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Discussion Question: Triangulation of Assessment

In online learning, students collaborate on many assignments.  It is one of the fundamental building blocks in successful online learning environments.  This is not a mere coincidence.  The Discussion forum assignment is a popular design in the online educational world.  Students and instructors come together, sharing ideas and challenging each other on a scholarly level.  This exchange of ideas facilitates learning in the online classroom.  This structure is more than just a classroom of students and one instructor talking back and forth using asynchronous postings.  There is a triangulation of concepts and stakeholders, combined with a strategic assessment strategy, that come together. This marriage of ideas addresses the online learning environment’s fundamental needs of participation, being interactive, and facilitating a fusion of learning objectives.  In this week’s Discussion assignment, you and your classmates will delve into the Online Learning Collaborative Assessment Model and its impact on assessments, learners, and instructors.

Review the document in this week’s resources, Triangulating Assessment of Online Collaborative Learning.  Think about your own experiences when doing group work, cooperating, and collaborating here at Walden, at other educational institutions, or in other areas of your life.  While you are reading, consider these questions:

  • Lock and Johnson discuss the three concepts of collaboration, cooperation, and group work. How are these concepts similar?  How are they different?
  • Of the three concepts (collaboration, cooperation, and group work), what makes collaboration stand out from the other two?
  • What is the impact of technology in online collaborative learning? How is the dialogue between team members impacted by the technology tools being used?
  • In the Online Collaborative Learning Assessment Model, what are the three areas of triangulation?
  • Who are the stakeholders in this triangulation of learning?
  • What is the impact on assessments, both formative and summative?


Lock, J. & Johnson, C. (2015). Triangulating Assessment of Online Collaborative Learning. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 16(4), 61-70.

Note: Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.


Post by Day 3: Discuss the similarities and differences in group work, cooperation, and collaboration in online assignments.  Why does collaboration stand out from the other two?  Discuss the use of technology on collaborative assignments, and how it impacts the team members in how they communicate, work, and assess one another.  Finally, discuss how collaboration impacts each stakeholder in both learning and assessments.

By Day 7: Read the posts presented by your colleagues.  Take notes as to which posts you would like to build on, ask questions about, comment, or encourage.

Respond to two or more of your colleagues’ posts using these suggestions as a guideline:

  • Expand on the ideas your colleague has presented.
  • Support their assertions.
  • Ask for references to clarify unsupported opinions.
  • Build on the initial work of your colleague.
  • Ask probing questions that clarify points that may appear cloudy to you.
  • Offer counter points on ideas you see differently.

After your initial post, return to the forum after a day or two, giving your entire class time to post their initial discussion.  Reflect on your resources, colleagues’ posts, and the insights you have gained from this assignment.

To access your scoring Rubric for Week 7, click here for this week’s Rubric.

Plagiarism Detection and Prevention

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What plagiarism detection software is available to online instructors?

One software package used is called Grammarly.  This software attaches to your browser, enabling you to check for both grammar and plagiarism (, 2016).  SafeAssign is a checker provided with Blackboard, but can only be purchased individually (Hicks, 2015).  TurnItIn is widely considered the best plagiarism detector, but can only be used if your institution uses it (Hicks, 2015).  I have seen Walden use both TurnItIn and SafeAssign.  If you just need an easy detector that searches Google or Yahoo, then is the one for you.  This one is good for middle and high school levels, where free online sources are the only ones commonly used (Hicks, 2015).

How can the design of assessments help prevent academic dishonesty?

I thought Dr. Pratt’s advice about aligning assignments and tests to match what learners can expect in the workforce made sense.  He made the points that on the job, you are not confined to a cubicle with no interaction with anyone or any resources for help.  So assignments should be designed, when possible, to encourage learners to seek out extra resources in materials or people to get their answers (Laureate Education, 2010).  Some other methods to prevent academic dishonesty include open book tests with challenging questions, use subjective questions, test banks that keep questions revolving and fre4sh, and ensuring multiple choice questions are challenging (Crabb, 2015).

What facilitation strategies do you propose to use as a current or future online instructor?

