Facilitating Collaboration in a Flipped Digital Art Classroom [4/19/2017] by Erika Molyneux (Featured LTEC Master Student)

written by Diana Thompson (TCC 2017 guest blogger, Undergraduate Academic Advisor for the Department of Biology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa)

Yesterday, I got to write about a high school Chemistry instructor and her use of videos to engage her young technology-aged learners. Today’s post will be in an entirely different ballpark. Erika Molyneux, an instructor at a local community college, finds success with similar methodologies while teaching graphic arts classes to a diverse population of students.

Despite the audience and subject matter differing, the flipped classroom model of instruction proved to benefit this diverse population of community college learners. Community college students are known to typically face unique barriers to education, which a flipped classroom approach can assist with. Molyneaux discusses limited access to required software, such as Photoshop, out-of-classroom commitments, and even age and disability.

Molyneux introduced a flipped group project to create an advertisement for a local company that addresses key artistic principles and demonstrates technical skills in Adobe Photoshop. This project challenged them to research the competition and produce a quality end-product, while also building teamwork skills, and learning how to provide and receive constructive critique on the work of their peers.

Interesting social dynamics came into play with the group project setting, including age playing a factor (e.g. a younger student not wanting to offend an elder student), and the classic group project problem of accountability for contributing to the team’s work. Possible alternative structures are explored during the presentation, allowing listeners to apply ideas to their own classrooms or work projects.

The ideas brought forth in this presentation were especially appealing to me as someone who attempts to utilize a flipped classroom model with academic advising for a similar population of students. A particular concept brought forward was to create the same content in a variety of deliverable formats to increase accessibility for students of all learning backgrounds. As expressed yesterday, let us, the educators, do all that we can to meet our students where they are at, and mentor them with kindness and support to foster growth and success.


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The Kamaʻāina Discounts: Usability Study on the Website Homepage [4/18/2017] by Karen Fujii (Featured LTEC Master Student)

written by Helen Torigoe (TCC 2017 guest blogger)

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Having moved to ʻOahu two years ago, I could immediately identify with Karen regarding the sticker shock — on everything from housing to groceries.  At least I moved from the Big Island so culture shock was not an issue, but Karen must have come from the mainland as she listed higher cost of living, lower income, and cultural differences as her challenges upon moving here two-and-a-half years ago.

When Karen realized that there were plenty of websites for visitors to Hawaiʻi, but none for newly transplanted residents, she decided to build her own website http://mykamaaina.com.  Kamaʻāina is a Hawaiʻian word meaning native-born or a local resident.  She put together an information hub for local residents to easily find kamaʻāina discounts and events. For the new and prospective Kamaʻāinas, she also added Hawaiʻian language and pidgin references, as well as information on how to obtain Hawaiʻi driver license.  Then she did a usability study of the homepage for her Master’s project.  “Homepage is like a storefront,” said Karen, “the landing page should engage the online community.”

Using Jakob Nielsen’s Four Principles (of High Quality Website Design), Karen set out to answer the following three questions for mykamaaina.com, to determine the usability of the site’s homepage.

  1. Is the homepage engaging for the users to continue through the website?
  2. Is the content on the homepage relevant for the user?
  3. How does the website impact new users to become repeat customers?

She enlisted ten participants to perform four tasks, assessed the difficulty of completing the tasks on the website, collected their movements in Screencastify, as well as collecting pre- and post- surveys.  With each round of tests, Karen improved the website by adding a menu option for Waikiki events, adding the word “Ads” above the ad squares, and increasing the font size of section headings, etc.  With each iteration of testing and making improvements, Karen got closer to reducing the “click-outs,” a term used by Jakob Nielsen to describe users who leave the site if they do not form a good impression in 10 seconds, and increased the chances of users becoming repeat customers.

In conclusion, the test participants found mykamaaina.com simple to use and has professional look and feel.  Karen says to test, test, and test.  She also advised to continually update the website to maintain “safe” trust rating, and to continuously patch to keep the site secure.  Browse mykamaaina.com to examine the usability of the site yourself, or to score some good Kamaʻāina deals!

Contact Karen Fujii at: karenkf@hawaii.edu


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Investigating the Impact of Video Instruction in a High School Chemistry Class [4/18/2017] by Robin Fujioka (Featured LTEC Master Student)

written by Diana Thompson (TCC 2017 guest blogger, Undergraduate Academic Advisor for the Department of Biology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa)

STEM fields across the nation are facing a crisis; college students are underprepared in mathematics skills. Why does this matter? Not everyone is going to become a mathematician, right?

Unfortunately, even a seemingly removed discipline such as Biology has a critical need for a foundation in Chemistry, which relies on skills in Mathematics. Imagine the look on my Marine Biology students’ faces when I tell them that they need to complete Organic Chemistry and Calculus II. This reality is even more difficult to swallow when placement exam scores are not where they ideally should be, meaning more Chemistry and Calculus-track Mathematics courses will be needed in order to graduate.

As a college-level administrative staff member, it is easy to place the blame on high schools, when the problem is reflected on placement exam scores the summer before students begin. Luckily for one high school on Hawaii island, students are getting a first-class education in Chemistry, and it all starts with flipping the classroom.

Robin Fujioka utilizes screencasted videos to engage the younger generation of learners, and has reconfigured her curriculum to increase student confidence in their abilities to translate prior mathematics knowledge into a new chemistry concept: moles. The final step, the “exit ticket,” makes testing for learning gains less scary for the students thanks to its friendly-sounding name.

