Video is KING in distance education

With the field of Distance Education exploding due to the maturation of the Internet, it’s no wonder more good quality free academic content is finding its way on the web. Here’s a great example that I just learned about from Dr. James Harris at the University of Leeds in England. It’s called The Faculties and it contains video snipits of senior-level highschool (or junior-level university) lectures spanning several fields including Biology, Chemistry, English, History, Math, and Psychology. To date, they have produced over 360 videos with a promise of more to follow. If you are not in the business of distance education this repository remains useful. Instructors can request downloads of the videos so that they can be played for students even in classrooms that are not wired for the Internet.
This semester I am teaching a second year chemistry course via distance and I have some students in the class that have asked me if I could provide links to some useful videos on specific topics. Naturally, I am always on the lookout for them so I was very excited to learn about The Faculties. I’ve watched about a dozen videos so far and they are very good. There is definitively something for everyone in this repository and you can stay up-to-date on the progress in building this repository via Twitter (@thefaculties). Have a look at some of the videos and let us know what you think. Do you know of other similar free video repositories other than the standard YouTube search? If so, let us know by leaving a comment below.

Teaching and Learning Centres: Who Needs Them?

Short Answer: we do.

Long Answer: I work at an established Military College. By established I mean 1876. Futhermore, this Military College has been empowered to confer university degrees since 1959. So these two facts together will lend most observers to believe that teaching and learning has been going on here for many years.

So why isn’t there a Teaching and Learning Centre here? Hmm. I don’t really know. The question was raised again in my mind when I read the excellent report by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario entitled Teaching and Learning Centres: Their Evolving Role Within Ontario Colleges and Universities.

Have a read of this paper. After reading it I have a question for you. Can you think of any good reasons for denying instructors and students access to a Teaching and Learning Centre? If not, why aren’t they found at all post-secondary institutions? Please leave your answers in a comment below.

75,000 Hit Thursday!

Back in April 2010, I was ecstatic to report that this blog reached 50,000 hits. It took a glorious 5 years
and 8 months of blogging before this blog crossed the 50,000 hit threshold (that calculates out to an average of about 171 hits/week over the 5 year 8 month period). Well, the hit frequency is steadily growing because e-Learning Acupuncture crossed the 75,000 hit mark today and the most recent 25,000 hits were amassed in only 1 year and 9 months. During that time the average weekly number of hits has climbed to 284 hits/week. I love it!

Happy 75,000 Hit Thursday to all the independent bloggers out there! May the hits come fast and furious to you all for years to come!

Hello world!

Soldier crabs at Dundowran Beach

Welcome to After you read this, you should delete and write your own post, with a new title above. Or hit Add New on the left (of the admin dashboard) to start a fresh post.

Here are some suggestions for your first post.

  1. You can find new ideas for what to blog about by reading the Daily Post.
  2. Add PressThis to your browser. It creates a new blog post for you about any interesting  page you read on the web.
  3. Make some changes to this page, and then hit preview on the right. You can always preview any post or edit it before you share it to the world.

It’s Out

Rightful Identity is now in print as of September 9, 2011.

If you’ve already read it, it’s time for you to post your comments. If you haven’t gotten a hold of a copy, these are the directions to get it:

1. Go to:

2. Subscribe to the free membership.

3. Turn off your adult content filter.

4. In the “Search” Box, enter Rightful Identity or Jackie Pias Carlin.


When you’re ready, send your comments in.





Hello world!

Welcome to After you read this, you should delete and write your own post, with a new title above. Or hit Add New on the left (of the admin dashboard) to start a fresh post.

Here are some suggestions for your first post.

  1. You can find new ideas for what to blog about by reading the Daily Post.
  2. Add PressThis to your browser. It creates a new blog post for you about any interesting  page you read on the web.
  3. Make some changes to this page, and then hit preview on the right. You can alway preview any post or edit you before you share it to the world.

What’s Going On?

It seems to me that the current explosion in the use of social networking is a big part of the key to being successful with eLearning. Well.... maybe higher learning in general! The use of instant messaging between faculty and with their students, between students, and even within institutions has cast a new light on how we interact with each other. Of course, care must be exercised here, but these technologies provide an opportunity for a "Next Level" enrichment of the educational enterprise. The quick sharing of materials, links to news, videos, thought questions, as well as support during the college experience is available now unlike at any other time. My students immediately contact me about problems with assignments, questions about concepts, applications of course material to their own lives, and issues in attending college and career choice.

