Reflections

EDU 760 E-learning for Educators

Looking back over the 8 week course I am amazed at the learning that I’ve experienced.  I have a much better insight into education in general and educating in the online environment specifically.  Much of what I learned can be applied to my current workplace and I look forward to sharing things with my co-workers and students.  We are in a transition in our curriculum so the timing is perfect to bring this information into the mix.  Helping students learn when you never encounter them in the physical classroom requires many new skills and a different way of thinking for the educator.  I found providing feedback only in written form to be difficult.  There is no way to convey the nonverbal cues common when face to face.  I think it will take time and practice to be completely effective.  I understand how the required discussions and review of classmates work is an avenue to begin the process of learning to complete online evaluations.  I’m excited to continue in the certificate program and, while I already appreciate them, I know one day I’ll love the discussion forums!

A special note of thanks to Jim Erbe, the course facilitator.  Your presence, patience and confidence in me was a significant part of my success in this first online course.  My pearl:  How to hook the learner.  My project on Augmented Reality sold me on the future of technology in education.

EDU 762 Assessment in E-Learning

Online learning by nature requires deeper learning from the student.  Designing online learning that is based on assessment activities that promote the higher order thinking skills of Bloom’s taxonomy is a skill that must be developed by anyone seeking to guide students in online learning.  By completing this final project I have come to the following conclusions:

  • Backward Design is a logical method to create learning, but the objectives must be clear and specific to the learning activities required by the student.
  • there are a multitude of multimedia presentation possibilities available to create a learning opportunity, but the most important element in the design of learning is the ability of the presentation to reach its audience.  Simplicity should be the central characteristic of the design to improve communication in an online environment, to meet the accessibility needs individual students, and to assure that the content is the center of attention.
  • assessment tools can be both formative and summative.  Formative assessment occurs along the learning path with instructors providing support to students through encouraging growth based on their current state.  In project-based learning those formative assessments can take the form of student self-assessment to support metacognitive thinking skills.  Peer review can provide students with the opportunity to see a different approach to the same material. Summative assessment occurs when learning opportunities within the course are completed.  The ultimate summative assessment is student performance of the expected course outcome(s).
  • in order to facilitate online learning, the instructor must become proficient at cybercoaching.  By learning as much about the students as possible early in the course, the instructor can better assist students on an individual basis.  The use of a pre-course survey provides information to help in cybercoaching.  In addition, the instructor must be involved on a daily basis to assure rapid feedback during the formative assessment period of the course.  Facilitating an online course requires engagement and commitment from the instructor far beyond the “sage on the stage” deliverer of information seen in lecture format delivery.

I’m sure as I receive feedback and reflect on this course and this project other insights will occur to me.  But with the completion of this final project, I am well aware of how valuable authentic learning is and plan to implement more in my own classroom and online courses.

To Dr. Datta Kaur Khalsa a huge thanks for sharing your passion for authentic assessment.  You demonstrated the art of giving feedback both positive and negative by your kind words and high expectations.   I will return often to your example with my own students.

EDU 761 Collaborative Communities in E-learning

I started this course with this statement in my reflection: I fully understand the importance of discussion forums for online learning –  hahaha!  Wrong. I had no real concept of the importance of discussion forums.  I understood that discussions helped make connections to the material, required deeper thinking, – those kind of things.  But I certainly did not fully appreciate the importance.  This course led us into the facilitator role.  From student in the discussion forum, to facilitator of the forum.  Learning to develop questions and push  students to think deeper is critical to creating a true learning opportunity for students.  The other aspect of this course was the importance of creating a community among instructor and learners, and learners and learners. That community is a vital piece to the course as it draws the student further into the material when they feel a part of the whole.

Where do I go from here — well, as I develop online courses for our school I will have a much better perspective on design activities that include discussion.  Creating critical thinking opportunities for students is an important part of moving our students into professional nursing.  In addition to online facilitation, this course has made me a stronger classroom teacher as all the techniques for creating online discussion prompts, extenders and redirects can be applied in the classroom or clinical environment during discussion activities. And, I hope to be at least useful to the mentor I’m assigned to in the practicum — I certainly have a better chance at that after completing this course!

As usual, as I leave a UW course, I am amazed at how much I was exposed to and more importantly, how much I retained and use.  Each course has allowed me to grow as an educator, online or classroom.  And I have many new tools in my educator toolbox thanks to great instructors and the community of learners that I’m a part of.  As I move into an online educator role, I feel confident that I can design and execute effective online learning — at least as a well-educated novice! But I also know that there are many resources, including human resources, out there willing to support my efforts.

Thanks to Deb for always being there and helping us move along. And to Dr. Kay Lehmann for her guidance and support.  She set a remarkable example and repeatedly demonstrated the methods laid out in her text.   For someone who dreaded this class because it was all about discussion, I’m now a believer and much more engaged in the community of online learning. Thanks for another growth spurt!

EDU 763 Instruction Design for E-learning

The course ends this week.  It has been interesting, fast-paced and oh so educational.  Many thanks to Dr. Manning and my course mates for the experiences I’ve had this past 8 weeks.

Here’s a summary of what I’m taking away from this course:

  1. Discussion isn’t so bad after all 🙂
  2. Creating an online course is hard work.  But careful planning and detailed design will make the learning experience authentic.  The learner will take away not only more knowledge and abilities, but the desire to seek further learning.
  3. Give the students a look at what is ahead.  This course for me was much less stressful the the previous two.  I attribute that partially to more experience as a student in online education, but having the first 4 weeks posted at the beginning of the course helped me see where we were going and what was expected of us for that time period.  I’ll definitely incorporate that technique into my own online courses.
  4. Variety is the spice of life — and learning.  Universal design and accommodation is now at the top of my list as I consider course design.  Making materials accessible in a variety of forms will give each learner a better chance at learning.
  5. “Like what you do, do what you like”  – the label on my favorite ‘Life is Good’ tee shirts.  Dr. Manning designed this course so that we could live what we were learning.  All of the tools we used to develop our courses were evident in her development of this course.  It’s obvious in her work that Dr. Manning loves learning and teaching.  I want to be just like her when I ‘grow up”!
  6. Backwards design, Absorb-Do-Connect, Conquering the Content — loved them all, bought the books.  These resources will be well used in my work life.  They just make sense.
  7. I need soooo much more education in technology.  I am very limited in my understanding of creating websites, HTML coding, learning platform management, etc,etc.  I’m going to work on finding ways to learn HTML coding over the break between classes.  There must be online courses to help with that.  Using Weebly to create this website has been fun, but I’d like a little more control over the presentation and delivery.
  8. The value of good peer assessment.  Jodi Thesing-Ritter was my learning partner and she provided such a nice assessment of this website. She set a good example for me for the future.  If you haven’t seen what she does in her teaching, check our her website.
  9. Many heads are better than one.  The number of quality resources my classmates provided was one of the most beneficial parts of this course.  Organization of them is a challenge but I’m getting there thanks to Symbaloo (thanks Sharon Halter).
  10. Motivation comes from being able to do something you couldn’t do before (David Merrill).  What a simple idea!  Completing this course has me looking forward to the next one.  I’m motivated!

Dr. Susan Manning, you are one of the most dynamic, energetic educators I have ever encountered.  Your enthusiasm for design and dedication to assuring the best learning experiences for your students will be my guide as I develop online courses.

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