I would delve into the basic elements of online learning communities, and use collaboration.  There was a time not long ago I would not have considered this a viable option, as I have had some entertaining group projects to say the least.  I believe the higher the education level, the more you can lean on this strategy. Adult learners are already more motivated, but become more so at the graduate levels.  Getting learners talking and communicating more will lead to an exchange of more ideas, which is a basic concept we are all trying to achieve in online education.  I would also encourage the use of the library, librarians, and writing centers (Laureate Education, 2010).  While I have personally rarely used them outside of resource hunting, I have recently browsed their available services and it is quite an impressive list.

What additional considerations for online teaching should be made to help detect or prevent cheating and plagiarism?

Providing an outline for what is considered cheating and plagiarism is the place to start.  Online surveys have shown that many students are confused as to correct definitions of cheating and plagiarism, so outlining what is acceptable and what is not is paramount (Jocoy & DiBiase, 2006).  Designing assignments to minimize the chances of dishonesty, like Dr. Pratt discussed, will also prove beneficial.



Crabb, C. (Nov. 17, 2015). Open book assessments may reduce academic dishonesty. Retrieved on Oct. 5, 2016 from (2016). Retrieved on Oct. 5, 2016 from

Hicks, K. (Jan. 26, 2015). Best Plagiarism Detection Tools for Educators. Retrieved on Oct. 5, 2016 from

Jocoy, C., & DiBiase, D. (2006). Plagiarism by Adult Learners Online: A Case Study in Detection and Remediation. International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning7(1), 1-15.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2010). Plagiarism and cheating [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Impact of Technology and Multimedia

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What impact does technology and multimedia have on online learning environments?

Technology and multimedia act as the gateway between the learner and the online community.  The tools used is how the learner accesses the environment.  These tools also motivate the learner, as the learner’s familiarity and comfort increase, so does their confidence and motivation (O’Hara & Pritchard, 2014).  Technology and multimedia also makes learning resources more dynamic.  This has the effect of making learning a richer and entertaining experience (Aloraini, 2012).  Studies have shown that effective multimedia use can show statistically relevant increases in academic achievement (Aloraini, 2012).  Another way to assist learners is to present them with multiple tech tool choices.  Doing so makes learners feel a greater sense of control over their learning, easing their potential anxiety, and increasing motivation as a result (O’Hara & Pritchard, 2014).

What are the most important considerations an online instructor should make before implementing technology?

I believe ensuring technology does not overload a learner’s working memory is an excellent jumping off point.  Laureate Education videos are a good example of effective multimedia usage.  They use a video and narration package, which stimulates the audio and video areas of working memory, increasing the opportunity for knowledge transfer (Laureate Education, 2010).  Adding printed text that mimics narration can result in an overload of a learner’s working memory, decreasing knowledge transfer as a result (Kim & Gilman, 2008).

One of the phrases I love is don’t reinvent the wheel.  When implementing technology, this rings ever so true.  Using PowerPoint in a project can sometimes be preferential to using Camtasia with all its multimedia bells and whistles.  It is all about meeting the learning objectives.  Whether you get to your destination in a Ferrari or a Camry, the point is that you arrive.

What implications do usability and accessibility of technology tools have for online teaching?

Learners being able to access and use technology tools is crucial for their motivation and confidence.  The positive part of online learning is that the community has a team of people working together to ensure learners can access and use the necessary tools (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010, pg. 70).  The perceived distance gap in online learning communities can be narrowed by knowing items like this, so learners don’t feel discouraged if accessing or using tools is problematic at first.

Creating an environment that is easily accessible and usable creates an aura of comfort, setting learners at ease (Wu, 2016).  A less anxious learner, with more options in technology tools, is one that will be more willing to increase their online presence (Wu, 2016).  This will help facilitate interactions between students and instructors.  Bolstering the online learning community will create a richer and more active learning environment and experience for everyone involved.

What technology tools are most appealing to you for online teaching as you move forward in your career in instructional design?

While originally not a fan, I have come to love the potential of YouTube.  Just seeing what YouTube and Khan’s Academy have been able to achieve together is impressive.  Instructors and learners can create their own resources, even using private channels if necessary.  Another video tool I have enjoyed is Camtasia.  With Camtasia you can create and edit screencasts and videos that is limited only by the creator’s imagination.  Separately these tools have proven quite effective, together the possibilities are limitless.



