Session 10: Process Overview

Standard

1) Identify five key concepts or themes related to eLearning Design and Development and explain what you know about each.

  1. The eStudent- Everything designed and developed should be done with the student in mind. Always consider the following about your audience:
    1. Expectations
    2. Learning abilities (prerequisites)
    3. Available hardware/software
    4. Learning Environment
    5. Responsibilities
    6. Preferences

2) Course Objectives

  1. What are the learning Objectives?
  2. Can the objectives be met in an online environment?
  3. How will the objectives be met in an online format?

3) Course Structure- The way the course is instructionally designed so that sequencing of learning is presented in a logical order:

  1. Group content into logical modules
  2. Incorporate interactive concepts
  3. Use pictures/graphics to help explain ideas, concepts, or statements
  4. Navigation must be intuitive
  5. Appearance must not hinder the learning process.
  6. Balance between text and graphics is critical
  7. White space is good
  8. Consistency is golden (includes fonts, layouts, and pop-ups
  9. Ease of scanning information is imperative
  10. Chunking information is crucial

4) Engagement & Tools/ Student-Student & Student-Instructor Interaction-

  1. Use hyperlinks for additional concepts, explanations, or definitions. Incorporate interactive graphics such as animations or simulations
  2. Create fun activities such as games or other educational methods of interactive learning
  3. Keep activities focused on the course objective.
  4. Avoid letting the technology overshadow the course objectives
  5. Teachers interact with students via email, discussion board, and assignment feedback
  6. Student interaction via discussion board, small groups, peer review.

5) Testing/Usability

  1. Verify that all links work properly
  2. Ensure that activities function as designed
  3. Inspect content to ensure that grammar and spelling are correct
  4. Ensure that graphics are visible
  5. Verify that the course works appropriately in all applicable server environments
  6. Verify that screen resolution works for the intended audience
  7. Verify that course objectives and expectations are met
  8. Evaluate ADA

The Five eLearning Components (n.d.). Instructional Design Expert. http://www.instructionaldesignexpert.com/eLearning_Components.html#.VWzOqEvA4ds

  1. Speculate on the future of eLearning and what your role in that future might be.

I think elearning will grow in leaps and bounds in the coming years. I would expect that this area will exceed face-to-face classes within the next five years, and I anticipate that online programs will exceed f2f for graduate studies. I’m really curious as to whether brick and mortar schools will continue to hold a higher reputation than fully online programs? I hope that schools will begin to refine their evaluation process for online classes. This year I have seen the full spectrum from great to horrible of online classes at CSUSB. I don’t consider a sole biweekly sentence on BB stating “read chapter X and answer Y question on discussion board” to be an actual online class.

For myself, I honestly don’t know. I like being in the classroom; I enjoy the interaction. I’m teaching two hybrid classes next fall because I want to test whether this is a viable option for my area. Whether I expand offerings in the future or stick with f2f remains to be seen.

  1. Revise the eLearning development template/instructional design process you developed earlier for yourself. Be sure to:

a) List all of the roles of people who will be involved in the typical development.

  • Me
  • Blackboard Coordinator to test/review
  • Distance Education Subcommittee to test/review
  • Eventually adjunct teachers who may teach the course

b) Identify your role.

  • Instructional Designer

c) Explain the type of courses or other eLearning development the template is for (higher education course, corporate training etc.)

  • Community college- pre-collegiate basic skills ESL and English

d) Provide a clear label for all included elements.

  1. Understanding the Online Student
  2. Meeting course Objectives in an online format
  3. Structuring the Online Course
  4. Engaging student/content, student/student and student/instructor interaction
  5. Testing/Usability

e)  Provide a clear description of each included element.

  1. The eStudent- Everything designed and developed should be done with the student in mind. Always consider the following about your audience:
    1. Expectations
    2. Learning abilities (prerequisites)
    3. Available hardware/software
    4. Learning Environment
    5. Responsibilities
    6. Preferences
  2. Course Objectives
    1. What are the learning Objectives?
    2. Can the objectives be met in an online environment?
    3. How will the objectives be met in an online format?
  3. Course Structure- The way the course is instructionally designed so that sequencing of learning is presented in a logical order:
    1. Group content into logical modules
    2. Incorporate interactive concepts
    3. Use pictures/graphics to help explain ideas, concepts, or statements
    4. Navigation must be intuitive
    5. Appearance must not hinder the learning process.
    6. Balance between text and graphics is critical
    7. White space is good
    8. Consistency is golden (includes fonts, layouts, and pop-ups
    9. Ease of scanning information is imperative
    10. Chunking information is crucial
  4. Engagement & Tools/ Student-Student & Student-Instructor Interaction-
    1. Use hyperlinks for additional concepts, explanations, or definitions. Incorporate interactive graphics such as animations or simulations
    2. Create fun activities such as games or other educational methods of interactive learning
    3. Keep activities focused on the course objective.
    4. Avoid letting the technology overshadow the course objectives
    5. Teachers interact with students via email, discussion board, and assignment feedback
    6. Student interaction via discussion board, small groups, peer review.
  5. Testing/Usability
    1. Verify that all links work properly
    2. Ensure that activities function as designed
    3. Inspect content to ensure that grammar and spelling are correct
    4. Ensure that graphics are visible
    5. Verify that the course works appropriately in all applicable server environments
    6. Verify that screen resolution works for the intended audience
    7. Verify that course objectives and expectations are met
    8. Evaluate ADA

Provide a narrative explaining how the template would be used.

