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E-tivities (Second Edition)

E-tivities: The Key to Active Online Learning

Forward by Sir John Daniel

I am delighted that Gilly Salmon has decided to update this important book which, along with its highly successful companion E-Moderating, has done so much to improve the practice of e-Learning and render it enjoyable for both learners and teachers. With forecasts suggest that 80% of US students will be taking courses online in 2014 and the rest of the world going down the same track, this new edition is very timely.

Online learning was in its infancy in most institutions when the first edition was published in 2002. The most common model for creating e-Learning courses was that individual academics created online versions of their regular classroom offerings – with as much or as little help as their institution saw fit to provide. Tony Bates called this the ‘Lone Ranger’ model and argued that it was unlikely to produce consistent quality at the course level or coherent programmes.

Since those days online learning has achieved much greater maturity. Realizing the importance of online teaching to their future strategies, institutional leaders are now providing more effective frameworks for course development and student support.

Meanwhile technology marches on. The first edition of E-tivities was published in the same year as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) held the forum that coined the term Open Educational Resources (OER). The subsequent decade has seen the burgeoning of OER worldwide and the development of increasingly powerful tools for locating OER of relevance to a particular course. Today creating online courses is more about finding and adapting good OER than developing original content from scratch.

At the same time the social media have strongly reinforced the role of interactivity in online learning – what was called ‘computer-mediated conferencing’ at the time of the first edition.

These changes have combined to lead teachers to take naturally to the ideas of learning design, something that few bothered with a decade back. This new edition of E-tivities feeds that trend perfectly. It is easy to say that the Lone Ranger method of course development should give way to a team approach – less easy to show staff how to take that on. Gilly Salmon has a spent a decade researching and testing approaches to make this transition both productive and enjoyable.

These results are presented in Chapter Five in particular, where the Latin term carpe diem (seize the day) captures the idea that every moment of the time that teams are being trained together should be spent on designing something that could be put into immediate use with participants. With this technique developing learning with technology is no longer a ‘solo’ activity but rather a design and ‘ecological’ experience.

The name of Gilly Salmon has become synonymous with effective, exciting and interactive eLearning. I am delighted that she has taken the trouble to share her most recent thinking and experience in this book and I commend it to a wide readership.

Sir John Daniel
28th January 2013

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E-tivities (Second Edition) book cover

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"At a time when higher education is struggling to take advantage of the many technological innovations available to it, this timely and thought-provoking 2nd edition of E-tivities envisions a new way to deliver curriculum. The book is written in a user friendly and accessible style, challenging thinking not to merely shift from ‘traditional’ teaching to technologically supported learning, but to re-think the learning process and conceptualise content and delivery differently, in an e-form. Making a sound conceptual argument, the author makes exceptional use of case studies and guided thinking for the development of e-tivities, including the use of open educational resources. This is a must read not only for the practitioner wanting to change, but for institutional leaders as well."

Craig Mahoney,
Chief Executive, Higher Education Academy, UK

"Everywhere I go in the world I meet people grateful for the first edition of this book. With even more e-tivities and wise advice, built on years of experience, this second edition will have us all going back for more, to further improve our online teaching and support."

Diana Laurillard
Professor of Learning with Digital Technology, London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education, UK

"If the collective wisdom of the past few decades of online learning could be distilled and condensed into one easy-to-read book, it would be this one. As Gilly Salmon shows, there is no end to the technological tools that can be incorporated into one’s online courses and programs. However, there is also no need to be lost, frustrated, or uncertain when working in online environments. The second edition of E-tivities is a powerful guide, which lays out an immense set of possibilities while offering a framework in which to make sense of them all.”—Curt Bonk, President of CourseShare, LLC, and Professor of Instructional Systems Technology in the School of Education at Indiana University, USA"

Curt Bonk

Scroll down to see ...

... much more about E-tivities below, including extracts from the book.


E-tivities’ is the name I give to frameworks for enabling active and participative online learning by individuals and groups.

E-tivities’ is the name I give to frameworks for enabling active and participative online learning by individuals and groups. E-tivities are important for the online teaching and learning world because they deploy useful, well-rehearsed principles and pedagogies for learning and your choice of networked technologies.
E-tivities do not remove the help and input of the more knowable human – the people I called the ‘e-moderators’ - but make their work more productive. E-moderators focus on contributing, providing, reworking, interpreting and combining the knowledge. E-tivities over turn the idea that learning depends on one big expert and his/her conveying of knowledge.
E-tivities enable enjoyable and productive online learning for the greatest number of participants at the lowest cost. E-tivities are highly scalable. E-tivities are based on the strong idea that knowledge is constructed by learners through and with others. Such processes can happen through online environments just as well as in physical or formal learning and teaching environments, probably better. They work well combined with campus and real-world environments.
In this edition of the e-tivities book, you will find the original e-tivities research and the learning that has emerged from extensive and intensive 12 years of practice, so you can design and deliver e-tivities for yourself, easily, quickly and effectively.

E-tivities were first developed using text-based computer-mediated environments such as bulletin boards or forums. That’s the easiest place to start. I go on to describe how to use them for many other technology platforms. Once you get the idea, you will be able to use them in many different ways.
Learning resources and materials (what people once called ‘content’) are involved in the design and delivery of e-tivities but these are to provide a stimulus or a start (the ‘spark’) to the interaction and participation rather than as the focus of the activity. So e-tivities give us the final break-point from the time-consuming ‘writing’ of online courses.
In the 2nd edition of E-Tivities 2013, some 10 plus years after its first publication, the world of both digital futures and e-learning has changed dramatically. Yet the demand for more active, engaging and collaborative learning activities in learning has only increased in expectation and need. The 2nd edition of E-Tivities reflects these changes and meet the needs of an increasingly mobile, agile and quantum generation of learner.

