Catholic Distance Learning Network


Module 1 of 4 Module 3 of 4 MODULE 3 OF 4 (¡Ahora en Español! translation by Dr. Carlos Miranda)


In this module, we will explore synchronous and asynchronous teaching and learning methods, ways by which to establish effective practices within them, and the connection between taxonomies and online discussion groups. We will demonstrate how to use online resources to obtain meaningful and valid reading material along with the terminology associated with locating online readings and eBooks. We will also discuss how to deal with difficult students and difficult situations and how to track student online use.

ASSIGNMENTS/ACTIVITIES OVERVIEW (details are listed below)


This document contains all the information needed to successfully complete the third of four modules for the online certification. 

Much of the content this week involves experiencing a variety of multimedia venues and discusses where to go, how to access, and what to do with multimedia in personal and professional lives.

We will not discuss how to transfer files to MP3 players, PDAs, or cell phones – there are too many models and types and variables of each (memory size, i.e.) to cover details in one document, but I’ll be happy to work with you one on one. Some sites and apps cost, some sites are free but require a registration (iTunes for example).

Generic sites will be included because they provide free content or links to free content, this means that advertisements changes hourly. What may have been appropriate when the site was first located might very well have changed drastically by the time you click on the links. Simply hit the back or home buttons on your browser to leave the site if inappropriate material shows.



A. Using webcams and virtual field trips 


A webcam is a small camera pointed at a scene or activity and connected to the Internet. Viewers connect to the Internet on their computer and viewers are able to see what the camera is pointing at from many miles away.

FYI if considering using webcams in the teaching/learning environment:

Virtual Field Trips - Webcam sites for fun and education

B. Dressing up lecture material

Review from last module

Lecture material should not only be applicable to course goals and objectives, relative to specific weekly content, but also interesting. Students would rather ‘do’ and interact with web sites than read pages of material or watch a slide show presentation. Make lectures relatively short and provide links that provide for higher order thinking skills, hands-on activities, and that pertain to the real-world or relate to ‘their’ world. Use web cams for virtual field trips or for demonstrations, and use sounds, graphics, and photos to explain content.

Try using a blog, a videoblog, a podcast, or a videocast – adding sound and video can dress up a lecture easily.  

Add sound - try narrator
If you would like to add your voice to a document or presentation, read a portion of your lecture content for example to accommodate a person with special needs, purchase a microphone for your computer. They are relatively inexpensive, usually about $10, and they’re easy to install and setup. With most operating systems, once the microphone is plugged into the computer, a window appears and walks you through the set up procedure and leads you through a test cycle. That’s all there is to it – takes approximately two minutes.

After the microphone is installed, and set up to record, open the document that you want to add sound to and go to ‘start’ ‘all programs ‘accessories’ ‘entertainment’ ‘sound recorder’
Sound Recorder Window
The sound recorder window looks like the front of a DVD or VCR player – Click the red button to start recording, the rectangle to stop recording, and the play button arrow to listen. Go to file save as, and name the file. It will be saved as a ‘wav’ audio file, which means easy insertion into most documents. Just like the program Audacity, used to create podcasts on PCs, this is another program for recording.

What are educators doing with podcasts, video blogs, iTunes, etc?   Take the tutorials, listen to the audio/video presentations, click links and explore, and become acquainted with multimedia in the 21st century - have fun.

C. Using the Library for research and reading content  

Trinity Western University's Tutorials
Accessing online databases and libraries for full-text, online journals and periodicals - To access your local library or your educational establishment’s database, you will need a login ID and password. Login if you have an ID and password, or call the help desk or local library to obtain one. You will need a library card to access a local library database. Every site is a little different; ask for help, they will lead you through a step by step process. Once logged on, access an educational database and search for online learning (choose databases that provide full-text articles, not only an abstract). Experiment with different databases and locate an article on online distance learning. Save the URL for the assignment this week.

