As I was contemplating what to write for my final blog post for this course, the song The Final Countdown started playing in my head; hence, the title of this post. There are only about four weeks left in the semester and they are jam packed with to do items. I am happy to say that I am fully finished developing my Canvas course and the job aid to complement it. I credit starting early in the semester with being able to finish on time and ahead of schedule. I admit it made for some painful weeks early on but that brief pain made the rest of the semester progress much more smoothly. I wasn’t rushing to try and finish everything. I have been able to take my time and really look at my course to provide some enhancements.
A recent challenge I encountered with my Canvas course is customization. Since we are using the free teacher accounts for Canvas, we don’t have access to the administrative side of Canvas to modify the default Canvas colors and fonts for much of our content. I have found it frustrating as I wanted to change the generic green of the Modules to my custom blue color to tie all my content together. Although I couldn’t make those changes, an addition I was able to make to my course pertained to the course homepage navigational buttons. Using Photoshop, I designed navigational buttons that incorporate my custom blue for the background color; instead of the generic black that Canvas provides. I think it really pops and adds a touch of professionalism to the course look.
Another challenge I faced was deciding how to layout my modules page so that it made the most sense navigationally to students. My peer reviewer supplied some great ideas on how I could do this. In the end, I added some headers to divide the assignments for each week and modified the titles of each assignment. This way students can clearly see what is due each week and the order it should be completed in. I think it will help students move smoothly through the course.
What do I still need to do? Well, I need to finish revising my course based upon my peer’s feedback and supply her with some as well. I will also need to revise my job aid based upon peer feedback. I really do think that overall the course is useful and will provide an advantage to our instruction in my current job.
As we are in Week 13 of a 16-week semester, it is looking unlikely that I will be able to implement and evaluate the course. My colleagues have said that they would like to implement the course in the coming Spring semester so I am looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds. I am excited to hear actual student feedback and be able to use it to improve the course structure and content. All in all, I have enjoyed learning how to make an online course from scratch. It has supplied me with new skills and insight into the world of instructional design.
Pixabay. (2016). Number counter [Digital image]. Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/number-counter-mechanical-display-32258/
We are now in Week 11 of the semester and time is flying by. By the end of this week, I am required to have my entire course fully developed and in place in Canvas. I am happy to say that I will be successful in meeting this deadline. All of my course content is developed and ready to go. In addition, I have been working on my job aid for the course throughout the semester. I put the finishing touches on it last week and had my work colleague proofread it. I added it to my course homepage and just need my peer to review it in the upcoming weeks. I went ahead and published my course as well as added myself as a student so I could see what it looked like from that perspective. I think I’m in good shape for the remainder of the semester.
With regards to technological challenges, I haven’t encountered any hurdles that I wasn’t able to overcome or determine a way around them. One challenge I did face with Canvas is the peer review option. With assignments, the instructor can tag it as requiring peer review and manually assign the peer reviews to specific students. Since part of the final grade is allotted to peer reviews, I have the peer reviews tagged as requiring peer reviews in Canvas; however, the problem is I don’t have any real students enrolled in the course. I’m unsure how the peer review option would actually work. I’ve looked at Canvas help but still can’t visualize it. I think this is one aspect of the course that would be best reviewed after an implementation to see how it functions when the course is live. I’ve decided to leave the course as is with the peer reviews tagged as I plan to implement at a future date.
Referring to people challenges, I have been super lucky in this area. Other than some minor confusion on adding me to her course as an instructor it’s been a smooth progression. It took a while to determine what was happening at the beginning; she had added me as a student instead of an instructor. Once we figured out the problem, we were able to resolve the issue quickly, and my peer reviewer has provided me with insightful and helpful feedback that I’ve used to improve my course. As an example, one of her suggestions was to designate the order of the activities in each module. I had them listed in chronological order by due date but the order wasn’t explicitly stated. Based upon her feedback, I modified my modules to include the order for each assignment, such as “Week 1 Introductions (Activity 1 of 5).” This way students can clearly see the suggested order for working through the modules.
While working on this assignment, I’ve realized that deadlines really are the key to success. Although at times, it made me want to scream and pull out my hair; I’m not bald by the way. If the deadlines weren’t in place, I wouldn’t have pushed myself so hard to get the work completed on time. One change I would make for next time is to space out the recordings of the video. I recorded all of them during a period of four days and it was very tiring. In the future, I would record them over a period of weeks so that I wouldn’t get burned out by them.
Thinking about my strengths as a designer, I would say that my internal drive to succeed is the main one. Throughout this process, I didn’t give up and I kept going. I pushed myself hard to stay on track and meet my timeline. I started early and kept going. I truly believe that was the main reason I was able to finish on time and be happy with how the course looks. Thinking about what I need to improve as a designer, I will admit that I don’t always take criticism well. I need to work on stepping back, listening to the feedback, and why it’s being shared. Nothing is perfect and there is always room for improvement.