While on some levels I appreciate the detail of the instructional design template in our textbook, I also felt that several areas didn’t fit with my college. Specifically, I eliminated the course design and objective writing, etc. because this process is part of our Curriculum process and is determined well before the instructional design phase comes into place. I tried to streamline my template based on what I felt like I had really focused on in my own design. This “testing” phase is the biggest bear of the process. I find myself changing and redoing things over and over. I get frustrated that my CMS won’t cooperate and do exactly what I have designed in my head. I think the template is a good reminder of what the process should look like.

Session 9: Gamification and Simulation

Standard

Gamification & Simulation

  1. Define the terms “Game” and “Simulation” as they relate to eLearning.

Gamification is visual storytelling, feedback, and visual cues. It is measureable and has an objective for the learner. It reinforces previous learned behavior or facts. It’s a trick the learner to play a fun game that results in retaining information. Gamification allows the learner to explore information in a way that doesn’t feel like a test.

Nate, B. (2013, Dec. 4) What is gamification? eLearning Brothers.   Retrieved from http://elearningbrothers.com/what-is-elearning-gamification/

An educational simulation is built around set learning objectives. These objectives may involve-

  • acquiring a certain attitude (like customer-centered care)
  • acquiring certain skills (like learning how to word-process)
  • acquiring certain learned behaviors (like how to communicate with a customer)
  • gaining a complex world view (like understanding how global political systems may work through a simulation), and
  • troubleshooting problems in a real-world context (like identifying when to notify authorities about suspicious looking signs or symptoms or plants that may / may not be infected with a high-risk pathogenic agent)

An educational simulation involves the conveying of an online experience in which a learner goes through a sequential or non-sequential experience that models or emulates a real-world experience. The simulation consists of “selective fidelity”; in other words, the experience does not pretend the whole complexity of a learning experience but highlights the salient parts of a simulation.

A simulation that emulates a real-world machine will have certain common scenarios coded for the learning level of the student. Real-world actions that may be too complex may not be depicted at the lower levels of the simulation learning.

Educational simulations. (n.d.). eLearning Faculty Modules. Retrieved from http://elearningfacultymodules.org/index.php/Educational_Simulations

  1. What are the key characteristics of a Simulation?

Effective simulations, foremost, have to be accurate to the world. They have to have clearly defined learning objectives. They have to offer salient and clear learning. They have to offer the proper level of complexity for the desired learning. They should not lead to “negative learning” or mistaken ideas or practices. (The simulation itself should involve clear definitions of what is / is not covered in the simulation and the limits of the underlying model.) Incomplete or inaccurate knowledge may actually impede the learning process. (Alexander and Judy, Winter 1988).

  • The information in simulations should be timely and current.
  • The technological interfaces should work smoothly.
  • The simulation should be fun and entertaining.
  • The simulation should be as accessible as possible to the widest possible group of potential learners.
  • The simulation should involve all members of the class and offer fresh insights to real-world challenges.

Educational simulations. (n.d.). eLearning Faculty Modules. Retrieved from http://elearningfacultymodules.org/index.php/Educational_Simulations

  1. What are some of the strengths or advantages of Games and Simulations in eLearning?

Cognitive advantages include: repetition—games are played over and over again for a higher score, to beat a colleague or to reach the next level. We know that distributed practice (or spaced rehearsal) is an effective learning technique and a well designed games naturally embody that concept. Another advantage is problem-solving. You can’t get to level two in a game if you can’t problem solve.

Immediate feedback is another advantage. Games provide immediate feedback unlike a test or a quiz which requires time for an instructor to grade and return. Engagement or flow works in video games and simulations and is another advantage. If the learner is absorbed in the learning, he or she will loose track of time and only focus on the game. Another advantage is motivation. Games and simulations tend to motivate learners more than text on a PowerPoint slide.

Perhaps one of the most powerful cognitive elements is transferability. In a well designed simulation, the learner is put into a realistic situation and he or she must act as they would in the actual situation. This makes the learning highly transferable as opposed to learning about something in the environment of a classroom which is not the typical environment in which the learner needs to apply the learning. So, ironically, an electronic simulation can be more realistic than a lecture because of the visual cues of simulations. They provide a context for the learning that can be highly realistic for knowledge transfer.

Malamed, C. Games and Simulations. The eLearning Coach. Retrieved from http://theelearningcoach.com/elearning_design/games-and-simulations/

  1. What are some of the weaknesses or disadvantages of Games and Simulations in eLearning?

Educational simulations need to offer sufficient feedback streams to learners to fully enable them to anticipate the realities of a real-world situation. Learners should also fully understand the limitations of the simulation, particularly the underlying models. Learners have to understand the amounts of serendipity (and open-endedness) that have been built into the simulation (such as those that involve human-embodied avatars in public virtual spaces).

There are ADA concerns- Various non-profit and professional organizations have been working on standards for both electronic game and simulation accessibility. The basic concepts have been that games and simulations must allow players to control the pacing; to interact with the interface using more than a mouse or a keyboard (but also accessibility devices); to access relevant information with more than one channel (not just visual or auditory or symbolic reasoning / reading), and so on.

Clearly, some of these types of mitigations may not be possible in every game or simulation situation.

Malamed, C. Games and Simulations. The eLearning Coach. Retrieved from http://theelearningcoach.com/elearning_design/games-and-simulations/

  1. Explain the term, “Gamification” and explain how this concept might apply to eLearning.
  • Over 75% people are gamers (50% casually and 27% moderately to fairly often).
  • Learners recall just 10% of what they read and 20% of what they hear. If there are visuals accompanying an oral presentation, the number rises to 30%, and if they observe someone carrying out an action while explaining it, 50%. But learners remember 90% “if they do the job themselves, even if only as a simulation. (
  • Almost 80% of the learners say that they would be more productive if their university/institution or work was more game-like.
  • Over 60% of learners would be motivated by leader boards and increased competition between students.
  • 89% would be more engaged win an e-learning application if it had point system.