My friend and colleague ProfGesser on Twitter is using several social networking tools to further his goal of increasing student engagement in social issues in his Sociology classes. Especially for those dedicated few who are constantly seeing a "teachable moment" in their daily lives and are willing to take the time to share it with their students, mobile technology and social networks can take a lot more work.... but can also help us to connect with students in a more meaningful way than traditional office hours alone did not allow.

KPA Presentation

Hello Readers,
In choosing some of the most useful new programs and services to discuss under the topic "Innovative Technology," I've tried to look at those services/programs that are most useful in achieving the most common objectives teachers might have for learning units. The "Wow Factor" is often very seductive, but can lead us down a road of wasted time and loss of productivity. My approach to selecting new technology is to evaluate it based on whether it can actually support an important objective for a particular learning unit. Some of the innovations are more useful for online students, some are great for the more traditional classroom. Often, my best finds come from trying to find a way to achieve a particular goal in an online class that I can easily accomplish in the traditional classroom.
For instance: Years ago, I published an article in the Methods and Techniques section of Teaching of Psychology that demonstrated some of the perceptual and behavior changes that results from the "Split-Brain" operation. The class activity I developed worked great for helping students to get a feel for what it must be like to have been the recipient of the this procedure ( Later, as I was trying to find a way to use this activity with my online students, I began using video editing software to make little instructional movies. This has resulted in one of the most useful and popular parts of my online classes.
I have also insisted that I needed to have live interaction with my online students. In my early days of teaching online classes, I used simple chats to create a "virtual classroom." I continued to work on improving this effort to make a more interactive and student friendly experience for my classes. The creation of webconferencing tools such as Elluminate Live! has led to a truly interactive experience for my students that increases my connection with them and allows for greater freedom in the kind of activities and materials I can share with them. More recently, the availability of a free, three-person room from Elluminate, called a VRoom (for "virtual room") has opened up so many more possibilities, such as "virtual office hours," and colleague consultation.

So, the purpose of this blog entry is to provide the reader with some links to products and services that I have found to be great for furthering my classroom (virtual, or RL) objectives. I hope you find them useful. Here they are:

  • A great source for ways to improve your PowerPoint presentations can be found at the University of Minnesota Active Learning with PowerPoint site. It has great tips and tutorials. Thanks to Sally Kuhlenschmidt of the FACET at WKU for turning me on to it.

  • Annenberg has some great resources for Psychology teachers that are free at easy to use. the Discovering Psychology series is just the starting point for great additions to classes, both online and on-campus.

  • GoogleDocs can be a great way to share files and collaborate with other faculty on projects. But it is also a great tool for enabling students to work together on projects such as presentations and papers that faculty want them to use the "wiki" approach on. Vince DiNoto (Jefferson CTC), who taught me in my first online class, introduced me to this useful tool.

  • Blackboard Collaborate is an outstanding resource for building community, collaboration, creating multimedia presentations online, and other activities that enhance both online and web-enhanced classes. Want to invite a guest speaker to your class, but they are too far away, or busy, to make the trip? Invite them to speak to your class via the "virtual classroom."

  • Second Life is a Multi-User Virtual Environment that is on the cutting-edge of what distance learning can resemble in the future. A virtual environment that is capable of combining the most attractive features of a social network and a versatile learning platform, SL is richly supported by a host of educators who are passionate about this new world of possibilities. For Psychology, the possibilities are endless in SL. We can investigate an endless number of social and cognitive phenomena, as well as present information in simulations, demonstrations, and in an exploratory approach, all within a media rich environment, almost as diverse as the real world. See my video on A Day in The Second Life for a basic look at life "in-world." Institutions in Second Life looks at how some major institutions are using Second Life to inform and train their users. In A Tour of Second Life, you will see some interesting sites within SL that illustrate its power to educate and inform.
  • PSYCHTEACH is an important tool for teachers of Psychology. PSYCHTEACH is a LSTSERV that is a very active community of teacher of psychology with a broad range of interests and expertise. It's a great source of information about events, position openings, teaching methods, innovations, and "where-to-find" resources. Ask a question of your peers! To subscribe, contact Bill Hill at:

Well, I hope the reader finds something useful here. This rambling discussion points to some methods and techniques that I have found useful in the last few of my 29 years of college teaching. Enjoy! And don't forget to let me know if YOU find anything useful.
Ed Morris (AKA Spender Voom)