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Find and take part in the e-tivities foot print and community on the web – they are dynamic, so keep checking come back often. The limks are below ...

Scoop It
Digital curation of content for designing and implementing e-tivities. More categories will be added over time.
E-tivities on Scoop It (link)

Facebook Page
Create a Community of Practice around Online Learning Knowledge Generation and Sharing.
Gilly Salmon Online Learning (link)

Connect with Gilly Salmon
@gillysalmon (link)

Keep up to date with news and events, get involved with blogging projects, networking and knowledge sharing on Gilly Salmons’s web page:
Gilly Salmon Website (link)

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About E-tivities

E-tivities are for:
at least two people working and learning together in some way, and usually many more participants who are not in the same locations. But e-tivities are also easily combined with location-based learning and teaching activities
a wide range of people, including those with disabilities who can be assisted through the technologies. The more diverse, the better the e-tivities work.
everyone: e-tivities have attracted the interest of learning designers, academics, teachers and trainers from many sectors and levels of education
E-tivities are:

designed in advance of the participants’ online arrival
quick and easy to produce, making the work of the tutor, or the person I call the e-moderator, much faster, easier and productive
suitable for entirely online programmes, for integrated and blended learning, mobile learning and everything in between
cheap to create and run
scalable and customizable
efficient for designers, participants and e-moderators
reusable and easy to try out, recycle, reuse and change: they improve the more they are deployed and adapted

E-tivities are valuable for:
- forming a whole course or programme when sequenced with care
- also useful if you want to try out one or two online activities
- encouraging a very wide variety of contributions and perspectives and for tapping into participants’ up-to-date ideas and authentic experiences
- replacing or supporting all other learning and teaching methods
any discipline, professional or field of learning, and for all topics

The purposes of e-tivities are to:
enable academics, designers, curriculum developers and teachers to design for online participation by their students
provide learners with an effective scaffold to support them in achieving the learning outcomes
enable learners and e-moderators to work together on key learning resources
promote a learner-centred, task or problem-based approach to online learning (moving away from content-centric design)
challenge and motivate participants to critique, contribute, review and consolidate ideas in a focused way
increase learner engagement
save staff time
make the course productive and fun
easily deploy the newer technologies, such as social media
easily find purposeful ways of using freely available, topical and/or fun resources within the learning design
incorporate sound pedagogical principles quickly into teaching and learning, including into large scale online approaches such as MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)

To design e-tivities you need to:
have a way of thinking about the purpose and process of each e-tivity, and get it into draft format (the storyboard)
work out how to place it ultimately into a learning sequence (the scaffold)
write it in a way so that it can be placed online and participants can follow it (the invitation)

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Table of Contents

“Today, new learners, young, old and in between, are connected at the speed of light. Every individual is a node on a learning network.
We can call them the Quantum Generation: They are making a quantum leap into an increasingly complex digital world.”
Professor Gilly Salmon, 2013

The book is in two parts: Introducing E-tivities and Resources for practitioners.

Part I: Introducing e-tivities

Chapter 1. E-tivities for active online learning

Chapter 2. E-tivities in the five-stage model

Chapter 3. Creating e-tivities

Chapter 4. Choices: The technology spectrum

Chapter 5. Deploying e-tivities: A team approach

Part II: Resources for practitioners

1. Ideas for e-tivities
2. Creativity and e-tivities
3. Using other people’s digital materials (OERs)

Designing e-tivities
4. First-time e-tivity designer and e-moderator
5. E-tivity exemplars
6. E-tivity continuum

7. E-tivity planning
8. Building programmes and processes with e-tivities
9.Time estimates
10. Counting the delivery time

Writing Invitations
11. Correspondence protocol
12. Learning 'Netspeak'

Development and Improvement
13. Building motivating e-tivities
14. Online emotions
15. More intelligent e-tivities
16. Disabilities and e-tivities

Participants' Experience
17. Contributions
18. Patterns of participation
19. Flow and e-tivities
20. E-tivity feedback and plenaries

Carpe Diem
21. The Carpe Diem process
22. Becoming a Cape Diem facilitator
23. The Carpe Diem planning process
24. Reality checkers

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The 5 stage model

The 5 stages of the model are:

1. Access & Motivation
2. Socialisation
3. Information exhange
4. Knowledge Construction
5. Development

Brief descriptions of each of the stages are below

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Stage 1: Access & Motivation

The first essential stage.

At Stage 1, our new online learner Mo is still transitioning into his cloud-based learning environment. Mo is used to being able to access learning everywhere and integrated into his everyday life and commitments: mobile, transportable and inter connected across time, location, culture and experience. He knows technical help is available if needed. His e-Moderator is ready to welcome Mo as he begins his learning journey, and his peers are curious about who will be there.

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Stage 2: Socialisation

Leave this one out at your peril!

At Stage 2, Mo is advancing into his network and greeting the concept of connectedness. Participants bring their own luggage, anxieties, hopes and experiences. The e-moderator acts as a host through the framework and web of e-tivities. Participants experience online socialization and creating the basis of their very own micro community.

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Stage 3: Information exchange

This is where interaction is encouraged.

At stage 3, Mo gets stuck into information exchange and achieving co-operative tasks. Mo interacts with his e-moderator and with the ‘sparks’ to start the dialogues for the e-tivities but increasingly gains confidence and benefit from his peers in his learning group. He starts to learn to manage his time.

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Stage 4: Knowledge Construction

The stage where great learning takes place.

By stage 4, Mo is increasingly able to take control of his own learning. He has become an integral member in the knowledge construction community of knowledge, and is valued for his key role in the group. The e-moderator provides guides but most of all is one of the 'foreman' on the site. She integrates the different construction elements and helps in heading participants toward the completion of their projects.

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Stage 5: Development

Confidently the learner can move on.

