Posted on May 17, 2019

Confessions of a SMECWID V: Leaving the Ivory Tower

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Painting of the Tower of Babel, Cropped Square

By Tom Armbrecht As regular readers of the “Confessions of SMECWID” series already know, I changed careers in 2016 when I stopped being a French professor and became an instructional designer. In the eyes of some my former university colleagues, my resignation meant that I effectively switched teams when...

Posted on Apr 23, 2019

Confessions of a SMECWID IV: Teaching and Learning About Trauma

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Heart and Hands

In my first entry for the SMECWID (Subject Matter Expert + Course Writer + Instructional Designer) blog series, I wrote about the difficulties of creating a course on a subject you are passionate about—in my case, French theatre, the focus of my previous career. In this post, I discuss...

Posted on Nov 19, 2018

Google Translate: Freund oder Feind (Friend or Enemy)?

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Google Translate Venn Diagram

Google Translate is an astonishing program. It converts words and even whole sentences back and forth from dozens of languages through multiple modalities; you can type, handwrite, scan, and even say whatever you want to communicate. Its accuracy—at least in French, German, and Spanish, the three languages that I...

Posted on Oct 10, 2018

Confessions of a SMECWID 3: Learning from the Other Side of the Podium

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Recently, I went back to school for the first time in 20 years. Although I was at the university every day teaching until about two years ago and have often taken adult-education courses, I hadn’t been a student in a class for credit since 1997. (In case you’re wondering,...

Posted on Jul 09, 2018

Confessions of a SMECWID 2: The Message in the Medium, or Thinking Outside the LMS

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In a culture like ours, long accustomed to splitting and dividing all things as a means of control, it is sometimes a bit of a shock to be reminded that, in operational and practical fact, the medium is the message. This is merely to say that the personal and...

Posted on Jun 22, 2018

Confessions of a SMECWID 1: The Loss of the Live

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One must start from that which is barely knowable but knowable to oneself and try to know what is knowable without qualification, passing, as has been said, by way of those very things which one does know. —Aristotle, Metaphyics   As someone who does research for HotChalk’s Learning Design...

Posted on Jun 01, 2018

Teaching Controversial Materials in the Online Classroom: Forbearance, Turpitude, or Learning Opportunity?

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Two mouths fighting with tongues like fists

“I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” —Albert Einstein, US (German-born) physicist (1879 – 1955), no original source given   As news and social media make readily apparent today, almost any subject can be controversial. In fact, contentious debate...

Posted on May 16, 2018

Red Hot Boilerplate: How to Make the Start of a Course Interesting

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A riveted piece of steel, red hot.

Most online courses start with a section of boilerplate that outlines the structure of the program, the rules of the course, and provides other information that usually doesn’t vary much from course to course within a curriculum. With any luck, students will peruse the pages when they begin a...