Author Archives: Melissa

About Melissa

I am a Reference & Digital Services Librarian at the Business Library at the Cox School of Business of Southern Methodist University.

Oh, the final countdown

number-32258_960_720

(Pixabay, 2016)

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.

Reference

Pixabay. (2016). Number counter [Digital image]. Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/number-counter-mechanical-display-32258/

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The end is nigh!

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.

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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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Backward Design

This week we were to find an article that discussed an instructional design model that was unfamiliar to us. I decided to choose the Backward Design model. This model centers around achieving results-focused student-centered learning. The steps as stated by Wiggins & McTighe (n.d, para. 11-13) are to “identify desired results . . . determine acceptable evidence . . .  [and] plan learning experiences and instruction.” Reynolds and Kearns (2016) rephrase them by stating that instructors and instructional designers should begin by creating the learning outcomes, then transition to choosing the most appropriate assessments, and finish by developing the learning activities.

Some critics of this model have said that it is essentially teaching to the test (Culetta, 2013) but I propose that all standardized educational efforts are ultimately teaching to the test, and using Backward Design actually increases instructional design responsibility and accountability by clearly linking the elements of course design to the learning expectations (aka the test). We have standardized testing in elementary and secondary schools, entrance exams for higher education, and certification exams for professional and technical jobs. This model simply asks instructors and instructional designers to think about what they expect students to learn and why as well as design the instruction to meet those expectations.

The instructional design model that I am most familiar with is ADDIE. With ADDIE, you start by determining the needs of the client, move to designing and developing the product, transition to the implementation stage to receive feedback, and then based on the feedback, evaluate the design. With Backward Design, you literally start the design process in reverse. You begin with what you want your learners to accomplish and why. The instructional design is built with the end results in mind, the learning outcomes. The assessments and learning activities align with the learning outcomes because they are developed later and designed around them (Reynolds & Kearns, 2016; Wiggins & McTighe, n.d.). Backward design is similar to ADDIE in that it still requires the instructional designer to use the ADDIE stages. It’s just how you go about that process that’s changed.

I could see myself using the Backward Design method in the future. Pausing to think about what do I really expect students to learn from my instruction and why is useful. Doing so, could save me design time in the long run. By starting my design with solid learning outcomes and developing assessments and activities that fulfill those outcomes, the process should be easier than trying to reverse-fit the outcomes with already planned activities. Those pre-planned activities may or may not result in students learning what I really want them to.

Theories and models are different. A theory is based on principles or ideas (Merriam-Webster, n.d.) and is intangible. A model gives you an example or a pattern to follow and tends to be concrete. In addition, models incorporate or use theories as their foundation. Think of policy and procedure. A policy (theory) gives you the rules, and possibly even the assumptions and reasoning for establishing the rules. A procedure (model) gives you the steps to take action and create something. It’s the same with instructional design. Our models are built around the different learning theories. I believe that the differences between a theory and a model should matter to clients. When the instructional designer can show the client that the design or model for the end product is built using a sound learning theory, it should add weight and validity to the design. As instructional designers, we want our clients to have confidence in our work.

References

Culetta, R. (2013). Backward Design. Instructional Design. Retrieved from http://instructionaldesign.org/models/backward_design.html

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Theory. Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/theory

Reynolds, H. L., & Kearns, K. D. (2016). A planning tool for incorporating backward design, active learning, and authentic assessment in the college classroom. College Teaching, 1-11. doi:10.1080/87567555.2016.1222575

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (n.d). Understanding by design. Edutopia. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/pdfs/resources/wiggins-mctighe-backward-design-why-backward-is-best.pdf

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Instructional design, learning theories, and instruction…oh my!

Thinking - Please wait

(M., 2008)

This week we were required to read three articles. An article provided by our professor, one of our own choosing and one that a peer chose. All of the articles pertained to instructional design, a learning theory, and instruction, whether it was online or blended.