At stage 5, Mo is confident as an online learner and member of his group. He is able to build on the ideas acquired through the e-tivities and apply and integrate them into his own context and work place. He enjoys looking back and learning afresh from the whole experience and preparing to set out on new journeys. He deploys his new knowledge to demonstrate achievements in assessment.

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E-tivity Framework: The Invitation

A full extract from the book follows on ' How to create an invitation'

Each Invitation would start with a sequencing number 2.4 indicating the week number and the task number . In this case Week two, fourth task.

Title This is an enticement to open the invitation to take part. A very brief descriptor. Be inventive but keep it very short.

Purpose Explain. If you complete this e-tivity you will be able to ..
You will understand how better how to ..
You will find it essential for assignment X.
Use verbs.
Link directly with your ourcomes and or objectives and/or objectives for the unit, module, course and programme.

Brief summary of the overall task Clear brief instructions on what to do.
If you have more than one major activity split it.
When you have written this part, check the task is self-contained.

Spark To light the fire for the topic, interesting little intervention.
Directly link with topic for this week...
Opportunity to expose 'content' but with the purpose of a spark to start a dialogue with others.

Individual contribution Give clear instructions to the individual participant as to what he or she should do in response to the spark.
Specify exactly what you are expecting the participant tpo do in what media (eg Wiki, discussion board, audio file etc) and by when ie the day abd date. Tell them the length of the contribution expected. create a link from this part of the invitation to the location for posting.

Dialogue begins Request response from an individual to others, what kind of response, how long, where and by when.
Key point: students come online to see if others have read and responded. Make this happen.

E-moderator interventions Clearly indicate what the e-moderator will do and when. The e-moderator will, summarise, give feedback and teaching points and close the e-tivity, and when.

Schedule & time Total calendar/elapsed time allowed for this e-tivity. Completion date. Estimatetotal study time required eg 2x1 hours.

Next Link to next e-tivity.

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Resources for practitioners - Stage 1 Access & motivation

Access & Motivation
At this stage offer easy e-tivities that are quickly achieved while giving practice in the use of the technology. E-moderators might sometimes have to offer a little one-to-one help and acknowledgement to ensure positive attitudes towards the start of the experience.

If you are planning to assess the experience, process or journey of online learning, as well as outcomes, encourage regular ‘point of learning’ individual or group reflections from Stage 1 onwards. Participants may not see the value of them at this point so will need fairly structured opportunities to reflect. However, they will set up a good spark for later use.

If you are feeling adventurous, try adding a social media platform or two from Stage 1 onwards (see Chapter 4).

Each of these will take around two to three weeks online. They are easy to set up and run, and will enable your participants to get to know each other, to contribute rather than ‘lurk’, and to become more familiar with the platform in use in a fairly safe and fun way. Participants can be encouraged to find others with similar interests to share ideas online, as well as to find learning partners who have different kinds of ideas and support to offer. Sharing and support will encourage more serious topics and discussions.

Ask each participant to put up a maximum of one screenful that reveals a little about them. Offer them a possible structure, such as the choice of three or four from job, home location, personal interests, family, what they hope to get out of the course, what they hope to put in, something they’re good at, and something they need to get better at. They could offer their learning styles or best contributions to team roles, if they know them. When every participant has contributed, set up a little quiz, based on the group, with a prize: for example, who has twin girls? Who has a spaniel dog? Who lives in X area? Who works in company Y as a product manager? Publicize the quiz and offer a prize (a useful mobile app?) for the most accurate response, or the fastest, or both.

Ask each participant to post a URL into the conference that tells the group’s members something about themselves. Put one up about yourself. Triggers might be a hobby, a personal Web, Facebook or Linkedin site, an organizational or corporate site, a picture of a favorite beach, rock band, a country, a book, and so on. Ask each person to post a message saying why they have chosen to share their particular URL with other participants. Run this e-tivity for a week or so only and then archive it.

You could set up a Flickr stream or similar site for everyone’s links and pictures. Or try a visual ‘recommendations’ site such as Pinterest.

If you really want something visual, look up software that offers opportunities for ‘self-portraits’.

Organize participants into pairs and get them to combine their images in a new way. Run a fun e-tivities showing how images can reflect everyday life, or life reflect art – use sparks from your subject.

My brand
Ask the participants to mention a brand and illustration of something that they always use and what it says about them. Start a discussion on these brands.

Hall of mirrors
Explain how Web or Facebook sites of organizations often present a more up-to-date image of them than their annual reports, brochures or other print-based publications do. Post five sites and call it ‘The Hall of Mirrors’. Ask participants to take a wander round them and post a message saying one or two of the following:

What are the similarities between the sites?
Which one would encourage them to buy online and why?
Which one would put them off buying the product or service and why?
Which one made them feel confident and which one made them feel nervous?
What is the brand’s footprint in social media?
Does this brand use other social media to present itself?

Think of further questions. Allow participants, say, one week to respond, and then run a discussion on the similarities and differences in responses.

‘Give’ each participant a fantasy $200/$1,000/$100,000 to ‘spend’ online. Allow them one week to wander around the Web and say in a message what they would buy with this sum (and why). If you want to make it course related, they can investigate products that are relevant to your topic, such as online courses for educators, images for art students, and so on. Start a discussion on the different choices. Has anyone chosen to make money with their $200 rather than spend it? Who has spent it on themselves and who on others? Who has bought goods and who purchased a service?

Post a URL, Google map or street view showing a great location in your home country (for holidays or business). Ask each participant to find and post a URL showing another great location. Get each person to say what they would do or purchase on a visit to this country. Start a discussion on country specialties and global brands.

Ask participants to describe their study area or perhaps the view from the window. These are much more ‘telling’ and comfortable than filling in a profile or saying something ‘interesting’ about themselves.

Using visual mapping software of many kinds is very productive for learning and sharing online. Explore ideas of borders and boundaries and crossing them.

