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Archive for December, 2013

 


Evaluation Report

December 13th, 2013 Comments off

Report_CardsThe final evaluation report for EDTECH 505 is listed below.  This report has been taunting me for the entire semester.  I’ve had to jump through many bureaucratic – like hoops as I gained permissions to use the data needed in the evaluation.  Well it’s finally done and I feel pretty good about it.

 

Evaluation of the Phase II Project

Categories: General Reflection Tags: ,

 


EDTECH 505 Course Reflection

December 12th, 2013 Comments off

2136954043_b670879bac_oOver the course of this semester, I have read many pages and written many words.  I’ve learned quite a bit as well.  I now have a very fine distinction between research and evaluation.  I have a better grasp on the types of data and how it can be collected.  I think, though, that the most important thing that I have learned is how to create a relationship with the people who are part of the program being evaluated.  I had to reach out to many different people, some quite a bit above me, to get the permissions and data needed.   I had to coordinate and schedule time for agents to participate in focus groups, I had to gain permission to send out surveys and get approval for offline time for those agents to take the surveys. Finally, I had to request permission to access and use the data that the company routinely collects.  It’s all confidential data.  All of the information and data is private data and I had to sign some confidentiality agreements.  I think that emailing and getting permissions and approvals was what took the most time out of any other aspect of the evaluation.  I guess it shouldn’t really surprise me though.  The company that I work for is a multi-national corporation with offices and sites on all of the major continents.  It’s bureaucratic in nature.  The other aspect, that I didn’t anticipate, in this project is that I now have gained the attention of some of the upper level management.  They requested a copy of the evaluation when I complete it.  I’m not sure if they want to see so that they can implement changes or if they just want to make sure I followed procedure, but it still has higher stakes for me now.  The entire process has given me insight as to how to operate in an organization and accomplish the goals that I need to in order to complete and evaluation.  While the attention that I have gained from my superiors kind of makes me nervous, I’m sure that the report will be positively accepted due to, in part, the concepts and procedures that I learned in this course.

 

Categories: General Reflection Tags: ,

 


EDTECH 522 Course Reflection

December 11th, 2013 Comments off

elearningThroughout the semester, I have to say that I’ve enjoyed much of the information and activities that I have participated in and completed.  It’s been a rough semester for me on a personal, family, and health level, but it’s been rewarding as well.  I think that I learned the most from the Moodle online lesson assignment.  I’ve always enjoyed creating lessons and a lesson plan, but getting in and choosing instructional resources and designing what could be a whole course was very rewarding for me.  The Moodle lesson allowed me to explore aspects of Moodle that I had never used before.  I also got to discover new resources and software.  It was at this time that I think I finally realized what I would like to focus my career on after graduation.  The Moodle lesson helped me learn about course design and instructional design in an application based method rather than just theory.  Theory alone is interesting and I can learn from it, but I don’t truly understand until I can dig my hands in and practice.  The Moodle lesson allowed me to do just that.

The Rich Media Tutorial also allowed me to gain some valuable practice and learn about software used to create screen recordings.  As a future online teacher, this is invaluable to me.  No only did I get to learn the software, watching all of my classmate’s presentations was a nice learning experience as well.  It was a great way to turn all of us into teachers and to learn from each other.  In my future plans, I plan on using both my skills with Moodle and screen capture software as well as the design principles that I learning in EDTECH 522 to create rich content for my students.  I will be do some field experience in online teaching in the coming spring semester and I now feel even more prepared for that experience.

Ultimately, I’d like to design instructional modules and even deliver some of them.  I feel that many of the things that I learned in this class will help me do that.  I could always tell you if I thought a course was weak or if it didn’t appeal to me, but I could never really tell you why other than through the types of activities it encompassed.  I’ve seen some courses in which the material and activities was great but the course still didn’t have much of an impact on me.  After learning about the design theories I now know why those courses didn’t appeal.  With proper combination of proper aesthetics and functional flow paired with solid instructional content and activities, any course can become a great course.

I want to say thank you to all of my classmates and Dr. Ching.  This course has been invaluable to me and, often, a pleasant and beneficial escape from my job and other life responsibilities.

Categories: General Reflection Tags: ,

 


Blended Learning and Hybrid Courses

December 11th, 2013 Comments off

Blended learning and hybrid courses fascinate me. When I taught high school, I attempted to implement this type of course for my senior English class. It was a pretty dismal failure. The school was a small school in an agricultural community so the idea of doing work outside of class on a the computer was not something that all of my students could do and the computer lab was not open very long after school let out for the day. My online components involved blogging (I set up blogging software on my course site so students could have some assistance from me if they needed it), jigsaw activities and learning quests. I tried to incorporate web-required research into their research papers as well. Resources were included on the class page too. As I said it was a failure because most students did not have access outside of school. I did provide in-class time to complete the online activities but that did take away from class time. While the in-class time was valuable in the sense that it exposed the students to the technology that they might be using in college, it did defeat the purpose of a hybrid classroom.

