September’s ILT Research Reflection

bloodmoon reflection

Course Participation

Participation in ILT Research required reading and discussing texts, writing peer reviews and scholarly critiques, and developing a team research proposal. Of the texts by Stringer, McNiff, Sagor, and previous INTE 6720 students, I appreciated how Stinger laid out the groundwork for my action research process.

In peer discussions around the text, I have benefited from all my classmates’ input. It has been an opportunity to learn and bounce ideas off my peers. An excellent example of peer-to-peer help is when my classmate Becca Argenbright explained an idea that I was struggling with.  On the discussion board Becca wrote, “This approach doesn’t necessarily help with ‘narrowing down,’ but I think it does help to pinpoint great sources for the ‘valuable input’ we need.” This little bit of guidance was exactly what I needed to decipher between data quantity over data value.

Writing peer reviews has been a great way to learn about my own research. It made me challenge such things as my research questions, participant pool, data collection and methods. The scholarly critiques also made me look at my research more deeply. Each of my scholarly reviews has offered a new way to view my research on music’s impact on community identity.

In collaborating on my team’s research proposal I have relied on all the required participation of the course: texts, discussions, peer reviews and scholarly critiques.

Education Technology Participation

The role of research in educational technology is really tough to define. I have learned through the Craft of Research that with so much information available today, those who do not research well or are not able to evaluate that of others will be sidelined. The explosion of elearning as a profession and mainstream educational method requires sound research to back the industry’s viewpoint. Research can answer the question of what are the best pedagogical methods for applying educational technology.


The text, The Craft of Research dispelled many preconceptions I had about research. I learned to stop narrowly defining research in my own mind and take a chance in understanding it. The scholarly reviews have also been great tools for dispelling misconceptions around research. 


My research team has been a big part of my educational network. We spend about two hours every couple weeks refining our research agenda and proposal. Bouncing ideas off each other has taught me keep questioning and refining my research plan. 

I was able to locate, Professor Gordon Lynch, one of the authors of a scholarly critique on Twitter. He responded to my tweet saying he liked my article, but I have not pursued more conversation since then. I am not sure what to ask him from here. Perhaps as my research continues, I can reach out with questions as they arise.

Personal Q&A

My personal question regarding my research is, “How are my literature reviews benefiting my action research?” With each literature review, I have learned from skilled researchers about their methods and what has worked for them. I rely on the critiques to generate more leads on the next scholarly articles to pursue.


I am really curious to see my action research truly engage my participants. The timing of choosing my action research topic and the unveiling of Minister “J’s” goals for the “A” Center lined up perfectly. I feel like Minister “J” holds the key to unlocking the next level for this research, so I have set up an in-person meeting with him for next week. Both Minister “J” and I really want to execute action research in a meaningful way at “A” Center.


Research in ILT Review 4: Dreaming Across the Oceans: Globalization and Cultural Reinvention in the Hmong Diaspora


Dreaming Across the Oceans: Globalization and Cultural Reinvention in the Hmong Diaspora” by Gary Y. Lee, Ph. D. has been a great resource for my research topic on how art impacts a community’s identity. To find this article, I searched the key terms, “music, community, identity” in the directory of Open Access Journals, which pulled up the Hmong Studies Journal. My scholarly critique of this article is the forth of twelve necessary in my Information and Learning Technologies Research course at CU Denver.

I am researching how music creates and fosters a spiritual center’s communal identity, while Dr. Lee explores music and videos made by the Hmong diaspora community to identify and remember their culture.  To understand community, I believe individual identity must be explored first. The author writes that Hmong’s media productions allow individuals to acknowledge the loss of their homeland in Laos, provide anchors to their Hmong identity, and help remember their past in order to move forward in new cultures and lands.

For the larger Hmong community, the media productions unite the global community. The videos are very nostalgic and create a longing for the old way of life. Now, the Hmong diaspora is spread all across the world in such countries as Vietnam, Thailand, The United States, France, and some still remain in Laos. Artistic expression helps keep old traditions alive, while each new Hmong home influences the diaspora’s cultural evolution.

There were no forthright research questions within the article, but the main question gleaned was, “How are Hmong media productions connecting the global Hmong community and changing their identity?” These productions are expressions from the larger Hmong diaspora that allow the community to stay intact. With modern technologies most every member of the Hmong diaspora can learn about and identity with his/her culture and a homeland s/he may never be able to visit.

