Friday, November 12, 2010

I have become completely enamored with animation for an online course. I don't know if it is a phase and will pass like my long hair in high school (wish I could grow that now) or if it has staying power. I am leaning toward it having staying power because when I reason it out in my head animation in an online course works, it adds a function that is worthwhile. Hear me out as I work through this. If you can create a short animated video that easily embeds to your online course would you? Or let me ask it this way , why wouldn't you? To date the ways I've seen colleagues use them and the way I've used them I think have aided in grabbing the students' attention and conveyed important message in a unique fashion. The animations I've created have been brief introductions that I place at the very top of my course in Moodle, right in the eye line of the students when they first enter the course. I've even placed them above the scrolling marquee (see previous blog post for that). I worry that the video with a marquee is sensory overload, but so far student feedback has conveyed that it grabs their attention when they log in and they feel compelled to read the marquee and watch the animation. The content I've added so far has been very brief. I've been setting up that week's material and reminding them of upcoming activities. I see this as an alternative to the plain text messages they would receive through a mass email or announcement page. It breaks up the mundane and adds some character and life to an online course. I like Toondoo when it comes to creating comic strips, but so far has been an easy animation freeware tool that works well in Moodle. There are many limitations to the free version, mainly in how creative you can be, but never the less it provides an engaging element to add to a course. Much of an online course can be text heavy. We require that students in an accelerated format read mass amounts from a textbook, journals, discussion posts, blog posts, wiki posts, etc...(and I am an advocate for all of these as instructional tools) that I would advocate that anytime you can enhance a course's design through alternative means you grab them. A brief animation that delivers a custom message is one way to break from the norm and still deliver content.