Aloraini, S. (2012, July). The impact of using multimedia on students’ academic achievement in the College of Education at King Saud University. Journal of King Saud University – Languages and Translation, 24(2), 75-82. Retrieved September 28, 2016, from

Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (May 17, 2010). The Online Teaching Survival Guide: Simple and Practical Pedagogical Tips. [VitalSource Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from

Kim, D., & Gilman, D. A. (2008). Effects of text, audio, and graphic aids in multimedia

instruction for vocabulary learning. Educational Technology & Society, 11(3), 114–126.

Retrieved from

Laureate Education (Producer). (2010). Triarchic model of cognitive load: Parts 1 and 2 [Video

file]. Retrieved from

O’Hara, S. and Pritchard, R. (Apr. 30, 2014). What is the Impact of Technology on Learning? Retrieved on Sep. 29, 2016 from

Wu, S. (2016). Accessibility, Usability, and Universal Design in Online Engineering Education. Retrieved on Sep. 29, 2016 from

Setting Up An Online Learning Experience

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What is the significance of knowing the technology available to you?

What technology is available is going to determine how the course content will be delivered to you, at least some of the possibilities.  These tech tools will be the vehicle(s) that drive interactions as well.  Especially in the first few weeks, these interactions help build each learner’s social presence and the online learning community as a whole (Laureate Education, 2010, and Boettcher and Conrad, 2010, pg. 54).  Knowing these tools also makes it easier for learners of all levels to stay in touch with their educational communities instead of dropping out through frustration or life events (Quinonez, 2014).  For example, I have to take a trip to Los Angeles in November to attend my sister-in-law’s wedding.  We decided to stay through Thanksgiving because it may be quite a while before we get to have all the family together in one location.  Technology makes it so I can continue my classes and not miss a beat despite being 3000 miles away from home.  Knowing the tools I need to set up my personal work space across the country shows how tech tool knowledge allows education to flow uninterrupted.

From an instructor’s point of view, a variety of tools means a larger tool box to use to get learners to complete their learning objectives.  We have all heard numerous times how we all learn in different fashions   (Ormrod, Schunk, & Gredler, 2009).  Having more options to help learners gives the instructor more options, and gives the course a larger chance of succeeding, and doing so to a larger audience.  Technology is always evolving.  So keeping up with technologies, as well as knowing what is more relevant to your learning environment, is more crucial than ever.


Why is it essential to communicate clear expectations to learners?

Communicating clear learner expectations is the asynchronous way of saying, “Hey, this is what you can expect from this class.”  Learners can begin preparing themselves based on this communication (Boettcher and Conrad, 2010, pg. 56).  They may begin downloading and/or familiarizing themselves with technology tools they have not encountered previously.  Beginning here at Walden, I had to familiarize myself with APA style writing formats, something I had not worked with.  By the time my first class began, I had made myself an MS Word APA template based on the expectations.  This was one less thing I had to stress over.  At the time it was my first online class, so that meant a lot to my confidence.


Clear expectations can also help in time management.  The less experience a learner has online, the more relevant this becomes.  A clear outline of expectations can help learners anticipate their needs (Sockalingam, 2012).  This will include items they need to acquire like books and programs.  They can also spot areas they will be challenged in.  Even if these areas aren’t spotted, the process of familiarizing themselves with the technology tools will bring these problems areas to the surface.  The earlier these issues are handled, the easier the environment will be for all parties involved.  This speeds up the process of acclimating the learner to the online learning community and building their confidence to live inside it.

What additional considerations should the instructor take into account when setting up an online learning experience?

The experience of the learner in the online learning environment should always be measured.  For this class, nearing the end of our Master’s program, instructors can assume a few basic ideas about their learners and their familiarity with the online learning environment.  While we all know the dangers in the art of assumption, at our stage of the program it is safe to assume we at least know the basics of getting around our online courses.  When the learner experience level is a mixed bag or clearly novice, no assumptions should be made.  Communication will help an instructor gain the experience measurements necessary to know how to effectively proceed in a course in the most beneficial way for the learners.

Communication, a concept I am always bringing up, shows the need for an instructor’s social presence.  Learners should feel the instructor is communicating with them personally, as well as see their presence all over discussion boards.  This will help close the perceived distance that online learning is always facing.  Several studies have emphasized the importance of social presence with instructors, both regular and timely exchanges, and how that triggers learner satisfaction with their online courses (Boettcher and Conrad, 2010, pg. 75).

