Monthly Archives: October 2016

Light ahead

Rays of the sun

(Ong, n. d.)

Here we are in week 10 of the semester and there are only a few weeks remaining before the semester ends. I have been diligently working on getting the last of the materials for my online course finished and ready to go. I’ve developed and created all of my course modules, which includes the online tutorials, the videos, the discussion posts, the readings, the quizzes, the final project, the worksheets, the peer reviews, and the rubrics. This was the bulk of my course and made for a busy semester!

I still need to finalize the job aid for my course and submit it to my peer reviewer for feedback. Then, once I’ve revised it, I’ll add it to the course homepage. After that, the only thing that I should need to do to finish my course is to publish it. Based upon the feedback I’ve received from my peer reviewer and my work colleague, I think it’s going to turn out to be a good course that will be useful for my current job. It was my goal to create something that can be used outside of my UNT course.

For the most part, I have been very lucky. Aside from some confusion on adding me to her course, my peer reviewer has been very responsive with her feedback and it has been both helpful and positive. I haven’t experienced any major design challenges as the biggest change I had to make was to link the tutorials in Canvas instead of embedding them. It was an easy fix and didn’t’ require any other major changes to the course.

I believe that I will be able to meet my original timeline for completion. In fact, if things continue as they have been, I should be able to finish ahead of schedule, which lifts a huge weight from my shoulders. At the beginning of the semester, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to accomplish everything I wanted within the expected time frame. My plan is to use any extra time to tweak the parts of my course that need it based upon feedback from my reviewer and instructor.

I won’t be able to implement or evaluate the course within this semester. The main reason being that the course is designed to take place over 16 weeks and we are already in week 10 of the semester. By the time I’ll receive the final feedback on my course and the job aid, it will be week 13 and too late to expect someone to attempt to complete the course in its entirety. When I do have the time to implement and evaluate it, I want the people who take the course to have the full time they need to work through the course materials. I also want to be able to devote enough time to revise it based upon their feedback. My hope is to use actual business students from my university. I am looking forward to hearing what students think about the course content and hope that they find the course helpful.

Reference

Ong, M. (n. d.) Rays of the sun [Digital image]. Retrieved from http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/pictures/190000/velka/rays-of-the-sun-1471093859xcl.jpg

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Time Keeps Moving On

Time After Time

(Kitten, 2011)

It’s Week 8 now of the semester and it seems to be flying by. I received feedback on my course from peer. I’m happy to share that it was positive and only required a few changes. She suggested that I add spaces for names on my worksheets, which I did. I admit that I overlooked that detail and it’s an important one. She also suggested that I add hours for the library, which I did as well. We don’t normally promote our hours as the Business Library promotes that whenever we are open, no matter the time, someone is always available to help you. That being said for online students it would be helpful for them to know exactly when the Business Library is open so that they could better coordinate with their schedules.

She also suggested I review my discussion posts for grammatical issues. I did review them but nothing jumped out at me, so I have asked her if she saw specific issues and if she would share them with me. Other items she mentioned were to space out the learning goals and objectives so that they are easier to read and to add bullets to the course timeline. I agreed that it was a lot of information condensed so I did my best to space them out within the syllabus and added bullets. I think it’s now easier to read and to follow. Another suggestion was to indent the discussion post examples, which I did and I added color to their headings to help them stand out more.

Some of her suggestions could not be used because the concerns she raised address the native features of the tutorial design, and I am unable to modify them. She mentioned that the help box covered the text but I can’t change its position when it’s clicked on. Luckily, the help box is meant to be hidden so I am hoping it won’t be an issue. She also mentioned that the text box on the left was small but again that is part of the tutorial design.

One suggestion that she made that I chose to leave the same related to my references in the tutorial. My peer reviewer suggested that I make the text for the references smaller. I decided to leave the text alone as changing the size of the reference text wouldn’t be consistent with all the other text in the tutorial. In addition, I am trying to model how references should look for the students and the size of the text for the references should be the same size as the text of the content (McDonald, 2011).

It’s very stressful working on a professional timeline. Not only is it very rapid paced but also it’s extremely rigid. There’s not a lot of room for flexibility. You have to plan out how you want to approach the project and then, you must stick to the timeline. In my case, I was able to stay on top of my schedule and the development of my course went smoothly. I hope with future instructional designs I won’t always be working completely on my own and will have some design help. I am glad that I am getting this experience while I still have my professor’s and peer’s feedback close at hand.

Reference

Kittin, P. (2011, July 18). Time after time [Digital image]. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/prairiekittin/5951368139

McDonald, K. E. (2011). Teaching the 6th edition of APA style of writing in counselor education. The Journal of Counselor Preparation and Supervision, 3(2), 124-145. Retrieved from http://repository.wcsu.edu/jcps/vol3/iss2/5

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Course Development

Continuing on in my online course design journey, I’ve been busy at work putting my course content in Canvas, the Learning Management System (LMS), that we are using to host our online courses. We are supposed to have about one-half of our course finished. I have been trying to work ahead as much as I can so that I can spend the majority of my time on any revisions needed and polishing my course. Because of the many hours I put in at the beginning of the semester, I have much of my course content already in place in Canvas. I estimate that about 75% of it is ready to go.

Before starting to work in Canvas, I did spend a few hours watching the instructor videos that Canvas provides. I found them to be very helpful in getting me started as well as orienting me to Canvas. My experience with Canvas has been very positive. It seems to be both user-friendly and intuitive in its design. I like working in Canvas much better than Blackboard, and so far, I haven’t really needed to make major revisions because of the Canvas structure.

