SPARK Learner Success with Engaging Web 2.0 Technologies

Increase your productivity and engage your learners with H.O.T. Web Tools

Workshop Presentation for Capella University 4/30/2013 & 5/2/2013
General Education and First Course BS Degree Faculty

Presented by Dr. Eileen Dittmar, SoUS Faculty Chair First Courses Eileen.Dittmar@capella.edu

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Workshop Description

Do you feel limited by Adobe Connect or struggle to assist students in using it? Or are you eager to have a new web tool or two to choose from that would engage our auditory learners to get more out of your courses?

Today’s online faculty members have numerous options for enhancing their courses. While it may not be possible to know everything about all technologies, it is valuable to explore technologies and find a handful that might benefit your teaching style. This workshop offers you an inside passage to HOT technologies that can SPARK Learner Success!

H = handy   O = outstanding   T = time saving


Eileen’s Blog



(URLs tagged HOT) https://delicious.com/edittmar/HOT




Connect with Eileen @LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/eileendittmar/


  • Follow this presentation’s hashtag #web4teaching and share tools you use!
  • Follow my other presentation’s hashtag #hotwebtools which seems to be growing with followers
  • Follow Eileen @dreileendittmar


Today’s online faculty members have numerous options for enhancing their courses. While it is impossible to know everything about all technologies, it is valuable to explore technologies and find a handful that might benefit your teaching style. Capella provides our standard course content and has done a very good job with the endeavor. Our production department provides resources both in our courses as well as in i-Guide. A piece of these resources are the personal success pages, library, and writing center.

Nonetheless, there are ways you can enhance the course content and i-Guide materials without coming across as arrogant or negative about Capella’s materials (i.e. the xxx is confusing, try this xxx). Noteworthy: Consider the powerful impact that your personalized-to-your-course messages, feedback, or enhancements can have on learner satisfaction, completion rates, and ultimately soaring your own satisfaction.


Keep in mind the purpose of the piece that you desire to create for your learners. Apply critical thinking in choosing the topic and the technology you will use. Oftentimes, the purpose and topic will drive you toward the most appropriate technology.

A good start point is to ponder the troublesome items in your course. What learner questions seem most frequent; or that phrase you seem to write over and over and over and over; or something in your course that seems to result with lower grades that you want to boost the outcomes; or something boring that you want to liven up. Unfortunately, although we are passionate about the subjects we teach, not all learners are; but technology-driven messages can help.

Mistakes to Avoid

  1. A short two-minute vague statement taking too many clicks to only leave the learner wondering more than he/she did before attempting to view the message.
  2. An exquisite You Tube tutorial with visuals including flashy pictures that drags on and on for 18 minutes when it could have been more succinctly stated in three minutes.
  3. Assume all learners will want to open and listen/watch/read it.
  4. Assume that all who do listen/watch/read will love it.


WordPress Blog


Description: WordPress.com is brought to the public for free by some of the same folks who work on the open source blogging software available at WordPress.org.

FOR ONLINE EDUCATION: Create a WordPress blog for one of the subjects you teach. You can engage learners with the subject but still have them post ideas back into your courseroom

Tutorials: http://learn.wordpress.com/






Search by topic http://wordpress.com/#!/read/topics/

View “freshly pressed” for ideas http://wordpress.com/#!/read/fresh/

Other blog providers:

Blogger http://www.blogger.com

Tumblr https://www.tumblr.com

Adobe Connect


use your Courseroom login/pw

Adobe Connect is a virtual meeting room that Capella provides for all faculty. With a little preparation, you can use it for class meetings, lectures, or 1:1’s with learners.

Another use for Adobe Connect is to create a short message (one or two PowerPoint slides) then record it in your meeting room. The archived meeting can become a presentation with a URL. You can use your webcam or insert your picture; your voice is a “live” recording.

BEST USE: something like the warm welcome, short 1 to 2 minute messages. For detailed messages needing to be read multiple times, this web tool may not be as preferred as other technologies. Consider that some Capella learners are probably as tired/bored of Adobe Connect as they are with PowerPoint presentations. Further, the voice editing is impossible (thus the reliance on using it for short messages).

NOTE: Adobe Connect Presenter is a plug in not provided by Capella. The former Breeze Presenter is still in use by some faculty today who had become accustomed to it (no longer tech supported).

However with that said, I strongly encourage faculty to learn Adobe Connect and use it sparingly as a way to get started on technology-driven messages to enhance your teaching. If you only use written words, then Adobe Connect is the starting point. I say this because it is Capella tech supported. Additionally, there are gurus among Gen Ed and First Course faculty who will be delighted to coach you.



Brainshark is free, quick, easy, and fun to learn. Most faculty have something that would be better received by their learners if done in Brainshark. It is amazingly easy to create audio podcasts saved as mp3 file to share in email, messages, and websites. Brainshark offers other features usable in education. The advanced features for a fee are not needed. There are two different options discussed next.

1st option

Create a simple mp3 file with no visuals. Talk on the phone or use your computer headset and Brainshark records it with a click save and you have mp3 file. You can attach the voice file in the Courseroom or in email messages.

