An Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology: A Digital Story

This short, digital story summarizes topics that could be covered in a biology course. I attempted to create a story, of sorts, of how the structure and function of human anatomy and physiology is characterized in biology. As I worked through this assignment, I began to realize that as distracted as I was with working with this new tool, I sacrificed the personalization of this project.  I chose to use the Slideroll video maker tool to create this project, and found that although the demonstration of the sample projects were straightforward, Slideroll was not intuitive to use. Unfortunately, I spent too much time on the execution of this project.

Initially, I thought that the use of images from the student textbook in this story would reinforce a measure of continuity. Upon further reflection, I can now see that this project could have used more personal images rather than images that my students would see in their text. While I am not completely happy with this digital story as it stands now, I have learned so much about the use of this new slideshow tool, Slideroll, and how I will further personalize this story in the future. Real, rather than stock images that reflect the underlying principles of human anatomy and physiology will be used in the future. Additionally, images that evoke personal emotion or shared human experience would add to the personalization of this project.

Coherence Principle

The coherence principle, as related by Clark and Mayer (2013), states that extra sound or visual animations when added to instructional materials can inhibit student learning.  Research on coherence demonstrates that learners perform better on post-instruction assessments when instructional materials limit the use of unnecessary or extra animation or sounds .

One of the very first online courses that I took was a great example of the use of coherence. In this course, lecture information was presented in narrated power-point presentations. In this case, the lecturer did not use any additional audio, such as music or sound effects (Clark & Mayer, 2008). Simple, on screen text was paired with companion lecture notes that allowed me to listen to the instruction and fill-in key words in lecture outlines.

Alternatively, I cannot remember one specific violation in particular, but a common mistake that I see is in PowerPoint presentations is the use of sound effects when animated text “appears” on the slide. The use of these sounds is often thought to add emphasis, but I found them to be more distracting than helpful (Clark & Mayer, 2008).

The underlying theme of much of the research that Clark and Mayer (2008) outlines in our course text relates to the idea of “less is more”. The dual channel processing theory (Clark and Mayer, 2013) and cognitive load (Mayer 1999).

Most importantly, the concept of cognitive load, or that there are two separate channels in which we receive information while learning is a common thread throughout the concept of coherence. In this context, the coherence principle relates to the concept of cognitive load because limiting extraneous audio and visual animations is thought to increase information retention (Moreno & Mayer 2000).

After completing the readings for this week’s assignment, I am left with a question. The research presented in the course text and readings about the concept of coherence and cognitive load seem quite straightforward with the exception of its relationship to constructivism. Kirschner et al (2006) and Meyer (2009) make a strong case for why constructivism is a failed instructional theory. And if we are to believe that constructivism is not an accurate learning theory, how does the concepts outlined by Clark, Mayer, and Moreno to be contextualized?

Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2008). E-learning and the science of instruction, 2nd edition. Pfeiffer: San Francisco, CA.

Kirchner, P. et al (2006). Why Minimal Guidance During Instruction Does Not Work: An Analysis of the Failure of Constructivist, Discovery, Problem-Based, Experiential, and Inquiry-Based Teaching. Educational Psychologist, 41(2), 75-86.

Mayer, R. E. (1999). Multimedia aids to problem-solving transfer. International Journal of Educational Research, 31(7), 611-623.

Meyer, R. (2009). The Poverty of Constructivism. Educational Technology and Theory, 41 (3),  332-341.

Moreno, R., & Mayer, R. E. (2000). A learner-centered approach to multimedia explanations: Deriving instructional design principles from cognitive theory. Interactive Multimedia Electronic Journal of Computer-Enhanced Learning, 2(2), 2004-07. Retrieved March 10, 2009 from

The Happy Horticulturist!

The Happy Horticulturist: Episode 1


With spring approaching, and my thoughts drifting to my garden, I though it would be fun to create an instructional series about how to create a garden! This series will cover topics that are meant to assist those without much gardening experience. Topics covered in this first podcast include types of gardens, considerations for choosing a garden site, construction, and soil.


Happy Spring!


Creating my learning log

As this is my last semester in the EdTech program, I am fortunate that I have previously created my learning log! This learning log was created initially in EdTech 501: Introduction to Educational Technology as is used as a tool to showcase artifacts that I have created during my coursework in the Educational Technology Program at Boise State University.