Favorite Gamification Techniques 

  • Progressing to different levels
  • Scores
  • Avatars
  • Virtual Currencies

The Most Effective Uses of Gamification in Learning 

  • Illustrating progress
  • Increase engagement
  • Creating challenges
  • Instilling a sense of accomplishment

The Future of Gamification in eLearning Industry

  • By 2015 50% of organizations managing innovation processes will gamify aspects of their business. (7)
  • Accordingly, by 2015, 40 percent of Global 1000 organizations will use gamification as the primary mechanism to transform business operations. (7)
  • 53% of responders say that by 2020 gamification will be widely adopted by most of industries, communications scene and most of all education. (8)

Laskaris, J. (2014, July 30). 30 Facts about gamification in elearning. eLearning Industry. Retrieved from http://elearningindustry.com/30-facts-gamification-in-elearning

  1. Pick a topic and describe a game or a simulation or gamification concept that would be effective.

My “gaming” experience is limited to childhood Atari playing Ms. Pacman, so I’m rather out of my element here. I have tried avatar tools that allow students to publish presentations using an avatar rather than recording themselves, but that’s the tip of the iceberg in the world of simulation. Some of the eText software I use has grammar games, but I personally didn’t find them to qualify as “fun”, so again, I don’t think they count. I’m not sure if/how I would use gaming or simulation in my discipline.

I did find a program that I thought would be perfect for a different online project I’m assisting with at my college thought out Kinesiology program- it’s a wellness competition for faculty and staff. The idea is to hold semester competitions between departments. The program would be based on a gamification program called “Keas”- Wellness platform for employees that helps keep the group health insurance costs lower for enterprises, reducing sick days and implement healthy habits. Personal dashboards with stats, tasks and achievements keep both employees and companies healthy.

Laskaris, J. (2014, July 30). 30 Facts about gamification in elearning. eLearning Industry. Retrieved from http://elearningindustry.com/30-facts-gamification-in-elearning

Session 8 Develop Testing Best Practices

Standard

1. List the two levels of testing as outlined in the presentation and discuss each one in turn. Then describe the types of testing activities for each level of testing.

There are two basic levels of media fidelity testing: the first is at the point of media creation; the second level involves testing the media in as close to its release form as possible (Newberry).

The first testing-  This testing is most often accomplished by the creator of the media (Newberry).  As the instructional designer of my own course I am currently designing, I’m constantly testing.  First I’m looking at content and assessing its validity.  Next I’m looking at technology.  I’ve spent the bulk of my time playing with different tools within my CMS trying to determine the best way to design modules.  A trick I recommend that has worked well for me- ask your Distance Ed coordinator to create a dummy shell with dummy students you can play with.  Without “students” in the course, I couldn’t test the functions of groups or see the difference in reading postings on discussion, blog, and journal.  The next area I looked at was ADA compliance.  For that I relied on an ADA checklist-

The second testing- This usually consists of having someone review the materials as they will be situated when the consumer of those materials uses them (Newberry).  Despite the fact that I was feeling pretty confident about my own testing of my course, I was in for a lot of disappointment after I asked my Distance Education coordinator to review my first five modules.  She followed basically the same process I had applied, but a fresh pair of eyes gave a lot of insight into clarification needed on directions.  For example, I knew I was ADA complaint with captions on my videos, but she said I wasn’t.  When I checked I realized that the video referred to captions only as subtitle language options, and she had assumed that was dubbing the voice; now I’ve changed the directions to list subtitles for captions.   This review was a pre-formal review of our Distance Education committee which would use a rubric for assessing/testing our online courses; two great rubrics:

If your school doesn’t have a formal committee for testing your online class, try colleagues and don’t forget to have students test too.  You can also use a free service that will test web pages for quality, accessibility, and privacy issues; this one was recommended by University of Colorado-

2. What is ADA and how does it apply to the design and development of eLearning materials?

THE LAW

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, State and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation. It also mandates the establishment of TDD/telephone relay services. The current text of the ADA includes changes made by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-325), which became effective on January 1, 2009. http://www.ada.gov/2010_regs.htm

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs conducted by federal agencies and requires electronic and information technology designed, developed, and delivered to be accessible to persons with disabilities.  https://www.td.org/Publications/Newsletters/Learning-Circuits/Learning-Circuits-Archives/2012/02/Accessibility-Through-Design

When creating an ADA-compliant training program, designers need to create interesting, usable, and engaging content for people both with and without disabilities.

Tips:  https://www.td.org/Publications/Newsletters/Learning-Circuits/Learning-Circuits-Archives/2012/02/Accessibility-Through-Design