This can be effective for reaching out to the non-participants. Most First Course faculty have created a Day 3 mp3 file that is attached with the week 1 email outreach Day 3.

BUT, your course probably has another area or two where a short mp3 file (podcast) of your voice sharing your valuable thoughts might be beneficial. Don’t overdue it and create multiple mp3 files (podcasts) as they can quickly become boring and lose the excitement.

The 2nd option

Brainshark offers what Adobe Connect “record meeting” offers with one great difference. The PowerPoint is inserted, and with each slide an audio can be created. If one slide needs to be redone – it is possible without having to redo the whole presentation. The Capella logo can be inserted and the resulting presentation is sharable in the Courseroom.





Description:  Get a free wall with tabs that can be URLs, pictures, words, anything you find on the Internet. Easy to get started and share.Their gallery http://padlet.com/gallery shows examples of URL collections.



Description: Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that allows you to organize and share all things you find on the web (can be by subject). You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests. Easy to create a board and add pins.

Eileen’s home page http://pinterest.com/dreileendittmar/





Description:  a cool, comic-creating tool from Jambav, which is devoted to creating a unique array of free and customizable online games of educational value. ToonDoo was the result of brainstorming session that was aimed at creating a new way of expression for those who do not have the talent to draw. You can just drag-drop or click to create comic strips that express your points. There are premium features, but you can create a few visuals for free..




This tool creates a powerful presentation replacing PowerPoint and offering much more pizzazz that PowerPoint. It is a PowerPoint alternative. If a padlet is enough space or if a bulletin board in Pinterest is enough, then skip using Prezi.

However, if what you want to say doesn’t fit well on a padlet or in Pinterest, try Prezi for a dynamic presentation of information. A good example might be a complex theory or assignment in which the learners may benefit from your Prezi presentation. You can insert YouTube video into Prezi. Consider Prezi to be more complex to learn but if you’ve already become comfortable with one or two other technologies, Prezi is a natural next step for you.





Description: Slideshare is an excellent way to share presentations, documents and professional videos. Easy to get a free account to upload and share. For ideas and examples: (1) on home page, review the featured presentations, (2) click “popular” in the top menu or (3) search by topics of interest.


Lecture on giving feedback in online teaching


http://www.slideshare.net/about has two examples; first without audio, second with audio.

Alison Topper (2011) created this presentation without audio
http://www.slideshare.net/alisontopper/a-comparison-of-2-social-bookmarking-sites  which compares Delicious (http://delicious.com) and Diigo (http:/diigo.com). The presentation also provides basic information about social bookmarking.


SlideShare’s Help page: http://help.slideshare.com/home

SlideShare Instructions for audio using Slidecast to insert mp3 file with Slideshare: http://help.slideshare.com/entries/57609-can-you-describe-how-to-create-a-slidecast-step-by-step



With free voki, you can create a talking avatar (your voice or select from a variety offered). For your short messages that you seem to be repeating over and over again, Voki can be a time saver.





Description: Amazing way to create a collection of websites.

LiveBinders for Online Education: Faculty can use a LiveBinder as part of a presentation or offered as study information or for resources you may want to suggest to learners.


http://www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=422729 Dr. Dittmar’s Web Resources for Online Faculty

http://www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=876634  Dr. Dittmar’s Mobile Technologies

After you create a free LiveBinders account, you will have access to featured binders and easy to use tutorials.



Description: Free screen capture software to “capture your computer screen” and create tutorials.



Description: Animoto automatically produces beautifully orchestrated, completely unique video pieces from your photos, video clips, and music.


Description: On this page, you can click and view educator examples. Educators can get free Animoto Pro classroom for student use and instructional purposes.

Video Capture


Description: Capture video with webcam, recording device or screen. Capture video files directly on a PC with this easy to use video recorder program. Capture from webcam, video recorder, capture from device, streaming video recorder, or computer screen. Add text. Free single user non-commercial download.



Description: Tired of document file types that won’t open at school or at home? Zamzar to the rescue. A quick submit of the file will get you a return of the file type you want.



Description: Zamzar sends the file to your email, Go2Convert gives it to you “in” their site. Go2Convert also has excellent explanations for file types. When you want to know what an extension means, Go2Convert to the rescue.

Here’s a link to other file converters http://cooltoolsforschools.wikispaces.com/File+converters

MORE HOT Resources for Teachers

Top Ten Lists Wiki


Description: Ed Tech guru created this wiki with top ten lists of various tech sites.

Kathy Schrock’s Web 2.0 Tools


Description: Popular K-12 educator known for innovative technology uses in education



Description: A huge repository of web tools and applications.



Description: Classroom technology resources



Description: Top 100 apps for high school and college shown in a mindmap.


Post your comments and feedback


tweet your fav tool #hotwebtools #web4teaching @dreileendittmar @CapellaU


1 thought on “#Web4Teaching

  1. I’ve created this blog page for SPARK Learner Success with HOT Web Resources webinar. The webinar is designed for Capella University General Education Studies faculty and First Course faculty.

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