Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Scrolling Marquee

I've had an instructor ask about a way to grab student's attention with a "scrolling ticker or something like that?" Good question. Inundating students constantly with e-mail alerts can quickly become dysfunctional...that isn't to say that you can't effectively communicate with e-mail, but what if there were options? One option I find unique and eye grabbing is to embed a scrolling marquee in your course. I can hear the questions now...a what? A scrolling marquee. Very similar to what you see when you sit in Vegas at a betting agency trying to curb your nerves as you just realized that the star pitcher you banked on is out with a thumb nail injury and now your vacation home is down the drain (not that I've actually lived through this...but I've heard), that kind of scrolling marquee. That doesn't mean you need to fill it with up to the minute scores, but that does mean you can embed it in your course and fill it with useful content. It immediately appeals to users' senses as they enter the course and draws attention to the information. The one that I've used in my courses is gURL. When you link to the site scroll down to the bottom half and you can get the embed code for a scrolling marquee that travels horizontal or vertical, up to you. You can even tweak the code and adjust the font size and style, message, font color, which direction the message enters, etc...Envision your students entering your course at 10:30 p.m. after they have worked all day, managed through dinner, kids' homework, took a quick shower while putting a load of laundry in and then decided to sit down and enter the course you labored over to do some work. You need to be able to cut through the distractions and convey essential bits of information to make them as successful as possible, I think this can help. If you are uncertain how to embed content in Moodle this video can help, Embed Video In Moodle. I know it has video in the title, but it will work for this. This is a subtle adjustment that can make your course more appealing and interesting for students.