Nerding out

SwedishNerdAvatarWithHelmet

Welcome to the Swedish Nerd’s digital portfolio. My posts showcase my assignments from my edX courses in Instructional Design as well as my Master’s of IT and Learning at the University of Gothenburg.

My instructors want me to put my name on here but I’m paranoid. Suffice to say I live in (Göteborg) Sweden, I’m a lady, and I’m a nerd. After some years working in the learning technology industry, I felt I needed to get back to what makes me happy, which is designing and delivering learning programmes. Of course I want to leverage learning technologies intelligently, but the creative process of design and the fun of delivery is what I’m really passionate about.

I created this avatar of myself at Avatar Maker. It looks like a younger version of me but close enough. I added the helmet, which is a free resource with a Creative Commons license, from pngimage. Try it yourself, it’s fun!

Here is my LinkedIn profile if you would like a full view of my professional experience and qualifications.

 

Week 6: Meal Planning: a Nerdy Path to Sanity for Busy Parents

vegan wrap with side salad

My family loves anything in a wrap!

My “podcast” is about getting started with Meal Planning, which I find streamlines my life a lot when I’m running from one thing to another. My first attempt had my son in it but I unfortunately had to scrap that version due to poor sound quality.

For some reason WordPress has decided it’s not safe to upload .m4a file types so I had to do this as a .wav file, which creates a much larger file. Sorry about that! I recorded this a couple of times with different types of microphones and I wasn’t able to really equalise my voice very well. I thought I spoke quite softly but there are points where my voice sort of “buzzes” and I’m not good enough with the editing tools to get rid of it.

I played around with recording in Audacity but ended up editing in Camtasia because I’m just more comfortable with it for video, and I wanted to understand what audio features are available.

Here is a transcript for the hearing impaired or those who prefer skimming:

Hey , everybody. Welcome to my first ever podcast called Meal Planning: a Nerdy Path to Sanity for Busy Parents. So I want to tell you a bit about how I got started doing it and a few steps so that you can get started . I started thinking about meal planning when I realised that one of the most stressful part of my days was standing in front of the refrigerator hoping for inspiration to come to me , and I had to decide what to cook after a long day of work , so I decided to relieve my own stress level, I would give meal planning a try. I had heard of it before and it just seemed like way too structured for me and I didn’t want to try it.

But I did get started and the first thing I did was Google…Microsoft Excel meal planning template or something like that. And then I got one that I could edit for whatever I liked.

I decided to plan for breakfasts and dinners only because lunch usually we eat outside during the week and then on the weekend it’s a bit more relaxed. Then I recommend you think about what rules you have for your family to help you put structure around your planning. Like, in our family, we love to have pizza on Friday. I try to cook vegetarian one day a week and I like to have something special for dinner on Sundays. And then I leave one day open for just sort of cleaning out leftovers and stuff like that. And so that puts a bit of shape around your plan and makes it easier for you.

Then the next step is, think about what sort of things could you make ahead and freeze and put those into your plan. Maybe once or twice a week you decide to cook double. You can Google some websites for freezer-friendly meals. This is especially good for breakfast when you’re tired and you don’t have a lot of energy. So I do things like make veggie muffins ahead, healthy quesadillas with spinach and beans, and I even make bacon or sausage ahead and I freeze it so I can just warm it up in the morning. Soups, stews, anything pasta-related . You can freeze it really nicely and have it ready to go in the fridg , defrosted to warm up when you come home from work .

Then when you start to get ready to plan , you can also ask your family what they would like to have included . My family loves anything in a wrap. So if I ask them what they want , they’ll probably want halloumi and sprouts with hummus and a wrap, chicken in a wrap or something like that . Ask your kids for ideas. We made a little game out of it at one point where I put things on little scraps of paper and my son was allowed to pick things out .

So I guess you’re ready to get your pencil out, the next step . And how much should you plan at once ? Start small and see if it’s for you . Start with one week at a time and see whether you like it. I currently do four weeks in advance because I think it’s just easier. I can sit down and do that and plan for a whole month.

You get your shopping list ready. I even went and googled the same web site where I got my meal plan template. I got a grocery shopping template…Grocery list . Then you can go for your big shop . Maybe you want to do it online.

