Week 1


September 19 – 25

To Do:

  1. Create your own rampages.us blog (Due September 21)
  2. Connect your personal blog to the course blog (Due September 21)
  3. Read book chapter on foundations of eLearning (Due September 21)
  4. Set up your twitter accounts (Due September 21)
  5. Write your first post (Due September 21)
  6. Respond to colleagues’ posts (Due September 25)
  7. Explore and experiment with your rampages site (Due September 25)

Learning Goals:

Demonstrate effective electronic communication methods for instructions in the K-12 environment.

Reflect on both historical and conceptual foundations of eLearning as well as current research and standards for online/blended course design/facilitation and articulate a personal philosophy of practice in these areas

Describe how emerging technologies are impacting virtual teaching and learning.


Welcome everyone! This semester we’re going utilize the rampages.us blogging platform as our primary tool for facilitating this course, along with twitter and other web-based tools.

This semester you will all set up personal blogs at rampages.us. You will be able to continue using these blogs after the course is complete, and we hope this will provide you with a tool that you can use for many years to come.  We will provide you with the necessary steps to create a simple blog and  “connect it” to our course blog.  Everything on your blog will be public, so please only write things you are comfortable sharing with the world. While this seems scary to many people, it will allow you to work with others in very powerful ways, during and after the course.  The blog will be yours, and you are welcome to customize it in any way you like. I use mine as an online CVs to allow my work to be accessed by the general public. You can see my examples here: Monty

By connecting our blogs to the course blog, it will allow us all to easily navigate our “posts” and respond to one another, as well as share out anything we post with others.  Through the use of “categories” and “tags” we will be able to aggregate our work and help make sense of the learning.  For this course, everything you “post” will be put in the category “TEDU662fall16b”. This allows us to aggregate the posts on the course web site. For each assignment we will also ask you to “tag” posts, which will further allow us to aggregate the posts. This may seem complicated for now, but as we move forward it will become second nature to you.

Please remember that turning in assignments on time is important. Assignments are due by midnight on the due date.

So lets get started:

Create your own rampages.us blog (Due September 21)

  1. In a web browser, go to rampages.us
  2. Click on “Create an account”
  3. Follow the directions, using your VCU email. Don’t make your blog “private”.
  4. If you are new to WordPress, you can check out the support page here for help.
  5. Make sure you have enabled comments without moderation. (See image below for how to do just that!)

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 11.40.08 AMTake some time and play around with it. You can start with just a simple one-page blog, but you may want to customize it as you get more comfortable. If you have questions, try not to get frustrated. There is lots of online help, you can email Bri or myself, or attend our virtual office hours during the week.

Connect your personal blog to the course blog (Due September 21)

  1. In the top menu of the course blog, click on “Sign Up”
  2. Follow directions to join your blog to the course blog

Read book chapter on foundations of eLearning (Due September 21)

  1. In the welcome email I sent each of you previously, there was a copy of a draft of a chapter that I wrote last semester for an upcoming book on UDL and eLearning. Please read this short chapter. You will discuss in your weekly blog post.

Set up your twitter accounts, if you do not already have one (Due September 21)

