Want Moodle?

Today in class my students will be installing Moodle on their websites. There are really three main steps that need to take place for them to be able to use Moodle and I thought this would be helpful for them or anyone else wanting to do something similar in their courses.

1. Have a server. I have my students buy their own website (http://icdsoft.com/promo-code/course359) for $38 and just use the server that comes with that site. Its very easy.

2. Download and install FTP. FTP which stands for File Transfer Protocol allows them to transfer files from their desktop to their website. It is the middle man. There are many free FTP programs online. I personally like cyberduck.

3. Go to Moodle.org and download the standard Moodle package. They then upload this onto their website using the FTP program from step 2.

At this point they go into their browser and install Moodle. Set up will vary depending on the type of server you are using. Its actually a very easy process that can be done in as little as 10 minutes.

continued here…

3D Printing

3D printing is the ability to take any object and recreating it with a printer. Now of course I do not mean on paper, but a plastic model version of the object. As this technology gets better, this will change manufacturing. 3D printing is absolutely amazing. Imagine being able to take an idea that you have and created it with a printer. I can think of a so many uses for this technology.

Check out this demonstration video:


How to create a blog with blogger

Blogger is a free tool from Google. I use this tool in my courses and have become fairly impressed with it as of lately. It offers a lot of customization and is perfect for educators or just about anyone who wants a blog. It’s also very easy to use, so it gives novice computer users an opportunity to publish on the web.

Here is a video tutorial that I put together which shows you how to create your first blog with blogger:

*Note – To see the next post on Blogger features click here


Why all faculty and teachers should have their own website

I recently wrote a blog post concerning all students having their own website. Well I believe all faculty in higher education and K-12 teachers should have their own as well.

Why is this? Students and parents should know who their teachers and professors are. They should know about all the work we do. They should know how many publications, presentations, and past work experiences we have had. I recently (yesterday) had a student tell me that her mom was asking about her professors and she liked the fact that she could go to my website and see my resume and some information about me. This is a great way for us as faculty to demonstrate just how valuable we are. Many of my colleagues and peers resumes are very impressive and I think its a great idea for us to show that off. It also shows we know a little bit about technology and are not stuck in the stone ages.

Having a website is just one way to accomplish this. Of course many of our schools have a ‘faculty page’ but these are very generic. Having your own website can really show off your skills and is informative to our students. My point – faculty, develop a website for yourself. If you are not tech savvy, ask your instructional technologists, they would be more than willing to help you out!

So you want to learn Javascript?

With the increasing popularity of Codeacademy (http://www.codecademy.com), a free online javascript course, many people are signing up to learn Javascript. This popularity is stemming from the current state of the economy, leaders saying that everyone should learn to code, and where our future jobs are going.

I think this is awesome and I believe having an understanding of basic computer logic is a great skill to have. This is why I push software like Gamemaker, Squeak, Scratch, etc. which require one to understand basic programming logic.I also teach HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP, and Actionscript in my classes.

However, I do think people are jumping the gun a bit with Javascript. The reason why? Javascript by itself is rather useless. I would not tell someone to learn javascript unless they had a solid foundation in HTML and CSS first. You really cant do anything with javascript without HTML. Learning javascript without HTML/CSS is like learning to hold your breath, then being put into a deep swimming pool without knowing how to swim.

So while I believe learning Javascript is great and I think everyone should learn basic programming…at least the logic, I believe that you should understand HTML and CSS before jumping the gun and learning Javascript.

So for those who want to learn js, just take a few weeks and learn HTML and CSS first. They are both very easy to learn – the easiest languages. Then when you have that foundation learn javascript. Then when you understand js, start learning a database language like PHP or Ruby.

HTML5 and Flash (Yes this topic again)

Just to clarify some more information and so much misinformation is out there:

– HTML5 is simply an update of HTML4. It does a few extra things, like include a video tag. It is not this be all end all code that will replace Flash and by itself is not very powerful.

– HTML5 is not compatible on most browsers right now. There are many standards issues. Please see this report for more details: http://www.longtailvideo.com/html5/.

– The power of HTML comes from Javascript. Javascript has been able to do much of this for many years, it is NOT new. Most of the features people seem to think HTML5 can accomplish are really javascript features.

– Flash is used for a lot of things that it was not designed for, like web banners, just because there is not other tool out there. Flash was designed for rich interaction and games not web banners. HTML5 is not going to be used for these rich interactions and games, flash will be. Maybe someday this will happen, but not in HTML5. Maybe HTML6, 7, or 8. But remember Flash will continue to evolve as well in that time.

– The power of HTML5 really comes with mobile devices, not PCs. However, with more advancements in mobile processors such as quad cores, etc. This really isnt going to matter much. The only thing really stopping Flash right now on mobile devices is Apple. However, you can put flash onto apple mobile devices –  its a workaround though and not a process the average user can accomplish. Having said that, the same can be said of HTML5, the only thing stopping it from PCs right now is compatibility so as that gets better its use will grow.

So what exactly will HTML5 be used for that Flash once did?

Mobile applications. HTML5 will be used in the mobile world. Its more compatible and it’s free, which is the pure beauty of HTML5. However the main thing to point out here: HTML5 runs different on each browser right now. So its great if running on one device, like the iphone. But if running on android, iphone, and pc its really a pain to code. Flash is much better when using multiple devices. To get HTML5 to work on multiple devices I need to ‘trick’ the code for each browser which takes a lot of extra development time and adds a lot of extra code to my product.