The objects, rather than objectives, of this study were several Hmong or Hmong-inspired productions: music videos, documentaries, and films. The art form of Hmong music is intricate and sentimental. By producing music videos that spread around the world the culture can continue to grow. Documentaries made about the Hmong diaspora and their extreme hardships have elevated the worlds understanding of their situation and helped unite Hmong in various countries to act on behalf of the larger Hmong population. Hmong films allow cultural stories to reach the next generations, while working-out the painful past. On the flip side of each production, there is no real way to prevent the producer’s interpretation or perhaps distortion of the Hmong’s truth today. The Hmong community continues to buy the productions, so there must be a niche to fill.

The research was a literary exploration of how artistic productions united the Hmong diaspora. Although, this design was not action research, I learned a great deal about the power of art in defining a community’s identity. Music and video acted as tools to elicit emotion, nostalgia and belonging. Many of the first generation, displaced Hmong people rely on imagery and song to remember their culture.

Within my research team, we are studying art’s influence on community in a public space, classroom, and online space. This article connects the public or physical space to the online aspect. The Hmong music and film productions have been traveling all around the world, uniting the Hmong diaspora. The next logical step for the Hmong community is an online space that allows for immediate cultural connection and collaboration. From cyberspace, the Hmong community could continue to redefine itself. However, the challenge lies in a less nostalgic second and third generation. They have no real connection to the homeland aside from their parent’s or grandparent’s stories. The Hmong media productions might be the only way for the Hmong culture to survive and perhaps evolve into a new identity.

This article has shown me the importance of art in developing a cultural identity. Rather than pursing more articles on spiritual community identity, my efforts will shift to cultural and ethnographic community studies.


Lee, G. (2007). Dreaming across the oceans: Globalization and cultural reinvention in the hmong diaspora. Hmong Studies Journal, 7(1), 1-33.

Diaspora photo:

Globalization photo:

Research in ILT Review 2: The Craft of Research (Ch. 1-2)

The Craft of Research by Booth, Colomb, and Williams opened my eyes to the increasing importance of research in an information-saturated world. Remi Holden, my professor of Research in Information and Learning Technology at CU Denver, suggested the text in order to better align ourselves with what it means to be a researcher. Chapters one and two stripped away the facade I believed research to portray. I used to think that research was only for working in the academic world. The text taught me to stop narrowly defining research in my own mind and take a chance in understanding it.

craft of research

The authors explain that research is currently the world’s leading industry (1995, p. 9).  This fact blew my mind. I previously believed research was exclusive to academia, and never thought it mingled with government or business. The authors go on to say, “Those who cannot research well or evaluate that of others will find themselves sidelined in a world increasingly dependent on sound ideas based on good information produced by trustworthy inquiry and then presented clearly and accurately (1995, p. 9)” This statement made me realize that I did not want to be sidelined: I wanted to play ball with everyone else.

The Craft of Research continued to enlighten me on the topics of commitment, intention, and understanding. It seems to go without saying, but committing to one’s research will affect the results. The authors say, “Nothing contributes more to successful research than your commitment to it, and nothing teaches you more about how to think than a successful (or even unsuccessful) report of its product” (1995, p. 14-15). Prior to reading the text, I had one foot in the research boat and one foot on dry land. Now, I have both feet in the research boat, and am ready to make this journey.

The next important building block for successful research is intention and how it defines a researcher’s role (Booth, Colomb, & Williams, 1995, p. 20). In relation to my chosen research topic, my intention is to help Minister “J” and help the congregation explore what music means to the “A” Center’s identity. I find it fascinating that music was the only common thread that kept the congregation together for a year and a half as they searched for Minister “J”. Without beginning any research at all, it appears that music is the glue and life of the community.

The final and most challenging aspect of research is imagining my reader’s role. Of course, my peers and professor will read my research paper, but my ideal reader is the “A” Center congregation. Booth, Colomb and Williams say,

In this case, the old advice to ‘consider your audience’ means that you must report your research in a way that motivates your readers to play the role you have imagined for them (1995, p. 21).

This is a group of people working to intentionally grow their community and create meaningful, life-long relationships at the “A” Center. I believe they expect me to help them understand how music defines the community and perhaps help elevate music from a pleasant experience to a sacred one. The audience will need a bit of background in “A” Center’s history and the language of sacred music will need to be explained as a new concept. I expect responses to reach the gamut of possibilities: some will resist change, some will argue the solution, and some will want to know the next steps. However, if my action research is executed thoughtfully and accurately, I imagine the majority of my audience will want to know the next steps and forego arguing the validity of the research.

