Web Site Gallery
Below is a sample of webs that demonstrate layout, graphical treatment and HTML ability lead or designed by Mr. Byers. Viewing these sites shows a progression in style and treatment over time as the web has matured and an application of research design and evaluation. The most recent sites are ones that he oversees the production of and does not directly create the graphics or coding, but leads cross-functional teams in their creation and functionality (The NSTA Learning Center, Science Objects, SciGuides).

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The NSTA Learning Center
As Assistant Executive Director for Government Partnerships and e-Learning at NSTA I oversee the design, development, implementation and evaluation of NSTA's online and blended professional development opportunities, many offered in conjunction with our government partners. I also serves as the Co-PI for an NSF grant that is infusing our NSTA print material, e.g., journal articles, books and book chapters, into the NSF funded National Science Digital Library collection in partnership with Ohio State University. In creating and implementing a back-end online cataloging tool incorporating IEEE LOM and Dublin Core extended tags, NSTA meta records, and in turn the content it describes, now appear within the NSF Middle School Pathways portal and the overall NSDL (http://www.nsdl.org). In this capacity I am fortunate to lead an outstanding team of individuals within NSTA that have created and implemented this system over the last 2 years, primarily, Claire Reinburg, Robin Allan, Tyson Brown, Ryan Foley and Todd Wallace. The fruit of this labor is now visible through the beta release of our NSTA Learning Center (NLC), our online e-Professional Development portal that will serve as the national “home base” for science educators desiring high quality professional development resources and materials.

The NCL project planning web site provides an in-depth overview of the myriad of planning, review, coordination that is necessary for a project of this magnitude. It also provides a description of the e-PD products and services that appear within The NLC in addition to the NSTA digital publications (books, journal articles), and the tools that will reside within the portal.

Formal third party usability testing has also been completed. We launched the beta version of the portal in November 2006 with aproximately 850 tagged resources within The NSTA Learning Center with the goal to tag all future NSTA publication content, and selected collections from the digital archive. Since the formal launch in April 2008, six months ago, there are now over 25,000 user accounts who have added over 138,000 digital e-PD resources to their libraries from the 3,000 existing e-PD resources

Mr. Byers provides executive oversight managing the cross-cutting institutional dynamics, helping to ensure hurdles are overcome and critical milestones are achieved. Coordination, tracking, and communication are essential across many divisions and departments for this portal as we seek to leverage the wealth of resources in our Professional Development, Conferences, Publications and e-Learning divisions. Marketing and Membership also play a crucial role in assuring the portal will achieve its ultimate impact on the national scale it seeks to support.

The development and testing of the tools within The NLC portal is also managed by Mr. Byers. Herein lies brief description of each tool (47.5 KB Word doc), as well as a document that describes how several of the products work in a blended model of professional development (33.5 KB Word doc).




NSTA Science Objects
Mr. Byers provides executive oversight of the creation of Science Objects. This 4 million dollar vision will create approximately 130 1-2 hour science objects over the next three years. Science Objects are discrete on-demand web-based learning experiences that utilize interactive simulations and embedded questions based off known misconceptions of scientific phenomena. The goal is to help the 2.9 million teachers of science across the US better understand the science content they are teaching (targeting upper elementary and middle level science educators). NSTA launched the first 33 Science Objects in November of 2007.

Science Objects are a subset of a larger "package" of asynchronous learning opportunities called SciPacks, which combine 3-5 science objects as well as a pedagogical implications component that provides a context to the content for appropriate grade-bands. SciPacks will provide an optional final content assessment for a certificate from NSTA as well as a content wizard to answer individual questions from educators as they progress through the SciPack. You may view the free Science Objects by creating an account within The NSTA Learning Center.

Mr. Byers has been engaged in this instructional design solution since first coming to NSTA full time in May of 2002 and was instrumental in forging the initial production roles and processes, design protocols and evaluation methodology for Science Objects and SciPacks. Science Objects and SciPacks apply the seminal research in instructional design, e-learning, inquiry, and simulation design. This research guides the creation of the interactive production process and its prospective team member roles, and the touchstone "How to" manual that guides SciPack and Science Object production. Mr. Byers helped author the major sections and edited the early drafts of the "How to" manual selecting examples from early science objects that typified the instructional design template. Extensive usability testing, small group focus groups, one-on-one end-user and expert reviews continue to be enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of this asynchronous learning solution. He helped forge the early Design Scope Document process that applies an Understanding by Design methodology as well as the application of the 5E inquiry model espoused by Roger Bybee. A sample Scope Document for the Universe is included. He is now fortunate to have a full time staff of 6 individuals, lead by our latest edition, Bob Sonant, Director of e-Learning Production, and Joan Scheppke, Senior Producer, that facilitate the intricate production of this program on a day-to-day basis.

