All posts in EDTECH 522

Reflecting back on the learning experiences I gained this semester, I thought about how critical designing an online course was to my overall development and understanding of the use of educational technology. In fact, I believe that activity was probably one of the most eye-opening assignments I have had during my time in the EDTECH program. In short, an instructor’s sound understanding of the intricacies involved in designing an online course is critical to an instructor’s success in the current learning environment. Specifically, my biggest lesson during this assignment was figuring out how to effectively communicate important information to students using a content management system. In the end, the proper implementation and use of Moodle ultimately allowed me the opportunities to see how various pedagogies could be implemented in various creative and effective ways.

In probing further into what I have learned, I thought about how my newfound knowledge impacted my teaching over the last few months.  Essentially, after a lot of thought, I realized how important this class was in viewing my teaching and use of educational technology tools from the learners’ perspective (Ko & Rossen, 2010).  In other words, after using and experiencing many different teaching strategies and web tools for adult teaching in this course, I realized I was merely approaching my teaching from a singular viewpoint.  In essence, I had ironically been focused on teaching design technology tools from a more traditional standpoint.  Thus, since I made that realization, I have begun to review my personal teaching strategies to focus more on stimulating student engagement and retention.

More specifically, I plan to select a few of the effective instructional techniques from this class and ultimately implement them into my daily teaching.  For example, one of the main techniques I harnessed an understanding of in this class was experiential learning. In short, I quickly began to realize how motivated my students could be if I let them try new concepts or processes during my lessons (Taylor & Kroth, 2009, p. 6).  In other words, I realized that my students would exponentially increase their motivation and excitement towards a project based on how closely it resembled their own experiences (Ko & Rossen, 2010).  In short, for that idea alone, I am grateful for this course.

Finally, after reviewing the various assignments in this course that provided me with new knowledge to incorporate during my teaching, I immediately thought about how the lessons I teach often fail to use all of the educational technology tools I have available to me. In short, this is because I do not usually spend enough time learning or playing with a particular technology to learn it past its basic level. Essentially, the basic instructional methods I use do not typically engage my learners past their general curiosities. In fact, I now see that I may be hurting my students’ retention by failing to provide them more constructivist outlets. Thus, I look forward to making these changes and experiencing the positive results of my newfound knowledge.

 

Ko, S., & Rossen, S. (2010). Teaching online a practical guide. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.

Taylor, B., & Kroth, M. (January 01, 2009). Andragogy’s transition into the future: Meta-Analysis of andragogy and its search for a measurable instrument. Journal of Adult Education, 38, 1, 1-11.

Reflecting on my experiences in creating a Moodle lesson, I thought about what was the most difficult part of the assignment. In short, in my experience, I found the creation of my assessment quiz particularly challenging. Essentially, as I later found out, this was a particular task that could actually be accomplished in multiple ways. In short, I believe the way I original completed the task ended up being the more difficult and challenging way. Specifically, I could not figure out how to add questions to my quiz. In fact, I do not believe this aspect of Moodle was very intuitive. In other words, the way an individual edits a quiz is entirely different then the way they would edit the rest of the elements present in the interface. For example, for all other elements in the Moodle interface, an individual selects the edit icon next to the element to adjust the contents within the element. Contrarily, for the quiz, you actual click on the element itself as if you were going to access the quiz. Basically, this is easiest way to add questions to a quiz, but, as I mentioned before, it is far from the most intuitive. Ultimately, the way I added question was through the question bank. In short, I added question to the bank and then had to reference it by clicking on the link to the quiz and asking it to pull the questions from the bank. In the end, I believe this was one of the most confusing and difficult parts of the assignment.

Essentially, for most of the difficult parts or problems that arose, I accessed the Moodle support forums to determine the best course of action for my issue. In short, I found the forums extremely helpful on a variety of problems I encountered. For example, I had an issue trying to figure out how to add discussion forum activities to the gradebook, and I ultimately found the solution on the Moodle support forums. Additionally, I also struggled to find the exact option that opened my links in a new browser window. Within the Moodle support forums, I found a variety of answers and ways to address that particular issue. In fact, many of the discussion forums users there had experienced many of the same issues I encountered building my first course in Moodle. Thus, I found it extremely helpful. In fact, the only issues I found using the forums was that many of the users assumed I also had administrative access to make changes. Although I am sure this is generally not a problem when creating a real course, I did find it limiting and confusing sometimes. Therefore, I would highly recommend scanning each discussion thread before diving too deep into executing an action. In other words, sometimes a thread can lead you down a path of completing an action only to find out that you do not have administrative privileges to actually complete it. Nevertheless, I would definitely suggest to an individual the benefit of using the Moodle support forums to address a problem or issue that arises in online teaching.

