The legendary Disney animator Ruben A. Aquino has created a great video lesson on Taught By A Pro (.com) about “Center of Gravity”. This is powerful stuff, beginners will learn basics, but even more for intermediate and pros to learn from! Tons of great drawings to illustrate his points and even new animation by Ruben! This is a “must-buy” lesson! http://taughtbyapro.com/course/animation-fundamentals-center-gravity/
New episode: What is Citizen Science? In short, citizen scientists are volunteers at the heart of British conservation, generously giving up their time to protect a whole multitude of animals and plants!
Use Contrast The most readable text is simple – it’s black text on a white background. Don’t try to re-invent the wheel. Black on white has worked for centuries as body text, and with good reason.
Break It Up Any huge block of text is difficult to read. Simply stated, text is easiest to read when you deliver it in short paragraphs – ideally, no more than four sentences each. You can also toss in a graphic or two to add visual interest, but make sure that it relates to the content.
Use White Space If your eLearning design consists of wall-to-wall text, no one is going to want to read. Use margins around your text blocks, and additional spacing between lines so that people know where one paragraph ends and the next begins.
Alignment Type that is left-aligned is easier to read than type that is right-aligned. You can use right alignment occasionally, like when you’re wrapping text around photos, but in general, lean to the left. Justified type doesn’t work well on web pages, because the text blocks are usually narrow and justification results in huge gutters of white space.
Use Font Sizes Judiciously Your body text should always be in one size, and one size only. Go larger on subheads, and larger still in headers. This alerts the learner to when a new topic or subtopic is being developed. Ideal sizes for effective eLearning courses are 18 point for headers, 14 for subheads, and 11 or 12 for body text.
If you are a professor and undergo the immense apathy of your students quite often, stop complaining about it. The solution could be right at your fingertips. The world has changed and so have the students. However, professors insist on staying in the late Antiquity.Renovation of university faculty is a fundamental condition to build the university that will fit into the educational model described by the Delors Report (UNESCO, 1998).
A renowned Calculus professor with 30 years of experience and abundant academic publications might fail about 70% of his students every term. If that number shocks, you must know, dear reader, that this professor brags about these results, as he firmly believes that his job is being done remarkably well. Clearly, something is not right in this picture.
The average student of this hypothetical professor does not go to class. It is uninteresting to see the professor showing off solving much simpler exercises than the ones they will have to figure out in the next evaluation. Just in YouTube, students have access to hundreds of courses, which can be accessed whenever, wherever and how many times he wants and needs. Why this student does have to go to class? A few years ago, students had to sit down at their desks and listen to the professor. Today it is not necessary. However, professors do not understand this new situation and keep thinking students’ bad performance is due to their inconsistent attendance.
YouTube, iTunes University, Coursera,Miriadax, Teachlr are just a few of the many places where students of virtually every area have access to resources that not so long ago, only a professor in a classroom could offer. The dynamic of “attending class” has a different connotation than the one it had 10 or 20 years back. Professors must understand and accept that they are no longer the exclusive source of knowledge – that they are progressively less needed by their students. However, too many professors insist on maintaining the same evaluation methods of more privileged times for them. Assessments continue to be centered on the professor’s actions.
This is the key point to understand why 70% of the students of our hypothetical Calculus professor keep failing the course. As long as we don’t realize that students – who, by the way, do not need the professor’s explanation on functional derivatives – should be the center of education, these will be the outcomes. Since the publication of the Delors Report, the message to academic institutions (universities included) has been to boost an education process that is collaborative, interactive and student-centered – a process that inspires them to learn autonomously for life.
Universities should not be the aim of every high-schooled. Universities must be the platform where our students find the tools to develop their full potential in an open and responsible way. This is impossible to achieve as long as the professor continues to be the star, while the classroom fails to be an interactive space where every student’s potential is propelled and not plummeted. Calculus students that take the subject up to three times in order to pass it, end up hating the possibilities derived from the knowledge the course has to offer. The opportunity to innovate, think critically, work in teams and handle new technologies is simply tossed aside.
If you are a university professor and wish your students to be the stars, let them have the spotlight. The world has changed and so should we all. We need to adjust, take advantage of the new, while saving the valuable legacy tradition has left us – a legacy pivotal in maintaining our identity. The Roman Empire fell, but the Roman Law prevailed.
Don’t be that professor that makes students allergic to class. Become the bridge that allows them to cross from yesterday towards tomorrow, to new better times. Help them enhance their abilities and personal talents. I am on this journey and trust me; you’ll learn what you thought you already knew.
