Training – Learning Websites

Piano Nanny provides free online Piano lessons. It starts with the very basics and you move at your own pace, not moving on to the next lesson until you have completed the current one. It uses clear, understandable language that even a complete novice to piano will be able to understand. I completed the first lesson, it only took a few minutes, but I have had previous instrumental music experience. This was done without signing up. The quality of the website is good, they have made the images smaller so that the pages load quicker but the are still big enough to read and understand. It exceeded my expectations, much easier to use than I anticipated. I may just have to learn to play the piano! 5 stars.


Duolingo teaches 20 different languages including English, Russian, French, and Vietnamese. It is a bright, user-friendly website and it is free to use. I completed two lessons in Italian and was told at the end of these that I was 1% fluent in Italian. I did this without having to sign up first. The quality of the website is very good, easy to use. It exceeded my expectations, particularly because it is a free site, some of the paid language sites are not as user friendly as this one. 5 stars.


Khan Academy offers free classes and courses for learning at every level. The Subjects are Mathematics, Science & Engineering, Computing, Arts & Humanities, and Economics & Finance. They also have Test Prep and College Admissions. This is an American website so it is skewed toward their curriculum, so the Test Prep and College Admissions sections have limited value to Australian audiences. I could not use it without signing in first. They use a combination of tasks and YouTube tutorials and as you move through tasks you acquire points. I got a little lost, at times when a YouTube video came on I didn’t know how to move on to the next task. It was pretty much what I expected except I didn’t realise that it had subjects other than Math before I went into it. It seems to be a good site for kids but as an adult it annoyed me a bit. 3 stars


Code Academy teaches you web developer skills. You can learn to build professional websites and applications with the basic version or you can upgrade to the Pro version for more features and capabilities. I selected Make a Website. It showed me a video clip of a website and then went on to show the coding behind it. I could then enter different text in the coding to change the example running next to it. The production quality is quite good but it is definitely aimed at someone with an interest and a little prior knowledge. I found myself getting a little confused as i have neither of these! I wasn’t sure what to expect before going on to this site but there was a lot more content in there than I expected. 4 stars.


Cool Math 4 Kids is a fun site to teach kids mathematics skills using games, quizzes, brain teasers and lessons. I played a couple of games and quizzes and, thankfully, did quite well! It is an American site though so the games involving money is a bit tricky if you don’t recognise the American coins. You are often playing along with, or up against, other users but it is all anonymous. This is a colourful, easy to use site of good quality. It met my expectations based on it’s name of Cool Math 4 Kids, it is just that. 4.5stars



Training – iTunes U

The Experience of Immersion: Experience on Demand – Stanford University.

A conference talk by Jeremy Bailenson who is the founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, a Professor in the Department of Communication at Stanford, a Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, Faculty Director of Stanford’s Digital Learning Forum, and a Faculty Leader at Stanford’s Center for Longevity. He talks about the study of virtual reality systems and how it changes verbal and non-verbal interactions, behavior and outcomes. At the Virtual Human Interaction Lab they build Virtual Reality programs and test what can be done with them. Such programs have included an earthquake simulator (which caused a 60 Minutes reporter to have a panic attack), a ocean reef simulator that illustrates the effect CO will have on the oceans and a training program for athletes. The presentation is what I expected from the description, a university professor speaking enthusiastically about his field. I found it interesting and enjoyed watching it and learning more about virtual reality and its uses.Production quality was good for a conference filming, multiple camera’s and clear audio. It was a 1.3gb download so I would have been disappointed if the quality wasn’t there!  4.5 stars.


Branding, Content & Social Media: Lecture on Content – The Ohio State University.

This is a class lecture by Christine O’Malley, Communications Consultant, Office of Human Resources at The Ohio State University. It is a PowerPoint presentation with a voice over, not what I was expecting. There was no description aside from saying it was a university lecture so I expected a video of a lecturer up in front of students. I found this one a bit boring and the presenter sounded a bit like she was talking to primary school students at times rather than adult university students. It struck me as a little ironic that she was talking about content and capturing audiences. The production was very basic, there was background noise and the pictures were not clear enough to be able to see properly. This was clearly for students of that particular class and not for general public viewing. 1 star.


