My First ePub – Interactive Course Syllabus in E-book Form

Attending a recent Apple Education Seminar, “Mobility with iPads at Illinois Institute of Technology” earlier this week, I learned of the relative easy process for creating an ePub file using Pages on a Mac.

For those who aren’t familiar with ePub, it is a free, open e-book standard that is quickly becoming the universal format for ebooks. ePub is the format that Apple’s iBooks app reads and offers some very interesting capabilities for information distribution in mobile formats beyond the traditional PDF format.

To try creating an ePub for myself, I took a look at Apple’s instructions for creating ePub files using Pages. I then downloaded the “ePub Best Practices” sample Pages document and used that as a template to create my ePub.

I decided to take an existing syllabus I had created for a recent online course, Social Networking in Online Learning, and create an interactive ebook version of the syllabus. Here’s a brief tour of the finished ePub file viewed on an iPad and iPhone:

This ePub is an item in my course podcast feed, available in iTunes here or via the RSS feed.

Or, the ePub can be downloaded directly from

The source Pages document that I used to create the ePub from can be downloaded from

In a later post, I’ll share a tour of the Pages ePub template document and the details to be aware of in formatting an ebook in ePub format.

**UPDATE 3/12/11 – Tutorial demonstrating steps to create an ePub using Pages is available at

Digital Media – New Learners Of The 21st Century

This PBS video features some of the foremost thought leaders, innovators and practitioners in the field of education sharing a startling preview of a 21st Century education revolution.

Watch the full episode. See more Digital Media – New Learners Of The 21st Century.

Online Instructor Performance Expectations

Lawrence C. Ragan, Director of Faculty Development for Penn State’s World Campus, discusses their online instructor performance expectations. In this short video clip he shares the following general guidelines for PSU’s online faculty for teaching an online course:

  1. Show up and teach
  2. Monitor the learning experience for the students
  3. Develop regular patterns of communications
  4. Communicate to the learners if there are changes or adjustments to the activities or flow of the course
  5. Respond to learner inquiries within 24 hours (12 hours if possible)
  6. Be very concise and clear in feedback
  7. Submit assignment and exam grades promptly (24-48 hours for assignments)
  8. Communicate to learners when they can expect feedback from you
  9. Use communication tools from within the learning management system
  10. Ensure a quality learning experience by correcting errors in course materials as soon as possible
  11. Have a good relationship with your institutional support services
  12. Have ready and reliable access to your online course

What additional performance recommendations would you recommend for online faculty? Leave a comment with your suggestions!

Digital Nation: Distracted by Everything

PBS recently aired a Frontline episode called “Digital Nation,” about how technology is transforming our country and our global culture…. and completely distracting us. The fourth section of the program is particularly applicable for those who teach children today.

Have you personally found that as your use of technology has increased, you are more easily distracted? These are certainly timely issues to consider, especially as technology isn’t going away.

Google launches a microblogging tool: Google Buzz

Google recently announced Google Buzz, a new microblogging tool integrated within Gmail designed for starting conversations about the things you find interesting. Here’s a quick video introduction to Google Buzz:

It will be interesting to see how Google Buzz can be leveraged for learning opportunities. Since Google Buzz is integrated in Gmail, you won’t have to create a new account or password to use it. This should make Buzz easily accessible to students and teachers that are using Gmail but yet at the same time will isolate users who don’t or choose not to have a Gmail account.

What are your thoughts about Google Buzz? Might you consider trying it either Buzz in your classroom?