Maria Magdalena Ziegler
Professor of the Universidad Metropolitana (Caracas)
Comparisons. Studies reveal the brain pays more attention to what’s new or different. It’s natural for people to get curious about something new, foreign, weird, unpredictable or different. When eLearning content is surprising or unexpected, ignoring it become impossible. According to Carmine Gallo’s blog “Why TED Talks Are Impossible to Resist”, experts in the subject explained that “Our brains are trained to look for something brilliant and new, something that stands out, something that looks delicious.” To get your learners to pay attention for a long time, you need to keep giving them new things to think about, but obviously you don’t want to stray too far from the topic. Making a comparison, simile, or metaphor helps focus attention. Plus, if you refer to a familiar aspect of the learner’s life, they may find it easier to grasp your point.
Attention and the Brain Attention lies in two areas of the brain:
The prefrontal cortex, located behind the forehead and spanning to the left and right sides of the brain, handles willful concentration. Part of the motivational system, it helps a person focus attention on a goal.
The parietal cortex, behind the ear, is for sudden events that require action.
Attention is largely a function of the Reticular Activating System (RAS), which includes a number of nerve fibers such as the thalamus, hypothalamus, brain stem, and cerebral cortex. The RAS accounts for shifts in levels of involvement in surroundings.
Watch out: The less engaging the course the more difficult is for students to hold their attention.
Implications for eLearning Professionals It is important for eLearning developers to remember that they are competing for their learners’ attention and to bear the following in mind:
People do not pay attention when information is boring or presented in an uninteresting way.
Attention begins to wander after 10 minutes if the brain is not engaged.
People are unable to multitask — it is only possible to focus on one thing at a time.
The brain pays attention to people better than things.
Ethiopia will host this year’s eLearning Africa which is also the tenth anniversary edition and which will be held under the patronage of the Ethiopian government.
The conference, which is the largest international event in Africa on ICT for education, training and development, will be held in Addis Ababa from May 20th – 22nd, under the patronage of the Ethiopian Government. Speaking of Ethiopia’s decision to host the event, Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Dr Debretsion Gebremichael said, “My government is pleased to host eLearning Africa as this is a conference returning to Ethiopia, where my government joined arms with ICWE in conceiving and launching the first eLearning Africa platform on African soil.”
“ eLearning Africa 2015 will create an opportunity to reflect on the 10 year journey traversed by eLearning Africa since its first conference in Addis Ababa. Furthermore, Ethiopia, as the seat of the African Union, welcomes conferences that bring together African policy makers and experts once more back to their home,” he added.
Citizen Science, and a Californian Sea Lion Stuck in the Toilet
Science isn’t all that scary
I suppose Ilike to think of myself as a scientist, sat before my keyboard thinking about
science type things. But there was never a day when I woke to find myself clad head-to-toe
in Gore-Tex, triumphantly grasping a clipboard and a net. In fact, as far as I
know, ecologists very rarely undergo such an immediate transformation. Instead,
upon awaking, they find themselves dressed in much the same as the night
before, with maybe a covering of crumbs from that bakery-based midnight feast.
On the whole
then, biologists and ecologists are pretty normal people. Yes, some of us can
name every Harry Potter character, including such obscurities as Hassan
Mostafa, the quidditch referee at that incredible world cup. But to be totally
honest, everyone’s got strange and seemingly pointless wizard-like abilities —
or that’s what I tell myself, as I arrive at that fabled number 200.
As well as
being pretty normal people, a lot of the stuff scientists do is actually not
nearly as scary and complicated as it’s made out to be. Just yesterday I was
reading about a Californian sea lion that had apparently got lost in San Francisco,
eventually finding itself stuck in a public toilet. Although potentially
frightening for anybody drying their hands at the time, the anecdote itself is
pretty hilarious, and definitely not scary or complicated.
Still don’t believe me? Find out
for yourself through some “citizen science”
In fact, anybody
can help out, and science really needs all the help it can get. One exciting way to
get involved is through citizen science projects, which aim to involve
everybody and anybody in the collection of scientific data. This week we heard
Phil on this topic, explaining how you can make a real contribution through
taking part. In this written piece, we’ll briefly explore
a few web-based citizen science projects; well worth checking out for any
budding science enthusiasts!
is a good place to start for a whole range of topics. In the “Nature” category,
a few stand out as being of particular interest: Bat Detective, where
volunteers are taught to identify bat calls from actual recordings; and
Plankton Portal, where participants examine photos of microscopic organisms,
recording details about their size and number. To help you along the way,
Plankton Portal comes with a few resources to get you started, including a
fascinating TED talk on “The Secret Life of Plankton”. There’s even some
footage of an arrow worm, one of those spooky invertebrates mentioned on our
So you want
to get involved in citizen science, or learn more of what it’s all about?
Here are four brief steps to get you started:
The Faculty Lab for Independent Production (FLIP) Studio is now available for faculty members to create high quality videos to enhance the learning experience. A trained staff member will be on site to guide you through the video creation process. Show up ready to record and we will handle the rest. For more information, email eLearning@uco.edu.