What resonated the most for me from the Savery and Duffy (2001) article, which focused on problem based learning and constructivism, were the concepts of how learning is socially constructed and how important it is that students take ownership of their learning. In their article, they discuss how facts are not facts because of some universal truth but are facts because there is overwhelming agreement about that information (Savery & Duffy, 2001). Until I read this explicitly stated in black and white, I had not fully considered, or understood, how social constructivism truly functions as well as the weight that shared knowledge holds. Knowledge and understanding is based on a give and take and it does require more than one person for this to occur. I see it and experience it daily in my job. In addition, they stress the importance of giving the student ownership of the problem, the solutions, and the entire learning process (Savery & Duffy, 2001). I really like this concept but I think that I need to learn more about the delivery and implementation of it. How do you design learning so that this is possible and that it occurs?

The article by Artemchik (2016) was right up my alley. It focused on a librarian who developed online information literacy tutorials to use in a business course. As I am a business librarian who is interested in learning more about creating online tutorials, I was ecstatic to happen upon this gem. While this article did not explicitly state any theories, it most closely aligned with ADDIE for instructional design and cognitive constructivism for the learning theory. Her tutorials allowed the students to be self-directed learners but still required them to be active participants to construct their knowledge. What stood out the most for me with this article were the authors best practices, i.e., her lessons learned. Artemchik (2016) recommends working closely with the course faculty member to ensure that the tutorials are relevant and relate to course content, that the tutorials are embedded at a point of need for the students so they will use them, that the tutorials contain learning outcomes that are targeted to students so that they can relate to them and will clearly understand the purpose of the activity, and ensure that the tutorials are easy to navigate and use. I would like to learn more about writing learning outcomes that students can easily relate to and internalize.

The article by Loftus, Stavraky & Urquhart (2014) focused on designing multimedia instruction for a nursing course. The authors relied on Merrill’s five principles of instruction and Mayer’s principles for multimedia instruction (Loftus et al., 2014). In this article I was happy that they shared both Merrill’s and Mayer’ principles. I especially like Merrill’s (2002) principles which state that learning should be problem-centered, activate prior knowledge, use demonstration, allow application, and promote reflection and exploration. I plan on reviewing this article throughout this semester as the information will be helpful and relevant for my course design. The main takeaways I have from this article are that multimedia learning needs to incorporate multiple modalities, such as text, images and sound, and that the design of the instruction should help not hinder the learner. For this to occur, extraneous information should be excluded, outlines and headings should be used, placement of images and text should be considered, information should be presented in multiple formats, and the delivery of the content should not overwhelm the student, i.e. cognitive load theory (Mayer, 2014). I have read about this information before in previous classes; however, reading about it again with a different mindset of applying this knowledge brings about new insights and reflections for me about how to design instruction to incorporate these concepts.

All of the articles will impact my design. For my course, I want to create an online information literacy course that focuses on business library resources. To deliver the information, I want to create a series of online tutorials. I want the course and its content to be engaging, interactive, hands-on, easy to navigate and that teaches the students concepts that they will be able to use throughout their entire undergraduate career. It all sounds a bit overwhelming to me at this point, but I know that all I need to do is complete each assignment to the best of my ability. I am excited to embark on this journey.

References

Artemchik, T. (2016). Using the instructional design process in tutorial development. Reference Services Review, 44, 309-323. doi:10.1108/RSR-12-2015-0050

Loftus, J., Stavraky, T., & Urquhart, B. L. (2014). Design it yourself (DIY): In-house instructional design for online pharmacology. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 19, 645-659. doi:10.1007/s10459-013-9492-2

M., W. (2008). Thinking [Digital image]. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/wadem/2808468566/

Mayer, R. (2014, July 8). Principles for multimedia learning with Richard E. Mayer. Retrieved from http://hilt.harvard.edu/blog/principles-multimedia-learning-richard-e-mayer

Merrill, M. D. (2002). First principles of instruction. Educational Technology Research and Development, 50, 43-59.

