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

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


EdTech 543-PLN Diagram

Although I created by first image of my PLN in a very different way, relating the relationship of these networks as a Venn-diagram seemed to make the most sense to me. I do try to compartmentalize the different areas of my life; as I tried to illustrate in this image. And within those different areas, I do tend to use different tools. For example, in my work life I use Yammer, Edmodo, Google +, and LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Of those networks, I only use Facebook and Twitter in other areas of both my personal and educational life. I know that many people choose to overlap these networks more than I have, choosing to integrate the use of a single Facebook or Twitter profile. But in my life, I appreciate the ability to separate the use of some of these networks for different purposes. I realize that this graphic representation is simplistic compared to some of the other PLE diagrams that my peers have created, with interactivity and beautifully integrated graphics, but in this circumstance I chose to keep it simple!

Non-linguistic model of Connectivism, Commuties of Practice, and Personal Learning Environments

This was, by far, one of the most challenging assignments I have completed. All of the creative ideas that I have had this week have relied too much upon words to convey the messages of connectivism, CoPs, and PLEs. So, I decided to go to the source of our knowledge, so to speak, as my model for non-linguistic representation. As a biology teacher, I believe the brain is a perfect model for conveying the interconnected relationships of our behaviors, learning, communities, and environments in which we share our knowledge. Branching neural pathways are routinely reinforced to encourage further neural advancement, much in the same way that social interactions branch and grow when used to share, communicate, and learn within a social network.


A challenge to connectivism. (Kerr, B 2007). Retrieved September 8, 2012 from the Learning Evolves Wiki:

Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, and connectivism.  (Ireland, T. 2007). Retrieved September  8, 2012 from the CI 484 Learning Technologies Wiki:,+Cognitivism,+Constructivism+%26+Connectivism

Brown, J.S. (2002). Growing up digital: How the web changes work, education, and the ways people learn. United States Distance Learning Association Journal, Volume 16.  Retrieved September 8, 2012 from

Brown, T. (March 2006). Beyond constructivism: navigationism in the knowledge era. Retrieved from

Gonzales, C. (2004). The role of blended learning in the world of technology. Retrieved on September 8, 2012 from

Roblyer, M.D., & Doering, A. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching. San Francisco: Pearson.

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology & Distance Learning, Volume 2.  Retrieved on September 8, 2012 from

Thorsen, C (2009). Tech tactics: Technology for teachers. San Francisco: Pearson.

Wasko, M.M.,  & Faraj, S. (2000). “It is what one does”: Why people participate and help others in electronic communities of practice. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, Volume 9, 155-173.

Wenger, E. (2000). Communities of practice and social learning systems. Organization, Volume 7, 225-246. doi: 10.1177/135050840072002