Visuals
Delivering learning material through a video tutorial is a great way to engage the user in online training. However, persons with disabilities may not have an equal opportunity to learn if the training program isnt up to ADA-compliant standards.
For a person who is visually impaired, videos are a great tool to deliver learning material. To make the video engaging for these learners, you can use multiple narrators and recognizable sounds to stimulate auditory engagement. Using multiple narrators in the video provides an element of suspense and diversity, which will help to capture users attention. By making the audio interesting, individuals with visual impairments will be able to engage with the e-learning course. A Braille version of the online course also can be a great supplement.
Images
Section 508 requires that all images have text descriptions that describe what the image is. This can be accomplished through the use of the alternative (alt) tag. Having an alt tag attached to an image informs people with visual impairments of what the image is through the interpretation of their screen reader. Simply providing an alt tag to an image provides a descriptive option for learning the information.
Along with keeping alt tags up to date, you also should use attractive and current images. Dated images will confuse the user, which could potentially lose their interest. People who have learning disabilities and difficulty focusing for long periods of time will benefit from having up-to-date images.
Video
You can use several techniques to increase the accessibility of videos used in an e-learning program. To best cater to learners with auditory impairments, always provide close-captioning or a printable version of the videos script. A printable version of the training course is easy to create and can be a great supplement for someone with auditory impairments.
As for the visual content of the video, keep it descriptive and stay away from brightly colored images, such as neon colors. Also, take into account the time of day you are filming. If youre filming outside, consider filming in the morning or at dusk to avoid harsh lighting, which often make the video difficult to see on a computer monitor.
Audio
Quality audio is important for all training programs and can help to provide consistent training for all employees. Because audio is a non-visual element, it is important to supplement all audio with text and all text with audio. The reason for this is twofold.
First, if a learner has an auditory impairment, he may rely primarily on the screens text to receive the information contained in the training, and therefore the screen text must communicate fully the key points shared in the audio. Similarly, learners who are visually impaired need audio that includes all key points that are presented through text in the training.
The second benefit of matching audio to text is that it appeals to two very different learning styles. Auditory learners learn best through listening, while visual learners learn best through reading. By providing audio and text that are consistent, the key messages are accessible to both the visually and the auditory impaired, as well as to both visual and auditory learning styles.

3. What is your institutions (You may use CSUSB’s) policy towards ADA and eLearning? Explain what this means in practical terms and what you think the strengths and weaknesses of the policy.

My college doesn’t specifically have a policy for ADA and learning.  Our Distance Education committee does reference the California Community Colleges Distance Education Accessibility Guidelines- http://collegeofthedesert.edu/students/oc/faculty/Documents/Distance%20Education%20Accessibility%20Guidelines.pdf

Strength- It’s very detailed and covers:

  • Title 5, California Code of Regulations on Distance Education.
  • Basic Requirements for Distance Education
  • New and Updated Laws and Regulations Relating to Distance Education
  • Access Guidelines for Media Categories
  • General Access Strategies by Media Type

Weakness-  It’s 47 pages, so will the majority of faculty actually read it?  It’s also not presented in a way that students could easily read, and I think it should be made available on our Disable Student Services website.

4. Revisit the 11 instructional design steps presented in chapter 1 of the text (Design Quickly and Reliably).* Revise this 11 step system using what you now know about development and testing. Try to create your own instructional design process/template that you might actually use. Briefly explain your modifications.

Test One (Instructional Designer) Test Two (Faculty Review Team, Students, DSPS Office)
Identify your underlying goal Do goals align with program and institutional goals? Compare with program and college mission.
Analyze learners’ /instructors needs and abilities Consider faculty population teaching and student population that will take courses: technology/ADA. 1.     Department poll of technology skills.

2.     Student poll of technical skills, and home technology.

Identify what to teach Faculty and Community input. 1.     Faculty of other disciplines give input on needs.

2.     Student input on learning needs.

Set learning objectives Objectives established by Curriculum/Department/State Chancellor 1.     Review committee evaluates alignment with objectives of program and stated objectives in online course.
Identify prerequisites Prerequisites established by Curriculum/Department/State Chancellor 1.     Curriculum committee reviews prerequisites on course outline.
Pick the approach to meet each objective Instructional design focused on student/student, student/content, student/instructor. 1.     Online review committee evaluates course for:

a.     Student/student

b.     Student/content

c.      Student/instructor

Decide the teaching sequence of your objectives Instructional designer does this in consultation with discipline faculty and textbooks. 1. Online review committee evaluates course.

2.     Include students in review committee.

3.     ADA compliance offer is already part of review committee.

Create objects to accomplish objectives Compare f2f vs online. 1.     Online review committee evaluates course.

2.     Include students in review committee.

3.     ADA compliance offer is already part of review committee.

Create tests Apply OEI rubric to course. 1.     Online review committee evaluates course using OEI rubric.

2.     Include students in review committee.

3.     ADA compliance offer is already part of review committee.

Select learning activities Consider:

c/c

s/c/

s/i

1.     Online review committee evaluates course.

2.     Include students in review committee.

3.     ADA compliance offer is already part of review committee.

Choose Media Play with media via cms 1.     Online review committee evaluates course.

2.     Include students in review committee.

3.     ADA compliance offer is already part of review committee.

Session 7 Media

Standard

“The best current evidence is that media are mere vehicles that deliver instruction but do not influence student achievement any more than the truck that delivers our groceries causes change in nutrition- only content of the vehicle can influence achievement.”  Richard Clark “Reconsidering research on learning from media”.  Review of Educational Research.  Vol. 53, No. 4, 1983, pp. 445-459
 