However, I had not yet created a page dedicated to me! On this new “About Me” page, I have included a small introduction as well as some background into my decision to pursue a M. E. T. degree in Educational Technology at BSU.

Hello. My name is Christina, and I was a Lurker.

Sometimes that is all it takes, isn’t it? Admitting one’s shortcomings is uncomfortable, but I must now admit that my online life thus far could be easily characterized as a Lurker. Before I began EdTech 543-Social Networking, I wasn’t even familiar with the term “Lurker” or “curation”. My introduction to social networking began innocently enough. I indulged my curiosity about former high school peers by joining Facebook, and began following strangers on Twitter for their comic relief. However, over the course of my years in the Ed Tech program, I have begun to understand how important and valuable the social networking experience can be. My elementary experience in creating a PLN (personal learning network) was limited to my sharing information about politics, science, and family photos with my Facebook friends and Twitter followers. But as a result of this class, I have seen the power of Twitter as a means to share and gather information. Who knew you could create all of those columns in Tweetdeck and follow multiple themes at once? I am sure most of you did, but it was new to me! Content curation? Healing informational content from a dreaded disease? NO! I had no idea that I had been curating content using Pinterest. I had not even begun to consider how meaningful this tool (and others like it) could be for my students as they created projects in the online Biology course I teach until curation was an assignment in this course! As I look back on the semester, I believe that my favorite (while frustrating) assignment was the final MOOC project. While I always hope for the most detailed outlines and instructions for assignments, the freedom to create a social media and networking course on our own was challenging and exciting. I have always enjoyed how the final projects in our EdTech courses serve as a means to solidify our learning. The MOOC project was able to help me see how the previous assignments from the semester could be integrated and applied in a meaningful application of social networking. Our project on Healthy Living integrates a variety of social networking components that I am always afraid to try with my students. But now that I have had the practice of applying these tools in a practice setting, I am more likely to attempt to use them with my “real-life” students. I think most people are a little nervous when they venture out into the anonymous online world, but I have seen through the use of Twitter, Diigo, Webinars, and the MOOC Project, that it is often just the first step that is scary. Once you dive in, the world, and its people, rise to meet you. Or Friend you, Tweet you, or Pin you!


Creating a Social Media Policy for Higher Education

My experience as an online instructor at a community college has illustrated the need to develop a policy for the use of social media in our online learning community. With the ubiquitous use and knowledge of social media among my students, these guidelines will hopefully be the beginning of a series of conversations on the appropriate use of social media in learning.


1)    Be respectful of the audience. Understand who the audience you are writing to is and write accordingly.  Class discussions should consist of complete sentences, thoughtful responses, no slang or cursing.

2)    Post original content that is created by you for each assignment or discussion.

3)    Anytime outside materials are used, be sure to do so as specified by the license type and provide a proper citation with link back to the original work.

4)    As social media provides a living environment to interact and engage with, any assignment that requires supporting posts and or discussion should be posted at least 48 hours prior to the “due date” to allow ample time for your classmates to read, process, and respond to your contributions.


1)    If using an existing social media account, be sure that you are clearly identified to ensure accountability and to ensure that you receive credit for the work you submit for course assignments.

2)    When interacting with students, professors, or professionals via social media as a part of this course, be sure to identify yourself as a student in this course and capture a screenshot or copy a link to the post for proof of completion.


1)    All student content will be held to the standards of the university and should adhere to the student code of conduct.

2)    Verify that any and all online content posted by friends or others have been screened for appropriateness. Privacy settings and “tags” should be regularly reviewed as content privacy policies can change in social media platforms over time.


1)    All policy requirements will be posted as a link in the syllabus, the resulting page will be updated as needed ensuring students have access to the most current and accurate policy information

2)    Policy review will occur at least annually by collaborating with other online instructors and department head as needed to ensure that course policy remains in line with department and university standards.


DeVries, Derek. “Sample Social Media Policy Guidelines.” Retrieved on 12 November, 2012 from

Petroff, Mike. “Social Media Policy Resource Guide for Higher Ed.” Retrieved on 12 November, 2012 from