One minor change that I did make pertains to my tutorials. I used an outside tool, LibWizard, to develop and create my online tutorials. Originally, I wanted to embed these in Canvas so that students would stay within Canvas to complete all of the course content. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out as planned. When I tested the tutorials in Canvas, it was inconsistent and wouldn’t display all of the content. I think it is because Canvas requires secure links and not all of the content in my tutorial uses them. Because of this, I had to reassess how I wanted to share my tutorials with students. I decided to provide a link in Canvas to each of the online tutorials that opens in a new tab. I put notes in the assignment areas in Canvas indicating that the links would open in a new tab in order to mitigate student confusion, and by making this change, all the tutorial content will display as intended.

The design model is going smoothly for me. After I create content, I send it on to a work colleague for her feedback. She has really helped me to polish my course content before I place it in Canvas. I am hoping that the upfront revisions will make for more positive feedback from my peer reviewer and the instructor. I have found through previous design experiences with other UNT courses that revising more in the beginning tends pay off when it comes to end results, i.e., less revisions are needed later on. Although it is a lot of work, I am enjoying getting experience developing and creating an online course. I fully believe that this experience will make me a better instructional designer.

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Online Course Design

At this point in the semester, I’ve submitted the design document for my online course. I received some very helpful feedback from both my peer reviewer and my instructor. I used that feedback to revise and finalize my design document. Now, I’ve started creating my online course. This experience has been eye opening.

One thing that I quickly realized is that designing an online course from scratch is a lot of work! I have had to think about how to effectively convey information to students, how to engage students with the course content, and how to create a sense of community all without relying on face-to-face communication (Office of Educational Innovation and Technology (OEIT), 2016). This has definitely been the most challenging part for me. I am used to teaching in a face-to-face environment and have struggled with how I can adjust my style and the content to work in a solely online environment. I hope that the design decisions I’ve made are successful.

One thing that seems to have worked well for me is that I started creating my content early. I decided to begin by creating my video scripts and then transitioned to recording them. I used the pro-version of Screencast-O-Matic to do this and it was super easy. They have a very nice feature titled scripted recordings, which allows you to first upload a text file, record the script, then go back and record the video while you listen to the script. I think this feature streamlined my work and saved me a lot of time.  In previous experiences, I had difficulty recording the audio and video simultaneously.

Throughout this course design process, I shared course content with my work colleagues for their feedback and input. It’s been very helpful having an outside perspective. They’ve caught errors that I overlooked, identified unclear content and pointed out potential navigation issues. Luckily, most of the items needing redesign have been minor, such as grammar. At this point, my peer reviewer hasn’t had a chance to review my course but I look forward to hearing the feedback and hope that it is positive. I also haven’t had a chance to provide my peer reviewer with my feedback on her course. I am looking forward to seeing her design choices and sharing my input. I know that when I do receive feedback it will only help me improve my course design.

Overall, I’ve learned that there are many nuances to designing online courses, such as determining the best method for sharing course information – using a discussion post, an announcement, or an email? Once I’ve decided on the method, I then need to determine and schedule the best time for students to share their ideas. I now realize that online course design requires a lot of advance planning (OEIT, 2016). There are many pieces that need to come together as a cohesive whole. I still have a lot of work to do, but I believe this course will come together, and that it will be a great learning experience for me.

Reference

Office of Educational Innovation and Technology. 2016. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved from http://dltoolkit.mit.edu/

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Peer Feedback – It’s a Go

Feedback

(Levine, 2014)

At this point in the semester, I have drafted a rough version of my complete design document for my course. I have to admit I wasn’t expecting to have to submit a complete design document by the second week of the semester. In previous courses, we worked on the design document throughout the semester and were able to make changes and revisions as needed. Needless to say, it was a lot of work up front and made for a very busy couple of weeks. I do understand why we need to have a complete design document. It makes it difficult, if not impossible, to create a course without a sound plan to follow.

At the end of Week 2, I submitted my rough draft for my professor to review. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the work I had put into my design document paid off. My professor was mostly happy with my design document. He did have some suggestions for me to improve it, which I fully expected; however, I was in much better shape than I expected to move forward for the semester. I was relieved to not have to start over and that I just needed to make some minor revisions to my document.

After revising my document based on my instructor’s feedback, it was time for peer feedback. I was very nervous about this part as I didn’t really know who would be in my group. I shouldn’t have worried. My partner was awesome and provided the feedback quickly after we were assigned to our respective groups. Furthermore, I was very lucky in that the feedback she supplied was both insightful and helpful. After reviewing her perspective on my document, I have a better understanding of how a new instructor or instructional designer would interpret my design document.

For the most part, I learned that my design document was in good shape. She had some grammatical suggestions which I followed and she also recommended that a few sentences be modified for clarification purposes. The best part of her peer feedback is that she gave me some insight on the flow of my document. What I mean by that are the little details that I overlooked that make sense to me but not to an outsider reading my document, such as the shorthand name I used for my course, BUSL. It’s clear to me that BUSL stands for Business Library but it wasn’t to my peer.

One area that she made a suggestion to change but I didn’t was the numbering system I used for my goals and objectives. I didn’t delineate my goals and objectives as G.1 and O.1. I used a numbering system that my professor in CECS 5210 recommended, which was 1 and 1.1, 1.2, etc. I like the simplicity of that system and left my numbering system as is.

Other than that one major area, I did try to revise my document based on the suggestions of my peer. I do hope that the feedback I provided her was appreciated and considered in turn. I expect that the changes I made have improved my design document and that by the end of the semester I will have created an awesome course!

References

Levine, A. (2014, May 26). Got feedback? [Digital image]. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/cogdog/14279306964/in/album-72157638934279076/

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