Edworlds - Edtec671

EdTec671 - Learning Environment Design

Weekly Updates

Session 1 - January 23, 2013

This week I evaluated my options for Scenario-based E-Learning assignment.

Option 1: JavaScript Course Instructional App

I teach an introductory programming course on JavaScript.


  • There are specific programmer best practices which students should embrace at the start in order to avoid developing bad programming habits.
  • Since this is a fully online course teaching a high-tech topic, students naturally expect to learn electronically.


  • For many of my students, this is their first programming course and should probably not be used as ‘guinea pigs'.  
  • This is the first time I have taught this course and time is very limited.
  • I am doubtful I would be able to create anything that would be of clear benefit to my students in the short amount of time we have.

Option 2: SDSC User Training App

It is part of my job to support user training and education at SDSC.


  • Users of SDSC's supercomputers fall into two primary groups, those who already know what they want to do and simply need occasional consultation for clarification of certain details, and those who are just getting started and need considerable hand-holding. The latter group would be the focus of this training app and have a great need for not just one but several customized e-learning apps.


  • There are numerous software applications our users need to know. Determining which application would be the most worthwhile to develop a training app for would require considerable front-end analysis.
  • I could make the choice myself, based on limited information, but I am reluctant to take that kind of responsibility.

Option 3: Computer Science Principles Teacher Best Practices

We are in the process of disseminating a new curriculum for high schools that is designed to address a soon-to-be-released AP exam intended for non-CS students. We currently have a cohort of ~20 teachers in San Diego county working with us to deliver it. The curriculum is based around the Alice 3D programming language and is being developed by Dr. Beth Simon at UCSD.


  • Beth Simon would be a great persona since she not only is teaching the curriculum currently, but she has video recordings of an entire quarters lectures containing numerous examples of her teaching style and methods.
  • Prof. Leland Beck of SDSU's CS Dept. will be teaching the curriculum to pre-service teaching students in the summer and he has expressed great interest in a scenario-based e-learning app.
  • Our current cohort includes several teachers who have expressed a willingness to help evaluate the application as it progresses.
  • We have a clear list of “what learners must do” already compiled from which I can draw a subset of the 5 or 6 most important.

Cons: I can't identify any cons for this project.

Session 2 - January 30, 2013

This week I have decided on Option 3 from Session 1 and am beginning to define the scenarios, draft my activities, and identify the content.

Title: The CS Principles Teacher Best Practices E-Learning App

Define Scenarios

This application introduces teachers to a selection of the top 5 or 6 best practices for delivering the CS Principles curriculum and using the specific pedagogical approach designed by Prof. Beth Simon.

Users will play the role of the teacher in a classroom during a one hour class. The teacher will be teaching a specific lesson from the CS Principles curriculum. They will be presented with events and possible responses from which they would choose the most appropriate response. Depending on their response, different subsequent events will result based on adaptive e-learning techniques.

Map/Draft your activities

Users will launch the application. They will read an explanation of the scenario and be given instructions on how to use the app. The interactivity will consist of hypothetical possible situations the teacher might find themselves in. The instructional pedagogy for this course consists of:

  1. an introductory overview of the lesson,
  2. a multiple choice question for the students to answer using clickers
  3. student discussion among their peer group (groups are 4-5 students, selected at the beginning of the semester). The purpose of the discussion is to share opinions about what are the right answers and wrong answer and why with the goal of establishing consensus within the peer group
  4. the same multiple choice question is asked again, and students are given a second chance to answer it
  5. Whole class discussion about the problem (students get rewarded with candy if they share during the whole class discussion)

Map/Identify your content

Situations in the scenario will be based on a subset of a set of best practices already drafted by the program PI's (see CS Principles Best Practices List below).
Portions of recordings from a video archive of ~24 1-hour lectures will be used.

Here is a list of 20 important best practices our teachers need to be able to do.

CS Principles Best Practices List

1. Asks students to compare how they solved similar problems in the past to today's lesson.
2. Tells students about new ways or new types of problems they will be able to solve in the future.
3. Engages students in thinking about optimal program structures.
4. Connects everyday experiences to computational thinking (e.g., when we use a smart-board, it reacts because it is programmed...).
5. Uses everyday language instead of programming jargon or provides scaffolds to help understand jargon.
6. Connects programming to solving real-world large-data problems (e.g., Google searches).
7. Connects Alice to other programming languages.  This could be in general or specific (e.g., Excel).
8. Explains similarities and differences among various aspects of programming.
9. Discusses how solving simplified problems can help in scaling up to more complex problems.
10. Provides clear reasons for using various programming statements (e.g., if-then).
11. Includes common misconceptions in discussions.
12. Asks questions that do not have a clear correct response to generate complex discussion.
13, Asks students to speculate which programming "structure" (not specific code) will match a demo animation in Alice.
14. Has students consider program readability, efficiency, and modifiability.
15. Discusses counter-intuitive aspects of programming.
16. Students discuss not only why a correct solution is correct, but also why incorrect solutions are incorrect.
17. Provides opportunities for students to convince each other that their solution is correct.
18. Asks students how they problem solved (e.g., What questions did you ask yourself?).
19. Connects program writing to other forms of writing or step-by-step instructions in students' lives.
20. Challenges students with counter-examples or differing opinions from other students.