Introduce the power of diagramming for simple ideas at this stage - it’ll stand them in great stead throughout the programme and for when concepts become more complex, interactive and adaptive.

Try crossing other boundaries and disciplines, e.g. the impact of art on science.

Do you get the idea? Here are some more:

Explore the nature of success on the course.
Each participant offers a contribution to the ‘netiquette’ of the group. Build a commonly agreed list of the contributions.
Ask participants to look out of a window and relate a topic – say, critical path analysis, or leadership styles, or decision making – to natural objects such as trees or human-made objects such as traffic furniture. Go with the flow. This works!
Offer a learning styles or team roles inventory (watch you don’t infringe anyone’s copyright). Ask participants to discuss their styles and how they think their styles will manifest themselves in the online environment.
Ask participants what single thing would improve the quality of their online communication. Who could help to achieve this?
Set up a ‘skills and knowledge’ market. Each participant states the help that he or she would like from one other participant. In return, they agree to help one other person.
Set up a ‘discovery’ area for participants to publish their own tips and tricks on the technology. But edit it so it does not become a ‘whinge’ area!
Offer key ideas (we call them ‘footprints’) developed by previous participants in the course. Ask new arrivals to explore the ideas.
What would you do with one million ping pong balls? (A good practice question on Twitter).
What is eco-tourism?
How can we describe perfumes and smells online.
Ask each participant to acknowledge, congratulate or celebrate the contribution of one other participant.
Ask participants to offer tips for ‘surviving online learning’.
Ask participants to say what they would be doing now if they weren’t working online.
Ask pairs to interview each other by Skype and introduce each other to the group.
Ask each person to name a famous person from their locality (town, country) and tell us one significant piece of information about this person. Is the information on Wikipedia accurate (or are they mentioned at all - if not, there’s an opportunity).
What’s the main method of public transport in your city? Why has it dominated?
Ask participants to mention when they first received a computer on their desk or in their home, and the circumstances. When did they first hear the term ‘Superhighway’ or ‘World Wide Web’ and from whom?
As children, what were your participants’ favourite games or toys? Set them up in groups to invent one for a 21st Century digital child.

Continuity and change
As you design Level 1 and 2 e-tivities it’s good to start with the end in mind.

If you are using Carpe Diem (see Chapter 5), such planning will naturally occur during your storyboarding. But even if you’re designing without the full Carpe Diem process, try putting your learning outcomes and assessments in first, then plan your e-tivities sequencing.

Do insist that participants make a note of what they hope, plan and expect to acquire and achieve by taking part and critically what they believe they can offer to others. Remind them to revisit at various points.

Many good Level 5 e-tivities can be set up at Level 1 and developed throughout the course. For example, ask participants to establish their understandings and share them at the very beginning, record them simply in an e-portfolio or personal space tool - then revisit them, and share key insights at this stage. Offer them simple personal development tools (there are many online - see ‘Mindtools' for example) to help.

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Resources for practitioners - Stage 2 Socialisation

E-tivities at this stage are about getting to know each other, establishing a group to work with and understanding the approach that the group or community will take. Try to use humour, but watch for issues of equality that might arise from it

There are two main kinds of e-tivity: those that are about getting to know each other, and those that clearly look to the learning work that is to come. Many participants will feel impatient with the first type so such e-tivities may need to be disguised a little. For example, one of the most successful e-tivities I have run with a very varied multi-cultural group was to ask about their favourite dish of food and why it was important to them. The discussion ran for several weeks and ranged from traditions of meals to cultural festivals. The group bonded in a rare and productive way.

Try to use innovative ways to enable participants to get to know about each other and to be able to form effective learning teams. You may think that some of these suggestions are too lightweight for adult groups. However, one or two of them, carefully chosen, will help establish the group and lead to more in-depth knowledge sharing and learning later on. The following suggestions all work:

Introduce yourself using six descriptive words.
What are the most popular given names in your culture? Ask each person to explain the origin of his/her name, the reason it was chosen and any special cultural significance.
If you were an animal, what would you be? Can we make up a farmyard, zoo, circus or jungle? Create a little free video?
What musical instruments do you play? Can we form a band or orchestra with our skills and experience? There are mobile apps …
Do you have any domestic pets? Why did you choose this kind of animal? What would happen if our pets met each other? How did you choose their names?
If we were setting up a business, what could you contribute? What products would you like to make or what processes would you like to start?
Offer one website or blog that illustrates your favourite hobby.
If you were leaving to go on holiday or a business trip what three essential items would you put in your suitcase? What kind of packer are you? Do you throw everything in and sit on the case? Do you have one or two specially selected items, carefully folded …. or what? Compare the similarities and differences.
What’s your favourite smell? Can you describe it online? Why is it important to you?
What’s the most important lesson life has taught you up until now: starting this education programme, working in this company or living in this place?
Do you play online games? What have you learnt about working in groups from them?
How do you relax?
Offer a cartoon or humorous picture. Ask for reactions.
In what circumstances do you behave ‘safely’ and when might you take ‘risks’? Can we find common categories?
What’s your favourite town? Take us on a virtual tour of it …. massive of sites and opportunities (don’t forget Second Life). Each participant comments on whether they have visited for real or virtually.
What’s your favourite journey? Take us along it. Use Google maps or Streetview. Start a discussion based on some feature you see along the way.
What’s the plot of your favourite novel? (Try this with Twitter or other microblogging platforms with restricted words or characters). Compare and contrast the different plots.
What items would you put in your virtual shopping basket and why? Are there similarities and differences in the group?
What’s your favourite word/expression and why? Can we build them into a story? If you’re brave try Twitter stories.
If we were to have a fancy dress party, what theme would you choose for this group? What would you come as? What periods of history/literature/continents of the world do we represent?
Who’s your favourite actor and why? Have we all chosen different people?
Who’s the person you’d most like to meet from your discipline and why? What would she/he say about working online?
Who’s the historical figure you most identify with and why? Would they like the Internet? How would they use it?
If you were offered a soapbox, what would you talk about? Could you condense the points into 50 words? (or whatever the number of characters your microblogging software offers)
What’s your favourite gadget and why? Will it help you communicate on this course?
What would you like to see invented and why? Are you sure it’s not already on YouTube?
What traditional performing art forms are in your culture (Brits can try explaining the traditional winter pantomime to people who have never seen one!).
What was your proudest moment? (most embarrassing could be hilarious …. but risky!)
If I ruled the world. . .

