OER: Educreations Video

For our Going Visual II workshop, we have created a video using the app Educreations. This is a really neat (free) app that allows you to draw on your iPad and record your voice at the same time. It’s a great way to make instructional videos quickly and efficiently. The app lets you edit your video, and draw with a variety of tools and colours. You can also upload images and draw on top of them.


Check out our video here:

How did we make it?

1. First, we planned out the idea quickly using a storyboard. You can of course make your video on Educreations by starting with the app itself, but we find it’s always easier to rough out our ideas first. Here is the one we used for our video:
educreations storyboard

2. We then fleshed that storyboard out with a script so that we’d know what to say.

3. Finally, we fired up the app. It took four takes of about 4 minutes each until we got something we liked.

4. Educreations stores the video on its servers and lets you embed the video or send out a link. We have embedded the link here on our blog with a quick cut and paste. And just like that we have an OER!

Dan Roam and Vivid Thinking

61nPVlgFr4L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_I’ve recently been reading Dan Roam’s book, Blah, blah blah. What to do when words don’t work. It’s an interesting read about visual language and why we should use it.


The most interesting aspect of this book for me is the vivid grammar chart, which I think can be used as a really good frame if you’re stuck on how to depict something. In it, he aligns visual language with grammar. Any sentence or idea can be broken down into parts, and each of those parts has a corresponding visual. At it’s most basic, it’s this:

Noun (who)= Portrait

Adjective (how)= Chart

Prepositions and conjunctions (where)= Maps

Tense (why)= Timeline

Complex nouns (why)= Combining maps and charts into multivariable plot charts

Complex verbs (how)= Combine maps and timelines to create flowcharts

Check out the link to the vivid grammar chart:

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 11.37.06 AM

There is a wealth of information on Dan Roam’s site, danroam.com , including videos and downloadable pdfs.



ETUG 2015: A Technologist’s edX Case Study



Last week at the ETUG conference here at SFU, I attended a talk, “A Technologist’s edX Case Study,” by Ian Linkletter (UBC).



Drawing on his experience, Ian Linkletter gave us some great tips on how to get people to sign up to an online course, and to stay engaged, especially if it’s free.

One thing I really took away from this talk was in regards to deadlines. It is this: give your students a deadline for assignments that you know is not firm, and then, extend it! By showing the students that you are ready to be flexible allows them to buy in. He also recommended putting a countdown clock on the course website, which gives students a sense of urgency. In Ian’s example, 451 students had met the first deadline, and 721 met the second extended deadline. That’s quite a difference!

Check out my graphic notes for some more tips.



ETUG 2015: Creating Conditions for Well-Being in Learning Environments

At the ETUG conference this month, I attended a presentation by Alisa Stanton, Rosie Dahaliwal, and David Zandvliet (SFU) called “Creating Conditions for Well-Being in Learning Environments.”

I practiced visual note-taking during the talk, with the results below. In essence, the talk was about how instructors can get students to feel connected and at ease in the classroom environment. Because studies have found a very strong correlation between students’ levels of stress and their grades, health in the classroom environment is vital for students’ success. What I took away from this talk was that health in the classroom comes down to three essential parts:

  • sharing
  • understanding diversity
  • being heard/sense of empowerment

Health and Counseling Services at SFU also has a diagram that highlights their 10 conditions for well-being in learning environments, available as a PDF here. This document includes some simple tips for instructors on how to create these conditions within the classroom.

The talk was informative and important, as mental and physical well-being are the foundations for all learning!