late response or lack of input.  This is why communication is so important not just between students, but between students and instructors.  Students in online classes need to have a sense of trust and open communication with their instructors.  Curt Walden (Walden 2010) post in his blog that an assessment plan should take into consideration the individual differences in student’s abilities.  He states that instructors have to guard against stonewalling (“I missed the bus” or “The dog ate my laptop”) tactics.

A learning community’s communication and sense of trust is very important to all members.  Each member has to work toward their common goal.   In any group whether it is face to face or online, different roles will be played out by members of the community.   Lack of understanding assignments is sometimes the cause of a member’s inattentiveness.  Members should inquire about this with the team member.  If this is unsuccessful, the team should bring the difficulty to the attention of the instructor.  

Palloff  and Pratt (2005) explain how small groups are more effective.  This is true in both face to face and online communities.  Groups seem to work better when they are made up of less than five members.  Larger learning communities tend to make some members distant and non contributors to the team.


 Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2008). Assessment of Collaborative Learning [Video program]. Available from  http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5260640&Survey=1&47=7338982&ClientNodeID=984645&coursenav=1&bhcp=1

Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2005). Collaborating Online Learning Together in Community. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Walden, C. (2010).  Collaborative Learning Assessment [Web Blog Post].

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Plagiarism Storyboard

Debra Morris
Walden University
July 9, 2011

·         Introduction:  (1 min 30 seconds)
The introduction of this video presentation will begin with me fading in before and after a small video clip (Timothy’s testimony)
I will say… “If you don’t think plagiarism is a serious issue in today’s educational world, just ask Timothy.  Listen to his testimony that follows.
After Timothy’s testimony, I will follow up with a comment (fading in) of my points.

·         Plagiarism Defined (30 seconds)
This section will begin with a brief drama defining plagiarism.
1.       Theft of words
2.      Purchase of words

·         Why we commit plagiarism (1 minute)
I will begin here with me discussing the differences of how plagiarism was committed yesterday and today.  Next, a student will be interviewed and questioned as to why he commits plagiarism.

·         How the student and teacher can prevent plagiarism (1 min)
We will observe through this video clip the steps one college student takes to prevent plagiarism, followed by a skit showing a teacher in elementary school teaching young learners about plagiarism and how not to fall into the traps of plagiarism.  Next, the skit will move on to a college instructor evaluating a paper submitted online by a student.

·         Consequences (1 min)
This clip will be an interview with a group of college students concerning accusations made against them concerning plagiarism crime.

·         Conclusion (1 min)
I will review the main points brought in this video clip along with expressions of appreciation for my actors.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Elements of Distance Education Diffusion

Blog post
Elements of Distance Education Diffusion
Debra Morris
June 28, 2011

Of the three elements of distant education, I have chosen to discuss the element of communication. According to George Siemens (2008) there is a growing acceptance of distance education in today’s corporate and educational arenas.  He states that this growing acceptance is due to meaningful relationships of communication, practical experience with new tools, comfort with online dialogue, and the ability to communicate with diverse and global groups (Siemens, 2008).  He makes a very important point when he states that learners need to be comfortable with the online environment. I agree with his views. As society has become accustomed to online communication, its popularity has grown.  Distant education has evolved from the beginning stages of broadcasting through means such as the radio and cassette to the current use of the web.  It has evolved and older generations have become accustomed to the elaborate differences seen in online communication as compared to face to face communication.

The following are blog post that share interesting thoughts on the subject.

Taryn Hailstock (Hailstock, 2010) shares in her blog the evolution communication has made from the not so long ago telephone conference, to the live meetings through Skype.  She includes the growth of communication, the types of social networks and the affordability of communication tools.

Embry (Embry, 2006) has a blog post tracking the history of communication. His post is very detailed and extensive. He begins before 1900, with the communication used during the time of the Roman Empire, and ends with student’s current use of personal computers and the web.  Communication has evolved and will continue to evolve as technology continues to change.