1. Why is media selection important in eLearning?
Media selection in general allows teachers to try and create rich learning environments that replace f2f student/student, student/instructor, and student/content interaction.  Since students’ learning styles differ, just like in a f2f class, it’s important for online instructors to deliver information in multiple modes.  In addition, The Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning states,
Humans possess separate channels for processing visual and auditory information-
2. Define “new media”?
New Media attributes-
  1. Ease of sharing (use, reuse, link, and comment)
  2. Availability of bandwidth
  3. Ease of production through digital media tools and cheap storage space
  4. Change in attitude and comfort with using and sharing new media
  5. Examples of new media:
New Media is a 21st Century catchall term used to define all that is related to the internet and the interplay between technology, images and sound. In fact, the definition of new media changes daily, and will continue to do so. New media evolves and morphs continuously (New Media Institute).
3. Choose a “new media” and explain it’s strengths and weaknesses for supporting eLearning.
Great source: An Instructional Media Selection Guide for Distance Learning-  AIMSGDL 2nd Ed._styled_010311
Some instructional issues that must be considered are:
·      Identification of knowledge and skill gaps
·      Effective assessment and measurement tools
·      Level of interaction (didactic versus dialectic)
·      Instructional strategies
·      Complexity of content
·      Rate of content change
·      Level and domain (cognitive, affective, psychomotor) of learning objectives
·      Delivery issues to consider are:
·      Audience size & distribution
·      Cost
o   In house vs. outsourcing
o   Availability of existing infrastructure
o   Delivery – hardware endpoints
My newest media tool- SoftChalkhttp://softchalk.com
Create-your-own digital lessons by combining your own materials with interactive learning content and rich media. The mixture of personalized content, embedded assessment, and interactivity will increase student engagement and improve learning outcomes.
Manage– Host your content in SoftChalk Cloud and link content items to multiple courses and learning management systems. When changes are needed, make your change once, in the Cloud, and all courses are simultaneously updated. Then, track student score results directly into your LMS gradebook or into SoftChalk’s ScoreCenter.
Share The SoftChalk Share repository provides thousands of free learning resources created by educators and shared online. Use your SoftChalk Cloud account to copy and customize shared resources for high-quality course content resulting in reduced time, effort and development costs.
Strengths:   The share repository is my favorite feature because it allows you to search for content created by other instructors (this can be as basic as vocab list to as complete as whole courses).  It can display large amounts of visual and aural information. It allows the use of full-motion video and high resolution graphics, and when supplemented with audio, allows users to employ the full spectrum of instructional strategies.  It allows teachers to access one site for a variety of tools rather than relying on a multitude of media.
Weaknesses:  There is cost to this product, and if your school already has a LMS, it may not be worth the price.  As far as I could tell, while the share section allows you to access and use material from other instructors, it doesn’t allow you to edit and make the materials your own.  Students cannot interact with the instructor by asking questions, so facilitation by the instructor is not available.
4. Explain the term “Mobile Learning” and discuss the importance of “Mobile Learning in the current eLearning environment and in future eLearning environments.
“Learning by means of wireless technologies that can be pocketed and utilized wherever the learner’s device is able to receive unbroken transmission signals.  Learning supported by mobile devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and personal audio players” (https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERB1204.pdf)
While I sit at my in my favorite chair at my laptop doing this online class, I recognize that my in-mobility is the exception and not the norm of online students.  Last year when my students told me that they had the ability to do online work from home, what they imagined was online access via smart phones, not computers.  It was of great frustration to all of us when we realized that the online software wouldn’t work on cells, or that Blackboard had significant limitations when access by mobile phone.  That’s one of the reasons I am excited to switch over to Canvas because they claim to be more mobile friendly. While it is tough for me to imagine doing school work on my cell, I recognize that this is what students expect.  As I have been designing my class, I have repeatedly viewed modules from the student view; however, not once have I looked at my course on my iphone- I guess I need to do that! 
5. Explain the term “Virtual Classroom”. Describe how a “Virtual Classroom” can be used in eLearning.
A virtual classroom is an online learning environment.  The environment can be web-based and accessed through a portal or software-based and require a downloadable executable file.  Just like in a real-world classroom, a student in a virtual classroom participates in synchronous instruction, which means that the teacher and students are logged into the virtual learning environment at the same time.  http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/virtual-classroom
While I think Blackboard collaboration is a great tool for the occasional guest lecture or complex lecture that requires more interaction, I can’t imagine using it regularly.  The biggest issue has to do with scheduling a synchronous session and students’ availability.  I think it would be easier to schedule the class as a hybrid course, but then allow students to login for the “f2f” session.
6. Thinking about the class you have been designing, what are some ways you could potentially use some new media?
·      Youtube video-  I’ve been finding Blackboard user guides as well as content.  Question- I heard (was it this class) that if I add something to the URL of a video, it eliminates the advertising and added videos down the side.  It might have been at a Canvas presentation.  Does this exist for Blackboard?

·      TedTalks-  Great source of content and professionally recorded so high audio quality.  

·      Screencast-o-matic-  I’ve used this for introducing the CMS and how to navigate my course.  I’m also going to create one for peer review.

·      Blackboard Mobile App-  I require students to purchase this ($1.99 I think).  This allows them to receive the Announcements and a notification each time I add content to their course.  Clearly I need to start trying to play with my course to see how it functions.  Question- I’ve tried to put all of my content in pdf versions; is that the best option for mobile?

 

 

 

 

 

Session Six: Development Project Overview

Standard

1. Describe an “Absorb” type activity for one of the objectives in your course plan.

In my Module One, I put emphasis on students getting to know each other and building learning communities.  As part of my first lecture, I’ve included a Ted Talk video by  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie The danger of a single story  She talks about the importance of getting past stereotypes and recognizing the multitude of stories from each culture.  At the core is her belief that writing can and should tell a variety of individual perspectives.

2. Describe a “Do” type activity for one of the objectives in your course plan.

I’m still wrestling with a decision on whether to incorporate a skill and drill software into my course Reading & Writing course.  My gut tells me that I should stick with Absorb and Connect, because students are more likely to learn and retain from this.  If I were to use a “Do” activity, it would be for Grammar class-  I’m thinking about using software called Learning Curve by Bedford St. Martin.  Honestly the $9.99 price is its biggest asset.

