Week 3 of our “new normal” and it’s hitting me harder this week. Trying to keep my spirits up. I rarely go on social media anymore, and limit the news.
This week I attempted to sew masks to donate to police families. They’re out of elastic online and in the stores, so my mom is mailing me some. I also made raspberry jam last night.
This was my first week back from vacation. Constantly worrying about being exposed to the virus at the airport, being in shock how people were acting at the grocery store, anxiety over job stability. You name it, I was worried about it. It took us a while to finally find a thermometer, and it didn’t work. So we had no way to tell if we had a fever. It was a rotten week emotionally.
I started gratitude journaling again, appreciated the ability and skill to work from home, and focused on my family.
We were vacationing in Mexico when all this started blowing up in the US. Most of the time there was relaxing and restorative. The last few days were increasingly stressful, as we scoured the news from afar. We were concerned we wouldn’t be able to fly home, that we would miss the connecting flight, and that our empty refrigerator would remain so, as people hoarded. It turned out to be the opposite of that. We made our connection, and fresh produce was in abundance.
A little more than a week ago I gave my friend’s kids a photo assignment. Take a photo a day for 14 days and write about it. I was under the assumption we would be back to normal after a couple weeks at that point. Now I’m finding myself feeling so isolated. Reaching out for support on social media has backfired, I have to limit my news intake, retail therapy no longer exists. Last night I thought maybe I need a creative assignment as well. So here’s photos from that time.
Couple cool shots from today.
Too bad it’s supposed to snow the next couple of days. Spring is in full effect today.
Cleaning out a soap container, and the bubbles made this really pretty complex shape.
Played around with effects in camera. Kinda fun.
I’ve been trying for years to get a good shot of a raven. Now I’ve got three!
Noticed this corroded parking marker the other day, and it spoke to me. Is accessibility broken? Something to ponder…
Took a little day trip to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. If you haven’t already been there, you should definitely check it out. They have refurbished the visitors center, and it is free to all visitors.
I did it! I just turned in my last assignment for my Masters degree. What an amazing experience it has been. I am feeling such a deep sense of accomplishment. The last two years have been a whirlwind of deadlines and projects. I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to go back to school, to make so many new wonderful friends, and to have grown so much professionally and personally. Now onto the graduation ceremony!
Loving the gorgeous flowers Murphy and I see on our daily walk.
A great way to assess learning, when you can’t perform a formal assessment, is to demonstrate learner improvement via a pre- and post- Likert Scale strategy. You just take the objectives of the course, and have the student self-report their own knowledge in a quick survey. It takes very little time to design (since it’s based off of the course objectives), very little time to participate in (3-7 questions with no wrong answers), and if you have the student fill it out in class, you will have 100% participation.
Ideally, you would be able to perform a formal assessment of the learner’s knowledge. When you are unable to, at the very least you should perform a Likert pre- and post- assessment to demonstrate to the learner their personal development.
I recently had a conversation with a huge corporation about their needs assessment and course development process. I was happily surprised to hear that they perform a formal needs assessment which includes onsite assessment, and a focus group process. I’ve spent the last few weeks pondering why that came as a surprise to me. It’s such an important part of the instructional design process, and is one that I’ve been taught should be the basis for all course development efforts.
I realize we are often given very little time to do our work, but the power behind the feedback you can get from a focus group is just that…it’s powerful. In addition to critiquing several courses, I’ve had the pleasure to facilitate a couple of focus groups now: one especially comes to mind. We had been giving the same basic course for years, and just as a checkin, we decided to hold a quick focus group after the last day. We asked for volunteers, and had three students offer to stay a bit later the last day, bribing them with pastries.
Overview of Our Questions for the Group
- What was their overall view of the course?
- Was it of value to them?
- How did they feel about the instructor’s teaching style?
- What activity had the most impact?
- Would they remove an activity?
- Did they find anything lacking, or glossed over?
- How could we add to the course to make it more meaningful?
The suggestions we walked away with helped to support the learners in that recent class, as well as future students. The number one thing the participants were asking for was procedural knowledge; enabling them to act and do things, or perform tasks. The general leadership course was too high level, and not detailed enough on actual steps for how to perform in their new roles. The result was we developed a new course on performance management for the new leaders to take in conjunction with the more general course.
We all know that post-course surveys are very seldom filled out. That’s one of the things that was so great about doing the in-person focus group right after class. The course was fresh in their minds, and was on a volunteer basis. We actually had more people participate in that focus group than we were getting via the online likert scales.
As a final project, in Planning and Facilitating Live Events (INTE 5670), I’m hosting a free webinar May 3, 2018 at 6pm MST. I will send the link to the event to the first 5 people that email me. firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope to see you soon!
Just received my new business cards and holder from Moo.com. Gorgeous!
I recently held a 15 minute webinar on how to make a layer mask in Photoshop. It’s amazing how quickly 15 minutes passes. Here is the recording:
Just watched this TED Talk by Sir Ken Robinson on teaching creatively. I especially loved his story about Death Valley. That even when things look dead, or absent, they are just dormant; waiting for the right conditions to flourish.
This term I’m taking a class on Facilitating Live Events. We’ve been asked to discuss CARP (Contrast, Alignment, Repetition and Proximity) in its relation to presentation design.
Contrast: This can take many forms. Whether it’s contrasting color, size, shade, or even font choice, you want a good deal of contrast in your layouts.
Alignment: You can bring focus to an element by changing it’s alignment, or naturally guide the viewer’s attention by keeping a nice alignment to your slide. I always design on a grid layout with columns.
Repetition: I actually prefer the word consistency here. There should be one style for headlines, and a complimentary readable body font treatment. There should be a consistent layout to your slides, rather than each looking like their own presentation.
Proximity: This is grouping things that belong together, and keeping the illustration or diagram with the topic.
While I employ all of these approaches in my layouts, I think that proximity is probably the most important aspect in presentations. It is really difficult to understand the point, when the supporting graphics do not appear with the lesson. Think back to any school book you read in K12. Did you have to search for a diagram or chart? That disruption to the learning is tiresome, and you’ve lost your audience if you employ that method. Most learners don’t appreciate having to search for the information.
Initially I had searched for a good and bad example to illustrate a bad PowerPoint screen. Ultimately I decided to create my own.
Here is a very, very, very bad design example. If you’re talented enough to read any of it, then you’ll likely have a giggle:
And here would be a much better solution:
I’m sure you’re familiar with the concept of “Death by Powerpoint” by now. If you aren’t, check out this funny video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbSPPFYxx3o