Friday, October 9, 2015

Disposable email addresses

I've always liked the fact that Yahoo mail provides me with a way to set up disposable email addresses and now I've learned a way to do this in Gmail!

What is a disposable email address? 
Have you ever been in a position where you have to enter an email address (for a competition or some other promotion) but you dread the unwanted marketing that is going to flood your email inbox? Disposable email addresses allow you to receive the email in your inbox, but if you decide you no longer wish to receive the emails, you can simply set up a rule in your inbox to delete all emails coming into that email address.

Why not just unsubscribe from the marketing campaign?
The company who had your email address may sell it on to other similar companies who will then send you emails too! You don't want to spend your time unsubscribing from emails you didn't ask for! Setting up the rule to 'dispose' of any emails that come into your disposable address makes it simple to manage.

How do I create disposable email addresses in Gmail?
You simply add +something after your gmail username. Yes, it's that simple. Here's an example.
If my gmail address is, you simply give out a disposable email address like, or or

Try it on your gmail account and you'll see what I mean.

Now you can sign up for stuff and after the initial novelty has gone from receiving voucher codes, great tips or trivial news, you can simply dispose of it once and for all from your mail box. Simples. :-)

PS I learned the Gmail tip from an LMS supplier whose system requires unique email addresses for each learner. It's much more efficient than setting up disposable emails in Yahoo mail.

(pix from

Friday, October 2, 2015

Design of multimedia learning v pedagogic approaches to elearning

In my current work, I create e-learning modules for learners who access these through a Learning Management System (LMS). I'm keen to develop some guiding principles for my team based on theory and research by Richard E Mayers, Ruth Clark and John Sweller. In addition, I'm influenced by industry leaders in this field like Cathy Moore and Anna Sabramowicz.
However, I'm also looking forward to collating the theoretical principles that will guide and underpin the development of our e-learning. While reading Mayes and Freitas (2004), I've come across some useful 'language' that I believe will help me to sell my ideas to the company. Up to recent times, the company has been putting out e-learning based on an industry-wide 'understanding' that colourful pages with narration and interaction will sell e-learning. I was pleased to read that "there is no real theoretical base, but rather a strong folk tradition that compelling explanations will lead to better learning" (Mayes and Freitas, 2004). I've wanted to have a good reason for moving away from the digital chalk and talk to a more scenario-based, constructivist approach and I think I'm building up some good arguments to move us in that direction. (We've already started by shoe-horning in some scenarios but we've not yet re-designed our whole approach).
Using Biggs' model of constructive alignment, we should be looking at our curriculum or learning outcomes (LOs), our teaching and learning activities (TLAs), the learning environment and the assessment methods. Because we work in a compliance industry, we have no say in the LOs. Our learners have to use our LMS to access the learning, so the learning environment is fixed. We have the most control over the TLAs and the writing of our assessments and I intend to use theory to produce our e-learning guidelines 2.0 and start to move us away from the 'presentation of facts' mode to a more learner-centred approach.