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Expanding educational horizons with the web


HTML & CSS Courses Now on Thinkific

logos for HTML and CSS

Two free courses, Build Web Pages Using HTML and Style Your Web Pages Using CSS, are now available on the Thinkific platform.

These modules have been used by high school and college students as part of my Web For Business courses.

Each module utilizes the power of Articulate Storyline and demonstrates many of the interactive features that are available.

You can access the courses here: Thinkific.com.

Knowledge Capture

The MASK Model showing 6 points of view

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) had the foresight to capture critical information from their experienced employees. They used a technique called MASK (Method for Analyzing and Structuring Knowledge) creating knowledge books for bituminous, concrete repair, and the engineering of bridges.

The end result of MASK is a PowerPoint organizing the text, images, and videos in a single, very large file. Historically MASK has been used for very proprietary information such as the French Atomic Energy Commission and the formulas and processes for KRAFT Foods. So, the size of the file was not as critical.

However, the MnDOT wanted to make their knowledge available to the inspectors and local engineers out in the field as well as on the MnDOT website. Each Knowledge Book averaged 300 slides and took up almost one gig of space. The PowerPoint files couldn’t be conveniently viewed on a phone or tablet and they weren’t accessible to people with disabilities.

We decided to convert the PowerPoint slides into a web-based presentation using Articulate Storyline 360. This not only met MnDOT’s requirements but added features such as interactivity and basic animations.

Here is a screen shot from the original Concrete Repair Knowledge Book:
page from knowledge book showing impact of base and subgrade

Here is the same information using Articulate 360.
Articulate Storyline screenshot showing impact of base and subgrade

Click here to see the demo

Notice how the dense PowerPoint text was converted by chunking the content into two hot tabs, focusing the reader’s attention. Information common to both hot tabs is continually displayed as well.

Benefits of the Converted Knowledge Books

Here is a list of some of the benefits we’ve gained using Articulate Storyline:

Workflow Bonus

As each knowledge book was being converted we used Review 360 (part of the Storyline suite) to communicate any changes or modifications to each page. Content experts at MnDOT could view the current version of the knowledge book, using a hidden URL. Review 360 automatically made a screenshot of the page they were viewing. Even people who aren’t comfortable using new software found Review 360 easy to use.

There are two main screens in Review 360. Here is the main Review view:

Screenshot showing Articulate Storyline review tool.

This is the Feedback view showing the discussion thread for each edit. Notice how Articulate included a screenshot of each page the reviewer was working with.

Screenshot showing feedback using the Articulate Storyline review tool.

Review 360 made the editing process smooth and efficient for both the content experts and the developer.

The MnDOT Newsline February 2019 includes an article describing the knowledge books at MnDOT.

Hunkering Down

illustration showing birds perched on bare branches

I noticed the birds huddled against the minus 40-degree weather and decided to capture the day using Affinity Designer.

New Logo for Metta Meditation Center

lotus logo for Metta Meditation Center

I created this logo for the Metta Meditation Center using Affinity Designer. The lotus drawing is courtesy of Pixabay, a great site for free quality photos.

The Raisin Meditation

hand holding a raisin

This is a great way to introduce mindfulness and meditation techniques to a small group.

This activity takes only five minutes. The presentation walks the group through a step at a time. There are five reflection questions at the end.

Here is a link to the presentation.