Overall, when reflecting on this assignment, I thought it provided great insight into online teaching. In short, I think this might be one of the most beneficial assignments I have completed in the EDTECH program. Essentially, the assignment provided real world experience on teaching in an online environment. Furthermore, not only did it provide many lessons on the development of an online course, but it also provided a unique look as to what my current and former instructors did in developing my online educational experiences. Specifically, this activity made me have a new appreciation for online teaching, and I unexpectedly found excitement in my course development. In other words, I found it exciting to use modern technology to instruct individuals. It felt really empowering that the Moodle technology allowed me to be creative and educational at the same time. Basically, I believe this assignment has restored my excitement for education, and I cannot wait to explore online teaching more in the future. In fact, I have again decided to reexamine my professional path to determine if online teaching would be the right course of action for me after graduation. In short, it has always been in the back of my mind, but this activity helped to bring it to the forefront again. Therefore, I look forward to exploring more of online teaching. In the end, I believe it is one of the most rewarding things an individual can do.

Finally, the most rewarding thing about this particular project was the support that I received from my classmates. Essentially, the chance and ability to interact with them on a particular project was extremely beneficial. Their support and advice on my particular course helped me immensely during this activity. In fact, I believe that everybody going through the same lesson helped provide each individual with a unique perspective on developing a course for the first time (Kamens, 1997, p. 93). In a sense, I believe this experience helped the class as a whole in becoming more involved with each other. In other words, it was extremely rewarding to benefit from the various experiences my classmates had gone through in their professional lives and during this project. Their insights and suggestions really helped me refine my course and even taught me different ways to achieve specific tasks. Thus, I would classify this aspect of the project to be the most rewarding experience I had. In fact, I wish I had experienced more of these encounters during my time in the education technology program. Ultimately, I believe it would have provided me an even more realistic look at teaching online and give me the confidence in knowing that I am able to effectively construct a course in an online setting (Kamens, 1997, p. 93). Thus, I look forward to the rest of my time in this program. In the end, I hope it is filled with more activities that can utilize the various viewpoints and strengths of my classmates.

 

Kamens, M. W. (December 07, 1997). A model for introducing student teachers to collaboration. Teacher Educator, 33, 2, 90-102.

Reflecting on this week’s readings, I thought about what elements I found particularly interesting. In short, I found the overall study on building the online classroom especially intriguing. Essentially, I found the thought of introducing smaller sample units of a course to assist an instructor in developing the skills necessary for implementing an entire course extremely helpful. Additionally, the idea of utilizing specific activities to meet stated learning objectives were well in line with the traditional classroom theories I am accustomed too. Nevertheless, the number and variety of examples provided were invaluable to me, and I can definitely see myself incorporating a majority of this information in future classes.

Overall, my reactions to what I read were that of hunger and excitement. In short, although I have thought about many of the same scenarios of online learning before, I rarely have actually examined concrete examples of how an online classroom is constructed form the ground up. In other words, I have never thought about how the foundation of an online classroom was actually constructed. Thus, I found myself wanting to consume as much information as possible about the subject. In a sense, it got me excited thinking about the future of my classroom and the future of education as well.

Specifically, I was very excited about examining the variety of Web 2.0 tools this week. Through the readings and our classroom discussion, I found myself with a variety of questions on how these tools could best be utilized for the classroom. They were: How could I know for certain that a particular Web 2.0 tool was suitable for my class, and how effective are these tools in helping students learn? Fortunately, after reading Dr. Hsu and Dr. Ching’s article on Twitter, I saw firsthand the effectiveness of these tools in the classroom. In fact, Hsu and Ching (2012) state that tools like Twitter have great effectiveness because of their ability to present information in a meaningful way in which students identify. Additionally, Hsu and Ching also addressed my concern for the suitableness of particular web tools by providing field learning experiences.

In short, the examples and experiences provided by my readings and my classmates gave me confidence to try more of the tools in my teaching. Essentially, I believe that more Web 2.0 tools should be utilized in today’s educational settings. Ultimately, one of the biggest parallels I drew to other things I have learned was to the ability and understanding of Web 2.0 tools by modern-day students. In other words, most students in today’s educational settings have some experience with many Web 2.0 tools. Thus, as an instructor, I need to be willing to take a leap of faith and believe that the majority of my students will have a relatively easy time mastering a particular tool.