In another blog post by Randfish (Randfish, 2006), the negative effects of online communication are discussed. Randfish reflects upon reading he has recently done from John Suler’s, “The Psychology of Cyberspace”.  He references the author’s view of disadvantages in the use of online communication and the style of online communication. Two of the five listed were interesting to me.  These include; no one knows who anyone is and offline reputations have little bearing on the respect received (Suler 2004).  I have to agree with these two comments made by Suler.  The blog posted by Randfish includes his view that these negative aspects can be ruled out. I agree with Suler that the communication you experience online does not allow you to know the person in the same way you would in a face to face situation.  I also agree that your reputation is totally unknown by the people in your online community.
Another blogger, Christine Rand, states that improvements in online communication tools have greatly enhanced her educational experience (Rand, 2010).  She goes on to say that she is able to quickly find clarifications to things in question and while in this process she finds pieces of information that are useful.  She feels that the instantaneous connection with a professor or other classmates at any time is more useful to her than waiting for the weekly class meetings (Rand, 2010).
Today we have seen an explosion in the variety of communication tools available.  These include; face book, chat rooms, email, Skype, Wiki spaces, blogs, Myspace, Twitter, and instant messenger.  Society is experiencing a close between the gaps that exist in the comfort zone of communicating online.   My generation and older generations have watched and lived through the transition of face to face communication to the current and popular online communication. These generations experienced a large gap between the desire to communicate online and the comfort of communicating online.  Fortunately, this gap is closing and more and more people are enjoying the benefits of online communication.

Embry, B. (2006). The evolution of distance learning in higher education. [Web log comment]. Retrieved June 26, 2011 from http://distance-edu.blogspot.com/

Hailstock, T. (2010), Elements of Distant Education Diffusion [Web log comment].
Retrieved June 26 from http://tarynhailstock.blogspot.com/

Hart, J. (2010, June 25). Janes’ pick of the day. [Web log comment].
Retrieved from http://janeknight.typepad.com/

Laureate Education, Inc & Siemens, G. (2008). Principles of distance education. [Vodcast: The future of distance education]. Baltimore: Author.

Rand, C. (2010, June 29).  Christine Rand’s Walden Blog [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://walden-crand.blogspot.com/2010/06/module-2_29.htmlhttp://walden-crand.blogspot.com/

Randfish, (2006). Evolution of Communication on the Web. Retrieved June 26, 2011 from http://www.seomoz.org/blog/evolution-of-communication-on-the-web

Suler, J. (2004).CyberPsychology and Behavior. Retrieved from http://users.rider.edu/~suler/psycyber/disinhibit.html

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Next Generation Of Distance Education

Higher education lacks good instructional design for effective learning in distance education, according to Moller, Huett, Foshay and Coleman (2008).  This is primarily due to faculty lacking appropriate training in instructional design or distance education.  In the articles written by Moller (2008) and Huett, Moller, Foshay, and Coleman (2008), K-12 has the least research and affects a variety of learners.  As a second grade teacher, I agree with these authors on their opinion of faculty lacking appropriate training in design and distance education.  Teachers are very often left to design and facilitate technology with which they do not even know where to begin.  A teacher cannot address best practices for how a student learns or which technology is appropriate for the learner when he/she doesn't have proper training.

Simonson (2000) states that there has continued to be a rapid growth in on line learners.  There are currently an estimated 6 million learners and this number continues to climb.  He notes that distance learning will not take the place of traditional education.  He states that it will stretch across and affect all learning environments.  Each industry of learners has different needs.  Instructional design will continue to evolve and meet the needs of all distance education learners.

It is imperative that professors and teachers are taught design and reflect upon learning theory.  By taking these steps, maximum learning opportunities are provided for the student. 

Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the Web (Part 1: Training and Development). TechTrends, 52(3), 70–75. Use the Academic Search Premier database, and search using the article’s title.

Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the Web (Part 2: Higher Education). TechTrends, 52(4), 66–70. Use the Academic Search Premier database, and search using the article’s title.

Huett, J., Moller, L., Foshay, W. & Coleman, C. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the Web (Part 3: K12). TechTrends, 52(5), 63–67.Use the Academic Search Premier database, and search using the article’s title.

Simonson, M. (2000). Making decisions: The use of electronic technology in online classes. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 84, 29–34.