August 2015 Resources


SCoPE online communityfrom Creating Engaging Online Learning Activities JAM – Resources

SCoPE open seminar – August 1 to 15, 2015 – facilitated by me!


Framing Our Exploration

Daniel Pink's book DRIVE and his TED TAlk from 2009 "The puzzle of motivation" are often cited when talking about motivation and online learning. You can find his book in bookstores or at the local library; you might also enjoy the RSA Animate video based on his book:

I was inspired by Elaine Khoo and Curtis Bonk's approach in their book "TEC-Variety", which begins from a brief review of learning theory, philosophical perspectives about how people learn and then focuses on what the research says about motivation and engagement in online learning. I'm starting off from his Chapter 3 and adding some alternative viewpoints about motivation and engagement.

Bonk, C.J. & Khoo, E. (2014).Online Motivation From Four Perspectives. In Adding Some TEC-VARIETY: 100+ Activities for Motivating and Retaining Learners Online. (pp.31-43) Retrieved from

Chapter 3 presents the philosophical perspectives on learning and research on motivation that were used to develop the 10 principles that they suggest should be used to guide online learning activity design.

I've looked around to find other perspectives that link motivation and engagement to the design of learning activities. Most of the journal articles or videos I've found focus on teacher behaviours or student environments or personal circumstances. So, I still go back to Bonk & Khoo's 10 principles; despite the fact that they aren't all separate principles, they provide a way of organizing types of learning activities to inspire you to create something new and engaging of your own.

I also came across the five factors of student motivation that are presented (and have been tested) by Dr. Brett Jones. I include the 2012 article about his five factors as an easy introduction to this model. 

You can also visit his new web site which contains supporting materials and an explanatory video. 


Approaches to Planning Online Learning Activities


A Visual Guide – Questions to Ask Yourself

Technology-based Bloom's – Ideas for Developing Innovative Online Learning Activities

  • A bulletin board assembly of ideas and examples of digital learning activities (and different enabling tools and apps) viewed through a cognitive lens – Bloom's Revised Taxonomy (with a dash of Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development) – New Ways to Learn

Additional Ideas to Explore


Ideas for Online Learning Activities

Ideas by Topic or Subject

Teaching Geoscience Online – this resource developed by the Science Education Resource Centre at Carleton College (U.S.A.) with funding from National Science Foundation – see terms of use

The National Science Digital Library132 000 images, video, audio, software, data sets and text documents which include lesson plans and journal articles – you have to sign up for a free OER Commons account. These resources are intended for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) educators, are fully searchable, and include:

  • activities, lesson plans, syllabi
  • labs, case studies, simulations
  • games

Ideas by Type of Activity or Approach

Note:  you can search OER collections, listed below, by type of resource or activity

From Digital Bloom's Taxonomy section of Andrew Churches' educational origami wiki – rubrics and resources organized by the 6 levels of learning –

Collaborative Learning – a collection of references, resources, journal articles, and examples and case studies by the University of Sydney, Australia –

Constructivism – a colleciton of definitions, explanations, design ideas and examples and case studies by the University of Sydney, Australia –

Scavenger Hunt (to orient student to course) – 4 examples plus description and scholarly references 

Case Studies, University of New South Wales, Learning to Teach Online – Mixture of videos. Award-winning video repository from UNSW

  • Examples:  Hippocrates: Online Medical Tutorials, Online Discussions in Maths Teacher Education, Using eportfolios as a reflective teaching tool.

Ideas by Technology / Tools / Apps

Case Studies, University of New South Wales, Learning to Teach Online – Mixed in with videos about types of activities, these case studies also include stories about the use of different social media or technological tools.

  • Examples:  Using Flickr as an Online Classroom, Using Blogs for Peer Feedback and Discussion, Teaching Using Scenario-based Simulations in Second Life

The Padagogy Wheel V4.0 by Alan Carrington – based on Bloom's Revised Taxonomy – begins from motivation within a frame of Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition (SAMR Model) and provides action verbs to frame guiding questions for your activities, ideas for different activities, and suggestions for different Web2.0 tools or apps to use –

Resources You Could Use to Create an Activity

Open Educational Resources

AMSER (Applied Math and Science Education Repository)a portal of educational resources and services built specifically for use by those in Community and Technical Colleges but free for anyone to use.

JORUM Higher Education Open Educational Resources (OERs) – searchable, organized by subjects, United Kingdom but many resources are general enough to be used in Canadian contexts (or can be used to inspire a Canadian version – remember to share back!)  (

MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching) a free and open resources designed for faculty and students of higher education – U.S.A. – reviewed for quality

OER Commons – a collection of teaching and learning materials from around the world

OERs by Material Type – an information site by Kwantlen Polytechnic University Library

  • Open Data
  • Open Textbooks
  • Open Books
  • Open Databases
  • Open Multimedia – most likely to provide resources to build learning activities from?
  • Open Courses/MOOCs

PhET – Interactive Simulations for Science and Math – University of Colorado Boulder –

Videos of actual research or exciting, dangerous, catastrophic events

Streaming webcam video

Some of the above links were drawn from sites listed on the University of Toronto's Online Teaching: Example Activities page –