Session 3 - February 6, 2013

Organize Your Materials

I have decided to build the app using HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. I will develop an initial template using Adobe Edge Animate (and supporting Adobe Creative Cloud Edge apps). Depending on how well Edge Animate can support app development (it is still very new, potentially very buggy), I will complete the app using Dreamweaver and coding the JavaScript by hand.

I will be working with Leland Beck and Beth Simon to identify a small number of video clips to serve as exemplars of the CS Principles pedagogy.

Our teacher cohort is currently participating in a peer-evaluation session for the next couple of weeks. From this peer-evaluation we hope to identify those best practices in most need of support for our teachers. Our e-learning app will be based on this subset of best practices in order to prioritize and to simplify the development effort.

Session 4 - February 13, 2013

Write your materials

Use media appropriately

There are several steps in the typical CS Principles lesson which could be addressed in the e-app.

Here's the essence of the specific lesson structure we want our teachers to learn and master:

· Teacher presents the question and provides some brief instruction
· Students choose their answer using clickers
· Students discuss within their peer group why they made their choice (teacher or tutor need to actively promote discussion)
· Students reach a consensus (teacher or tutor need to actively promote discussion)
· Students re-vote
· Teacher reviews the pre- and post-discussion votes
· Teacher and students discuss as a class why they made their choice
· Teacher gives a real, tangible, preferably sugar-based reward to students who share

All of the above steps are supposed to happen in less than 10 minutes.

Other issues exist for the teacher including:

· distributing and accounting for clickers,
· getting the clicker technology to work,
· getting Alice to run on classroom computers,
· online access to lessons and example files... and much, much more

For the SBEL, I will pick two of the steps above as my focus, and create a 'scenario-based' lesson for each.

Each one of these steps can be elaborated upon in terms of what can and can't happen, what should or shouldn't happen, how things should progress, etc.. For example, one of Beth's graduate students, Sarah Esper, created a simple video with some of her tutors intended to demonstrate how to and how NOT to guide student discussion and reach consensus:



These are perhaps a bit long to include in our SBEL app, but they should give you an idea what Beth's vision is.

Can you offer any other sage advice to help further constrain my focus? What is the official 'deadline' for this assignment?

I also want to add a little humor. We have some teachers with a good sense of humor who might be able to add some fun. Not sure what yet.

Here are links to Edge Animate demos:

Demo 1 (bubble-pop game)

Demo 2 (Catching game)

Demo 3 (Interactive product showcase)

Demo 4 (Mobile browser marketshare)

Session 5 - February 20, 2013


I am falling back and re-grouping. I am building a mock-up using Flash since I know it so much better than Edge-Animate and I am having a hard time figuring out how best to embed video clips.

Session 6 - February 27, 2013


On the heels of our web conference last week and based on Bob's advice and guidance I am taking a somewhat different approach to my e-learning app. Now I guess it is more of an independent study project.

I am using a tool I developed many years ago with Macromedia Director (yes, that's right, before they were bought by Adobe, how many of you remember those days?) for creating video-based case studies of teacher best practices, specifically to teach pre-service math teachers how to teach math.

I am in the process of developing a case using a one-hour video of the CS Principles instructional methodologies demonstrated by Dr. Beth Simon during one of her typical lectures at UCSD. I have uploaded a video which demonstrates how the case is created, and what the end result should look like. The process requires transcribing the video and synchronizing the transcription with the video. These are both time-consuming processes so I only have the first 10 minutes of Beth's lecture completed so far. Here is a link to the demonstration video:


I have broken down the one-hour video into a list of events around which I will base my issues matrix and video annotations. It is in a shared google doc:

Shared Google Doc with Video Segmentation Details

I hope to have the first segment completed this weekend in order to run some tests early next week.

This case-creation tool is freely downloadable (http://www.sci.sdsu.edu/mathvideo/cc/), and it is based on a previous case study tool I developed in collaboration with Dr. Janet Bowers at SDSU's Center for Research in Science and Math Education (CRMSE). I have created a demonstration video of this tool also, to give you an idea what the vision was at the time:


I have been confronted with multiple setbacks and based on advice and guidance from bob and Susan I have decided to consider an alternative to the SBEL app. I am planning on using a video-based case study creation tool I developed 10 years ago in collaboration with Dr. Janet Bowers, SDSU professor and CRMSE Fellow as a tool to help teach pre-service math teachers how to teach middle school math.

Since my SBEL was focused one our CS Principles teacher education program, the case study creation tool seems very appropriate.

Session 7 - March 4, 2013

Testing and Evaluation

I am still a week or two away from being able to test. Stay tuned.


View the final project review, summary, and reflection.