And then you can put your beautiful plan on the fridge . It might not stop your family from asking you for what’s for dinner, but maybe sometimes you never know . I hope this was interesting for you, the steps to get started with meal planning.

Enjoy the benefits and reduced stress level!

We must evaluate our digital assets using our checklists. Please see the checklist for this entire blog post here.

Image attribution: stenholz, Pixabay

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Week 4: Storyboarding and video


 

Hello dear reader, I recorded this video as part of my original concept of an e-learning course for selecting a lifelong digital transcript. It is broken up into chapters for the functional requirements I set out in my selection matrix, which in my final course would come before that and would add a bit of context. I defined these in the Week 2 Assignment.

I’m sad to say that this video is a hot mess for these reasons:

  1. I recorded the demo portion in Screencast-o-matic free version so the watermark shows in the corner.
  2. I edited in Camtasia and added some transitions but…
  3. I forgot I didn’t want my own LinkedIn profile header showing so I had to blur a lot of it out.

If I had to do it again I definitely would have just created a fake account and demoed from that, using Camtasia to do the recording. Camtasia is worth the money for me if I will be creating a lot of videos. Some things I got skilled at in Camtasia whilst preparing this one:

Lesson Learned: The Speech-to-Text tool on Camtasia is very poor. Honestly it’s not worth using, even if you try to train Camtasia’s speech recognition tool. I should have taken the extra couple of minutes to split the video from the audio and uploaded the audio to Nvivo Transcribe, which I find is excellent for transcribing English. It would have been quicker in the end!

We were required to storyboard our demos. See my storyboard for the video, which I did in Microsoft Powerpoint.

We are required to evaluate our media using our checklists. Please see my evaluation here.

Week 5:EndNote X9 Special for GU Students

For the last three terms of my Master’s programme I have manually managed and proofed my APA references in papers and EdX assignments. Now that I’m working on the thesis, the number of references became too many to continue this way.  So I forced myself to learn how to use this EndNote thing. You can do it too, I promise it’s worth it.


 

I made this video as a tutorial for my classmates in the International Information Technology and Learning programme. It summarises the features I have found useful with the EndNote referencing tool once I got it installed and went through the basics, and contains the things I know they would want to do, like get references from our library search engine. I had to watch some videos and play around quite a bit to learn how to use it. It’s an intimidating tool to get started with but it now saves me SO MUCH TIME. As a gesture of love to my classmates and future generations of ITL@GU students, I wanted to put this together. It will form one part of my capstone assignment for the UMUC 300x course on EdX. It will be a short course for new students on getting started with EndNote.

I recorded the video using Camtasia and incorporated the closed captions feature. I also have a table of contents in the YouTube notes so viewers can go quickly to the sections they are most interested in.

If I had more time I’d like to incorporate some transitions. It would have been good to highlight my mouse whilst I was recording as well.

We are required for the UMUC 300x course to submit a storyboard of our videos, find that here.

Additionally I have critiqued my video using my Digital Media Checklist, please find that here.

TIA 132 Digital Tools for Communication and Learning

NewUserOnboarding1stIteration

First iteration of an “Onboarding” tutorial targeted to new senior users of Facebook

This course involved a group design project. We were assigned to work with a research team looking at “Digital Seniors” and their use of social media. Due to limited time for the project, the prototypes were not tested on actual seniors, however we did our best to incorporate design touches inspired by the literature. To prepare ourselves for the design project, we read selected literature in the domain and informally interviewed senior Facebook users in our social circles.

The scope of our design project was not defined for us when we started. To keep scope manageable, we considered Porter’s (2008) framework for designing social applications. The user is confronted with choices during the sign-up, first-time use, and ongoing engagement phases of using a new application. We chose to focus initially on the sign-up and first-time use scenarios.

We defined our design objectives as:

  1. Address typical UI challenges faced by seniors e.g.
    1. Reduce the text and replace with icons if possible
    2. Avoid slang or informal wording
    3. Use very clear fonts and colour schemes, avoiding too many similar colours
    4. Do not use pop-up windows
  2. Employ elements of Multi-layered Design when appropriate, specifically:
    1. Present only the most popular or interesting features and coach the user how to get started
    2. Make the revealed features easy to find later
    3. Coach the user on how to explore the platform when they want to learn how to do something new
  3. Consider Porter’s (2008) framework and limit the designs to the sign-up and first-time use scenarios.