3. Describe a “Connect” type activity for one of the objectives in your course plan.

This connect activity relates back to the Chimamanda Ngozi video and the first week.  I’ve devided the class into small groups (called Success Groups) of 4-5 that they will do all of their writing and peer editing together for the whole semester.  In week one’s module, students are asked to relate the Dangers of a Single Story back to themselves and misconceptions others might have about their culture; then they are asked to consider how this same concern applies to researching subjects.  Since my students are international students from all over the world, it’s important for them to break down stereotypes and really get to know each other; also, I want them to begin to think about the importance of view point as they research.  Assignment = Success Group & Your Story

4. Choose one of the above activities and discuss the process you would use to create this presentation. For this task assume that you have no additional assistance other than the instructor who would be able to write content as you describe it and perform for a recording as needed.

I’m developing my course using Blackboard Modules.  I actually really prefer the visual organization of Dr. Newberry’s webpage of embedded sessions.  I gave a lot of thought to attempting this, but ultimately I didn’t feel like I had the technical skills to model my class in my own webpage, and I was apprehensive about relying on other sites like Wix to store course content.  I went with Blackboard because it was the easiest.  Also, my college is switching to Canvas next year and Canvas will transfer my blackboard modules into their CMS.

I’m actually rather proud of having been able to embed the Ted Talk video into my Lecture module.  No laughing!  That was a technical accomplishment for me!  Small victories in online learning!!!!  A year ago I would have just pasted the link.

5. Discuss how would your approach for the above task would be different if you were directing the development efforts of a team that included a graphic designer, a video editor and a web programmer along with all of the tools that such a team would typically use.

Ahhh, wouldn’t that be wonderful to have a team!

Here is a perfect example of what would be different-  yesterday I spent hours creating a Screencast-o-matic introducing students to our Blackboard and key course content.  I’m sure professionals could have produced a MUCH better quality video.  1Navigating Blackboard

I probably wouldn’t be considering Grammar software if I had a team that could create grammar exercises and quizzes that directly linked to my own lectures.  Shoot- I wouldn’t have to “borrow” from all the large universities that have created better resources than I could ever create.

6. The text presents test types and presents a list of common types of test questions. In light of these, describe a test that would be appropriate for the class your team planned in the previous session.

I’m creating multiple choice quizzes for each week’s module.  I’ve used Blackboard’s quizzes for this.  The purpose is to get students to actively engage in the readings and do readings before coming to our face-to-face sessions.  The first module’s quiz is based on the syllabus.  If I had a team, the quiz could have pop-up boxes with hints and references to the actual reading.  Oh well, my team of one will have to do.

Session Five: Design Quickly & Reliably Project

Standard

Design Quickly and Reliaby

Course Goals

  1. Write expository essays, including argument and analysis.
  2. Read and write a variety of texts from various media.
  3. Critically evaluate complex ideas in reading and synthesize those ideas in writing.
  4. Incorporate reading into writing using appropriate documentation strategies.
  5. Analyze, read, revise, and edit.

The biggest challenge to teaching writing in an online format is how to break up 5-10 page essay writing into weekly modules. Based on my own online student experience this year, I feel strongly that the weekly modules make the most sense. To that end, I think the module needs to have a clear task for the week that can be completed without workload carry over into other weeks. Obviously it’s impossible to have students writing 5-10 page essays weekly and the idea of drafts wouldn’t really satisfy my goal of self-contained weekly assignments. I considered shorter writings, but I don’t think that would fully prepare students for English 1A. This is the typical writing process- http://redraider.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Writing-Process-Chart-N3694_XL.jpg

I’ve decided to try this-

  1. Writing Process Step One_Prewriting and Thesis Assignment  & Thesis Statement Checklist
  2. Writing Process Step Two- Support
  3. Writing Process Step 3_Outlining  &  Essay Organization_Outline
  4. Writing Process Step Four_Essay

The other concern for this hybrid/flipped classroom format is ensuring that students actively read the materials that are posted online. While I’ve never used exams in face-to-face classes, I am going to create open book quizzes that students must complete ahead of our face-to-face classes. My goal is to make the exams a tool that will motivate students to search for key points from the readings.

Learners Needs/Abilities-  

While I have a solid knowledge of the ESL population at my school, I’m unfamiliar with the typical online population; for that reason, I polled my Distance Education Coordinator Dr. Kimberly Dozier:

  1. Who is the typical online student (if there is one)?   I have to say there is a range so I wouldn’t say there is typical. I would say most work at least part time.
  2. What is the majority’s motivation for taking course?  Requirement
  3. What are majority of students previous experience with online?  No previous online classes
  4. Is students’ propensity for cheating different than face-to-face classes?   No

My ESL students are approximately 50% International students studying on visas with limited oral proficiency and varied written proficiency, 25% immigrant students with varied oral and written proficiency, and 25% 1.5 generation (immigrated as children) with fluent oral and written proficiency (though with grammar errors) but typically weak reading skills.

Learning Objectives- Not what my objectives are because those are already established through the Curriculum approval process; instead, I plan to reflect on whether/how those objectives can be met in an online format.

The official learning objectives for my course are below. I’ve tried to think about which objectives will best match with the face-to-face vs. online portions of this hybrid class. It might surprise some to see that I have focused a lot on reading skills during the face-to-face time. This is because I’ve been taking Reading classes this year, and best practices all point to active talking aloud during the reading process and modeling those skills with students. While students will obviously be doing reading online, I will also be modeling reading strategies during our face-to-face sessions. In addition, my past teaching experience has taught me that students struggle with learning MLA/APA on their own, so I also plan to use face-to-face time to practice in groups.