Pilot testing of the initial Force and Motion SciPack and its related science objects has yielded positive reviews and significant gains in learning from participating teachers across three districts (Journal of Science Education and Technology Journal Article). NSTA continues to expand our pilot with a key partnership with the West Virginia and Hawaii State Departments of Education, as well as schools districts throughout the US.




NSTA WebWatcher SciGuides
Mr. Byers served as Program Director for this National Science Foundation grant project called "Webwachers" for the second and third year of this three-year 1.3 million dollar grant. In his current capacity at NSTA, he now provides executive oversight of the management team, now lead by Stacy Rudolph, SciGuide Program Manager. Mr. Byers implemented a five-tiered help desk support system (with metrics and benchmarks), and quality assurance checklists as web enhancements are implemented to the system. Additionally, monthly monitoring reports monitor the quality of the help desk system from an end-users perspective.

As Project Director I outsourced the web production for the third iteration of the SciGuides web site to transform the site into a dynamic database-driven system that could showcase the power of a distributed web-based review process. I originally envisioned this idea as technical advisor to "NLIST," a NASA-funded project for the Council of State Science Supervisors, but now was able to transform this idea into reality. The original idea was drafted in a document back in 2000 titled "A Rubric Evaluation Tool for Assessment in Inquiry" (rubrictool.pdf).

Mr. Byers oversaw the outsourcing, review and budget for the design of the custom content management system for SciGuides that allows educators and subject matter experts to work in distributed teams to create SciGuides without the need to know HTML. This system also incorporates the necessary levels of expert review for content, structure, pedagogical, editorial, and section 508 compliance necessary to ensure a high quality product upon completion. Mr Byers commissioned elaborate help tutorials and drafted the content for many of the self-paced tutorials that now appear in the back-end of the system (RoboDemo is the tutorial software). You may see several screen snapshots of the back-end system by reviewing an early presentation on the SciGuide Webwatcher program delivered at previous National Conventions.

What appears above is the front end of the system that presents SciGuides once completed. NASA, NOAA, FDA, and NSF have sponsored development of SciGuides using this system. This award-winning program continues to save teachers valuable time in finding high-quality, standards-aligned, web-based resources and provides the necessary scaffolding tools to assist teachers in implementing these vetted resources into their classrooms.




Webwatcher SciGuide Facilitator Tutorial
This is one of three tutorial for the Webwatcher SciGuide Professional Development project that was created for the facilitators and program manager who leads the development of creating a SciGuide. In this tutorial we provide a step-by-step set of instructions on how to manage a distributed team in creating a SciGuide and utilizing technology to facilitate distributed development. The tutorial was created using RoboHelp and RoboDemo. Mr. Byers created the outline of the tutorial sections, managed the outsourcing and creation of these tutorials and drafted the text for this tutorial for editing and review. You'll see strategies for managing distributed virtual teams under section two titled "Managing Guide Development-Managing Completion of Milestones."

 



321 NASA Pop Rocket Teacher Tutorial
This site was created as project for an advanced distance education course in instructional technology at Virginia Tech. Previously in the course Mr. Byers had conducted the pop rocket lesson using a synchronous communication protocol over ATM Compressed video network using VTEL equipment and then was tasked to translate the learning outcomes into an asynchronous web-based delivery medium.

A significant amount of support and help documentation is needed when working in an asynchronous web-based medium, as no live facilitator is there to answer questions in real time. One needs to anticipate the type of support that might arise and provide ample opportunity for the learner to practice what they have learned and dialog with other colleagues. This site demonstrates how a live synchronous lesson could be ported to an asynchronous web-based delivery medium using discussion boards, multimedia and email support. Heavy emphasis incorporated the extensive use of PDF job aids, video, 3D animation (using Infini-D 3D software), and animated screen snapshots for the threaded discussion areas using HyperCam. These tools were the widest available when this site was created, which now if revisited could incorporate blogging, web seminars, podcasting, collaborative peer-to-peer shareware and Instant Messaging.