The Craft of Research has completely transformed my view of research in my graduate program. This is an invaluable opportunity to test the research waters under the safety of academia in order to grow my professional skill set. In the game of research, I no longer want to sit on the sidelines; I am excited to take on the role of researcher.


Booth, W., Colomb, G., & Williams, J. (1995). The Craft of Research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Photo Credit

Research in ILT Review 1: The Role of Popular Music in the Construction of Alternative Spiritual Identities and Ideologies

Now that I determined my research topic, engaging with music to form community identity, what is next? As a newbie to action research, who can I look to for guidance on my topic? According to Remi Holden, professor of my INTE 6720-Research in Information and Learning Technologies (ILT) course, the next step is to critically consume others’ scholarly research related to my topic. As I learn from similar research projects, I hope to improve my action research technique.

Becca Argenbright, my ILT Research classmate, taught me to access Auraria Library, apply filters (scholarly/peer-reviewed and full text online), and search key words. With the key words spiritual, identity, and music, I located Gordon Lynch‘s article “The Role of Popular Music in the Construction of Alternative Spiritual Identities and Ideologies” from the Journal for Scientific Study of Religion. I chose this article because of its close relation to my research topic and its potential to enrich my study.

My specific action research topic is, “How is community identity impacted through engaging with music in the spiritual space known as “A” center?” I am a stakeholder at “A” center and often times we sing nontraditional hymns such as “Rocky Mountain High” or “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out”. Granted these songs are not current songs, but most people recognize them in American culture. I wonder how the music performed and sung at “A” center impacts the community and their identity-formation.

In the article, Gordon Lynch compares the work of Christopher Partridge’s “The Re-enchantment of the West” and Graham St John’s “Rave Culture and Religion” and “Culture and Religion” through the following questions:

  • How popular music “audiences” use pop music as a source of religious identity and ideology?
  • How does music function as a medium for shaping religious identity?
  • What specifically does music do to people?
  • What do people concretely do with music to shape religious identity, belief, and experience?

In the work of Partridge and St John, Lynch finds that both researchers demonstrated evidence that alternative spiritual beliefs affect popular music and culture. However, Lynch says there is a gap in the explanation of how people physically or mentally use music to create new spiritual identities or meanings.

Lynch’s study consisted of 39 semistructured interviews with “clubbers” outside their dance club environment. In this study, the night club is identified at the religious center for the clubbers. The results were not clear, nor listed. Lynch explained the results as the exploration of cultural discourses through which “clubbers”  sense their experiences, but did not address the role of music as a source of identity-formation. Lynch concludes that the study had significant limitation much like Partridge and St John’s research.

It seems the questions Lynch asked did not stress the importance of how music specifically and concretely shaped community identity. I plan to explore the following questions that Lynch outlined above, while paying special attention to his previous limitations:

  • How does music function as a medium for shaping religious identity?
  • What specifically does music do to people?
  • What do people concretely do with music to shape religious identity, belief, and experience?

Lynch suggests his research along with Partridge and St John, is lacking the cultural, familiar importance individuals attach to music as studied by Tia DeNora in Music in everyday life.

Arguing against the view that the meaning and influence of music lies in its structural and semiotic properties, DeNora has engaged in extensive fieldwork to explore the significance and meanings that music can have for people in lived, everyday settings (Lynch, 2006, p.486).

DeNora’s study explored the sociology of music’s impact on identity. I found Lynch’s summary of DeNora’s questions to be insightful beacons for my research. DeNora’s research addressed the following questions (Lynch, 2006): 

  • What are the different social settings in which people listen to music?
  • How does one’s musical taste differ between waking up, going to church, driving a car, etc?
  • What was the aesthetic and affective aspects of the experience of listening to music?
  • Are there certain kinds of emotion that are important for absorbing ideas from music?
  • Is the process of religious identity-formation through popular music actually as much a process of learning to feel about one’s self and the world in particular ways, as one of learning to think about it in certain ways?
  • What is the specific aural quality of music?
  • In what ways might religious identity-formation through listening to popular music be different to religious identity-formation through, for example, watching film or visiting websites?
  • Are there particular ways in which alternative spiritual ideologies are encoded and decoded through the aural properties of different genres of popular music?

