Alison 101

Alison’s blog looks like it’s a portfolio format set up for EDCI 337 (Interactive and Multimedia Learning) at the University of Victoria. From her About page we know Alison is a 3rd year sociology student (and she likes soccer, snowboarding, and sleeping).

Why is this site inspiring to you?

I can give credit to Stephen Downes, who if you have been around ed-tech  while, is a critical voice who also seems to read the entire web every day. In his OLDaily post today Stephen reviewed my announcement of this Inpsire site:

I was just going to pass by this item as a contest that, like so many contests, is focused on users of a specific product. But then I saw this bit near the end: “we have a mega list of over 2100 OpenETC WordPress sites.” Now a lot of them aren’t very good. That’s OK. Some are private. That’s also OK. There’s still plenty to browse through and you may run into something quite interesting. Like this.

I am not sure how Stephen read the description of OpenETC Inspire as a “contest” as it surely is not. And in typical Stephen “mince no words” fashion he dismisses a lot of the OpenETC sites as “not very good” — but this is where I give Stephen a break. While many in this field will just retweet and flit on, he spent time looking at these sites.  And he noted Alison’s site.

Alas, Stephen missed the method of this site, which is that we ask that you describe in your own words why the site is “quite interesting.”

Don’t worry, Stephen, I got your back.

Who should see this site?

Alison’s site is clearly a portfolio format where the class has set up a number of categories for students to respond to, four assignments are listed. She has reviews of other blogs. And as this is a portfolio in progress, we have just seen her start.

This is a good model though to consider for having students do portfolios. Rather than give them a vanilla Hello Word WordPress site with a stick Twenty-Something theme, at the OpenETC BC instructors have created starter portfolios with content and structures set up to guide students.

But unlike rigid portfolio systems, WordPress allows students to diverge, add, change this structure.

What ideas/elements from this site might you want to use in your own work?

Lucky for me I am working on another project hosted here at the OpenETC on using H5P, and I was happy to see Alison’s current post “H5P Interactive Video Revamp” where she describes her development and changes to an J5P Interactive Video project, incorporating both peer feedback and what I would guess is a video that is part of EDCI 337’s materials:

I decided to revamp my H5P interactive video on Powtoon and make it more interactive and effective in knowledge transfer. I also reflected on the comments I got on my blog feedback and incorporated an image in my blog that related to my topic.

Looking back at Dr. Ray Pastore’s video on multimedia learning principles, I added the segmenting principle to my new H5P video to enhance the learner’s attention and learning comprehension. The segmenting principle states that people learn better when information is presented in learner-paced segments rather than as a continuous unit. I also included the signaling principle which is the idea that people learn better when cues are added that highlight important information.

She is demonstrating her work and her reflections on her progress.

Where is this site?

See Alison’s portfolio and watch in unfold over this semester at And if anyone talks to Stephen Downes, say “thanks for the tip” but also help him understand how this actually works!

Shared By: Alan Levine in the name of Stephen Downes
Image Alt Text: Homepage for Alison\'s blog, with a header image of alpine peaks and the latest blog post \

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1 Response

  1. To be totally honest, I confused Open ETC Inspire with Open Education Challenge Series, then saw immediately after that ‘How to Submit’, and the pattern-matcher in my brain said ‘contest’. And that – accurately – is why I was about to dismiss it. I should have added the line “It’s not a contest, of course,” but it never occurred to me.

    I’ve gone back and reread your post much more carefully and I now realize you were moving from topic to topic, not focused on one specific thing.

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