Try to tap into issues that explore similarities and differences across cultures, learning and upbringing. Try also to include at least one e-tivity that taps into senses other than those involved in typing, posting and uploading and reading. We have found the following especially powerful:

My favourite music. Explore sources and roots of different kinds. Offer websites, ITunesU or YouTube links so participants can listen and exchange ideas.
My favourite food. If you could live on one dish only, what would it be? What key food do you remember from your childhood? What special dishes are made in your home town?
Online wine tasting. Each participant has a glass by his or her keyboard. They describe and discuss the taste, and the origin of the wine.
What’s the best excuse you’ve heard for the late submission of a piece of work that is to be assessed?
If we were designing a physical classroom for our group, what features would be important? Where would it be located in the world and why?
Highlight a topical issue that is relevant to your course. Ask participants to take positions as stakeholders.
Share silly extrapolations: for example, ‘The number of Elvis Presley impersonators has reached an all-time record high – there are now at least 85,000 Elvis’s around the world, compared to only 170 in 1957 when he died. At this rate of growth, experts predict that by 2019 Elvis impersonators will make up a third of the world population.’ Are the ‘facts’ correct? Does anyone really think this will happen?

Cross cultures
If you have a wide variety of participants located all over the world, then you have special opportunities for exploring many aspects of diverse cultures and of globalization. You may be able to introduce these as socialization exercises at Stage 2 and carry the themes and outcomes through to Stages 3 and 4.

Where is your nearest branch of Starbucks or McDonalds? What kind of buildings or streets are around it? Show us on Streetview. What conclusions can be drawn?
Do you drive on the left or right? Why? Should it be changed?
What are the problems and benefits of the transport systems in your country? What is the preferred mode of transport? How is it funded?
Does your country have a national dress or costume? Have you ever worn it and when?
Everyone contributes the words ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ or ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ in their mother languages. Use voice boards and say them. Build a list and try using them out of politeness during the course.

Try offering little scenarios for discussion. These can prepare groups for more demanding case studies at Stage 4. For example:

You return from a vacation. Your car is parked in the street surrounded by policemen. What has happened?
You are responsible for marking examination papers for this course. You notice that one candidate appears to have produced answers to completely different questions to those set. What might have happened here?
You have lived in the same apartment for 10 years. It’s very quiet. Suddenly the building starts to make a noise at night. What might be happening?

At this stage, participants will probably want to see photographs of each other. Don’t be in too much of a rush to offer this. Run an e-tivity on how a fixed photograph may give a stereotypical view of a participant, or of their personality or mood.

If you do go for photos or little videos at Stage 2, encourage people to post several in different moods and styles, with some personal commentary.

The student group will probably want to introduce some social media at this stage, if you haven’t. Encourage participants to set up a personal profile and take responsibility for the networking for a social media course site if they wish. You can suggest some basic rules, e.g. inclusivity, avoidance of plagiarism.

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Resources for practitioners - Stage 3 Information exchange

At this stage e-tivities that can gradually encourage participants to take more personal responsibility for their active learning and interacting are helpful. In invitational messages try and suggest and model strategies for active online learning. Most participants will still need help to handle masses of response messages and to find and personalize who and what they wish to work with. The moderator role shifts from the ‘host’ role at Stage 2, to the archive, summarize and feedback role at Stage 3

Great thinkers
Using the great thinkers from your disciplines can be great sparks for e-tivities. Here are some examples that we have tried:

Start repositories of references, run an e-tivity so everyone contributes and comments. You could include TED and Kahn Academy videos if they wish. The site will soon build up.
Offer text, audio or video of great speeches. Participants condense them into 12 words and discuss the meanings, and share them (use a micro blog perhaps).
Suggest key concepts from your course for writing and sharing their own ‘speech’. Maybe a little video of them presenting it (keep to two minutes!).
Ask for ‘postcard’ messages from one of the people from your discipline whom you admire: for example, individual explorers or inventors. (Twitter is the new ‘postcard’, or try text messages on mobiles). How would participants respond?
Considering the history of your discipline - are there more men or women mentioned in textbooks? Consider the implications and discuss them.
Ask each participant to undertake a piece of research on a well-known figure from your discipline, and build an interest site. Start to introduce the importance of good referencing and evidencing.
Ask participants to think of questions that they would like to ask, and then role-play interviewing each other as these figures. Post the results of the interviews for everyone to see.

Stage 3 is a good time and place for skill development. Try these:

Find and try out keyboard tutors. See which ones increase typing speeds. Share the results of your research and see who can improve their typing speed.
Practice summarizing information, for example the theory of relativity in 12 words.
Practice summarizing sets of messages from Stages 2 and 3.
Undertake ‘compare and contrast’ research. Develop a set of criteria for good or bad sites, or good or bad mobile apps for your course, or more or less relevant, or more or less useful. Then, using the criteria, each participant selects one and indicates how he or she would evaluate it. Encourage discussion and challenge.
Ask each participant or small group to undertake research on a topic and report back to the group. Lead a plenary discussion on the results.

