2006

Liberal Arts


Digital Portfolios for the classroom

Deborah Sickler-Voigt
dsickler@mtsu.edu

During the Spring 2006 semester, I met all of the goals for Digital Portfolios for the Classroom. This project began based on my knowledge that teachers at all levels are expected to use technology to enhance their curricula, yet they often do not have the necessary skills and technology to work with. As schools become more accountable for student achievement and assessment of student progress, I designed Digital Portfolios for the Classroom to teach pre-service and working educators how to implement and design quality digital portfolios for the classroom.

The completed product exceeded my initial expectations. With the generous assistance of Albert Smith and Brenda Kerr, I learned about software programs that were not included in my original grant proposal. Each one enhanced the final product. First, I developed a website for educators to teach them about digital portfolios. Instead of using pre-designed templates and buttons, Al challenged me to work with Photoshop Elements to create a truly unique website that aesthetically showcased custom designs and student work. After spending months working on the website and creating a plethora of sample portfolios, I learned how to compress, save, and enhance images using PowerPoint, Photoshop Elements, and Adobe. To complete the tutorial, Al introduced me to Snagit and Flash software. These two programs really made the tutorial much better than I had imagined. Initially, I thought that I would have to write out the steps one-by-one. Flash enabled me to combine written directions with sample movies of how to do each step. Flash serves as a wonderful tool for visual learners. Now that I have completed this grant, I look forward to continuing my work on digital portfolios. In the future, I would like to spend more time enhancing my knowledge of utilizing recorded images in the classroom. I am grateful to the ITD Grant Committee, Faculty, and Staff for this meaningful opportunity. Sincerely yours, Dr. Debrah C. Sickler-Voigt


Business Communication and Entrepreneurship


Dreamweaver Tutorial for Persons with Disabilities

Business
Gerry Scheffelmaier
gwscheff@mtsu.edu

The Dreamweaver was originally designed to be an aid for instructors teaching Dreamweaver and students wanting to learn how to design and develop a web site using the technology. After some careful consideration, it was determined that the development of this tutorial would be beneficial to persons with disabilities. Dr. Victoria Dawn Shelar was instrumental in developing portions. A video was made of Dr. Shelar as she signed the information provided in the specific portion of the instruction material.

The following programs were used to incorporate text, audio, and video into the tutorial: Adobe Premier Elements, Captivate, Snagit, and Dreamweaver. A table with one row and two columns was created using Dreamweaver. The right cell contained the subject matter created by Captivate to include audio. The left cell contained a video of Dr. Shelar signing the information presented in the left cell. The two cells were active and both were designed to begin at the same time. This gave the user the opportunity to hear the information, read the information in text format, and read the sign language.

Each of the following goals were accomplished: (1) developed a competent and working knowledge base of the Dreamweaver program, (2) used this knowledge base to develop a tutorial to assist students design to develop their company Web site, (3) assisted students on a one-on-one basis with issues arising during the development processes, (4) shared this knowledge and the tutorial with teachers at MTSU and schools throughout Tennessee at the Tennessee Business Education Conference, Tennessee Vocational Technology Conference, and a portion was presented at the National Parks and Recreation Association Conference in Seattle, (5) submitted the tutorial to MERLOT and (6) provided a link to the tutorial on my faculty Web site, which will be included in the final report for posting on the Faculty Showcase Web site. In addition, this project has provided me with the knowledge base to enhance and improve my online courses.


English


Alternative Media in History of English

Liberal Arts
Allison Smith 


Health and Human Performance


A Critical Thinking and Reflecting Learning Module for EXL/SL Courses

Education & Behavioral Science
Catherine Stogner
cstogner@mtsu.edu

THE PURPOSE OF THIS MEMORANDUM IS TO PROVIDE A REPORT OF A PROJECT I COMPLETED THIS YEAR. DURING THE SPRING 2006 SEMESTER I RECEIVED 3 HOURS OF REASSIGNED TIME TO DEVELOP AN ON LINE MODULE FOR STUDENTS ENTERING EXL COURSES. THE EXL TASK FORCE WANTED A MEANS BY WHICH BASIC KNOWLEDGE ABOUT CRITICAL THINKING AND REFLECTIVE LEARNING COULD BE PROVIDED FOR STUDENTS WHO HAD NOT SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED ENGLISH 1020 AT MTSU.