In my research, I plan to take Lynch’s limitations and suggestions to heart. Even though the results of Lynch’s research were inconclusive, I learned the terrain of my action research topic. If I can implement De Nora’s insights into my research agenda and data collection, then I may be able to avoid the gaps others faced.

I have the utmost respect for Gordon Lynch’s work and appreciate his contribution.


De Nora, T. 2000. Music in everyday life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lynch, G. (2006) The Role of Popular Music in the Construction of Alternative Spiritual Identities and Ideologies. The Scientific Study of Religion. 45(4): 481-488

Photo Credits

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eLearning Trends: The eLearning Family Tree

The eLearning Family Tree

Team Members:

  • Chris Smith
  • Sophia Burris
  • Elisabeth Gallagher
  • Susannah Simmons

Design Decisions


Educational technology has significantly impacted the delivery of education over the past century. The aim of our presentation is to convey how eLearning emerged from its foundation in educational technology and distance education. Our presentation follows the changes in the delivery of education from 1728 when Caleb Phillips advertised a correspondence course for shorthand in the Boston Gazette. The presentation continues through the introduction of various educational technologies and then gives an indication of how eLearning may look in the future based on current trends in technology and eLearning. To see the video click here.


We selected a family theme for our presentation. We show the relationship between distance education, educational technology and eLearning by personifying each of them. Distance Education (Dee) meets and marries Educational Technology (Ed) and they have a baby eLearning (eLle). The relationship between the three characters allowed us to present the developments in education delivery chronologically. A family tree is provided to illustrate the “parent” ideas for each character.

Evolution of education delivery reflected in the lives of the characters. Our presentation has three acts. In the first act, Dee and Ed reminisce about when they first met in 1921 at the Latter Day Saints University during the first educational radio broadcast. They talk about how they worked together through the introduction of educational radio, educational television, open universities and finally the internet at which point they marry and have baby eLle.

Act two shows Ed and Dee looking down at baby eLle, while discussing the impact she has had on universities and the corporate world. This act highlights the potential growth eLle had when she was young. Of importance is the cognitive load theory. This theory is included to highlight the impact of allowing designers and educators to filter learning content and avoid over stimulating their students and audiences. The coherence principle is mentioned as well to highlight a process of filtering content.

Act three provides a picture of  adult eLle in the future talking with her parents about the new technology she is using. Predictions of the future are made using knowledge of current trends in technology development and its educational applications. For instance, eLle speaks about attending meetings in a virtual world with a headband charged by her movements. Another example may be instantaneous translation services between school collaborations. Connectivism of the online education is also alluded to for discussion boards and video courses. eLle lives the virtual collaboration life as expressed in this act. 

Relevant theory 

Our characters make reference to many theories throughout the presentation. In act one, Chu and Schramm are referenced in regard to student achievement. In act two, Cognitive Load Theory is related in how it has impacted instructional design practice along with the Coherence Principle. In act three, the characters  refer to Surry and Ely’s research on Adoption, Diffusion, Implementation, and Institutionalization of Educational Technology in terms of the limited adoption of educational television.


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http://www.a   uct/Pages/sec50.aspx

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Campbell, K., Schwier, R. A., & Kenny, R. R. (2005). Agency of the instructional designer: Moral coherence and transformative social practice. Australian Journal of Educational Technology, 21 (2), 242-262. Retrieved from: jet/ajet21/campbell.html

Cela, K., Sicilia, M., Sanchez, S. (2015). Social Network Analysis in E-Learning Environments:  A Preliminary Systematic Review. Educational Psychology Review, 27(1), 219-246. Retrieved from: Learning_Environments_A_Preliminary_Systematic_Review

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King, S., Chan, T., Huang, R., Cheah, H. (2014). A review of e-Learning policy in school education in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Beijing: implications to future policy planning. Journal of Computational Education, 1(2), 187-212.

Moreno-Ger, P., Burgos, D., Torrente, J. (2009). Digital Games in eLearning Environments: Current Uses and Emerging Trends. Simulation & Gaming, 40(5), 669-687. Retrieved from:

Reiser, R. A. (2001). A History of Instructional Design and Technology: Part 1: A History of Instructional Media. ETR&D Educational Technology Research and Development, 49(1), 53-64.

Reiser, R. A. (2001). A History of Instructional Design and Technology: Part II: A History of Instructional Design. ETR&D Educational Technology Research and Development, 49(2), 57-67.