Investigating and comparing and contrasting electronic resources works really well at Stage 3. Try the following:

Investigate the best way for teams to work online, share ideas and evaluate them.
Try out some online competitive and collaborative games.
If you were advising a well known writer from your topic, what would you say about the layout and content of his/her book? What’s missing? What’s out of date? Each participant finds an free-to-use online resource or mobile app that might support one part of the course.
Ask one participant to identify three websites or mobile apps of use to the group, and post an evaluation of each one. Another participant then visits each of the three and comments on the sufficiency of the evaluation, and adds his or her views and so on. The e-moderator summarizes. Works best on a wiki.

Preferred and viable Futures
Introduce a range of e-tivities to show how there is not just one future for your subject, but a range - some more desirable than others.
Are there any scenarios about futures for your discipline? What are they called? Who thinks they offer a likely, viable or preferred view or less desirable futures?
Try getting people to look back and gain insights … leading to foresight. (See the example timeline e-tivities on page XX).
Explore trends and extrapolate them.
Investigate what happened to what appeared to be amazing innovations that failed.
What happened suddenly and unexpectedly in your discipline and acted as a ‘gamechanger’?

‘Big’ data sets
You might be wishing to introduce your participants to exploration of big data sets for your discipline. Now is the moment. We’ve found that e-tivities where participants first explore in small sub-sets and then share their findings with others is a very good way to start. This process also enables skill development in the platforms.

Set up help areas to reduce the pressure on help desks and encourage skills and techniques sharing.

Evaluation processes are usually good value for e-tivities. Try these:

‘Reversal’ - what would happen if we did the opposite of what’s advised by an authority?
What are the ‘seminal’ books or papers for your areas of expertise? Why do you think they became so important? What’s dropped away over the years and why?
For your course, in what ways has online learning contributed or detracted from some criteria – say scalability, accessibility, costs.

Try holding structured meetings (in say virtual classrooms) to reach decisions, such as:

Political debates.
Mock board meetings.
Lobby groups.
Voting on issues.
Discussions, buzz or focus groups.
Simulations or role plays.

Take stances on key issues. For example, present a contentious issue: try ‘introducing e-learning’ or pick two sides of an argument for your topic. Divide participants into groups: for example, skeptics, wild enthusiasts, serious enthusiasts, pragmatists (it’s going to happen, so how will we do it?). Run a plenary taking the key issues, and solutions from each. Try this in a virtual classroom where there are good voting tools.

Creative techniques
Here are some creative techniques:

Delphi techniques.
Nominal group techniques.

Promote ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking through simple e-tivity design:

Imagine that better treatment for human bones and joints means that walking (Zimmer) frames are no longer needed. What could we do with all the Zimmer frames in the world?
Try cybernetics (comparisons between human-made and biological objects). Offer a topic, and then each participant illustrates examples of five items from his or her desk. Try to ‘force-fit’ connections and see if they offer new insights into the topic.
Start a ‘round robin’ story. Start by offering two sentences relevant to your course. Each participant adds a sentence.
Investigate why we still use ‘analogue’ time, i.e. hours and minutes. How could the world go to digital time?

Try posting intriguing questions from any relevant topic of your choice. Or try to choose something that is simply one word or phrase. It works best if there are many different interpretations and perhaps a YouTube video, website or mobile app to explore. You will need very good summaries when the questions are answered, and a plenary to explore the meaning and usefulness of the information.

For example, we asked these about the word ‘Titanic’:

Where do we get valid information from?
Why was there such a belief in the unsinkable nature of the Titanic?
How many people did a lifeboat hold (and why)?
Where did the Titanic sail from?
What kind of people were on board?
Has the Titanic been raised from the sea?
How many people survived the disaster? What kind of people were they?
How many movies have been made about the sinking of the Titanic?
What does the word ‘Titanic’ mean?
Who holds the rights to the sunken treasure?
Who directed the film Raise the Titanic?
Where is the Titanic Museum?
What was the name of the character that Kate Winslett played in one Titanic film?
Did the captain go down with the ship?
Who rescued the survivors?
Can you play or sing any of the music from the last night of the Titanic?
What did they eat on the last night?

Try getting participants to brainstorm questions as well as answers too. When I’ve run this it’s lead onto a very wide range of discussions well beyond the ‘facts’, e.g. moral issues, gender relationships, weather forecasting, domino human errors, social class, historical perspectives, variability of the mass media, and many more.

History harvests and artifacts
Encourage your participants to collect and contribute stories from their community history, especially with a picture of some artifact. These work brilliantly as sparks for all kinds of e-tivities and discussions and in different disciplines (Parry, 2012).

What If
Level 2 is a great moment to encourage ‘out of the box’ thinking and have some fun. A good warm-up for more difficult knowledge sharing is to encourage participants to consider the extremes involved.

Ask what are the consequences if:

The world ran out of paper.
The internet crashed.
Exams are banned.
There were no university campuses.
Add your own from your topic here … (but think extreme).

If you and your participants wish, they can discuss the likelihood of the event happening, but the main purpose is to start extreme thinking about consequences.

From Stage 3 onwards, you might want to introduce selective use of an ‘outsider’, such as a topic expert to the group to stimulate discussion. To maximise the use of their time, build them into e-tivity processes and be specific about what you want them to do and when! Ask participants to practice their questioning and summarizing skills.

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Resources for practitioners Stage 4 - Knowledge construction

Your participants should be working well together by this point.

Structured teams
You can start to run ‘snowball’-type e-tivities, with smaller groups merging into bigger ones. You can explore structures of effective work teams and specific roles such as Chair, resource finder, recorder, summarizer, reviewer, critic and time-keeper. Try some action learning sets for e-tivities, with participant-led e-moderating and team leading. If you haven’t already, try out one or two new platforms for ‘working together’.

At this stage in a course or process, it’s important to introduce conceptual models, ideas and theories for examination, exploration and application. In e-tivity processes, make it clear that the purpose of the e-tivity is not necessarily looking for consensus or closure, but wide exploration of issues.

