The Course Copy Road to Nowhere - LTI Best Practices

Reposted from IMS Global Learning Consortium's Best Practices, which features best practices for reference when implementing LTI®.

Just imagine you are the administrator of an LMS holding hundreds of on-line courses, and that your teachers have added playlists for useful videos within each section of their courses. Now think about what happens when these courses are copied at the end of a session to prepare afresh for another intake of students. If the video content is embedded within the course and the files hosted within the LMS then I suspect all will be well; the new copy of the course will happily be linked to these files. But what if these videos are provided via a third-party application which is linked to a course using LTI, what then? In that case the only thing connecting the link in the course to the playlist of exciting and valued videos is a single resource link ID - a strong connection when it is set up, but one which is easily broken when the link is copied to another course. The result is that you (the LMS administrator) are then inundated with calls from disgruntled (angry?) teachers who have to go through their new course and set up all the playlists again (because they all have new resource link IDs). Time for you to either take a vacation or to find a solution!

Well, if finding a solution is the choice you made, then IMS has one to offer. This was exactly the issue facing Atomic Learning and its customers, who, in conjunction with IMS, devised and implemented a simple solution using two new custom parameter substitution variables which have now been included in the LTI 1.2 specification. The values of these variables provide a list of the resource link IDs and context IDs with which the current link has previously been associated. The first ID in each list will be for the course from which the current course was copied; the second will be from the course from which the previous course was copied, etc. Thus, when Atomic Learning receives a launch with a resource link ID which it does not recognise, it can check the resource link ID history to see if any of these are known to them. If they are, a copy of the playlist associated with that resource link ID can be made so the connection can be re-established for the teacher and their students. The history of IDs are provided in reverse chronological order, so that the first match found (most recent) is the one to use.

OneNote for Organization and Collaboration - Guest Blog Post

Who better to speak to using OneNote for Organization and Collaboration than the eLearning Contributor who developed the training herself?

Guest Blog Post by Teresa Potter, eLearning Contributor

There are a lot of note-taking applications available, each boasting an easy way to collect information. However, one of the points many of these programs miss is powerful tools to organize that information. Microsoft OneNote has not made this mistake.
Microsoft OneNote provides a powerful tool to collect, organize, and reference information in a wide variety of formats. It allows you to type and paste information and media anywhere you would like on the page. The formatting is much more fluid than a word processing program. You can create pages, sections, and groups of sections to organize your information, and you can even create entirely new notebooks to gather your information. You can also attach documents right to your pages. Students can attach a Powerpoint presentation they gave and then reflect on their work all on the same page, and the attachment becomes part of the OneNote notebook. OneNote also allows you to create audio and video recordings and to play them back within OneNote.

All of these features make OneNote a powerful tool for the classroom. Teachers can use OneNote to organize their personal lessons, or to share lessons with other teachers. They can also use OneNote to publish information for their students, helping them with flipped classroom or paperless classroom initiatives. The multimedia and attachment tools are prefect for students to collect their work in a portfolio and then reflect on their learning.

The best part is that OneNote is free on all your devices. Learn more in the OneNote for Organization and Collaboration training course.

6 Ways to Be More Persuasive

We can't always get our way, but sometimes, a little persistence goes a long way.

In a recent article on 6 Ways to Persuade Without Being Pushy best-selling author Kevin Daum shares not only his own insights on how to persuade others to your way of thinking, but those of five fellow thought leaders—all of which we thought were worth sharing.

1. Show them what they want and need.
Often, talking through a point gets lost. People have a strong inner voice that defends their point of view and blocks out words from the persuader. Circumvent that process with visuals. Charts, graphs, or even cocktail napkin sketches can get people to see things in a whole new light. Get creative. Given the time, you can even use your smartphone to create a simple and engaging persuasive video.

-Kevin Daum

2. Share positives and negatives.
Sharing an opposing viewpoint or two is more persuasive than sticking solely to your argument. Very few ideas or proposals are perfect. Your audience knows that; they know there are other perspectives and potential outcomes. So meet them head on. Talk about the things they're already considering. Discuss potential negatives and show how you will mitigate or overcome those problems. People are more likely to be persuaded when they know you know that they have misgivings. So talk about the other side of the argument... and then do your best to show why you're still right. 

-Jeff Haden

3. Be inquisitive.
It's like the old story of the wind and the sun arguing over who could get a man's coat off. The wind blew and blew, but the man just wrapped the coat tighter. That's exactly how being pushy works. After the wind failed to blow the coat off, the sun simply shone and the man took it off by himself. The best way to influence someone is to align what you want with what they want, which means you have to start by understanding what they want. And one good way to find that out is to ask them. 

