#AISMOOC, Week 1 Thoughts

I’m taking a MOOC. Maybe I should back up a bit. A few weeks ago I was looking over the course offerings at Coursera and one really got my attention. The  title alone, “Advanced Instructional Strategies in the Virtual Classroom”, while not something that rolls off the tongue, met a need that I feel I have.

As we explore new LMS’s and I work to support blended learning among my colleagues, I have really been hoping to find something like this. The course description was enough to convince me to sign up:

This course will help you ‘up’ your game and develop the advanced level skills and techniques that eludes even some of the most experienced virtual teachers. We will examine the pitfalls beginning teachers run into and learn how to overcome them by focusing on the fundamentals that have the greatest impact on student learning in a blended or online environment. Throughout the course you will have the opportunity to hear from a variety of experienced K-12 teachers and be challenged to assess your own skills and apply what you are learning by creating a guide, assignment or resource that you will be able to use in a class that you teach or hope to teach someday soon. By the end of the course you’ll not only have a better understanding of the basics; you’ll be able to put them together like a pro and empower your future students to be voracious learners who are ready to go out and make the world a better place to live.

There was a great deal of conversation among the participants this week, and the focus was on “Handling Direct Instruction”. Some of my biggest takeaways were the way the instructor used various methods of making the content more engaging and accessible:

  • We completed a cool ZeeMap with a list of all students including who we are, what we hope to learn, etc.
  • Chris (@clonghb) introduced the idea of using a metaphor as a guiding theme for your online course. This is a great idea and the fact that he used basketball won him tons of points in my book!
  • The quality of the video interludes was top-notch! Ireallywas struck by how easy it is to create this kind of video usingasmartphone and some simple software.
    • I loved how he used categories for the video content (these tie in to the metaphor he using for the course) — “Around the Net”, “Catch It”, etc.
  • There were tons of great readings and videos

Overall I’m having a great experience so far.

Dual Audio Output on OS X Using USB Headphones

Dual Output via USB on Mac OS X

This tutorial will show you how to change the settings on your Mac so it will output sound to two USB audio devices at the same time.

Open the spotlight menu by pressing Command and the Space Bar

Open the spotlight menu by pressing Command and the Space Bar

Type “midi” and then click on “Audio MIDI Setup”

Type "midi" and then click on "Audio MIDI Setup"

Click “+” and select “Create Aggregate Device”

Click "+" and select "Create Aggregate Device"

Check the boxes next to the headsets

Check the boxes next to the headsets

Click the triangle to the left of the Aggregate Device to expand the menu

Click the triangle to the left of the Aggregate Device to expand the menu

Click on the first headset, make sure it is set to “1ch-16bit Integer” and that the Volume slider is to the right

Repeat this step for the second device!

Click on the first headset, make sure it is set to "1ch-16bit Integer" and that the Volume slider is to the right

Make sure that you repeated the previous step for each device.

Seriously, it might not work if you skipped it.

Make sure that you repeated the previous step for each device.

Right-click on the “Aggregate Device” option and select “Use this device for sound output”

Right-click on the "Aggregate Device" option and select "Use this device for sound output"