Commercial websites - there is nothing wrong with using commercial websites to locate reading content if the web site is authentic, accurate, and reliable – how to determine:

Dissect a Uniform Resource Locator IURL)

Unlike database journals and articles, material obtained through the Internet should be examined to determine authenticity and credibility. One method of determination is to become familiar with the different parts of an URL.

What is a URL? Similar to your home address that postal workers use to locate where your mail should be delivered, the web uses web addresses, or an URL to locate where the page on the web site resides

FYI: where do commercial search engines go to search? Visit the BruceClay web site to see where specific search engines go to search – this relationship chart is interactive, click on each engine (scroll down for Yahoo!), and as you click, the search engines light up.

Bogus web sites created to show credibility, for fun, visit the sites that show how anyone can publish anything on the web: This article provides a good example of erroneous information on the Internet – people who stumble upon this site may actually pray for the procedures to be ended.

Alternative to databases and commercial web sites:

Locating reading content to complement lecture material becomes easier with a list of web resources. Create a list in a Word document, or locate sources on the web and bookmark the sites. If you have access to a database, there will be no problem locating scholarly articles, journals, and periodicals, but a database is not the only method. The Wabash web site offers some educational articles in theological teaching and learning – follow links presented in articles to locate additional resources.

Online dictionary, encyclopedia, and Style Sheet

When you have completely finished writing a weekly course document, go back and look for any terminology that might be new to students. Look up each word or phrase and provide a definition for each one and present the list at the beginning of the weekly module/document.


Ebooks are books presented in electronic, or digital, format. Ebooks are duplicates of hardback books and includes e-textbooks, magazines, periodicals, journals, fiction, non-fiction, etc. Go to Fictionwise or eReader and search for books. Book publishers will know if their text is in ebook form and advise the best method to obtain the book – call the book publisher and ask.

Ebooks can easily be transferred to mobile devices or computers – the width of a SmartPhone screen is about the same as a newspaper column so reading is not an issue. A small app must be installed on the mobile device before reading a book. Most ebook formats (fictionwise, ereader, i.e.) provides free apps for reading an ebook. Ebooks are an excellent opportunity for true learn-on-the-go, mobile learning.

D. Tracking student use in an LMS

Every LMS should have some type of a tracking system for instructors. In Blackboard, once you have your course set up and when logged on as an instructor, go to control panel, and under assessment choose course statistics - choose the student(s) that you wish to track, set the beginning and start dates, and receive stats and graphs. The data can be exported into an Excel spreadsheet.

E. Difficult students, difficult situations

Missing work, students not responding, deadlines not met, pick your battles and make exceptions. Do not be too rigid. As online instructors, we are privy only to what information students want to reveal - we are unable to read body language

Personal experience: Missing assignments should have resulted in an incomplete for a course. However knowing the student from a previous face-to-face class the instructor asked and was told in confidence that the student’s cancer had returned and this time she decided to forgo chemo. Assignments were adjusted, the workload cut, and two months later her obituary read that she met her goal and graduated with a 4.0.

On this note, a suggestion would be to obtain alternate contact information for each student – home or cell phone number, personal email – some way for the instructor to contact the student other than through the course email because if a student isn’t completing work that means the student isn’t signed into the LMS course, which means the student is not going to receive his/her LMS email.

Recognize special needs, special situations, and be flexible, you never know what goes on behind closed doors.

F. Mobile learning and smart phones – Android and Mac based, iPhones, i.e.

G. Activities and assignments

Submit each of the following using four separate posts in the module 3 discussion forum

Participation suggestions use the module 3 comment post for the following:


Last Updated May 25, 2013.  © Catholic Distance Learning Network.
"The program was excellent. It was a very generous idea to make it available to students. It provides a clear understanding of the advantages and limitations of the online environment. Anyone interested in learning more about distance learning would benefit greatly." - Carlos Miranda, Ph.D. - certification completed in winter 2012 through the graduate program at Holy Apostles College & Seminary (read more)