Ruiz, J.G., Mintzer, M.J., Leipzig, R.M. (2006). The impact of E-Learning in medical education. Academic Medicine, 81(3), 207-12. Retrieved from:

Saba, F. (2008). An Introduction to Distance Education and eLearning. Retrieved September 12, 2015.

Saba, F. (2011). Distance education in the United States: Past, present, future. Educational Technology, 51 (6) 11-18. Retrieved from: uploads/ET-article-Saba-11-12-20111.pdf

Walsh, K. (2014). The future of e-learning in healthcare professional education: some possible direction. Annali dell’Istituto Superiore di Sanità, 50(4), 309-310.

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Creative Designs: Denver CASA Volunteer Opportunities Infographic

Design Decisions for Denver CASA Volunteer Opportunities Infographic


I focused on raising awareness on the variety of volunteer opportunities at the Denver Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) office. Julie Wilson, the Denver CASA public relations coordinator, met with me to answer my infographic inquiries. Ms. Wilson said they already had an infographic, but the more we talked, I realized they did not have one for what they call other volunteer opportunities. In this case, they were losing potential volunteers who could not commit as much time needed to be a traditional CASA volunteer. Ms. Wilson  and I decided that an infographic demonstrating all the volunteer opportunities would be a useful tool.

My learning objective was to inform current and potential volunteers that there are six different roles with varying time requirements. Ms. Wilson communicated the following timeframes:

  • 15-20 hours per month for a CASA
  • 10-20 for a Special Events committee member
  • 5-10 for a Board member
  • 5-10 for a Young Philanthropist Project member
  • 5-10 for an Office/Program support member
  • 5 for a CASA ambassador

My target audience consisted of CASA volunteers who tend to be overachievers with big hearts and limited time. To catch volunteers’ attention quickly, I built the infographic to create an emotional response to Joe CASA, a child in need, while clearly demonstrating time commitments. The call-to-action is, “Help Joe. No amount of time is too small.”

Denver CASA Volunteer Options 05

Design Decisions

I designed my infographic to emotionally grab my audience, accommodate all attention spans, and simplify roles and timeframes. My inverted information pyramid began with a call for help in the case of Joe CASA. His situation starts off badly and ends on a positive note. I believe my use of white space and simplicity removes clutter and showcases the most important information.

Design Decision #1

I told the story of a neglected child, Joe CASA, whose basic needs are not getting met and how a CASA volunteer changes Joe’s life for the better. Research by Chip Heath and Dan Heath (2008) talk about how Mother Teresa once said, “If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I will.” (p. 165). I elicited an emotional response from my target audience to show how they could help one child’s situation. Helping a single child was doable in comparison to helping all the Denver CASA children. Reynolds (2014) recommends designers empathetically look through the lens of both their target audience and clients (p.14). On page one of the infographic, I represented Joe in an icon format as a sad child accompanied by disheartening stats and a call-to-action.  The story progressed on page two where I inserted an icon of a happy child accompanied by enriching stats and another call-to-action. My intention was to take my target audience on a journey where they empathized with Joe and made the effort to help him.

Design Decision #2

I intentionally started my infographic with the most important information. Ease-of-use is not an accident; it is a result of deliberate choices and decisions (Reynolds, 2015, p. 16). I deliberately chose to create the inverted information pyramid to accommodate any attention span. The inverted pyramid maximizes the information readers glean (C. Heath & D. Heath, 2008, p. 31). My lead statement began with an initial call-to-action where Joe needs help. Then I funneled downward from volunteer roles, to a secondary call-to-action, to time commitments, to Joe getting the help he needed, and ending with a final call-to-action.

Design Decision #3

I simplified volunteer time requirements to save my target audience decision angst. Stripping an idea to its core saves people from freezing up amidst too many decisions (C. Heath & D. Heath, 2008, p. 37). To further simplify timeframes, I displayed my statistics in a bar graph within the functions of Piktochart. Bar graphs easily show comparisons between similar values (Reynolds, 2015, p. 163). On page two, I inserted a bar graph to compare approximate hours required per month for each volunteer role. I averaged a range of hours to simplify volunteers’ decisions on how many hours they could donate a month.


Heath, C., & Heath, D. (2008). Made to stick: Why some ideas die and others survive. New York, NY: Random House.

Reynolds, G. (2009). Presentation zen design: Simple design principles and techniques to enhance your presentations. Berkeley, CA: New Riders.