June 13

Screen-casted feedback on student blogs

Screencasted feedback on your #etap640 blog is available via the playlist below. In the second screencast i demonstrate how i provide feedback via diigo by highlighting text and leaving sticky notes for you.

You should view both videos, regarless of which one contains my feedback on your specific blog.

You can also view the playlist from youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwPsQ21b8jHCw750zaoym2BUvDZBzDONS

May 23

cool tools 2013

Here is my “Top 10″ list for 2013:

  1. netvibes – blog aggregator
  2. facebook
  3. google hangouts
  4. pinterest – – virtual pin board. A content sharing service that allows members to “pin” images, videos and other objects to their pinboard. Also includes standard social networking features. Soon there will be Learnist – for educators.
  5. tweetchat – synchronous online chat
  6. social reading with diigo – collaborative joint annotation/mark-up of  course readings.
  7. audioboo –  a mobile & web platform that  allows you to record and upload audio.
  8. scoopit – visual curration platform
  9. openstudy – peer study groups.
  10. studyblue – online flash cards, sharing, social networking.
  11. recordr.tv – asynchronous video interaction/converation
  12. zotero – annotated bibliography / citation tool.

Cool tools 2012
Cool tools 2011
Cool tools 2010
Cool tools 2009
Cool tools 2008

May 14

ETAP640 goes live today!

Every semester when the course goes live I am nervous and excited. I wonder, am I ready? Is the course ready? Have i forgotten to do anything? Have i anticipated everything? Have I addressed everything that I wanted to improve since the last time?

I also wonder who will my students be? Will I have enough time to devote to each of them? Will I have the right words to reach them?  What will I learn this time?

I can’t wait to meet you! Welcome summer 2013!

Category: Uncategorized | LEAVE A COMMENT
May 8

UAlbany School of Education CDIT online degree program

UAlbany’s School of Education Offers Cutting-Edge Online Master’s degree and Certificate Program

UAlbany’s master’s degree in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology (CDIT) and the Certificate of Graduate Study in Online Learning and Teaching (COLT) put opportunities in technology-infused 21st century teaching and learning environments within reach.


May 6

apples and oranges

Quality Matters is a research-based rubric for review of the instructional design of mature online courses. It is not for new online courses/faculty, and does not concern itself with the teaching and managing of online courses. It’s scope is specific and intentionally narrow.

ADDIE is at best a process to design a training solution https://www.diigo.com/user/alexandrapickett/addie

Category: Uncategorized | LEAVE A COMMENT
April 30

What 2012 students have to say about this course…

I have been changed in many ways, particularly in how I think, how I will teach, how and what I will study in the future.  I was a proponent of online learning before I took this course, I am a greater fan now that I understand the flip side of the equation.  I love the course I built and want to keep working on it and improve on it so when I am ready (in the near future) I can teach it.  I still do not think that I am quite ready to teach—there are a few things I need to work on. However, I am confident that I will be ready relatively soon.  I feel confident and empowered!!!
Anne-Marie Gomes


This was the most important thing I learned – to hand trust back to my students, and that it is not only OK to do so, but it actually makes a better class.
– Anneke Chodan


I really believe that this course has taught me important skills because I was required to actually use the skills I was learning about.
– Ben Malczyk


I am going into my fourth year of graduate studies at UAlbany and have taken many courses here.  Yet, I feel as this is one of the first courses that will let me leave with having a profound change in thinking.  Coming into this course I figured we would read a few articles about online education and create a course shell for an online course.  Additionally, I came into this course assuming online education failed to meet the standards of f2f education. Now, my thoughts are completely changed. Leaving this course I feel as though I could write an effective rebuttal of that argument and I believe that illustrates a great amount of growth for a person who entered this class questioning the merits of online education.
– Bill Meredith