Communication with learners also helps instructors facilitate the establishment of a zone of proximal development through getting to first know them personally.  From an initial personal engagement, they can ask learners what their learning goals are, establishing a cognitive acquaintance (Boettcher and Conrad, 2010, pp. 79-80).  This opens a dialogue, establishes learner confidence in the instructor and course, and the instructor has a better base of how best to help this particular learner achieve the course objectives.



Boettcher, J. V., and Conrad, R. (May 17, 2010). The Online Teaching Survival Guide: Simple and Practical Pedagogical Tips. [VitalSource Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from

Laureate Education (Producer). (2010). Launching the online learning experience [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson.

Quinonez, N. (May 23, 2014). The Importance of Information Technology and Its Disadvantages. Retrieved on Sep. 14, 2016 from

Sockalingam, N. (Aug 6, 2012). Understanding Adult Learners’ Needs. Retrieved on Sep. 14, 2016 from

Online Learning Communities

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How do online learning communities significantly impact both student learning and satisfaction within online courses?

Student learning is impacted by different means than the traditional brick and mortar learning institutions.  Many adult learners are used to the sage on the stage lecture style.  Here a teacher is basically pouring knowledge into your brain verbally.  In an online environment, learning requires interaction and collaboration by all parties involved (Laureate Education, 2010).  This makes faculty, administration, and students equal partners in learning and achieving the desired outcomes.  This also shifts more responsibility to learners, as their learning is directly related to everyone’s level of involvement (Laureate Education, 2010).  If these measures are achieved and an effective online learning community is established, many positive learner objectives will be gained from the experience (Laureate Education, 2010):

  • Student satisfaction from the knowledge gained as well as achieving the successful navigation of an online learning community.
  • Students will have their self-efficacy increased through the experiences and interactions.
  • The feeling of distance will be minimized.
  • Students will feel part of something larger.
  • Inclusion in this new community will include social pressure to succeed, gaining student retention.

What are the essential elements of online community building?

Learner communities are built around people, with a purpose, involving a specific process, using a specific method, while developing a social presence to help facilitate everyone’s learning in the community (Laureate Education, 2010).  Establishing a base for a new online learner community should involve an online orientation module.  Dr. Palloff and Dr. Pratt suggest a minimum two-week orientation, which will allow learners to interact, get familiar with the CMS (Course Management System) layout, and learn the community philosophy (Laureate Education, 2010).  While it is crucial at all times, ensuring all learners are engaged and not left to feel alone is even more important in the beginning of a community or class (Khera Communications, 2011).  Failing to bridge this distance gap can lead to the high dropout rate that occurs in the first two weeks of new classes and communities (Laureate Education, 2010).

How can online learning communities be sustained?

Online communities are built on a foundation of social presence.  Learners must engage initially to acclimate themselves, then sustain communication to foster learning for both themselves as well as everyone in the community (Laureate Education, 2010).  Research has shown that learners engaged in learning communities often built their own smaller community blocks outside of the classroom design to support the group’s learning further (Tinto, 2003, pg. 5).  These groups saw an increase in student interactions both in and outside of the classroom, leading to an increase in learner collaboration, which is a requirement for successful online communities (Tinto, 2003, pg. 5).

What is the relationship between community building and effective online instruction?

The facilitator is a critical piece of the learning community.  They must have a working knowledge of the technologies used in the class/community (Laureate Education, 2010).  They do not have to be a master of the tech, but familiar enough to guide new learners through its initiation.  This builds learner confidence.  Facilitator’s must also ensure a dialogue is being maintained and the process is monitored (Laureate Education, 2010).  Dialogue can even be spurred on through shared experience, further inquiries, or even playing devil’s advocate (Keller, 2006).  Making a course/community personalized (catchy section titles, emoticon use, and use of appropriate humor) helps learners feel welcome and comfortable (Laureate Education, 2010).  Making learners feel welcome breeds learner confidence, increasing their participation, which grows the community and fosters a healthy learning environment.




Keller, J. (2016). ARCS Model of Motivational Design Theories (KELLER). Retrieved on Sep. 1, 2016 from

Khera Communications (2011). Building Successful Online Communities. Retrieved on Sep. 1, 2016 from

Laureate Education (Producer). (2010). Online learning communities [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Tinto, V. (2003). Learning Better Together: The Impact of Learning Communities on Student Success. Retrieved on Sep. 1, 2016 from

EIDT 6150-2 Followers

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This post is for anyone in our class that is following my blog.  This makes it easy to post a reply that you are doing just that and fulfilling that portion of this week’s assignment.  And thanks for stopping by!