Course Objectives: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

Instruction: In-class Talk-alouds-

  1. Demonstrate understanding of main idea, details, relationships, and patterns of organization.
  2. Exhibit ability to use expanded vocabulary and practice using contextual cues and resources.
  3. Evaluate features of style such as purpose, audience and tone.
  4. Evaluate supporting evidence.
  5. Understand difference between stated and implied concepts.
  6. Demonstrate an ability to analyze and respond critically.
  7. Evaluate opposing ideas.

Instruction: In-class Partner & Small Group-

  1. Master use of Writing Handbook as reference tool.

Instruction: Online Lecture, Readings, Assignments-

  1. Demonstrate an improved level of word analysis skills and vocabulary development.
  2. Understand appropriate use of various rhetorical strategies.
  3. Conduct research and evaluate sources for use as evidence in essays on complex topics.
  4. Write organized annotated summaries.
  5. Integrate source material and demonstrate critical awareness in multi-page essays.
  6. Understand how to synthesize ideas in writing.
  7. Format essays correctly according to MLA and APA conventions, including in-text references and correct works cited/reference entries.
  8. Construct sentences that demonstrate variety and effective word choice, using college level diction.

Instruction: Online Student Success Peer Review Groups-

  1. Engage in collaborative review sessions to understand difficult concepts and produce effective essays.

Instruction: In-class and online-

  1. Demonstrate the difference between writing as a process and in-class timed writing.

Prerequisites-  In terms of content this is established by the curriculum approval process, so there really isn’t anything to do in this area. Instead, I’ll focus on technology prerequisites.

Some students will have already taken an ESL class at our college and some will be new students; I do not expect any students to have taken any online classes. Unfortunately, since we are a small program, this hybrid class is the only section of this level we will run in fall; that means, there will likely be some students who would rather be taking a fully face-to-face class. I’m concerned about this. Luckily the face-to-face classes are scheduled in a computer classroom, so I will be able to walk students through the technology and flow of Blackboard as needed. I also expect to have more students attend office hors than might be typical.

Approach Meeting Objective-I really want to get away from the idea of just trying to replicate my f2f class, and I want to think about how the online format can improve success.

While I have gotten approval to teach this course fully online, for the foreseeable future I plan to teach a Blended (Hybrid) class that will meet two hours per week face-to-face and two+ hours per week online. I’m really trying to take this advise to heart-

Avoid the course and a half syndrome-

When developing their first hybrid class, instructors tend to add-on to their traditional course instead of rethinking course objectives with the hybrid model in mind. It’s important to encourage instructors not to overload their first Hybrid course” (Kaleta, Garnham & Aycock, 2005).

Since students are expected to do two hours of homework for every one hour of class time, I would guess that students will spend an average of four-six hours researching and writing and another three-four actually completing online lectures, quizzes, peer reviews, and discussions. I HOPE I don’t overload students. The truth is that I think I WAS overloading them when I taught this class traditionally and then posted a ton of materials and homework on Blackboard. I said during the fall quarter that after taking a few online classes, I realized the quantity of work I had supplemented on Blackboard rose to the level of already being a hybrid class (students just weren’t getting credit for the extra work-load that I had thought was “helping”).

Source: Hybrid Courses: Obstacles and Solutions for Faculty and Students- http://www.uwex.edu/disted/conference/Resource_library/proceedings/03_72.pdf

Teaching Sequence-  I’ve taught college writing for twenty years, so I have a pretty good idea of the sequencing needed.

Generally I would say my teaching reflects bottom-up sequencing since I rely on students having specific reading and writing prerequisite skills to move through the objectives (Horton. 43). I admit that this sequencing of process writing forces students to break the essay down into prewriting and outlining steps when most would prefer to jump straight into writing the actual essay. While I think the overwhelming majority benefit from the steps of bottom-up sequencing, I do sometimes question this when students show a desire for a top-down or sideways approach. I appreciate the fact that the online grammar software that I use, utilizes a top-down sequence. If students score well, the activities become progressively more challenging and students can finish more quickly; on the other hand, when students miss answers, questions are adjusted down or continue at that level until the student demonstrates mastery.

In the past I have made the first assignment an annotated bibliography and the two remaining major assignments persuasive style essays. That’s because it’s easier on students not to have to learn essay rules while learning research strategies on the first assignment. In the spirit of modules and wanting to make things as uniform as possible to help streamline and simplify the work, I’ve decided to teach three essays rather than do the annotated bibliography.

Writing Sequence-

  • Essay One: Informative
    1. Prewriting & thesis
    2. Research, summary, analysis, & citation
    3. Outlining & Revision
    4. Essay final draft
  • Essay Two: Persuasive
    1. Prewriting & thesis
    2. Research, summary, analysis, & citation
    3. Outlining & Revision
    4. Essay final draft
  • Essay Three: Argument
    1. Prewriting & thesis
    2. Research, summary, analysis, & citation
    3. Outlining & Revision
    4. Essay final draft

Reading won’t necessarily follow an exact sequence, but instead it will be a repetitive cycle of instructor and student modeling active reading strategies out loud-

  • Previewing, Predicting, & Skimming
  • Main Idea & Supporting Ideas vs. Implied Ideas
  • Point of View & Audience
  • Background Knowledge
  • Vocabulary

Source: http://www.nclrc.org/essentials/reading/stratread.htm 

Objects to Accomplish Objectives- I really want to analyze how I can integrate reading and writing better in this area. Tests- I plan to talk to teachers who use flip classrooms to see if tests will improve the likelihood of students coming to f2f prepared.