-Minda Zetlin

4. Find a good reason.
The best way to be persuasive is to be able to answer this question: What's in it for THEM? When you ask someone to do something, you've got to also give that person a reason for doing it that's in their own best interest. When you've got a good reason, then you won't have to be pushy--you'll automatically be the King (or Queen) of Persuasion. 

-Peter Economy

5. Take yourself out of the equation.
The art of persuasiveness is influential to success and requires confidence. If you go in desperate, your proposal won't fly. You must first take yourself out of the equation: how and why is this decision beneficial to the other party? What about the people they care about: their team, family, or customers? Once you have these two answers covered consider what you're up against. Your idea or offer has to be better than the other options available to them. If it's not, go back to the drawing board, don't exaggerate the value, promise unrealistic deadlines, or do anything else to jeopardize your integrity and reputation. Lastly, look them in the eye, be patient with objections, and let them know that you care. 

-Marla Tabaka

6. Be helpful.
Much is written on the topic of persuasion--when to say just the right words to close an important deal or how to move others to your way of thinking. In my experience, the true secret to being persuasive is to simply be helpful. The ultimate goal of persuasion is to have the power to influence others. Providing knowledge and connections freely makes you a go-to resource. If others seek you out to solve their problems through your network and knowledge, you are in the perfect place to persuade them and convince them that you or your company is the solution to their problem. 

-Eric Holtzclaw

Looking for additional insights? Check out Atomic Learning's online courses on Persuasion & Negotiation and The Art of Influence, both of which are a part of the Career Skills training collection included in most campus-level subscriptions.

Don't have access to Atomic Learning? Request more information.

3 Tips from College Educators on Getting Started with Blended Learning

Whether you call it "flipping the classroom", "blended learning", or "hybrid learning" it all comes down to the same basic concept of making learning more engaging for students. The EDUCAUSE Review blog, Next Generation Learning Today, had a great article titled Blended Learning on the Ground: Advice from College Educators. In this article, college educators give advice on things to consider when getting started with blended learning. Below we have pulled out a few of our favorite suggestions given by faculty members who collaborated at a recent Blended Learning Conference:

  • You don’t have to redesign your entire course all at once. Start small and build with each iteration. For example, you might initially develop four in-class activities paired with online homework exercises, and then add one or two more each time you teach the course. Starting with only one blended activity might not be worth the effort, since it won’t give you or your students a chance to get comfortable with the new format, but there’s no need to take a blended approach every day or even every week.
  • Think about your pedagogical goals and pain points, and start with things that will give you the greatest return on your time investment. Are there concepts or skills students consistently struggle with that you could target, for example? Or a pressing logistical challenge to address, such as a loss of TA support?
  • Stand on the shoulders of giants (and colleagues). Making your own online interactive resources can be tempting but requires a huge time investment. Most faculty pioneers start with ready-made materials: commercially-published online homework systems, question banks from the instructor’s edition of a textbook, etc. These probably won’t fit your course perfectly, but adding to and adapting them over time is faster than starting from scratch. And if you find you must make your own, consider collaborating with departmental or disciplinary colleagues to share the development work and the resources.

          Read more from this article. 

Top 5 New Courses Including Office for Android, Snapchat, Moodle and more!

Who better to share what they think is the best of the best than those who determine what content is added to the Atomic Learning library? Our eLearning team recently shared with us what they thought were some of the top courses recently added to the site. We've also included why they think this content is so cool--we hope you agree!

Take a look, login, and learn!

Moodle 2.8 Instructor
The latest version of Moodle's instructor tools. (Includes assessments!)
Office for Android
Training on the latest version of Office for Android. Great for Galaxy tab and other Android-based tablet users.  
Snapchat in Education
What?  Snapchat in the classroom?  Yes, you can use Snapchat to connect with and engage your students!

Streaming Music/Internet Radio
There are so many options to choose from - which one is right for me?  This series focuses on the top 6 services and explains how they work, the cost, and how to use them.
Tips for Effectively Integrating Moodle
This course is designed to help you create a more visual, interactive, and engaging Moodle course. Utilizing multimedia, web resources, and assessment tools, this series will help you maximize your Moodle course and it's effectiveness in instruction.

Congratulations #atomiccache Grand Prize Winner!

We want to congratulate Dulce Gonzalez, of Laredo ISD, in Laredo, TX, our Atomic-Cache grand prize winner of an iPad Air! Pictured below is Dulce with her prize (she is also wearing her t-shirt from winning the week 1 prize!)

We asked Dulce to share a bit about her experience Atomic-Caching and what she learned. She had this to say:

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