Effective Social Media: Designing Targeted Content and Messages in Social Network Marketing – Liberty University Online.

A brief presentation by an unnamed Liberty University lecturer. It was filmed outside so there is some background noise and the video is a bit pixalated so not of a particularly high quality in that regard. The man presenting does so with confidence and from this little snippet I gather that he would be quite a good teacher.The title is a bit misleading, he doesn’t go into designing targeted content and messages. He talks about looking at examples of other companies and how they use content and messaging to help get and understanding of an audience and what is working. 2 stars.


Social Media : Twitter – University of South Florida, College of Education

This presentation is audio only. It is of University of South Florida Associate Professor Kelli Burns answering questions about Twitter. The production quality is fair, you can clearly hear and understand the conversation but there is a little background noise and crackling. Kelli explains what Twitter is and how to use it. She gives examples of the influences that saw big increases in the use of twitter, it’s place as a news service, how it gives the opportunity for interaction with people you would not likely be able to interact with otherwise, and the negatives that can arise from using it. I was expecting video, so in that regard it didn’t meet expectation but otherwise it was a good overview of what Twitter is. 3.5 stars.


Free Speech Debate. On Free Speech 4: The Power of the Web – Oxford University

This is a radio current affairs style podcast that is audio only, presented by Katie Englehart and Brian Pellet. Not what I was expecting from the description, I didn’t expect a current affairs program and I didn’t expect it to include other subjects aside from the two in the description. Some of the interviews have background noise and and/or poor quality audio. The music used is a bit annoying. Some of the topics discussed includes digital activism and hacktivism, tracking rape in Syria, people being discriminated against for wearing a catholic cross. The title is not really accurate for the content. 3 stars.

Training – YouTube

The subject I have chosen is Watercolor painting.

Paint With Me! Watercolor Basics for Beginners.

A tutorial in the basics of watercolor painting. The presenter describes the items she is using as well as some alternatives options. She explains what she is doing and the different effects that can be achieved with the different techniques. Production is not of high quality, obviously done with limited resources and skill. The tutorial hasn’t been well planned out, she often pauses to think of what she will do next, so production quality is affected by this. The title and description is accurate, it does show basics for beginners. 3 stars.

Lee SooHyuk [Watercolor Painting]

This is a timelapse of the painting of a portrait of a woman’s face. There is no commentary just classical music. The production is quite good, it doesn’t go so fast that you can’t see what is being done. I would have liked to know what products were being used though. The only description is “Hope you enjoy it^^~” and I did so it met expectation in that regard. 4 stars.

Easy 3 Color Watercolor Sunset

A quick tutorial is painting a sunset scene with three colours. The description is accurate, and includes what colours were used. She rattles on a bit in her commentary getting off track a bit at times which is a bit annoying. Talks about dirty hands, thumb wound and a horse costume. She does describe what she is doing between these things. The editing is a bit clumsy and at times you are unable to see what she is doing because of the fixed camera angle. I did learn though and I might give this a go. 2.5 stars.

icy stream winter landscape in blue

Same person as the Easy 3 Color Watercolor Sunset clip, which I didn’t realise until I heard her voice, but improved production on this one. This time it is a timelapse clip of a winter scene and the voice over is recorded separately giving a better quality of production. No talking about horses or thumb wounds this time. This was a good instructional clip and based on the description is what I expected. 4 stars.

How to Paint a Cherry Tree in Watercolor – Splatter Painting Trees – Paint a Tree – Sakura

A tutorial on how to paint a cherry tree using a splatter technique for the blossom. The quality of this production was good, clear image and clear commentary. The video adjusted in speed to allow the viewer to see the detail of what was being done but not allowing it to get monotonous by spending too much time on the same thing. The tutorial was what I expected from reading the description, I enjoyed it and I would watch other tutorial by this artist. I has inspired my to buy some watercolor paints and try this technique. 4 stars.