Take a key diagram, model or concept from your course or discipline. Ask each participant to apply it, or find examples. Compare and contrast between the examples offered. Draw it online and collectively improve it.
Take a key concept and apply it in a new way.
Take a key concept and demonstrate the extent to which it does or does not apply to a particular case example.

Participants can very usefully adopt a variety of ‘positions’ online to cover multiple perspectives. Here are some ideas:

Take a key concept or model and explore how people belonging to different professions would apply it, such as that of physician, lawyer, politician or teacher.
Cases: case studies and problem-based learning work well at this point.
Introduce staged case-study information with questions.
Introduce challenging problems with a variety of solutions.
Ask participants to produce plans for action based on limited amounts of information, for example a marketing plan, a business plan, a product launch.
Use scenarios for the future. Offer two or three different cameos of how your discipline will look in the future, for example different types of schools, new technologies for medicine, virtual performing arts. Prompt discussion on the adequacy and implications of these scenarios. If you’ve got a 3D virtual world, you can create a new immersive environment and run virtual world e-tivities in it.

Encourage all forms of reviewing and summarizing:

Ask individual participants, teams or groups to undertake investigation of one topic or area to contribute to a whole piece of work or report.
Ask individual participants, teams or groups to undertake summarizing, critiquing and combining information.
Offer e-tivities that rework ideas or discussions using techniques such as concept mapping.
Encourage them to use all available media to offer summaries, e.g. in Twitter.

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Resources for practioners - Stage 5 Development.

At this stage try to allow the maximum amount of choice. Ensure that all the summaries and archives are available for participants to use as resources. Accountability and responsibility are more important at this stage than ‘content’. However, the usual approach to pacing and timescales should continue.

For Stage 5 I’ve suggested ideas that focus on self-reflection and evaluation of the learning. However many of these approaches can also be used for teacher or peer-led assessment. Almost all of them can form part of a written report or essay that can be used for formative or summative assessment. In this way the maximum amount of alignment between learning, planned learning outcomes and assessment can be achieved.

Offer essays, reports or collated web or social media sites from previous students on the course (with permission or disguised, of course) and run an e-tivity on how participants would have marked, assessed and graded them.

Offer e-tivities to consider the evaluation of both the learning that has occurred, and the knowledge that has been generated. By all means, enable them to understand how to give constructive feedback.

Try 360-degree evaluation or assessment – each participant asks another three participants specific questions about their experience of working together. Encourage participants to explore how they judge their success.
Go back to expectations at the beginning of the course. Would participants change them if starting again? To what extent have their expectations been met and why?
Would the group have worked differently if it had met physically too? If so, in what way?
Encourage them to open up their e-portfolios (or part of them) to other learners for comments.

Explore the technology in use:

If the group were designing an online environment, what would it need?
What one new feature in the technology would have helped with learning?
How did the participants succeed in spite of a barrier created by the technology?
How would they put together the various platforms in use in the course to make them more personal, more inclusive, more accessible?

Encourage reflection on the overall experience. Ask participants to use their e-portfolios or blogs if you have them.

Ask participants to review one of their own messages and rework it to show how they would like it to appear now.
Try asking for examples of various concepts to be picked out, or summaries or further conclusions to be drawn from earlier e-tivities.
Ask for action plans – offer some structure and feedback.
Ask for personal development plans – offer some structure and feedback.
Give masses of feedback and constructive criticism. Encourage participants to offer this to each other too.
Ask individuals and groups to offer a ‘footprint’ (a piece of knowledge, new idea, special insight) to be offered to others starting the course afresh. Ask groups to agree the footprint statement between them.
Ask participants to review all posted messages and to comment on what helped to move the discussion along and what did not.
Ask participants to comment on the roles they each adopted.
Ask participants to articulate the emotions they felt at various points in the course, and why.

If developing skills in reflection is a purpose, you could try collecting these up:

Ask each participant to summarize from their perspective what transpired during the e-tivity for him or her.
Then they e-mail the summary to you as the e-moderator. After you’ve received them all, you can (with their permission) summarize and post them into a group area and ask them to discuss their respective perspectives and interpretations.
At this point, either individual or group writing for assessment could take place.

If your participants understand a concept or topic better because of taking part in an e-tivity, you’ll find that they will express satisfaction in the experience in some way. Try asking them what they would do differently as a result of taking part in the e-tivities as a form of assessment. You can also build this kind of self-assessment into an e-tivity. Your institutional Learning Management System (LMS)/Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) will offer the opportunity to embed feedback quizzes and tests into e-tivities. These can be useful to start an e-tivity off as a spark for discussion, or to give occasional fast feedback to participants as part of regular pacing.

Futures Techniques
Scenario development
Trend analysis

Are all easy to turn into e-tivities or e-tivities sequences. Lead discussions about impact, preferred and viable futures and how to create them rather than stand by and let them happen. This is very motivating and inspiring for participants.

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Technology choices - Extract from Chapter 4

Start with a Storyboard before you choose the technology to employ.

I strongly recommend that you get your overall plan designed first through a storyboard, which includes learning outcomes and assessment (see Chapter 5– Carpe Diem).

First remind yourself of the purpose of the e-tivity or series of e-tivities and how it/they fit with the overall objectives or learning outcomes.
Then consider the stage in the scaffold and the level of skill and competence your participants have in order to enable them to take part, contribute and benefit.
Be ambitious – the technologies that follow are already in use for business, communication, entertainment or informal learning, so can more easily be ‘translated’ for teaching and learning.
Then consider what key piece of core or threshold knowledge or interaction (Mayer & Land, 2005) you wish to focus on for this particular e-tivity or sequence.
Now decide whether you are looking mainly for a spark. If so, then first set about finding Open Educational Resources, rather than becoming diverted to writing or producing the materials for yourself. See Resources for Practitioners 3 – Other People’s Materials.
If you are planning for specific types of interaction, participation or contribution to take place, perhaps to solve a pedagogical problem or encourage more engagement, then take a moment to consider what kind of technological functionality will make this easier, faster or better.
Be ambitious – the technologies that follow are already in use for business, communication, entertainment or informal learning, so can more easily be translated for teaching and learning.