Here are two good sources discussing this issue:



*I am sure there will be many more HTML5 posts on here as it evolves:)


Wilmington NC BizTech Conference

Here are a few pics from our booth at the BizTech conference yesterday in Wilmington NC. The conference was great. The keynote speakers made some great points concerning the importance of education in NC to small and large businesses in the state.

uncw mit biztech

biztech uncw mit


Instructional Designers: Figuring out how many hours it takes to develop training

I get this question all the time and I give my students the ‘estimates’. These numbers are very useful when putting together a proposal and letting a client know just how much it is going to cost them. I have gathered these numbers from several sources which are posted at the end of this post. Now for the stats:

1.According to training magazine, money spent on training increased 13% in 2011 to $59.7 billion.

2. Average trainer (Instructional Designer) salary in 2011: $84,142 (elearning guild reports: $79,890)

3. Development times to create one-hour of e-learning (The eLearning Guild, 2002):

– Simple Asynchronous: (static HTML pages with text & graphics): 117 hours
– Simple Synchronous: (static HTML pages with text & graphics): 86 hour
– Average Asynchronous: (above plus Flash, JavaScript, animated GIF’s. etc): 191 hours
– Average Synchronous: (above plus Flash, JavaScript, animated GIF’s. etc): 147 hours
– Complex Asynchronous: (above plus audio, video, interactive simulations): 276 hours
– Complex Synchronous: (above plus audio, video, interactive simulations): 222 hours

4. Instructor presentation time of face to face courses:

Dugan Laird (1985), listed these instructor preparation times (based on U.S. Civil Service estimate):

– Course is five days or less, then 3 hours of preparation for each hour of training.
– Course is between five and ten days, then 2.5 hours of preparation for each hour of training.
– Course is over 10 days, then 2 hours of preparation for each hour of training.

5. Chart from ASTD 2009:

Type of Training per 1 hour

Low Hours

Per hour of Instruction


High Hours

Per Hour of Instruction


Low Hours

Per hour of Instruction


High Hours

Per Hour of Instruction


Stand-up training (classroom)





Self-instructional print





Instructor-led, Web-based training delivery (using software such as Centra, Adobe Connect, or WebEx-two-way live audio with PowerPoint)





E-learning Developed without a Template





Text-only; limited interactivity; no animations





Moderate interactivity; limited animations





High interactivity; multiple animations





E-learning Developed within a Template





Limited interactivity; no animations (using software such as Lectora, Captivate, ToolBook, TrainerSoft)





Moderate interactivity; limited animations (using software such as Lectora, Captivate, ToolBook, TrainerSoft)





High interactivity; multiple animations (using software such as Lectora, Captivate, ToolBook, TrainerSoft)





Limited interactivity; no animations (using software such as Articulate)





Moderate interactivity; limited animations (using software such as Articulate)





High interactivity; multiple animations (using software such as Articulate)










Equipment or hardware (equipment emulation)





Softskills (sales, leadership, ethics, diversity, etc.)





 Source: http://www.astd.org/LC/2009/0809_kapp.htm






From nwlink.com: The eLearning Guild. (2002). The e-Learning Development Time Ratio Survey. Retrieved October 27, 2007 from: http://www.elearningguild.com/pdf/1/time%20to%20develop%20Survey.pdf

From nwlink.com: Laird, Dugan (1985). Approaches To Training And Development (2nd ed.). Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.



Why you should not leave college without your own website

I tell all of my undergraduate students that they should not leave college without their own website. I also tell all of my graduate instructional technology students that they MUST have their own website, they are in a technology based field for goodness sake!

Why have your own website? Well let me ask you to search for yourself on Google, what comes up on the first page? Anything about you? Do other people have your name? Does your facebook page come up? Well guess what, when you graduate and begin to interview your potential employer is going to search for you as well. So if your facebook page is coming up it’s time to make is private. So if you are going to be searched online, why not intentionally point people searching for you to a website that is designed to ‘show off’ your work? That’s right, send them to a site of your choosing on purpose. So, just as an example, search for me, ‘Ray Pastore’ and you will see that this website you are on comes up first. I WANT people to find this site.

Why else do you want a site? You can put it on your resume. Showing a potential employer that you have enough technical skills to build a website can help in almost any career. Plus if they choose to, they can go to the site and this is your chance to show them your portfolio. Show them sample writings, projects, as well as your philosophies toward your field.

Now if I buy and create a site is it automatically number one on search results? NO! You need to make it SEO friendly, with the help of SEO experts from sirlinksalot.co.

So how do you buy a website?

I always recommend Icdsoft.com because that is who I use. In fact, if you go through my link that I give my students, you can own a web address and build a site for $38.50 a year. Here is that link: http://icdsoft.com/promo-code/course359. And I do not get anything if you use that link, so don’t think I am trying to sell you something here. Another company I like is bluehost.com, however, they are more expensive, around $100 a year, which is usually out of a students price range. Godaddy tends to be another popular one however I have only had bad experiences with them, so I do not recommend them.

When you do buy a site, I recommend a .com address. You can choose from .net, .org, .info, etc.

How do I build my site?

Well that is also for another blog post. You can take classes, teach yourself online, etc. I would recommend taking a class though so that you are doing things correctly. Correctly means that your site will show up on all browsers, mobile phones, and be optimized to show up first in search engines.

Hope that helps, let me know if you have any questions:)