Our first round of storyboarding produced several ideas: a simplified account sign-up, a simplified home page, and a new user “onboarding” tutorial which would introduce a new user to the features seniors are most interested in. As a design team we reviewed this first artefact together with our instructor. As a team we decided to go with the onboarding idea but incorporate ideas from the other two, because realistically it would be unlikely that Facebook would ever open the API enough to redesign the account sign-up or the home page. The third idea looked like this:

NewUserOnboarding1stIteration

First “operative image” of the onboarding concept

The second design iteration we established some clear assumptions, specifically that the user was using a mobile phone device, the tutorial would be presented upon first login, and it would end in the user being delivered to their home page. A set of tickboxes indicated progress through the tutorial, and a section on privacy educated the user on things to consider when posting content. Additionally, one group member wanted to experiment with adding a friendly coaching character to the tutorial as this seems to be an interesting technique employed even on Swedish government websites. This version looked like this:

NewUserOnboarding2ndIteration

Second iteration operative image

We reviewed this prototype together with the expert research team and one assistant. The research design team reacted negatively to the Smiley character and discussion of “fun” things one could do in Facebook. The lead researcher remarked that older men would likely find this type of approach too frivolous and likely would not want to continue with the tutorial. Based on their experiences so far working with seniors, the research experts’ impression was that seniors have fixed ideas about what the mobile phone is used for, and such a character was not serious enough. The expert team recommended creating a genderless, ageless character similar to the Microsoft Clippy character instead. Furthermore, they recommended making it obvious how to re-take the tutorial at some later stage, and to take them to the Homepage at the end of the tutorial with the icons activated for the concepts discussed.

In the third iteration, we added a new character based on the Facebook icon, Fifi. Fifi focuses less on “fun things you can do” and more on how to educate the user on “useful” things to do on the platform. The screen flow mostly stayed the same but the team added some colour. Here’s how it looked:

NewUserOnboarding3rdIteration

Third iteration operative image

We then previewed the screen flow to our classmates and requested their feedback.  They seemed sceptical that senior users were actually using Facebook on their phones, whereas our research showed seniors mainly use touchscreen devices for accessing Facebook.

We concluded it would be wonderful to actually show some senior users our ideas and get feedback from them! The team cited our biggest lessons learned as, first, ask the client questions until you understand the expectations, and second, just commit “something” to an operative image to get that creative tension started. Hopefully our designs are inspirational to the expert research team as they continue their grant work.

Thanks a lot to my classmates for a valuable collaboration. The final paper describing the project is available here.

Reference:

Porter, J., 2008. Designing for the Social Web. Berkeley: New Riders.

TIA 130 Research Methods

Bar chart of data preprocessing results

89% of the data was screened out of the analysis!

The project for this course was to design a research project and perform a structured, yet not systematic literature review for the paper. I called a friend who owns a local start-up in town and asked whether there was any data I could analyse for him. He wanted better insights into the app store reviews to help him and his team shape their product roadmap.

His initial guidance to me was quite general: the study should be “exploratory in order to learn what kind of features a good review are bringing up, and to find correlations between certain product features and satisfaction.”

My research questions first sought to find any best practices in terms of analysing app store reviews, then dug into specifically which questions I wanted to answer with the statistics I would come up with.  I received a year’s worth of Apple and Google app store data  to analyse.

My findings were proprietary so I can only generalise here and I can’t upload the entire paper:

  • Most of the time spent for the data analysis was in the “data preprocessing” activity, namely cleansing the data according to given criteria, weeding out suspected “spam,” picking out when the reviewer might be discussing a certain feature, and assigning this portion of the review to that feature. I was only one researcher and did not have the benefit of any software to help me with this.
  • 15% of Apple data and 89% of Google (Android device) data was excluded during the preprocessing phase.
  • The client’s app store data was consistent with what was reported in the literature: Generally the ratings were four- or five-stars, longer reviews tended to be negative, and Apple reviews were of a higher quality (i.e. much less suspected spam or other reasons to screen out) compared to the Google reviews.
  • Apple customers mentioned more specific features in their reviews but Google customers offered suggestions more often.
  • I created 42 possible features to code against. Apple users had about 85% of their comments toward six features, and Google Android users did the same over the top 14 features.

