NY Commission for the Blind College-Bound Day, 2018

I’d like to thank the NY Commission for the Blind for inviting me to once again speak at their College-Bound Day at the SUNY Manhattan Educational Opportunity Center. The attendees, who braved sub-zero temperatures, were rewarded with a great deal of important information regarding college sponsorship, community and school supports, financial aid information, scholarships, and college life. I’d especially like to thank everyone (you know who you are) who enthusiastically joined Echoes Instructional Design’s simulated game show,  “Campus Feud”, where we identified the top issues college students face, the latest technology trends, and the top tips for success. Good luck at school College-Bound students and keep in touch!

Get It Done!

Have you ever had items on your to-do list for more than a few days? a few weeks? Why is it so difficult to Get Them Done? I’m guessing this is why:

  • I don’t know where to start.
  • I’m not confident about how to do it well (and I don’t want to ask).
  • It’s easy, I’ll get to it later.
  • It’s so boring!
Well, then you’re just like most of us. We put the Pro in procrastination.
So how do you put the Pro in productive? Take a look at Forbes’ article How to Make Yourself Work When You Don’t Want To” by Travis Bradberry.
For inspiration, take a look at some women who get things done and keep going in  “Forbes: Americas Richest Self-Made Women”.  That’s the list I want to focus on!

CUNY Disability Conference

Congratulations and thanks to Carlos Herrera of Queensborough Community College and the many professionals across CUNY campuses who hosted the 7th Annual CUNY Disability Conference at John Jay College. This year’s theme was Accessibility as a Tool for Social Justice. CUNY’s attention to Universal Design principles and inclusive learning environments, both physical and virtual, is impressive. CUNY’s faculty development efforts not only address inclusion in the classroom setting, but will also influence future innovators by bringing accessibility and UDL principles to students at the forefront of technological and environmental design.

Designing and Teaching Courses for All Learners

Fellow Instructional Designers, Educators, and Trainers,

I have to pass along information about an exceptional, free, online course hosted by SUNY Buffalo and SUNY Empire State colleges. I’ve just earned the final badge for the Accessibility: Designing and Teaching Courses for All Learners MOOC (Massive, Open, Online, Course). This course is an excellent professional development opportunity for anyone interested in designing, developing, or teaching courses to a diverse audience. It provides theory, methods and techniques, as well as opportunities to apply these strategies to your work. As an Instructional Designer, I found the information invaluable and I applaud the program’s attention to inclusion and accessibility.

Many thanks to Kathleen Stone, EdD and her team for an excellent program.

BlendKit 2015, Week 2

After reviewing the material for week 2,  I’m intrigued about the opportunity to deepen the learner’s experience. I’m interested in the concept of the carefully planned course which covers the bases while facilitating content exploration and self-directed learning. I think this is a powerful way to improve engagement and retention. I struggle with the challenge of empowering students who seek step by step direction and, having (perhaps) completed the final task, exit without further thought. I’m searching for techniques to transfer from this instructor-directed approach to a learner-centric, self-motivating experience.

One approach has already emerged. Just as the best conversationalist is the person who asks the most questions, “Intrinsic Motivation: Interaction as Human Need” (chapter 2) makes it very clear, self expression (in this case techno-expression) is a precursor to student engagement. A blend of the Atelier Model and The Concierge Learning Model would do well to meet this objective, where guided inquiry/expression/production is paired with additional resources for consideration.

I look forward to taking away additional tangible strategies and tools from this program, as well as working with faculty and fellow learners.


BlendKit 2015, Week 1

I am excited to join the BlendKit 2015 community! BlendKit 2015 is an open, online course from the University of Central Florida in designing and developing blended learning programs. I’ve used various distance learning technologies for several years, and now welcome this opportunity to bring identified best practices into the virtual and blended classroom. The readings, assignments and opportunities for discussion are essential resources in this quest.

So without further ado, some thoughts on chapter 1. I loved this description of learning by George Siemens: “By recognizing learning as a messy, nebulous, informal, chaotic process, we need to rethink how we design our instruction” (chapter 1). I can think of powerful learning experiences where things were less controlled, more dynamic, and maybe had some uncertainty mixed with a hint of pressure (as in group forming, norming, storming, and performing). A carefully designed hybrid learning program can also be messy, iterative, flexible, and just as powerful.

I’m familiar with Constructivism, but the idea of networked learning, or “Connectivism”, holds interesting prospects. Web 2.0 learners are a highly networked group, so using this framework seems like a good place to start. Yet how do we measure nebulous learning, or the formation of a learning network?

Register for the Summer Session today!

Counselors, Clients, and Parents,Registration is now open for the summer Technologically Empowered College Students (TECS) Webinars and the Developmental Writing Seminar (DWS).

Contact  info@echoesindesign.com  for more information. (Click on the title above if all dates do not display below).

Summer, 2012 Course Schedule

TECS – Technologically Empowered College Students

Tuesdays at 8:30 PM

  • July  24, 31
  • August  7, 14, 21, 28
  • September  4, 11

 DWS – Developmental Writing Seminar

Wednesdays at 8:30 PM

  • Jun 27
  • July 11, 18, 25
  • August 2, 9, 16, 23