I think the biggest impact on my learning is realizing that student centered must be meaningful. In order to make it meaningful it has to be important and the students must feel they are in control. Through the videos and readings in this course this has become increasingly apparent. Building class community, social presence, having teaching presence, and giving students’ choice are all strategies for creating the perfect learning environment. Although this course was quite a challenge I did learn a lot, especially in the past few days where I have become completely obsessed with adding “bells & whistles” to my moodle course. This course did present a student centered environment and I found it to be successful in changing my thinking about course design.
Danielle Melia


I have so many ideas that I have learned from this course that I want to implement them all into my class.  But, I really need to stand back and reflect.  The most I got from this class is all the information that everybody shared on diigo.com and in their discussions.  I am very proud of everybody’s  contribution to my education and their own.  I loved how everybody had a share in the teaching presence and how Alex facilitated the learning.  This was an an excellent example of an effective student-centered learning environment.
Gary Bedenharn


I just finished what may be my last discussion post for ETAP640. As I went through the post process, I was cognizant of each step: read your classmates’ posts; respond to something that resonates within you; teach (us) something by locating and sharing resources that support your thinking;  include the thinking and experiences of classmates; offer your opinion on what you are sharing; cite your resources for the benefit of all; tag your resources logically. Alex had informed us at the outset of the course that each discussion post is an exam and I have learned why: discussion is the heart of online learning.  An instructor may vary the context, content, activity, instructional grouping, and time frame, but in the online environment, students’ learning is demonstrated through the vehicle of discussion… I came to learn that blog posts are personalized records of learning, thinking, and being. It is not about what the instructor wants to hear, it is about hearing the student’s articulation of what is being learned that is essential to evaluating the content of a blog post. Through trying to be “fearless” about using technology, as Alex advises, I have come to learn that confidence is something that one must exercise in all spheres of the online environment.  While the pre-ETAP640 Irene would continue this last sentence with “but I feel as though I am still a student myself”, the post-Pickett Irene says, “while I continue to learn with them.”
– Irene Watts-Politza


I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to take this class. I have learned so much and have really enjoyed being involved in a community of learners with all of you. I have never truly felt like I have been part of a community of learners before, or really knew what that was or meant. I think this has resonated so strongly with me that it is something that I want to strive for with students in a face-to-face class or an online class, whichever comes first.
– Joan McCabe


Coming into this class I thought I was a technology native. I thought I knew a lot about the internet, its uses for the classroom and ways I could utilize it. This class has pushed my limits showing me there is endless posiblities and things I will do even in my face to face class. For example, I was introduced to vociethread. This I will use to connect my classroom to another and make an authentic population for my students to present to. I would even use it to show student work at an open house. To really have learned something I think it means it will stay with you, you will use it. It will be in your thoughts after the class has concluded.
– Julie Delpapa


This course was developed in a way that the harder you work and the more you participate the better the experience and the more you will get out of it. I can guarantee that all of us were nervous and scared the first time we entered this course. The first day we knew that it was going to be a challenging, but we have made it to the end with a lot of rewarding experiences and a lot of lessons learned along the way. Being a student and feeling like my work is getting noticed and valued is a tremendous boost in wanting to participate in the course and in my course design.  The hardest thing for me in this course, is the discussions. Being my first online course ever, I was a little intimidated by the type of discussion because of the requirements. I feel like I am not using my ‘voice’ like the other students in the course. A lot of the discussions between the other students are based off of prior teaching experiences, which I only experienced during student teaching, so most of my posts are more research and article based and it is hard for me to respond to the other posts. I am happy that I am getting the experience to develop a course though because it definitely has put my teacher hat on and going through a lot of different process to make it learner-centered and engaging. I believe if I didn’t have this opportunity to reflect, it would have been a thought but I would not have acted on it. At first I thought blogging and journaling was just busy work and I wasn’t too excited to do them, but I have found great benefit from thinking about how I learn, why I learn and how I can use this to improve my contributions as an educator and student and that deflated feeling is going away with every week that passes and it is renewing my faith in education and where it is headed.
Lauren Dembrosky