I delivered basic descriptive statistics to the client team (i.e. means and standard deviations) for each research question in a presentation and they found it really helpful. Future research in this topic should definitely explore automation and additional researchers to help code the feature mentions neutrally.

 

MetaMOOC Modules v1

Based on the feedback from 16 December 2019 I commenced the design of my assigned modules. In the MURAL storyboard of this version you can see these design elements:

  • I have retained the constructive alignment approach of matching the learning objective with an assessment
  • I added a black circle with a capital A to show where the assessment activity screens are
  • I retained the green indicators for what type of content will be on the page: Discussion, HTML, Video, or Problem. These are the four content types available in edX Studio
  • As in the “greenfield” design, I included a photo of my mind map or the original commitments of thought to paper, which I did before starting with any digital storyboarding.

The next design review is planned for 30 January 2020.

Comments and redirection from 5 December 2019 design review

After the entire BLS team had a chance to absorb the deliverables from the 5 December meeting, we had a small session on 16 December 2019, with two pedagogical project leads to discuss their reactions.

The most significant bit of feedback was that the team had already wedded in their minds to the existing design they had put together in edX Studio. I had been under the impression that this was just a concept and they would be willing to consider a fresh approach. It became clear in this session that I am given leeway to only design two modules and include these into what already exists: Prepare for course production: Process overview and Course Design.

They outlined what the original design intents of the “primer” course were:

  • The learners can be: new MOOC instructors, teaching assistants or new BLS team members, however the MOOC instructor is the priority.
  • The learner should have no idea at all of what a MOOC is previously
  • The level of detail should be sort of like a “studiebesök” (study visit) taster
  • The learner should need no more than two hours to complete it
  • Content should be suitable to use as a reference later
We agreed that many of the ideas in my first design were consistent with what the team had drafted in edX Studio, however my first design would definitely take longer than two hours to complete.
The meeting concluded with a commitment to design the given modules, with a view to designing a second, longer “Onboarding” e-learning and potentially design workshop agenda once this was completed.

 

First design review 5 December 2019

The team and I that I would present my findings and an initial concept at a meeting 5 December 2019.

Accordingly, I prepared this presentation to guide the discussion. It summarises all of my findings from the survey, edX materials, and the literature review into the ADDIE model for challenges, best practices and benchmarks.

Stubbs, Martin and Endlar (2006) recommend that any learning design team should establish a set of course design principles which are more or less inviolable. This seems like a sensible recommendation for any design project! Therefore I drafted some Design Principles for discussion:

  • Support a 70/20/10 approach for the learner.
  • Employ the constructive alignment design approach consistent with edX’s format. The learning activities will always be designed to drive project deliverables forward, not necessarily to purely demonstrate comprehension.
  • Support the learner at each stage of the project just-in-time, with an appropriate balance of immediately relevant content, followed by an activity.
  • Be informed by literature, the experience of ChalmersX veterans, and edX best practices.
  • Prioritise use of existing materials from EdX, either in original form or repurposed.
  • Include decision “gateways” when the instructor is explicitly asked for commitment to continue to the next stage of the project.

During the meeting, we ran out of time to explicitly agree on these and there still seems to be some disagreement on prioritising use of existing materials from edX, which I need to work out before moving to the prototype phase.

I presented first design concept using the MURAL tool, which was based purely on my readings as a “greenfield design.” We reviewed the concept at the meeting but ran out of time to discuss it in detail. One very important thing I tried to do here is leverage the same constructive alignment learning design as edX promotes. This approach requires a very well-defined learning objective and some type of “exercise” or activity which activates the learner to demonstrate comprehension.

There were some key members of the BLS team who could not attend, so we agreed they would review the materials and we would discuss them at our next meeting. We also agreed we would work together on a weekly basis, when I will sit in the team’s office.