Now move on to the technology:
I’ve divided these suggestions into those for WORKING TOGETHER and those that provide SPARKS AND CONTRIBUTIONS. In the first group are platforms and applications with a range of interactive features and functions. In the second are platforms and applications that can start participation and dialogue, or that offer accessible repositories for participants to store, view and respond to each others’ contributions.

My categorizations are blunt instruments. They are based on the technologies’ relevance and use for e-tivities. Many platforms and environments offer opportunities for interesting forms of participation, creative sparks and combinations of them. For example, e-tivity designers could use existing pre-created ‘recommendations’ sites as a spark, or an e-tivity could be around creating one, as an individual or as a group, which is then in a working together category, but could also become a spark for the next e-tivity. So my suggestions are starters: be creative and report back please!

Feast on these ten technologies for working together
(note to David– Please hyperlink the names of the technologies and remove the URLs here– please make sure the hyperlinks take you to the right pages also, have done my best to get correct urls for hyperlinking)

1. Wiki options
Media Wiki:
Google Sites:

2. Voice boards
Wimba voice boards:
Voice thread:

3. Blogs

4. Micro-blogs

5. Text messages on mobile phones
Poll Everywhere:
Text Connect:

6. Multi-user games
World of Warcraft:
Camelot- Battle of the North:

7. 3-D multi-user virtual worlds
Second life:
Open Sim:

8. Synchronous virtual classrooms
Blackboard Collaborate:
Adobe Connect:
Live Meeting:

9. Mind and concept mapping
Spicy Nodes:
Bubbl Us:
Prezi: www.

10. Social networking

11. Crowd-driven wikis

12. Social bookmarking
Delicious: www.

13. Recommendations and contributions

14. Massive contributions and collections
Flickr (images):
YouTube (videos):
Slideshare (presentations):
Sound Cloud (audio):
Kahn Academy (educational video):
Kickstarter (entrepreneurial ideas):

15. Syndication and update
Google Reader:

16. Document collaboration
Google docs:
Microsoft sky drive:

17. Random discovery
Stumble Upon:

18. e-Portfolio
Pebble Pad:

19. Mobile Apps

20. Location-based imaging
Google Earth:
Google Street View:
Android Footprints:

I’m sure there’s something here everyone: for every discipline and level of education, and for you as an e-tivity designer!

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The Carpe Diem process:

Designing together for active and interactive learning with e-tivities

Get ready:

First identify your module, unit and programme to be transformed. It can be a course where you want to change the mode of learning for any reason, or a new course. Make sure you’ve got your learning outcomes agreed before you go into the Carpe Diem process. Try and keep your thinking as fluid as possible (for now).
Then identify your Carpe Diem workshop facilitator.
Now build your Carpe Diem team available for the two day workshop.

You will need...

Learning Designer/s: people who understand the 5 stage model and e-tivities.
Learning Technologist/s: people to help you make the most of the technology platform/s you have available.
Librarian or relevant information specialist: at least one. Ideally someone who can help you find legal, safe and free resources for your programme.
Primary Knowledge Team: academics and/or teachers.
‘Reality checker/s’: peers, colleagues or students (need for an hour or two on Day 2).

Also if possible:

One of the team trained and/or experienced in Carpe Diem Facilitation with an understanding of the 5 stage model and e-tivities process.
One or more with some ‘right brain thinking’, knowledge of creativity techniques, good at diagramming and/or the processes of innovation.
One ‘completer/finisher’ to take responsibility for ensuring the action plan is viable and delivered.

Space and equipment needed

For Day 1 you will need a collaborative space, whiteboards or flip charts, lots of brightly coloured sticky notes and pens, poster or print out of the 5 stage model and/or the 5 stage pictures. Sustenance – food, water coffee. Avoidance of interruption. All the creativity everyone can muster. A nice big clock.

For Day 2 you will need:

Networked computers.
Access to any prepared course sites, such as in your VLE/LMS, Facebook or whatever you are choosing to use.
Access to shared repositories for content if your institution has one.
Access to Open Educational Resources repositories for your discipline.
A summary of the stages.

Day 1

1. Write a blueprint – get some broad principles agreed

Here you work together to lay out the essential aspects of what you aim to achieve. Your output will be an agreed ‘mission statement’ for the course and some key choices on how the course will ‘look and feel’ online. You should move on when you feel confident that you’ve got reasonable agreement between the team on these.

2. Make a storyboard – become a designer

Here you draw out the process of your learning, teaching and assessment in a visual way, working out your schedule, a sense of flow and alignment between the components. Use the 5 stage model as a rough scaffold and your calendar for the delivery of the learning to participants to help you plan. Allow plenty of time to do this - but try and finish it by the end of Day 1 if you can. Take it home, don’t lose it. Put it under your bed for the night. You can review it quickly at the beginning of day 2 after ‘sleeping on it’. It’s your plan for transformation and impact.

Day 2

3. Build your prototype online

Now you try out your design in the online environment, and create some real e-tivities. Try and build at least six good, if draft, e-tivities – just use the invitation template.

4. Check reality

Your designs are tried out by your reality checker to see how they work. Let them have a go and then listen carefully to their feedback. Try not to be too defensive. All feedback is valuable.

5. Review and adjust

Preview the work so far, make adjustments, refine timings, flag up places to return to, indicate what additional work is needed and who should be responsible for it. You are ready to do the action plan when you can see a way from the storyboard and prototypes to a design vision of your online or blended course.

6. Planning your next steps

Now the team is ready to build an action plan together.

(Please see E-tivites 2013 for the rest of this resource.)

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