Analyzing Scope Creep

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When I was a district manager in the restaurant industry, one of my main jobs was overseeing expansion.  I would ensure construction was done according to plans, ordering equipment and supplies once construction was complete, and hiring and training the new staff so they were ready once the new unit was completed.  While I had a template that I followed for most openings, when we expanded into the Cary, NC market I was presented with a host of new challenges and scope creep.

The first problem was that the new unit was not going to be built from the ground up like all previous models.  We were renovating an existing building.  So immediately the template I had for equipment and all the measurements and floor plans were thrown out the window.  While measuring and rearranging some equipment was not too much of a hassle, the new layout meant ownership wanted to take the opportunity to try out new things.  This meant changing orders on stainless steel tables in many areas of the store, which would cause scheduling delays.  They also wanted to try out new menu items, which would also alter equipment needs.  With restaurant openings, scheduling delays are crucial because getting inspectors to line up so that you can pass all of them and open on a reasonable time frame can be quite an undertaking.  So I ended up dealing with weekly schedule changes that kept altering my timeline.  With the constant alterations to equipment and floor plans, the construction team could not proceed until we finalized many of those arrangements, as it would determine where gas and water lines would be running, among other issues.

Another issue was training.  This new store was over an hour away from our newest operating unit.  We knew going in it would be difficult to be at the location to hire new people and oversee construction, while still transporting the trainees to another unit to get their training.  While scheduling and accommodations for these activities were made, ownership wanted training for new menu items to be run by specific stores/mangers.  These stores were not on the transportation and training schedule.  So more modifications had to be made, which meant more driving for the guy who had to deliver every trainee to various stores, since we could only have so many people inside a small kitchen.

More construction issues creeped in as well.  Partly through not communicating with the city planners, and part through the planners simply being difficult, changes during the renovation kept having to be made.  The town of Cary was notoriously difficult for new businesses to deal with.  The had super strict codes, and were known to change things on a whim.  Our experience was no different.  We could not use the neon sign packages we had with every other build, as their code did not allow for it.  Street signs had to be at minimal presentations.  All buildings and signage had to use a specific color of brick and not exceed a certain height.  Aesthetically their codes gave the city a more pleasant look, but a big appeal to our particular brand was late night business, which big bright neon signs are always a part of in attracting people from highways and other streets nearby.  The city would come in after we landscaped and decide they wanted a new sidewalk in the area.  When constructing the patio seating, the city came up with new laws for access and how bathroom access would be.  If anyone is following how our state is embarrassing everyone with the bathroom laws fight, trust me this was just about construction and access and had nothing to do with what is happening today.  I never understood why a city would approve a business to operate then go about making everything so difficult.  I presume laying precedents for future construction, but it seemed every time we finished something they would amend it.  All these scope creep issues, both internally and externally, ended up extended our opening date two months.  Because of the delays, we ended up having extra managers and employees with nothing to do for two months, increasing the company’s labor expenses with no way to offset them.

Ownership should have sat down with the city planners and confirmed every detail beforehand.  There was an assumption that the renovation would be easier than a ground up build because the city was so picky.  But that turned out to be wrong.  While some laws were grandfathered in, the city changed everything they could.  Previous experiences with other companies should have forecast this possibility, but those were ignored.  The tight deadline originally planned also should have been given more leeway knowing we were opening a new unit in an area far away with a city we knew to be difficult to work with.  The delays and constant changes allowed me to actually open a store two hours away on the other end of our market while still handling all the changes in the Cary, NC unit.  The internal changes and constant toying with the store should have been finalized before any construction began.  While there is no way to be sure more effective communication with the city could have produced fewer or completely eliminated the scope creep from their end, the creep from ownership was an internal problem that certainly could have been avoided by trying new items in existing stores to be certain how they wanted to proceed.  This would have solved many scheduling, training, and transportation issues and expenses as well.  I can say that my notes from this disastrous experience helped me out many years later in a similar project outside of Charlotte, NC.  I was able to forecast almost every possible risk and scope creep to come and kept that unit on schedule.