Savery, J. R., & Duffy, T. M. (2001). Problem based learning: An instructional model and its constructivist framework. (Center for Research on Learning and Technology Technical Report 16-01). Bloomington, IN: Indiana University.

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Reflections

Prompt: Reflect on the outcome of Project B. What worked? What did not? Why? Did you use your peer for feedback? If so, discuss the feedback your peer provided; if not, explain why? Discuss your client’s feedback. What did you use? What did you reject? Why?

I made it through to the end! This was my first instructional design course and so my first true experiences with instructional design. For my Project B, my client needed me to create a new employee manual for the position of Reference & Instructional Services Librarian. As this position is new, no manual exists for it. To further add to the challenge, instead of using a paper-based manual, which is the same format as our old, existing manuals, he wanted me to create an electronic one.

I have to admit that this project was very challenging for me. Not only did I have to start from scratch but also I had to research possibilities for a secure electronic format. One of the options that we considered was LiveBinders but since the default for the free version is public, that would not work for us. In the end (and many thanks to my professor), we decided to create a Google Site. We chose this as you could make sites private as well as add and remove users from the site. Once this decision was approved, I moved onto the content. Once I actually started adding items, the creation process flowed well.

I used an existing template provided by Google Sites and just modified it to meet our needs. I used a left-hand menu to organize the overall content and added a table of contents box that appears on the right side of each page to further help with organization. I added some pictures to personalize the main page and used a ton of screenshots to help with explanations. I think the end result looks awesome! When I previewed it with my colleagues, they all loved it and thought it looked great. My hope is that my supervisor (who has been on vacation) will approve as well and we can transition the old manuals to this format.

A couple of snafus occurred during the creation process. One is that when I first set up the site, it took me awhile to figure out if Google Accounts could be created without a Gmail account. We wanted our staff to use their SMU emails to log into the site. After some intense searching, I found that yes it is possible. I was so relieved as I was afraid that the entire project would have to be scrapped. Next, I set about creating the instructions on how to do so using a non-Google email. Well, my original instructions were wrong. Instead of teaching them how to create a Google Account using their SMU email address, my instructions showed them how to create a Gmail account. That was a disaster. Luckily, this occurred during the beta test and not the implementation phase. As a further complication, I did not account for users who were already logged into their Gmail accounts when viewing documents within the site. This caused some issues with not being able to access the documents. After adjusting the instructions to account for all these technical issues, the issues were resolved successfully and repeats should not occur.

As the Google Site is private, my peer reviewers could not access it but they were able to review my design document, job aid, and implementation and evaluation report. My peer reviewers did not have many suggestions for me when it came to improving my documents but did like the flow and organization of them. It was gratifying after all the effort I had put into this project. One of my peer reviewers suggested that in my job aid, I explain who a person was so that the learner would understand why the name was being used in the document. I had not thought to do this, as I did not think the name mattered but from an outside perspective, I can see why it actually does.

My client also did not provide a lot of input into this project as well. I think this is because he is super busy with own job duties and has very little free time. He did review everything I gave him and one big change he had me make was that for the assessment he wanted a perfect score. I originally had made it so that the learner could achieve a four out of five possible points but he wanted it to be all or nothing. As he put it, this is a learning experience and they need to perform every task successfully.

I did ask two of my colleagues for their input on the job aid as well as the look and functionality of the Google Site and that really helped. They found some grammatical errors as well as the larger account creation mess. One of them suggested that I take the time to explain why the learner should log out of the personal Google Account before accessing the site. I had not thought of explaining why but doing so helped make the job aid more useful.

During the process, it was the little things, such as explaining names and providing justifications, that I tended to overlook. Having multiple eyes outside of my client and myself really helped to solidify the design and to make it shine. I am very proud of what I have accomplished during this semester with both of my projects. I look forward to getting more hands-on practice with instructional design.

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