  1. In a web browser, go to https://twitter.com/signup
  2. Enter your full name, phone number, and a password.
  3. Click Sign up for Twitter.
  4. In order to verify your phone number, Twitter will send you an SMS text message with a code. Enter the verification code in the box provided. This is a very good security measure to have in place, so do not worry.
  5. Once you’ve clicked Sign up for Twitter, you can select a username (usernames are unique identifiers on Twitter) — type your own or choose one from the suggestions. Twitter will automatically tell you if the username you want is available.
  6. Double-check your name, phone number, password, and username.
  7. Click Create my account.You may be asked to complete a Captcha to let them know that you’re human.
  8. There is an option to create a Twitter account using an email address. If you prefer this method (though it is not a secure) please visit Twitter Support and follow the instructions on the page.
  9. After signing up, it will suggest that you follow certain people and organizations. I suggest that you follow me at  @VCUMonty as well as a few folks involved with Online Teaching and Learning (Michael Barbour @mkbshu; Leanna Archambault @leannaarch; Rick Ferdig @rickferdig; Kathryn Kennedy @kkennedy78; Niki Davis @ProfNikiDavis). Twitter will suggest organizations and other people, so choose who you like after you are sure to follow us.
  10. TWEET! Twitter is a powerful tool that can be an aide to your career. If you are unsure as to where to start with your tweeting, check out these articles for some great advice on how to use Twitter to best benefit you:
    1. 5 Steps to Harnessing the Power of Twitter
    2. The Power of Twitter (The Guardian)
    3. The Power of Twitter (HuffPo)
  11. When you tweet about anything related to the course, please hashtag it with #TEDU662fall16b.  This will allow all of us to see it. After you create your account, please tweet a hello to everyone with the hashtag and we can follow you back.

Write your first post (Due September 21)

  1. Log in to your rampages account at rampages.us
  2. Click “login”
  3. Login with your username and password you created previously
  4. In the top left corner, hover your mouse over “your sites”, you should see your blog that you created earlier
  5. Hover your mouse over your blog name and you should see “add new post”. Click on “add new post”
  6. You are now on the “add new post” page
  7. Type your name in the “title” field
  8. In the main entry field please write about:
    1. Personal info – tell us about yourself. What are your goals for the program you are in? What is your experience with eLearning?
    2. What do you do in your free time?
    3. You are welcome to post pictures/video/etc.
    4. You can see examples by Bri and myself now, located on the course web site, by hovering your mouse over “Our blog Posts” in the top menu, then clicking “Intro”
    5. What were your impressions of the chapter you read this week? What most stuck in your head? What was surprising? What did you already know about? Did anything you read remind you of past eLearning experiences you have had?
    6. This week you have set up a blog and used twitter. Were these two technologies new to you? What has your experience with these technologies been in the past? Do you feel these technologies could facilitate learning in some way? If so, How? If not, why?
  9. When you are done, on the right hand side of the screen, click the check box next to “TEDU662fall16b” under categories
  10. On the right hand side of the screen, under “tags”, type “intro”, and click add
  11. Finally, click the blue “Publish” button on the right hand side of the screen.
  12. That’s it! You have published your first blog post. The course aggregator runs every hour, so in about an hour you should see your post show up on the course web site. You will be able to see it, and others’ posts, by hovering your mouse over “Our Blog Posts” in the top menu, then clicking “Intro”. If your post does not show up by the next day, email me.

Respond to other colleagues’ posts

  1. You can see your colleagues’ “Intro” posts, by navigating to the course web site, clicking on the little down arrow by “Our Blog Posts”, and then clicking on “Intro”.  You should see everyones’ “Intro” posts, and you can click on “Continue Reading” to get to the full post.  At the end of the post, you should see a place to leave a reply.  Read through the “Intro” posts.  Do you share any hobbies with others? Tell them! Do you have personal experiences that relate to something someone else said?  Did someone bring up something you had not thought of or disagree with?  Could you expand on another persons ideas? We are not requiring you to respond to everyone, but please respond to at least one person so you can see how to do it. These conversations are an important part of this course. You have the ability to exchange ideas with colleagues in your program and colleagues outside of your program. Seek to find common ground, and challenge others. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO DISAGREE. DO NOT SIMPLY AGREE WITH WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID.  This goes for what I say as well. We are here to learn from one another, to engage in critical discourse. Be polite, but lets challenge each other to think deeply about our content.
  2. Click “Submit comment” when you have finished your comment.
  3. Should you need any help with comments (replies) please read through this WordPress Support for Comments article.

Explore and experiment with your rampages site (Due September 25)

Play around with your new blog. WordPress can be a very valuable tool for both personal and professional uses. You will have access to your site even after this course is over. It may seem intimidating at first, but once you play with it some, it becomes an easy tool to use. Please email me or tweet out any issues you have.

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