I have high hopes that other teachers in STEM fields will take note of these instructional methods that Robin has adapted in her classroom, and that college instructors will then follow suit. Today’s young learners grew up with technology, so it’s about time we’ve adapted to meet our students where they’re at, and show them just how fun learning can be.

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Using Learning Styles to Differentiate: A Usability Study of a Teacher Resource Website [4/18/2017] by Jennifer Smith (Featured LTEC Master Student)

By Mae Dorado (TCC 2017 guest blogger, Online LTEC Master Student)

New to the TCC experience and not knowing what to expect… it was interesting to attend the Master student project sessions. One presenter whose topic really captured my attention was Jennifer Smith’s topic on differentiation of learning styles in a usability study.

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Her passion and enthusiasm for this topic was obvious as she greeted everyone with a warm and friendly “Aloha” and started with a fun and engaging poll to learn more about her audience. The poll gave the audience the opportunity to learn about what everyone’s favorite subject was in school and how we preferred to learn. Using the blackboard collaborate pen tool, we discovered that the audience’s favorite subjects were math, art, science, physical education and social studies; 5 out of 6 of the subjects were selected, and the majority of the audience valued seeing and doing as preferred methods of learning over writing.

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Based on this activity, and what captured my attention, was her explanation with the slide to the right; she was able to deduce that “Everyone prefers different subjects and has different ways of learning” and “Each person has a learning style as individual as a signature.”
As a fellow educator, I could relate to her reasoning for implementing this topic as her Masters Project. As she elaborated, the problem started because teachers were highly encouraged to differentiate instruction; without the adequate time to plan and develop the instruction. I agreed with her deduction that “time is a commodity for every educator.”

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She went on to explain in her web design, as captured on the left, that it should include “aesthetically pleasing, clear and engaging images to most effectively engage users.” Her target audience included K-12 and home educators, and I was impressed by her display of primary tools used, such as wix.com, Pow Toon, Shutterstock and Google to mention a few.

In covering her site content, it should be “self-evident, obvious, and self-explanatory to users.” She included information about the different learning styles, learning style assessment, and specific teaching strategies for each learning style.

Her analysis of her usability results helped her to identify and prioritize problems and issues and how to fix the problems.

Overall her presentation was excellent. It was short and sweet, with a particular focus on the design and methods of improvement to her design.

Jennifer was extremely helpful to learn from. As a new Masters Student, it is challenging to decide which direction I want to take for my own Master’s project. However, Jennifer’s presentation simplified the process and gave students wonderful ideas to help with their project focus. It truly was a worthwhile experience to attend especially if a student considers a usability study.

The take home message from this session, as Jennifer pointed out in the end, was “What makes sense to a designer, doesn’t always make sense to the user.” Keep your audience in mind when building your instructional design.

Jennifer Smith may be reached at jls44@hawaii.edu.

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TCC 2017 : Call for Participation

Join us for the TCC 2017 Worldwide Online Conference, April 18-20: Changing to Learn, Learning to Change


Enjoy keynote and special regional sessions by:

Drs. Malcolm Brown & Veronica Diaz, Educause Learning Initiative, USA
Dr. Hannah Gerber, Sam Houston State University, Texas, USA
Dr. Kumiko Aoki, Open University of Japan, Tokyo
Dr. Peter Leong, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, USA
Dr. Mikhail Fominykh, Molde University College, Norway

TCC is a three-day, entirely online conference for post-secondary faculty and staff worldwide with over 100 sessions that cover a wide-range of topics related to distance learning and emerging technologies for teaching and learning.

To register:


Individuals participate in real-time sessions from the comfort of their workplace or home using a web browser to connect to individual sessions. All sessions are recorded for on-demand viewing.

For the current schedule of presentations and descriptions, see:


We look forward to seeing you at TCC 2017.

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TCC 2017 Pre-conference: New Way of Looking at Apps

Ahead of this year’s main conference, TCC 2017 is hosting a FREE special webinar featuring Lucy MacDonald.

A New Way of Looking at Apps

Lucy MacDonald will share experience gained through a MOOC delivered from Ireland to 3000 individuals. She learned about the pedagogy of using apps to benefit student learning. In this session, Lucy will show how the application, GeoSpike, was presented as a future way of looking at apps.

Date & time
March 15, 2:00 PM HAST

Other times

Register now for this FREE session!
If you wish to participate in this special event, please RSVP. Access information will be sent to you a few days before this event. This online session will be held in Blackboard Collaborate. Deadline to register, March 9.


More info



Lucy MacDonald portrait


Lucy MacDonald
Technology Institute for Developmental Educators (TIDE), Texas State, San Marcos
Fellow of the Council of Learning Assistance and Developmental Education Associations (CLADEA)

REGISTER ALSO for the main conference!
TCC 2017 Online Conference, 22nd edition
April 18-20, 2017

Registration and information available.

– Bert Kimura, Curtis Ho & Sharon Fowler
TCC 2016 Online Conference coordinators

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TCC 2017 : Proposal submission deadline extended


Happy Holidays!

We have extended the deadline for TCC 2017 (April 18-20) proposal submissions to January 5, 2017.

Registration details to be announced in February. Stay tuned!

Full details available at:


Best wishes for the New Year from the TCC conference team!

Keep informed about this event by joining our mailing list.

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