I have to admit, I was a little intimidated when we all started to introduce ourselves in this course.  Every other class I’ve ever had was filled with people who had the same experiences as me and I felt like we were all on the same level.  As I was reading everyone’s introductions, I felt inferior.  I remember agonizing over what I could possibly offer to someone who was already teaching college!  When everyone in the course started sharing their feelings of frustration with the course, being overwhelmed and doubting their abilities I started to realize that we were all in the same situation…We were in this together.  I received private messages and replies to my blogs and discussions that offered me support, help and guidance from so many people in this class.  I starting CHANGING even more…I had a stronger connection with people I had never met than in any face-to-face class I had EVER taken! (and that’s  a LOT of classes having an associates, a bachelors and a masters degree already)  This is when I started to realize that online education could provide experiences to me that I couldn’t get anywhere else… I want to CHANGE someone the way that Alex, ETAP 640, and all of you have CHANGED me.
– Lisa Martin


Learning is change. I have changed many things to improve my online teaching such as adding more student choice and student-led discussions. I have also improved rubrics, instructions, and use more peer review and small group discussions based on sound pedagogical principles and best practices for online learning.  Additionally, I am including more authentic, student-centered activities and assessments. I have also learned about and included more multimedia in my course to enhance teaching, social, and cognitive presence (McDonough, n.d.) . I have learned to incorporate more innovative uses of technology to enhance online course delivery for students, including having learning environments available outside of the course management system for students’ lifelong learning needs.
– Mary Guadron


In a course titled Introduction to Online Teaching, I never would have imagined such a wide variety of topics could be covered!  Not only have I learned what it takes to effectively develop an online course, I have also learned about modern theories in education that have helped evolve the way I view my face-to-face interactions with students.
– Tina Bianchi


In the beginning of this course I was very overwhelming and did know if I could make.  Through support of my friends, family, and in reading through others reflection blogs I saw that I wasn’t the only one and that this was a challenge that I needed to concur.  I am so glad that I stuck with it because I learned so much and I can definitely take this with me in my teaching.
– Victoria Keller.


What students said in the summer of 2011.

What students said in the summer of 2009.

What students said in the summer of 2008.


March 26

If you don’t want to bore your students … don’t be boring! : )

A very wise old online professor (Bill Pelz @wmpelz)  once told me that the lecture was the most efficient way to pass important concepts and theories from the professor’s notepad to the students ipad without going through either brain.

So, I am very curious… why do you think that your students fail to engage in your online discussions/interactions? Can you analyze what went wrong in the discussion activity for your students? Think about this from your students’ perspective.

What makes something boring? what makes something engaging? Can you cause someone to learn?

How might you apply the principles of andragogy to inform solutions for this situation?

I hear lots of faculty complain and tell horror stories about how impolite and distracted their students are with their devices in the classroom. You know what? i don’t buy it… I am completely against removing the internet or cell phones and other devises from any classroom. ridiculous. closed minded. reactionary. I don’t buy that the internet is worse than daydreaming, or doodling, or that it is a distraction. The internet simply IS. If you are distracted by it, then that is on you.

In the classroom or online you can’t MAKE people be polite any more than you can MAKE them learn, or make them want to learn for that matter. That you learn…what you learn …is entirely up to you – it is your responsibility.

Of course “netiquette” needs to be addressed and managed by the online instructor – its part of the role. But assuming everyone agrees on acceptable “behaviour” in the learning environment, and everyone is there -interested/willing/able/ to learn, if I am not able to engage you, then i consider it my failure, not yours. It is my job to design a learning experience in which you can engage.

The reality is that there are a lot of impolite people (students) out there and a lot of people (students) not seriously interested in doing much learning. There are also a lot of people (students) out there that are just not receptive to the possibility that they don’t already know it all – and use every opportunity to demonstrate how much they know, rather than acknowledging that one ANYONE always has something more that they can learn…there are dysfunctional people, people with political agendas, people with real life problems/tragedies and issues. (If you can’t allow for the possibility that there is something more you can learn, please drop my course.)