Clarifications and recommendations gathered during this meeting:

  • A major learning objective of the Onboarding phase is for the instructor to experience the culture of designing and producing a MOOC.
  • The “Design problem” is to spread out production effort more smoothly and evenly rather than the customary chaos today, which increases closer to the go-live date.
  • Using the ADDIE taxonomy makes sense for the literature review. The thesis supervisor recommends to contrast the literature with what the survey results say in each section so contrast literature with ChalmersX real life.
  • Make more clearly that the MetaMOOC Onboarding supports the learner up to the end of the Onboarding phase, we would need another course for the rest.
  • They don’t see requiring edX 101 course during the Onboarding phase as any conflict.
  • Instructors actually want MORE templates and firm guidelines about what to do! In the past the BLS team has taken a “respectful” approach but this hasn’t worked very well.
  • They were fine with using MURAL for storyboarding.
  • The thesis supervisor recommends also to include the Stanford exercise library as a resource at some stage.
  • The team recommends as a prework activity to creating the course outline, to have the instructor research existing content offered by others in their field. We can also do this to help the instructor get over the common “writer’s block.”

Reference:

Stubbs, M., Martin, I. and Endlar, L. (2006). The structuration of blending learning: putting holistic design principles into practice. British Journal of Educational Technology, 37 (2): 163–75.

MetaMOOC: Documenting the Literature Review and Survey Results

After the 3 November 2019 meeting I did the following to expand my understanding of first, the experiences of ChalmersX instructor veterans and second, how well did this correspond to trends I could find in the literature.

The instructor veterans had several suggestions but the most common challenges expressed were:

  • Understanding the expectations of them before commencing the project, including the time commitment
  • Editing a 50-minute lecture into the short video format expected in the xMOOC format
  • Discomfort in front of a camera
  • Designing a suitable course structure and plan when they had never experienced a MOOC as a student themselves
  • Insecurity about creating good exercises, the time and creativity required to do so
  • A desire for firmer guidance and project management, even a “how to get started guide.”

I began my literature review by considering these questions:

1. What are the typical challenges of transition or redesigning classroom instruction to fit a MOOC or e-learning experience?
2. What are some proven best practices of onboarding instructors to MOOC?

Then used GU library Supersearch with the following criteria:

Any field contains challenge AND Any field contains redesign AND Any field contains classroom AND Any field contains MOOC
SCOPE: Default / Everything
Publication Date: 10-YEAR; Publication type: Articles ;Publication type: conference proceedings ;Publication type: newspaper articles ;Language: English

This produced enough results that I selected a few good papers, read these, and selected papers referenced in them. As of January 2020 I need to read a bit more, but so far I have considered approximately 25 publications.

None of the papers used an established theoretical framework to structure the ideas– rather they used more of a project management mindset, often collecting ideas under headings of: motivations for creating a MOOC, preparing, developing, delivering, and evaluating. I chose the ADDIE model as a good framework for collecting ideas. You can see here how I am documenting my literature review and cataloguing ideas for both challenges and best practice suggestions. See the tabs Challenge Framework, Best Practice Framework, and Benchmarks to see how I am organising the ideas and from which sources they came.

 

MetaMOOC project at ChalmersX: Initial Concept

If you can’t tell from the edX courses I have been documenting in this portfolio, I am exploring the idea of becoming a learning designer. At the same time I’m studying, I’ve been working as a Training Manager at an automotive company, which I was hoping would lead to a good project to study for my Master’s Thesis. Unfortunately there was no suitable learning technology project available so I approached Chalmers Learning Services to inquire whether there was a project I could become involved with. Chalmers University has currently successfully delivered over 20 MOOCs on the edX platform.

We agreed after a couple of discussions (18 Sep 2019, 3 Nov 2019) that I could assist with the design of what the Blended Learning Services (BLS) team is terming a “MetaMOOC” course, which would be delivered on the edX platform. This course is intended to be a primer for new MOOC instructors and project team members, to help them understand how MOOCs work, what is expected of them in such a project, and to give them a “feeling that this is do-able.”

At the 3 November meeting we agreed that the problem statements were:

1. Onboarding educators to an online learning solution and
2. Translating classroom learning to an online environment

I requested that BLS send me the results of a survey the team had sent out earlier in 2019 as well as any method templates the team was generally using. I committed to bring to the next meeting:

  • A summary of initial literature review as well as any conclusions from the survey results
  • A proposed workplan

I received the survey results and a standard edX presentation on how to run a course Design Workshop. I prefer not to upload these documents because they are not licensed for sharing.