Session Six: Development Project Overview


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.


7 thoughts on “Session Six: Development Project Overview

  1. Good job Christen!

    I have enjoyed the Ted Talk video you selected. On several occasions, I too have been asked some of those questions. I can strongly relate with what Chimamanda is presenting.

    I admire your project because you can apply what we are learning. I really wish I could have access to blackboard so that I can practically do what I am designing.
    Good to know you have learned a skill of embedding the videos. Very soon you will be an expert, and so you may not need the help of others. Yes true!!! Anyway……

    I like the way you are designing your project.



    • Thank you Carolyne, since you work for CSUSB maybe IT would provide you with an empty BB shell? I just asked our BB Coordinator and she was kind enough to create one for me. It never hurts to ask.


  2. Hi Christen,
    I always look forward to reading your weekly blog posts! They are so informative and clear and learn so much from them. I have looked into the tools that you utilize for future reference for when I finally have the opportunity to teach.


  3. Aldo Prado

    Great job once again, Christen. They are always thoroughly written and full of great ideas. I can’t wait to see more.


  4. lgersitz

    Your class is really coming along! I’m feeling better about mine too. I too am having weekly reading quizzes in Sakai. Mine are open book because I think it’s important that the students know how to find answers. Mine is a research skills class after all! 🙂


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