Grass growing around the sewer lid

Getting serious about Twitter?

099373-twitter-bird3-squareEgads! I’m a professional. I’ve been online since (okay, I won’t say)… but in the five years I’ve had a Twitter account–the one I use, not the one I want–I’ve not tweeted *enough.*

Enter IF THIS THEN THAT to the rescue. I most certainly have communicated a LOT and shared cool tools and how-tos via different web interfaces. Let’s consolidate. “Let’s get connected…”

Now, the interesting thing to me was WHEN I decided to start pushing my WP posts to my Twitter feed, I was presented with a fun dilemma – JetPack would connect my sites to my personal WordPress site hosted elsewhere. Verra cool!

What am I doing now? Frittering away time that I should be spending on my Financial Peace homework, or working on the draft ONID Project site. Yeah. It’s that kind of day.

What’s up with the sewer lid?
I took this photo when out walking (August 2016) and found it awesome that grass will grow…

Revamping CITS F222 for Spring

While I truly enjoy spending a few hours just playing around with WordPress, sometimes it feels as if I’m under pressure to find just the right thing.

I did that earlier this week. It took a lot of playing and a bit of tweaking, plus a few other people’s eyes. Here is my final layout:

cits screen shot of website

It is simple. It is clean. I’m going to try to stick with it for all of the weeks. Of course, some will be slightly different. ALL of them need to have an image that represents that week’s lesson.

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Model Student Creation

Let’s say you’re a faculty member and you want your students to research a topic and then synthesize the information. {Don’t skip this step… it is about learning, creating supports learning. It is not simply about creating.} Add a creative element to the process by asking the student to curate their findings online. A few tools you can use (and student examples) include:

Before your students create, model the behavior you want to see. Students can create video lecture, presentation, online posters, timeline, audio files similar to how an instructor can. If you want students to use YouTube videos for course presentations, embed YouTube videos as a welcome note and lecture items early in the semester. Also link to or provide getting started materials.

Places to curate and arenas to use for sharing products vary from class to class, but good choices for UAF students include: Google Sites and Google Drive Folders because all UAF students have access to the Google Apps.

Learn more and see more examples –


UAF eLearning and Distance Education designers write teaching tips each week. The following are a few you may want to put in your Getting Started folder or your introduction to the module:

Featured image from

red chair with tv radio sitting on it

Use Video to Capture Students’ Attention

red chair with tv radio sitting on it
Small and dark but still captivating

You may consider video difficult to get started with. Make your first video using tools you already have: Keynote (or PowerPoint) and QuickTime. Once you’re ready, upload your presentation to YouTube for easy sharing.

Download PDF: TT-video-engagement

“People react to well-crafted videos and audio with increased attention.”1 Using skills you have and software you most likely own, create items to reach your students. Charles Mason, photography teacher at UAF, while creating his online version of Basic Digital Photography used two slides, five images, and his voice to illustrate depth of field incredibly well in a video lasting less than three minutes!2  

Make your slides; talk to your students. Describe what you’re doing via a screencast or illustrate a point with a story by narrating your slides. Both Keynote and PowerPoint allow you to save a narrated slideshow. Once created, export it to QuickTime. The next step is to open the QuickTime file and share it to YouTube, where you to gain access to editing tools and transcript services in addition to placing your work in a space that is highly accessible. Now embed your video or video link in your course materials.

Even without filming yourself, you can strengthen your course by telling stories and asking colleagues to share theirs. “Nothing persuades our learners better than seeing real people who are like them — giving testimony, telling their stories, giving their lessons learned.”3 These illustrations make the course personal for you and your students. Focus students’ attention to specific points you feel are important while increasing student engagement with your course material.

If you’re comfortable with video, consider using it to show scenarios; “video can utilize scenario-based decision making, which we know from the learning research is a powerful tool to support comprehension and remembering.”1

Adding your voice to slides is useful for other reasons. Charles Mason’s first short video is a course summary he created so UAF eLearning could help him market his course, JRN 204/ART 284.3   His course  filled up in the first few days of registration; perhaps this video helped that happen?

Brian Rosenberg, president of Macalester College says “the notion that new social media are exclusively the province of the young or the technically savvy is mistaken.”4  While he had help creating his video and a very different goal, you too have help. Contact UAF eLearning to find out more and join the  “serious sources [that] are turning to video…TED video, the New York Times, The Economist.”4

Full steps on how to do this with screenshots at:



1Thalheimer, W. “Video is the New Text… Hmmm!”

2Professor Mason’s lecture video:

3Professor Mason’s  introductory video:

4 Rosenberg, B. “What I learned from YouTube”



Image of WordPress logo on folded paper

Looking at WordPress a New Way

Recent requests at work have caused me to reconsider hand-coding in favor of plug-ins. There are a lot of requests. If, for example, a request is to streamline a process and have information coming through the work site be able to easily integrate with a CMS that we have… should I hand-code all of that or see if there is a series of plug-ins, or just one, that will do the work for me?

Contact Form 7 has add-ons that allow for reCaptcha No Captcha as well as integration into SalesForce. Will it work for us? I think I should find out.

relaxing image of pier at sunset

Clean up your email inbox… Unsubscribe!

Crochet amigurami
Fibi is taking shape

I went through my email and looked at where I was getting my messages from. There has got to be a reason why I have SO MUCH YARN??!!

Oh, yes. I was subscribed to four of my favorite online stores. FOUR. Of course, if you need something, isn’t it good to know who has a sale going on?

Maybe that’s like… “Here, I know you’re not drinking anymore, but in case you start again I got you this really nice Ice Wine, and a bottle opener because you might have thrown yours out.”

I’m reading “the life-changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo – and I believe that my office (ahem/cough ‘craft room’) may be a much nicer space to be in… shortly.

My goal, of course, is to make all of my space feel as light and airy as my new office space at work does. BEAUTIFUL. It’s so easy to focus and get work done.

Will I miss all of those emails? No. If I need something, I know where to go. But perhaps a better first step would be, finish something you’ve already started OR start something that you have all the materials for.