However, I think there are also a lot of boring professors out there who would much rather blame the internet for the lack of attention of their students, than turn a critical eye on themselves to ask “how  relevant am I to my students.?” How do I engage my students? How is what I   “teach”   relevant to the real life of my students? How relevant is a liberal arts education today to most youth? Will it get them a job? How much debt will this education incur? Are students well informed and advised well about their chosen degree programs, and the demand for jobs, or expected career paths and salaries? Will they learn things they can ever actually use in the “real world”? If I were a college student today, i would be pissed off.

If you are putting them to sleep in the classroom, how do you think that will play online? Do you want to sit there and watch talking head on video for 3 hours!?  Some faculty like to lecture. You may even be good at it.  REALLY good at it. You may exude passion, drama, enthusiasm and feel like you have captivated your audience. BUT – newsflash. it is NOT about your passion. It is about catalyzing that passion and learning in your students. So, here is a truth. If you are boring in the classroom, you will be boring online. Here is another truth. You CAN’T duplicate what you do in the classroom in an online environment (well you can try – but, it will not go well).  I get it. You are used to doing things the way they always have done…perhaps you use the same textbook, same lecture notes, same MC tests, same jokes, …etc. It is too much work to rethink how to present content, how to facilitate interaction and collaboration between your students, with you and with the content, and it is WAY too hard to come up with authentic ways of evaluating and assessing student learning. Nevertheless, if you want to be good online, – effective, successful, efficient – you will have to rethink how you achieve your learning objectives given the options and limitations of the online teaching and learning environment.

I think there is a HUGE disconnect with how things in higher education have always been, and how they need to change today to be relevant.

Students don’t want to be entertained, they want to be engaged… They need to experience flow. They need to be perplexed.

Here are 50 ways 2leave ur lecture: http://www.slideshare.net/alexandrapickett/50-alternatives-to-lecture

Here is how i engage my online students: http://prezi.com/yyzcr9_btox6/teaching-learning-in-the-cloud/

Join the conversation and share what you know, here: http://slnfacultyonline.ning.com/

This article was republished here: http://qz.com/68962/if-online-students-arent-engaged-its-the-teachers-fault/ on March 31, 2013 under a different title – If online students aren’t engaged, blame their teacher.

September 25

Brainstorming wishlist for discussion features

  1. A feature that allows students to only see what has been posted only after they have posted something first.
  2. Allows students to create discussion starters.
  3. Facilitates peer and self-evaluations of discussion posts that aggregate in the grade book. Just need a way to easily see the peer and self evaluations by author and by evaluator/evaluatee- does not have to be in the grade book or contribute to the grade.
  4. Allows you to isolate a number of highest evaluated posts for grading. Allows you to identify how many posts will contribute to the grade… so e.g., 12 highest rated posts.
  5. Must be able to rate individual posts!!
  6. Ability to see discussion posts by author and rate them from that view.
  7. A way to see to with whom you have interacted (in discussion) from both student and faculty perspective.
  8. Ability to control if a post has been read/unread.
  9. Way to see from the profile icon if someone is online for a synchronous chat. Have a photo tied posts. A photo/avatar/icon and a link to ones profile. Social presence.
  10. A subject line that does not have the defaulty re:….xxxxx.
  11. Discussion starter that follows and is visible from the thread.
July 29

Course Reviews for summer 2012

Course reviews: scroll through to find the video screencast of feedback for you on the design of your online course to date. Enroll in your classmates courses to follow the evolution of their course designs and to get ideas for your own course. Have a look at the feedback/screencasts posted for others in the class. Feedback at this stage is generally applicable : )

You can also view the screencasts here: https://vimeo.com/album/2023589