Creating Engaging Online Materials - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Creating Engaging Online Materials / Workshop Goals This workshop offers guidelines and tips for repurposing your content for effective electronic presentation, including enlivening your online writing as you convert lectures to online material;

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Creating Engaging Online Materials

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Creating Engaging




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Workshop Goals

This workshop offers guidelines and tips for repurposing your content for effective electronic presentation, including

  • enlivening your online writing as you convert lectures to online material;

  • converting text to graphics that convey clear, useful information; and

  • creating an interactive learning environment where you and your students can engage in discussions and share documents.

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Workshop Objectives

When you complete this workshop, you will be able to

  • convert printed material and narratives into attractive and effective online text consistent with Web conventions;

  • judge when it is appropriate to convert textual facts to graphics;

  • create graphics that convey useful information accessible to a wide range of abilities; and

  • create, facilitate, and monitor online discussions to help foster a sense of community among learners.

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Formatting Text: Why?

  • “Writing for the Web is very different from writing for print:

    • 79% of users scan the page instead of reading word-for-word

    • Reading from computer screens is 25% slower than from paper

    • Web content should have 50% of the word count of its paper equivalent”Jakob Nielsen, “Writing for the Web”

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Formatting Text

Journalistic Style

  • rewrite in “top-down” form

  • use active voice

  • address learners as “you”

  • edit for shorter sentences and paragraphs

  • limit scrolling

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Formatting Text


  • divide material into pieces by subject

  • split up long paragraphs and sections

  • add heads and subheads

  • think about printing

  • avoid fragmentation and redundancy

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Your Turn

Take five minutes to organize the material in the unedited text document into topical chunks.

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Formatting Text

Visual Style

  • consistent representation of key textual elements as visual cues to meaning

  • establish a “style sheet”

  • choose type style and size for body copy, heads, and special terms

  • select layout color or pattern: keep it simple

  • add icons and graphics as needed

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Formatting Text

Focus and Review

  • add a summary after significant chunks

  • highlight key terms

  • craft study or review questions

  • devise activities to apply knowledge

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Formatting Text


  • supplement information in the narrative

  • expand access to material resources and people

  • add learner activity, interaction, and sharing

  • focus on credible, established institutions that are major resources

  • avoid overuse

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Using Graphics: Objectives

By the end of this unit, you will be able to

  • decide when graphics are appropriate in your online materials, and justify your choices;

  • distinguish between "information" and "noise" in a graphic;

  • describe some ways to make graphics accessible to persons with visual disabilities;

  • explain why "alt tags" are necessary, and write useful ones; and

  • find existing graphics and use them ethically.

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What Can Graphics Do?

Graphics can

  • illustrate the flow of a process or cause-and-effect;

  • display or compare statistics, trends, or other related facts;

  • reveal information not readily obvious or evident;

  • illustrate a concept or convey an emotion; and

  • provide an alternative way to convey information for more visually-oriented learners.

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Illustrate the flow of a process, or cause and effect

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Display or Compare Statistics, Trends, or Other Related Facts

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Reveal Information not Readily Obvious or Evident

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Illustrate a Concept or Convey an Emotion

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Your Turn

Discussion Question:

What are some other uses for graphics?

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Noise versus Information, and Accessibility

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Your Turn

Discussion Questions:

Is this graphic easy to read? Is it attractive? Does every element in it provide useful information? What information does it provide?

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One Solution: A Variety of Dotted Lines

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Another Solution: Lines of Different Weight

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What’s the Missing Graphic?

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Alt Tags Describe What We Should Be Seeing

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Alt Tags Are Useful for All Viewers

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Finding Ready-made Graphics Online

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Clip Art

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Clip Art

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Google Images

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Google Images Results

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Closeup of Results

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Facilitating Discussion: Objectives

By the end of this unit, you will be able to

  • choose an appropriate discussion tool for your learners and purposes;

  • craft meaningful discussion assignments;

  • set standards for performance and participation; and

  • facilitate and monitor online discussions to help foster a sense of community among learners.

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Facilitating Discussion

Discussion Tools

  • e-mail: Pine, WebPine, UMail

  • forums or discussion boards: GoPost

  • blogs: WordPress

  • chat or instant messaging: Windows

  • audioconferencing: C & C Teleconferencing

  • collaboration: Peer Review, Portfolio, Share Space,GoPost attachments

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Facilitating Discussion

Discussion FAQs

  • What makes a compelling forum question?

  • How do I encourage interaction and response?

  • What is my role in an online discussion?

  • Should I require participation?

  • How do I evaluate participation?

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Facilitating Discussion

Meaningful Assignments

  • connect the assignment clearly to the material and your educational purpose

  • relate to learners’ experiences

  • focus on application and reflection rather than declarative knowledge

  • ask questions or pose problems that have multiple answers, strategies, or approaches

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A Bad Example

Don’t try this at home…“Some critics feel the United States is less prepared against a terrorist attack than we were in 2000. Discuss.”

What’s wrong with this prompt?

Your Turn

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Your Turn

Using the guidelines for meaningful assignments, take five minutes to draft a discussion prompt related to the material in the Influenza lesson.

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Facilitating Discussion


  • cover both rules for learner interaction and expectations for deliverables

  • write clear, succinct, and complete descriptions and instructions

  • include models and examples

  • create and provide evaluation rubrics

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Creating an Assessment Rubric

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Facilitating Discussion

Facilitation Guidelines

  • decide your role and communicate it-set learner expectations early

  • respond promptly

  • facilitation vs. moderation

  • vary your response: none, individual, or group

  • consider peer facilitation, small groups

  • respond to problems privately

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Catalyst User Experience Project

Help us design for your needs

Initial and quarterly surveys

Invitations to focus groups & interviews

2-3 hours/year

Hear from us

Semi-annual newsletter

1-3 quarterly emails

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Contact Information

  • Joe Dial jdial@extn.washington.edu206-685-6511

  • Jan Kinney jkinney@extn.washington.edu206-685-6379

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