THE PROJECT CONSISTED OF THREE PRIMARY STEPS. THE FIRST INCLUDED DEVELOPING THE CONTENT OF THE MODULE. THERE IS AN ABUNDANCE OF INFORMATION ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF CRITICAL THINKING AND REFLECTIVE LEARNING; LESS ABOUT HOW TO TEACH THE CONCEPTS AND PRACTICE; AND EVEN LESS ABOUT PROVIDING SUCH INSTRUCTION ON LINE. THE PROCESS OF OBTAINING AND SYNTHESIZING THE INFORMATION LEAD TO THE CONTENT CURRENTLY INCLUDED IN THE MODULE.

THE SECOND STEP, AND THE MOST CHALLANGING, INVLOVED TAKING INFORMATION ABOUT TWO VERY QUALITATIVE PROCESSES AND FORMATTING THEM IN A WAY THAT COULD BE IMPLEMENTED ON LINE AND EVALUATED QUANTITATIVELY. THE MODULE CONSISTS OF AN INTRODUCTION AND SECTIONS THAT PROVIDE HISTORICAL INFORMATION, RESEARCH, AND APPLICATION OF CRITICAL THINKING AND REFLECTIVE LEARNING. EACH SECTION ENDS WITH A SERIES OF QUESTIONS. THE STUDENT MUST ANSWER 80% OF THESE QUESTIONS CORRECTLY BEFORE PROCEEDING TO THE NEXT SECTION. THE PROGRAM ALLOWS FOR RETAKING THE TESTING COMPONENT. UPON SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION, THE STUDENT'S NAME IS ENTERED IN A DATA BASE THAT IS ACCESSIBLE TO EXL FACULTY.

THE THIRD STEP INVOLVED THE LOGISITCS OF PUTTING THE MODULE ON LINE. THIS REQUIRED YOUR EXPERTISE AND INFINANT PATIENCE. I AM DEEPLY APPRECIATIVE OF BOTH. THE MODULE IS NOW ON LINE AND READY FOR LINKING TO THE EXL WEB SITE. I UNDERSTAND THIS MUST OCCUR FROM THE EXL END. MY HEARTFELT THANKS FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO COMPLETE THIS PROJECT AND TO WORK WITH YOU. 


Journalism


Done in 60 Seconds: Podcasts for Media Design Students

Mass Communications
Randy Livingston
rlivings@mtsu.edu

I. PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The objective of this project was to explore new methods of audio and video podcasting and deliver video and audio podcasts that cover key topics in Media Design. Topics include graphics lab procedures and project-specific instruction in Macintosh OS X, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe InDesign.

Through the Summer and Fall of 2006, I produced video, audio, and enhanced podcasts for our Media Design students. These podcasts are now an integral part of the learning experience for GRAF 3910 and GRAF 3950. The Podcasts are delivered via iTunes and the class Web site. Students view and listen in their Web browser and/or upload to an iPod or other such player. With 24/7 easy access to these tutorials, students have an immediate resource for help and instruction. These tutorials support and enhance the efforts of our lab assistants and reinforce Media Design instructors' lectures. The podcasts offer a much-needed knowledgebase that is available, timely, relevant, and specific.

To capture full-motion digital video and audio, I utilized Ambrosia Software's Snapz Pro for Macintosh. Snapz Pro allows one to record the action on screen. An instructor is able to work on the computer while narrating the process. For audio input, I used a Snowball USB microphone (Blue, Inc.). I used the Animation codec for video compression and IMA 4:1 audio compression. Quicktime Pro was used for some editing and to insert title screens. Quicktime movies were then imported into Apple Computer's Garageband. Gargageband has proved to be an excellent tool for creating audio, enhanced, and video podcasts. Additional voice-over, sound track editing, intro and outro music, and other sound effects were added in Garageband. Artwork, chapter markers and titles, and URL links (for enhanced podcasts) are also made possible by Garageband. Enhanced podcasts, indeed, offer great benefits for learning. The finished podcast is then transferred to Apple's iWeb. In iWeb, I added podcast titles and descriptions and uploaded to my personal .Mac server. Podcasts are then integrated with my GRAF class Web site that utilizes .Mac Groups. (As of this writing, MTSU has not yet finalized the agreement with Apple to implement iTunesU. ITunesU offers free server space and other tools for presenting podcasts for education.)

II. INSTRUCTIONAL ENHANCEMENT

My podcasts have been utilized by other MTSU instructors and their students. They offer students very specific instruction in a portable broadcast format. These podcasts have proved to be a great way to deliver one-on-one teaching and assist instructors with topics that require repetition. In addition, this medium accommodates the needs of a large group—the interactive visual learner. The video tutorial accomplishes much of what an instructor is not able to through one-time lectures and demonstration. Initial student, lab assistant, and instructor feedback have confirmed the success of this project. This project will also be posted to the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching


Management and Marketing


Course design for hybrid and online courses

Business
Jackie Gilbert
jgilbert@mtsu.edu

My project objective is to completely revamp the existing delivery of my courses, as well as to provide an overall instructor organizing rubric that eliminates much of the written course notes from which I now lecture. My WebCT course shells, webpage, and my ROCC courses will undergo major restructuring in accordance with the overall plan of streamlining and integration. All course materials will be converted into "web modules," as opposed to chapters or courses.

