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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




workshop goals
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.
workshop objectives
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.
formatting text why
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”
formatting text
Formatting Text

Journalistic Style

  • rewrite in “top-down” form
  • use active voice
  • address learners as “you”
  • edit for shorter sentences and paragraphs
  • limit scrolling
formatting text6
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
your turn
Your Turn

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

formatting text8
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
formatting text9
Formatting Text

Focus and Review

  • add a summary after significant chunks
  • highlight key terms
  • craft study or review questions
  • devise activities to apply knowledge
formatting text10
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
using graphics objectives
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.
what can graphics do
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.
your turn17
Your Turn

Discussion Question:

What are some other uses for graphics?

your turn19
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?

facilitating discussion objectives
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.
facilitating discussion
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
facilitating discussion36
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?
facilitating discussion37
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
a bad example
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

your turn39
Your Turn

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

facilitating discussion40
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
facilitating discussion42
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
catalyst user experience project
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



contact information
Contact Information
  • Joe Dial jdial@extn.washington.edu206-685-6511
  • Jan Kinney jkinney@extn.washington.edu206-685-6379