After reading the course texts about blended and hybrid learning, it is very apparent that the approach I took was on the right path but I did not have adequate resources or conditions for it to be successful. I do agree with the text that a strong hybrid course does not merely use the web and technology as an optional component but a required component to provide new ways of learning and new methods of face-to-face time. If my future plans ever pan out and I find myself teaching English and writing at the college and university level, I do plan on making use of many of the techniques in discussed in the book. I like the idea of posting lectures and notes online and requiring students to read and become familiar with beforehand. It’s no different that requiring reading to be completed before the next class. This allows for so many opportunities to enrich the content during class when the discussion can get intense and on a level that sometimes isn’t possible with limited time.

I also love the idea of enhancing face-to-face time with tech like tablets, notebooks, and smart phones. Asking students to pull up a website as part of a class discussion and comment on it is great and comments can be accepted after class as well. One idea that really excites me is using social tools during lecture. For example, when I take a synchronous online class or webinar,  there is always a chat going on. It provides a back channel of information that can contribute to the discussion. It allows for students and learners to contribute when they may not otherwise do so if they have to verbally. It provides that digital anonymity that some need. In a face-to-face setting, particularity in a larger class, Twitter can serve as this back-channel. Using #hastags, students could have there tweets seen by the entire class and by the instructor to provide comments and answers via the web during discussion or lecture. The twitter back channel could even be projected onto a screen so students without access could at least view the backchannel.

There are many areas of blended and hybrid education that appeal to me. These are just a few examples of what excites me the most. Blended and hybrid learning are becoming a thing of reality on most college campuses and even many K-12 schools. I had a few of my undergrad courses that were not enhanced by Blackboard, WebCT or Moodle, but as I progressed further into my college career, these classes seemed fewer. In fact the classes that did not have an online component did not hold my interest nearly as long or as efficiently. Educators, teachers and professors need to get on board and get some training so that they can make use of these wonderful tools.

Categories: General Reflection Tags: ,

 


Module 5 Reflection

December 2nd, 2013 Comments off

This module was fun.  I enjoyed designing the lesson and finding the materials.  I’ve taken EDTECH 521 and 523 already and this is what I really enjoy about the entire online teaching process.  I have installed a Moodle installation on my webhost so that I could become familiar and practice with Moodle.  During this module I really learned a lot of new things about Moodle.  I had to do some troubleshooting since the site pages would take anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute to load.  I had theme designer mode on which forces Moodle to not cache anything and severely reduces performance but is useful when designing new themes.

During this module, I had to really delve in and experiment with what works best in Moodle and what looks appealing.  I chose to do something a little differently in Moodle.  I installed my own distribution of Moodle and got to really play around with the administration.  I chose to treat my lesson as a module in a course but instead of the other contents of the course being contained in the same Moodle Course, it would be divided among six different Moodle courses.  I realize that this would not be ideal in a traditional Moodle installation that is actually used by students, but I chose this way since it gave a better aesthetic appeal to the course and better visuals which, I felt, led to a nicer flow through the unit.  I could be wrong of course, but I was experimenting and did have some fun with it.

I think that the most difficult part of designing this lesson was starting.  That’s always my hardest part, but once I get started, things tend to go smoothly.  Like I said, I was having some severe performance related issues with Moodle which were very frustrating, but once they were solved, things zipped along.  I like Moodle’s format and how easy everything blends together.  I’ve used programs like Infinite Campus and PowerSchool and they just don’t have the connectivity of Moodle.  Grade books in Infinite Campus are a nightmare to set up.

Online teaching is the way education is headed.  I really enjoy curating content and sharing it with learners to guide them in a direction of learning and discovery.  It’s one of my passions and this lesson design allowed me to tap that energy.  I really needed the creative spark it has afforded me.  This module is also good experience for me.  I will be undertaking the online teaching internship this spring so that I can get my online teacher certification.  This helped me gain some useful experience that I will be able to take with me into that class.

 


Screen Writing – Module 2 – The Scene

December 2nd, 2013 Comments off

moodle_screeenThis module was designed in Moodle and created for EDTECH 522.

I chose to do something a little differently in Moodle.  I installed my own distribution of Moodle and got to really play around with the administration.  I chose to treat my lesson as a module in a course but instead of the other contents of the course being contained in the same Moodle Course, it would be divided among six different Moodle courses.  I realize that this would not be ideal in a traditional Moodle installation that is actually used by students, but I chose this way since it gave a better aesthetic appeal to the course and better visuals which, I felt, led to a nicer flow through the unit.  I could be wrong of course, but I was experimenting and did have some fun with it.

Please visit Screen Writing – Module 2 – The Scene on my Moodle Site

Categories: General Reflection Tags: ,