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Designing Horrible Digital Resources

Tips for making your stuff on the internet truly awful.
by Mike Smart on 22 January 2014

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Transcript of Designing Horrible Digital Resources

Making Truly Horrible
Digital Resources

Tips for Making your Digital Content Exquisitely Ineffective
1. Use PDF's - LOTS of them.
Only Two Effective Uses of PDFs:
1. For something that needs to be printed.
2. For something you don't want anyone to read.
WHY!
Easy to make - Clunky to use
Requires less editing and proofing - No one will read them
Ugly, uncompelling
MUST AVOID:
Turning PDFs into webpages!
2. Use a Textbook.
Refer to it ALL the time.
WHY!
Completely removes the "digital" from learning.
Often out of date.
Students LOVE textbooks!
Expensive
Easy to build!
MUST AVOID:
Finding engaging content on the web that challenges kids to make, build, and share.
3. Avoid Hyperlinking Stuff
WHY!
Easy to build! Much faster!
Increases student frustration
Guarantees student confusion
Limits learning
MUST AVOID:
Hyperlinks that make content easy to find and navigate.
4. Make it Ugly!
WHY!
Research shows that students
spend more time on
visually engaging content
MUST AVOID:
Using the four key principles of design
Four Principles of Design
Contrast
Repetition
Alignment
Proximity
DON'T BUY!
5. Omit Context.
WHY!
If you provide instructions,
assignment completion increases,
and you have MORE to grade.
MUST AVOID:
Providing clear, concise instructions.
6. Dump everything from
your tradtional course into your digital course.
WHY!
You can build an entire online course in a day.
Stuff that works offline doesn't work online.
MUST AVOID:
Thinking about how to use the power of technology and differences with online learning.
7. Use lots of
multiple-choice tests.
WHY!
Grade themselves
Easy to look up answers online.
Students get good grades = Job security
Low level learning, requires less thinking
(thinking is painful)
No student choice.
MUST AVOID:
Project-based learning & Challenging Assignments
8. Stress Memorization
WHY!
If the internet breaks, they'll be ready.
MUST AVOID:
Moving up in Bloom's Taxonomy
Useful Memorization
9. Put full lectures online.
WHY!
Very very powerful.
Research proven to be totally ineffective!
MUST AVOID:
Condensing video into short, user-controlled segments.
"A 45-minute lecture can be condensed into a 15-minute video."
Actual screenshot from an online MIT course
10. Use PowerPoint online.
WHY!
It's even better than in real life.
MUST AVOID:
Changing PowerPoints to web pages
Adding voiceovers to PowerPoints
Finding something else - anything else
11. Use Lots of text on
long pages with no images.
WHY!
Long articles have a very low completion rate.
Kind of like user-agreements.
MUST AVOID:
Condensing text.
Breaking up pages.
Using one good image on a page.
13. Keep the digital
classroom sterile
WHY!
If they can find you, they can contact you.
Relationships = higher achievement
MUST AVOID:
Enfusing a class with your information and personality.
15. Use animation.
WHY!
Everyone LOVES moving pets.
Especially yours.
Over and over.
Forever.
MUST AVOID:
Not using animation and gifs.
12. Make navigation obtuse.
WHY!
Lost students can eat up hours of otherwise
productive time.
MUST AVOID:
Creating a blatantly obvious pathway.
14. Write ambiguosly
WHY!
It has been shown in the research taht poor
writing can mabye lead to poor communication
online and this may results in having students
confusing things with their teachers.

Very powerful when combined with poor hyperlinking!
MUST AVOID:
Using a concise, informal, and accurate writing style.
Thanks!

Mike Smart
• mwsmart@district287.org
• @MikeSmart

Jon Fila
• jtfila@district287.org
• @Moodleshare
4. Make it Ugly! Bonus Tips!
Use generic clip art when possible!
Like This:
Bonus points!
Make it blurry!
MUST AVOID!
Clear images related
to actual content:
If you can't find
clip art, use a
generic image
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