I have streamlined course material for the Principles of Management class into several modules, which are a collection of websites, course objectives, course content, pictures, and relevant quotations. These are located under "Electronic Course Notes" at http://www.mtsu/~jgilbert. Both the ROCC and on-ground sections of the principles of management courses that I teach now reference these same materials. In the future I plan to implement three additional principles modules, and I plan to add StudyMate tools (word match, cross-word puzzles, etc.), screen capture, quizzes, and simulations to the modules I have already created.


Math


Applets for Aiding the Instruction of Advanced Statistics

Basic and Applied Sciences
Lisa Bloomer-Green
lbgreen@mtsu.edu

A JAVA applet to demonstrate the concept of maximum likelihood estimation was designed. After a compiler was downloaded and installed, the components of the applet were written. Some of the components work, others are still in the debugging stage. A similar demonstration was implemented in Microsoft EXCEL, and a worksheet for students was written.

Applets for Aiding the Instruction of Advanced Statistics: ITD Grant Final Report

I was the recipient of a Spring 2006 Instructional Technologies Development Grant that gave me release time to work on creating applets for the teaching of advanced statistical concepts. An applet is a short computer program usually embedded in a web page that performs a simple task. In this case, the applet will demonstrate the concepts behind maximum likelihood estimation by generating random variables and displaying the corresponding likelihood function. Buttons and pull-down menus would allow for important numbers to be changed and actions to be initiated or repeated.

Maximum likelihood estimation is a central concept in a mathematical statistics class. It is the most common method of selecting a statistic to address a given problem. A typical mathematical statistics course will show that the sample mean is the maximum likelihood estimator for the problem of estimating the mean of a set of normally distributed random variables. Similarly, this method is used to find estimators for other parameters under other assumptions. However, students typically learn to perform the calculations involved but do not understand the theory behind them. An applet can demonstrate how the maximum likelihood function is related to the data and to the assumptions made in each problem. Students tend not to understand that the function itself is random and therefore the maximum of the function is random. The applet can demonstrate this because with every click of the "repeat" button, a new function appears. An applet that allows the sample size to change will allow students to observe how the estimator gets more accurate as more data are collected.

I have not finished writing and debugging the applet. Because the programming was more difficult than I had anticipated, I implemented a similar idea in Microsoft Excel. This spreadsheet, along with a worksheet I also wrote, can demonstrate the same ideas that the applet could. However, one downside of the spreadsheet is that the student can too easily change the values in it, making it no longer accurate. Another is that it can only be run on a computer with the correct software, but since a large proportion of computers do have Excel, this is a minor problem.

Progress on Creating Applet

I installed a compiler for JAVA on my computers and figured out how to get programs to compile. This was surprisingly difficult. It was easy to get small programs ("Hello World") to compile, but larger programs that consisted of many files would not compile. After asking a student who happened to be a JAVA programmer at his work, I found out that the files that contain JAVA code must be in a particular file structure and be named in specific ways for the compiler to recognize them.

I modified a program that I found on the Sun web site, which has a JAVA tutorial, to create a program that opens a window and graphs a function. Then I modified another program, found on a web site containing several statistical applets, to be able to embed an applet in a web page, open a window, and include buttons and menus in this window. <p>I wrote a modification of the same program to create a histogram and graph it in the window. Unfortunately this compiles and runs, showing the axes for the graph, but does not populate the graph with bars. I am still debugging this.

I wrote a component that chooses data randomly with a normal distribution. However, while this component compiles, I have not been able to display the data to ensure that the component is working correctly. I also have written a component that will graph the likelihood function for this data. It compiles, but I have not been able to verify that it works correctly.


Music


WebCT course shell template for MUS 1030 classes

Liberal Arts
Christine Poythress
poythres@mtsu.edu

Primary objectives include facilitating the fluctuating population of new Adjunct Instructors of MUS 1030 and broadening the scope of available materials for veteran Instructors, making communication between student and faculty more efficient and making available online activities to enhance classroom learning.

Instructors have the option of using the course shell as a foundation for a hybrid based class or as an Instructor reference. 


Recording Industry


Course Development and Management Database

Mass Communications
Henry Beckett
wbeckett@mtsu.edu

The goal of this project is to design and create a curriculum development and management tool using a database structure, with a focus on practical use in the Recording Industry program.