Finally, I found that I would best be prepared for modern-day courseware by combining an understanding of Web 2.0 tools, software tools, digital materials, and resources as well as the theory on how an online course should be constructed (Ko & Rossen, 2010, p. 247). In the end, this practice will provide me with the knowledge on the best way to deliver course materials in an online setting (Ko & Rossen, 2010, p. 247). Thus, I thankful for getting a chance to study this great material this week, and I look forward to being able to implement it in the future.

 

Susan, K., & Rossen, S. (2010). Teaching Online A Practicle Guide. New York, NY: Routledge.

Hsu, Y.-C., & Ching, Y.-H. (October 01, 2012). Mobile Microblogging: Using Twitter and Mobile Devices in an Online Course to Promote Learning in Authentic Contexts. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 13, 4, 211-227.

Define online teaching and learning.

A relatively new phenomenon, online teaching and learning have become commonplace in the world of academia. In fact, online courses are now offered at most higher education institutions in the United States and are even becoming more common at the high school level (Dawley, 2007, p. 5). Essentially, in online teaching and learning, the student and teacher typically access the learning environment through a computer. In fact, all reading and viewing of the curriculum as well as the distribution and completion of all assignments are completed through the computer and Internet. Specifically, the student is usually at home or in a computer lab while the teacher is usually in some type of office setting in their workplace or home (Ko & Rossen, 2010).

In short, online teaching is defined as conducting an educational course partially or entirely through the Internet (Ko & Rossen, 2010). In other words, it is a form of distance education that does not involve the traditional learning environment in which students and instructors must meet at the same place and time (Ko & Rossen, 2010). Essentially, online teaching utilizes content and the strategies that demonstrate a considerable difference when compared to traditional textbooks and lectures. Some of the tools used by online teachers are: email, instant messaging, online drop boxes, a course management system, online grade books, online discussion boards, chat rooms, online video conferencing, blogs, wikis, videos and podcasts. In the end, these tools can be used for both the curriculum and the students’ work.

Lastly, online learning is defined as the use of computing and telecommunication technologies to deliver and receive educational course materials. In fact, online learning consists of the creation and use of rich, interactive, online experiences involving synchronous and asynchronous interaction and conferencing (Ko & Rossen, 2010). In short, online learning offers freedom to the modern-day student (Ko & Rossen, 2010). In other words, online learning is a viable medium that is available in a variety of environments and for a variety of students.

What is involved in designing effective online course?

The main goal in designing an effective online course is to design the course so it enables a student to work independently. In other words, an effective online course utilizes a system that can be used to guide the design of the course and evaluate its quality (Ko & Rossen, 2010). Typically, a general system would use elements like instructional design, communication, interaction, collaboration, student evaluation, student assessment, leaner support, learner resources, web design, and course evaluation (Ko & Rossen, 2010). Ultimately, the top priority in designing effective online courses should be to make sure the work can be completed by each student on his or her own. In short, students should not be left to wonder whether they are proceeding correctly at any point along their path to completion of the work. Thus, the design, instruction, and learning environment of the course must be effective.

Essentially, instructors have the responsibility to provide a learning environment conducive to online learning. Criteria like safety, support, interactivity, and flexibility can help guide instructors in establishing an effective learning environment. However, there are many decisions to make during instruction planning and delivery. Several of these decisions may affect the physical, social, cultural, and psychological aspects of the overall learning environment. For example, adult learners typically have an immense amount of experience that they can draw upon compared to children (Taylor & Kroth, 2009, p. 6) Therefore, the course should be designed with those aspects of the learning environment in mind. Thus, to avoid important learning environment decisions being left out and to guarantee that they align with other instructional choices, instructors should ensure environmental factors are taken into consideration within each instructional design stage. In the end, this consideration will ensure that effective online courses utilize the planning and aligning of the instruction through learning outcomes, assessments, and instructional strategies.

 

Dawley, L. (2007). The tools for successful online teaching. Hershey: Information Science Pub.

Ko, S. S., & Rossen, S. (2010). Teaching online: A practical guide. New York: Routledge.

Taylor, B., & Kroth, M. (January 01, 2009). Andragogy’s transition into the future: Meta-Analysis of andragogy and its search for a measurable instrument. Journal of Adult Education, 38, 1, 1-11.