As I finish up my Moodle course which I feel is much more collaborative than my course of 2 years ago, I have also seen that how some people that blog or contribute to discussions late in the game can impact others. Something I tried to do early on was get into discussions early. I found that to be more productive. How does someone participating late impact others? Maybe not too much if you have a small group that gets in early. However, if you are a person that wants to be sure you read and anwser others, it can leave you struggling with time at the end of the module.
We are down to the wire now. I still have some work to do on my project and of course reviewing a partners project. Last week was a great discussion about ePortfolios. I focused on how they can benefit a job seeker. Can it make them get noticed? I think it is better than high quality paper on which you print your resume! I have been meaning to create one for myself for sometime. Just this week I saw a job that requested links to existing works. Would an eportfolio not be the perfect way to do this?
In addition to the employee benefiting from this tool, clearly classrooms can too. I think it is a great way for students to show their learning and be assessed qualitatively
This paper was a great overview of the technologies used in online teaching. http://www.aupress.ca/books/120146/ebook/06_Anderson_2008-Theory_and_Practice_of_Online_Learning.pdf
Working in the Technology Education Department, I realize that technology changes almost as fast as we roll it out. I asked a co-worker what else we could possibly change and roll out after this year and she said that once we were done with every system she was sure we would do it all again! What struck me about the Anderson article was his statement of the new computers being disguised as phones. I then looked back at the date and realized that since he wrote this, that has happened. I feel this furthers the point that we need to teach many technologies, to develop the skills to be comfortable learning NEW technology.
Halfway through this module, I feel I need to take more time to work on the course. I looked back at my posts from 2 years ago when I took a course with Alex. I struggled with interaction in my course. I struggled because I train software! How interactive can you make a session?
What a difference 2 years and 8 courses can make. Understanding the importance of student engagement (trainee engagement) and sense of community has made me look at every technology training I do in a new light. We are constantly trying to find a balance between time to communicate content in a synchronous session and interaction. I ave been evaluating several sessions to add in more interaction and move some of the advanced content to asynchronous sessions.
It has been 2 years since I last posted here. What does that mean for me? I have successfully completed 2 years in this program! My kids are 2 years older. I have had 2 promotions at work. Life has been busy!
With 2 classes to go, I am excited that I will graduate next year. I am going to take time each week to keep up on my learning and learning new technology. Without the structure of class, I will need to discipline myself.
It is with mixed feelings that I recap my last week in this course. It seems like just a couple of weeks ago that I was just meeting my classmates in this virtual classroom. That first week was spent using all those new technologies like voicethread, diigo, twitter to name a few. I was a bit overwhelmed. Then there were the nights trying to meet the expectations in the discussion areas, with Alex raising that bar quite high.
All those weeks of struggling with my course. First what do I want to teach then how do I do all of this asynchronously. Once I felt I accomplished those goals I had to create! This took more time than I imagined. Laying out the course in moodle and then filling it with content. Not just content but interactive content.
What I struggled with the most was the idea of how to hold the participants to such a high level of interaction. But it is funny that sometimes the things you struggle with end up being the most obvious necessities in the end. I recall my conversation with my cousin taking an online course through LSU. What was lacking in her course that made her want to quit after spending hours of time? Putting on my “Alex hat” I found that it was a lack of quality interaction. So it is not a question of if I can get them but a question of how and how much! So crucial and yet I struggled for so long.
In trying to simplify my course by consolidating the help and discussion forums, I created confusion. What seemed so simple did not make sense to people viewing the course. To look at your own course objectively is difficult. It is like proofreading your own work. Often it makes sense to you but others find the faults right away. The checkliss were very helpful.
Reviewing the work of others was of great benefit as I saw features that others had that maybe I was missing. I changes my course based on those observations.
It has been a long journey. I have struggled with who I am as a “Teacher”. I am a trainer, spoon feeding information for those to do their jobs. A teacher brings students to the level of thinking for themselves…nurturing critical thinkers. A very big part of me now questions my training. I feel I am now a teacher stuck in a trainers world. (3)
I have spent much of the day reviewing the work that others did to create online courses. This gave me a chance to see the strengths and weaknesses of others works. I have used the constructive criticism that Alex has given me and applied it to their courses. I have also seen what worked well in their course and am applying it to mine. I would write more but I am off to revise now! (2)
This is the week for refining. I have reviewed my course documents and made changes to due dates. I am trying to keep those in one document per module rather than scattered throughout the course. This will make it easier to change with each new group of attendees. I have changed the font from blue to black. Do you think blue makes it seem as though there should be a hyperlink? I have found a few spelling errors. I was hesitant about using a demo of an exercise that I found on the web because it was not my creation. Now I am comfortable with it. Are we not teaching them how to find resources on their own? They are supposed to do some of the work, right?
I am a little worried that I am feeling comfortable with the course. Yes, I still have some tweaks but could it actually be almost complete? For a while, I never thought I would get here! (3)
I will be working on finding a way to hold participants accountable for what they learn and to give guidance on what I expect and how I will grade them. I am struggling with this because I need a basic way of evaluating, nothing complex as this is a Professional development course. Maybe I will use a 10 point system where they would receive satisfactory in the module if they get 8 of 10. I can count the discussion as one point, the cafeteria as one point and the project as 8 points and then give a basic overview of expectations for the grading of the project and the blog. Any feedback anyone has is appreciated!