ISTA Alumni Reunion
This site was created in 2001 in a single evening to promote an upcoming alumni reunion sponsored by the Virginia Tech Instructional Technology Student Association. One of the first sponsored events was a reunion for other graduate alumni. Mr. Byers created the page layout, html, graphics, and the "on location" hotel images, as well as the copy for the site.

The challenge was not in creating the site or getting the event promoted via VT's IT alumni listserv, but in securing the block of football tickets from the VT alumni association the season after playing for the national title. The site does provide insight into the graphical and web design look and feel that was contemporary for the time it was created 6 years ago.

 




Teacher Education Electronic Portfolio Support
This support web site was created for the Teacher Education in Science and Humanities Program at Virginia Tech. Components of this site were later incorporated as part of an e-module for Virginia Tech's Instructional Technology online Master's Program in 2002. Mr. Byers was not responsible for the navigation or visual theme treatment of the overall support web, but created the copy, instructional design, and graphical treatment found within the Personal Image Tutorial and the HP Scanner Software Tutorial. Lastly, Mr. Byers helped develop the Media as Context Tutorial section of this support site by incorporating NASA education sites that demonstrate the instructional context being discussed. This site demonstrates an application of instructional design, web-design, copy writing and graphical editing skills.

 




Virginia Tech Instructional Student Association
The Instructional Technology Student Association (ITSA) was formed in 2000, when Mr. Byers was in the Ph.D. Program at Virginia Tech. He was an original charter member of this group and served as its first founding Vice President. This is a prototype web site that was created to communicate our purpose, organizational structure, and a list of upcoming ITSA events. Mr. Byers created the html template, graphic treatments, and significant portions of the copy found within this site. While some of the external links may have changed, this site provides the purpose for our chapter during the formative states of ITSA and Mr. Byers leadership capabilities in helping forge this new group within the University.

 




NASA Connect
Mr. Byers worked with a team on creating this web site as part of his Ph.D. work at Virginia Tech for a course in Macromedia Director. He served as the liaison to NASA Langley Research Center to determine the scope of the project, the timeline, and desired learning outcomes for the intended audience.

This project was created to accompany a NASA Langley Education program called NASA "Connect" where students conduct mini inquiry-based investigations in science and mathematics. The Connect program is a video series that utilizes web-based instructional components. This site was created to support a program on the theme of space-based astronomy, the electromagnetic spectrum, and why we needed astronomical telescopes in space, specifically, the Next Generation Space Telescope.

This web site captures the excitement and need for space-based astronomy by creating a simulated environment that emulates how astronomers locate objects in the night sky. Mr. Byers authored the script, the conceptual story boards, the interactive quizzes, and many of the animated and 3-D graphics using Bryce (accession and declination). He assisted in the creation of the Lingo coding used in Macromedia Director that was output as shockwave and standalone projectors. He had a great team to help create this site, as Mr. David Halpin and Mr. Todd Smith were both instrumental and essential in creating graphics, editing of the narrative script and coding the lingo.

This web site has been awarded the distinction of being selected for inclusion in "The Best Instructional Technology Graduate Student Multimedia Archive," which includes the following Universities:

  • University of Georgia
  • The University of Minnesota
  • The University of Houston
  • Texas A&M University
  • Utah State University
  • The University of Memphis
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Virginia Tech.

This project was also accepted as a full peer-reviewed paper at the WebNET 2001 World Conference on the WWW and Internet (now called E-Learn), in Orlando, Florida. The title of the paper was "Creating Virtual Labs to Teach Middle School Astronomy Principles: The NASA Connect Education Program Series." (PDF).

 




NASA Baja
Mr. Byers created this web site as part of his Ph.D. work at Virginia Tech for a digital video graduate course. This project was created to accompany a NASA Langley Education program called NASA "Why Files" where students need role models of why it is cool to work in science and how science and engineering are utilized in the real world.

This web site captures the excitement of Virginia Tech's Mini Baja club. He created all the content within this site. On the teacher's page He conducted the needs analysis for the target learner and supporting help pages for the QuickTime and real movie players.

For the video clips he staged the production, wrote the script interview questions, secured and prepped the talent, set up the 3-point lighting and audio. After he captured the raw video footage, and completed the non-linear editing of video using a Media 100 system, he edited the audio track using Peak Bias, and compressed the final output using Media Cleaner Pro. He used Macromedia Flash to create the splash entry page and animated navigation buttons found in the web site. This project allowed him to incorporate his instructional design, graphical and web design talents and develop his digital video production skills.


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