The Neuron – Interactive Animation

I have continued working with JavaScript and have created an interactive animation to teach students about the basic components of the neuron. The majority of the file was created in Adobe Animate CC with JS coding to create the interactivity. I then exported that content as an .OAM file and imported it into an Adobe Captivate 9 file. Captivate will interact with MSU’s learning management system, Desire 2 Learn, and will allow me to collect participation data, so I know that the students have completed the module.

The quiz at the end randomizes the questions. All of the questions except for the last multiple choice question, were created with the animation. It’s the final MC question that will collect student data.

Interactive Word Game

Interactive Word Game

This spelling and word recognition game is appropriate for 4-6 year olds. The game has 15 random questions chosen from a test bank of more than 50 words, so each time the game is played, it is slightly different.

This was my first attempt at JavaScript coding. Years ago, I used to create animations in Adobe Flash with ActionScript. Luckily, JS isn’t much different from AS. It was created with Adobe Animate CC and Adobe Illustrator CC. For the cartoon images, I downloaded most from and drew a few myself.

View the full word bank

Weekly Spelling Tests

FLC Road Show

Last week, as an add-on lunch event at the Making Learning Accessible conference, my FLC did a brown bag presentation on accessibility, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and our D2L training course for faculty. We easily had 100 people attend, which was amazing, and we were able to share our message with a number of MSU faculty that we had yet to reach. Additionally, since we piggy-backed on the conference, we had a number of non-MSU folks in the audience as well, and we received really great feedback and discussion points from both populations of attendees.

Our focus on this presentation was to talk about how to promote a culture shift from the negative view of accessibility: “unfunded mandate”, fear of litigation, worry of overwork, to that of a more positive view that is encompassed by UDL. We discussed how by implementing UDL practices into a course, faculty not only help those students with documented accessibility needs but also provide additional learning opportunities for all students. Think of the student who reads closed captioning while working out or a student that uses a transcript since English is a second language or any of the students out there with undocumented accessibility needs. By promoting a culture shift, faculty can come to see that small changes in the classroom can have big impacts on a wide-range of students.

Transcripts versus Captions

Today I participated in a Lunch and Learn event at the Center for Language Teaching Advancement on designing accessible course materials. It was run by Kate Sonka and Dustin Defelise. It was a very interesting group because members ranged from undergraduates with little knowledge or experience in accessibility to those, like me, that have spent a decent amount of time creating accessible content to others that have a detailed knowledge of the WCAG 2.0 standards. I love when discussions involve a wide range of experiences and backgrounds.

One thing we touched on that I haven’t successfully included in my courses is the presence of transcripts in addition to closed captioning. For me, captions are relatively easy, since I record my lectures using a script. Then it’s just a few steps using the YouTube captioning tools to get the timing lined up properly. Transcripts are a different beast, though, because a true transcript should be able to be used as a stand alone document without the student needing to view or hear the video in anyway. This means that all parts of the video need to be described. Have an image on a PowerPoint slide? Needs to be described. Showing a data graph? Needs to be described. Presenting a clip of some animal behavior? Needs to be described. I completely understand the purpose of the transcript, but at the moment, it does seem a little overwhelming to imagine creating one for every video.

Does anyone out there have time saving best practices for creating transcripts?

Online MA/Grad Cert Collaboration Meeting

This morning Leigh Graves Wolf from the MSU Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology organized a collaborative meeting with directors of online and hybrid Masters and Graduate Certificate programs at MSU. It was the first time this group had ever met in one location. The group varied from individuals that manage programs that have been successful for years to people like me who are in the process of creating new programs to those who have yet to start the process of program creation. Strengths and weakness were discussed, some solutions were found, partnerships were formed, resources were shared. Everyone agreed these meetings should continue in the future.

The main topics covered were finances & marketing, admissions & registrar, curriculum development & technology, and advising & student experience. Some aspects I feel like I have a good handle on, like curriculum development and tech (of course, there is always more to discuss and learn!). But some topics like marketing or managing the software systems associated with admissions, I have no experience with at all. It’s collaborations like this that are really going to provide me with a support system that can help me learn the ins and outs of program management.

I’m really excited about moving forward with this group and continuing to learn about the administrative side of the university.


I spent the morning at the 33rd Annual MSU College of Education Technology Conference. The theme of this year’s conference was equity in STEM, Computer Science, and Universal Design for Learning (UDL). The first talk I attended was presented by Nate Stevenson from Kent State on designing accessible learning with UDL. We discussed the principles of UDL and about how to think about if content creates barriers to learning for your students. For example, for some students get overwhelmed by the simple length of an assignment. This hit close to home because I tend to combine multiple assignments into one in my online classes. I am now going to reevaluate this decision. He also mentioned the book Design and Deliver by Loui Lord Nelson, which is a book I’d like to check out. 

The second session was presented by Andrew Vanden Heuvel and Jeff Gerlach from Michigan Virtual University and covered improving access to STEM content by using online learning. The majority of the time was spent rotating through stations that gave examples of ways to get student to engage with the content and get hands on experience with science using only household items. It made me wonder what types of activities may already be out there for neuroscience and got my brain thinking about ways to create some.

All in all a well spent morning.