The goal of this grant was to create a structure of course development and subsequent management through the use of a database. The thinking here was that in general when a course is managed, all the documentation and media exist as individual documents in a variety of formats and often reside in scattered places. It takes time and effort to keep track of all this which might largely be eliminated through better centralized organization.

A database offers a number of characteristics that make it useful for course development and management. First is the fact that current day databases are capable of holding all course information and most course media in a single location, a computer file. That file can be backed up, distributed, served. In short it has all the flexibility available to any computer document. Second, it is infinitely configurable, allowing for information input/display/output in exactly the way best suited for the course at hand. Third, outdated information can be prevented by having a single set of records that update, rather than individual documents which, although outdated, continue to require a management scheme. Fourth, it's configuration is virtual and alterable at any time, meaning that the organizational structure itself can be constantly improved.

To the process of development. The first (and most important) was defining which elements of the course could be included and what would be the best way to organize them. The reason this is so important is that it determines what the instructor will keep track of and how the instructor will interface with the information. Again, since the database is always completely configurable, it is not urgently necessary to get this perfectly right at the beginning. As time goes on, both the information and the way it's interfaced can be improved as more knowledge is gained. In this case I started simple, creating a database unique key field around the class meeting date and moving out from that.

A variety of field types and layouts were created from that point to try to devise a useful and easy interface for various class/course situations. Some examples include a document the instructor can reference during class time which indicates major topics to be addressed and details of that topic, as well as a place to enter data either after or even during class regarding which material actually did get covered and to what extent. This allows the instructor to not have to remember "did I get to this last time?" for example. Another example was an auto-generating document to give to students which tells them all their reading, project, presentation, etc. assignments over the course of the semester.

By the time the project was completed, it got to go through a beta test as a fully-functioning course management document for my RIM 4300, Digital Audio Workstation Theory and Techniques. While certainly improvements can be made (and indeed the potential for constant improvement is built into the very concept of course management this way), it performed superbly as a course development and management tool. <p> Online integration would be a logical and powerful next step.


Speech and Theatre


Makeup Techniques Resource (A Corrective Makeup Techniques Computer-based Learning Module)

Liberal Arts
Lori Gann-Smith
lgannsmi@mtsu.edu

This grant will allow me to develop a reusable computer-based learning module for support of THEA 3100 Makeup Techniques for Performers. The module will include a web-based demonstration including video, graphics, audio and subtitled instruction. The module will also include an interactive makeup chart which students can access and use to test their skills and knowledge of corrective makeup techniques. The module will also support THEA 4110 Makeup Design and Creation as well as THEA 1030 Theatre Appreciation. In all, this module could be used by well over 800 students a semester.

When applying for this grant, I proposed to develop reusable computer-based learning modules for use mainly in THEA 3100, Makeup Techniques for Performers, but also to support THEA 4110, Makeup Design and Creation, and THEA 1030, Theatre Appreciation. My intention was to create 2 modules: one on Corrective Makeup Techniques and one on Old Age Makeup Techniques. These modules were to contain a web-based component which would include video demonstrations, graphics, subtitled and audio instruction as well as an interactive makeup chart which could be manipulated by students and that would provide feedback to them. This material would be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for student access. This resource would also be submitted to MERLOT.

During the grant period, I have been able to accomplish a great deal in creating the Corrective Makeup Techniques module. The video footage of my corrective makeup demonstration is complete and the footage has been edited. I wrote and recorded the voice-over script for the footage and created a series of informative Powerpoint slides to be inserted into the video images. Part of these slides have already been edited into the video footage. The interactive makeup chart is partially complete.

I have learned a great deal about Adobe Premiere and Flash in the process of making this module. Al Smith and his graduate student Ed have been very patient with me as I have tried to understand and learn how to use the software. My understanding of the scope of this project has increased during the process and I realize now that to create just the video component of the Corrective Makeup Techniques module is a huge task.

As of June 1, the project is still in development. I plan to try to finish editing the video component of the module during the week of June 19. After it is complete, it will be placed into Real Server where students can access the information. The interactive makeup chart will probably take longer to finish owing to the fact that Flash has a very steep learning curve and my instructor, Ed, is out of school for the summer!

I will begin using the video component of the module with my THEA 3100 classes in Fall 2006. I expect this will impact students in my classes very favorably as they are able to have 24/7 access to quality information about corrective makeup techniques which are the basis for all theatrical makeup techniques. They will be able, for the first time, to view and review a demonstration and its peripheral information as many times as they like. They can "rewind" to a certain section and view it over and over for clarification and can use the resource whenever is convenient for them. I will also submit the module to MERLOT.