I met with Professor of Early Childhood Donna Green who is teaching a year-long professional development series on Flipping classrooms. I expressed my concern that students wouldn’t do the necessary beforehand reading in order to be prepared for class activities in the face-to-face sessions. She encouraged me to create brief low point quizzes from the required readings. Here is where I try to balance best teaching practices with practicality. Obviously multiple choice quizzes set-up on my CMS that can be automatically graded with scores recorded gives students immediate feedback and makes my life easier. On the other hand, I know as a student I strongly prefer open-ended questions and this Flipped Classroom article, http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/two-strategies-for-getting-students-to-do-the-reading/, highly recommend this. That means more grading and a slower return time for students to get feedback. If my chief goal is to use these quizzes to encourage students to complete reading prior to the face-to-face sessions and the quiz points will be low, would it be so bad to use the multiple choice test?

Learning Activities- This is an area where I plan to completely disregard the assignments I have used in f2f and really think about how writing college essays can be re-thought and fit into weekly modules.

Weekly modules will all be worth the same number of points and follow the same sequence of learning:

  1. Online- Stated week’s learning objective
  2. Online- “Lecture” (student/content)
  3. Online- Assigned Reading & open book Reading Quiz (format TBD) (student/content)
  4. In-class- Reading Strategy Activities (student/student & student/content & student/instructor)
  5. In-class- Research & Citation Activities (student/student & student/content & student/instructor)
  6. Online- Research and Writing (student/content)
  7. Online- Peer Revision (student/student)
  8. Online- Supplemental resources for further study (student/content)
  9. Online- Discussion applying readings to real-life experiences (student/student & student/content & student/instructor)

Media-  I plan to look at the weekly schedule I developed last quarter and reflect on whether the media I have matched is a good fit and feasible.  ESL 71 Schedule

I’m actually pretty happy with the media I have matched to my activities. The one area that I question is the quantity of Discussion Board posts and comments. My original plan was to create discussion prompts that were more cognitive in nature and got student to apply the readings to problem-solving or project-building in their personal/professional lives. I still think this is important and I still believe that discussion in general builds the learning community. My issue is questioning two points:

  • Am I over-building my hybrid class and creating too much work for students?
  •  Since students will be doing lots of partner/group work during face-to-face sessions, aren’t they already getting the learning community?

Students will definitely have their small groups (student success groups) for peer review, so discussion would be whole class and more related to readings applied to real life. I guess my first semester students are just going to have to be my guinea pigs, and I’ll need to be sensitive to adjusting the workload if needed. My question is whether or not dropping something like discussion mid-semester would be too confusing?  I do feel like my most successful online classes have been those where the entire quarter was available from day one, every week followed the same pattern of organization, and there were no unexpected surprises.  When content and media is presented in uniform patterns, it’s easier for students to navigate.

Session Four: Instructional Design for Online Learning Project April 27-May 3

Standard

What am I working on?

I opted to work on my own because I’m in the instructional design phase of working on two courses I will offer in the fall.  Last fall, I had all of the courses in my ESL program approved through our Curriculum process for distance education (fully online or hybrid).  To be honest, I don’t know whether I will ever offer the beginning classes in an online format, but it made sense to get the approval all at once in case I want to try in the future.  I’m starting with a hybrid version of our two most advanced classes which are one level below Freshman Composition:  ESL 71 Academic Reading and Writing II and ESL 71A Advanced Grammar.  

Why Start with these courses?

Research supports the use of online instruction in second language acquisition, yet online credit ESL classes at the community college level are nearly non-existent.  Eight months ago, I began researching whether my student population was likely to be successful; here is what I came up with-

However, three significant factors led to my decision to offer hybrid classes to the advanced rather than beginning students-

  1. First, there is a recent study from Berkley that shows online students are not successful if the course is taken in the students’ first semester; since the majority of our ESL students start out in a lower level, the advanced classes will not be their first semester-http://campustechnology.com/articles/2015/04/22/cc-students-face-uphill-climb-in-succeeding-with-online-courses.aspx
  2. Students need strong reading and writing skills to succeed in online classes.
  3. International students and students of color particularly benefit from Learning communities and student-student interaction, and I believe this is best fostered through f2f contact.  This last issue contributed to my decision to not offer our first two levels online (yet) and to my choice to offer the courses as hybrid. 

Design Quickly and Reliability I think the way I am going to use this process is to reflect back on my decisions on-

  • Course Goals- Matching the student learning outcomes with the online delivery.
  • Learners Needs/Abilities-  This is where I need to reflect and talk to current online teachers at my school:
    • Who am I going to be teaching?
    • What is the motivation for students to learn content?
    • What are students previous experience with online
    • What are students’ propensity for cheating?
    • What are students need for student/content, student/student, student/instructor
  • Learning Objectives- Not what my objectives are because those are already established through the Curriculum approval process; instead, I plan to reflect on whether/how those objectives can be met in an online format.
  • Prerequisites-  Again this is established by curriculum approval process, so there really isn’t anything to do in this area.
  • Approach Meeting Objective-I really want to get away from the idea of just trying to replicate my f2f class, and I want to think about how the online format can improve success.
  • Teaching Sequence-  I’ve taught college writing for twenty years, so I have a good idea of sequencing.
  • Objects to Accomplish Objectives- I really want to analyze how I can integrate reading and writing better in this area.
  • Tests- I plan to talk to teachers who use flip classrooms to see if tests will improve the likelihood of students coming to f2f prepared.
  • Learning Activities- This is an area where I plan to completely disregard the assignments I have used in f2f and really think about how writing college essays can be rethought and fit into weekly modules.
  • Media-  I plan to look at the weekly schedule I developed last quarter and reflect on whether the media I have matched is a good fit and feasible. 

(Horton, 8-63)

What Instructional Design Have I Completed So Far?

  1. ESL 71 Schedule
  2. Empty Course Shells were set up and I am just beginning to create modules.  

Further Reading on Hybrid Courses and Student Success