CECS 5510 – Week 10 Activity 3

There is not much time left in the session to complete your project, so it is a good time to think about what needs to be done. What is left to do? What challenges have you faced? Will you be able to meet your timeline for completion? Why or why not? Will you be able to implement? Evaluate?

This week I am feeling behind schedule.  So much content is missing.  I need to stop working on making my Canvas course pretty and work on adding actual assignments.  I realized earlier this week that I was creating my group assignments incorrectly.  I have five group assignments and in the Collaboration section I created place holders for each of the five assignments – but only for one group. If I’m going to split the students up in to groups, each group will need their own collaboration page for each assignment.  So I started creating the other necessary pages and I put content on all three groups in one of the assignments.  Minutes ago I logged in and viewed my content and it is the right content on the wrong assignment!  My normal careful-detail-observation skill is failing me this week.  I’ve moved the group assignments around and created the rest of the place holders.  Now I’ve got to get the words typed up for the rest of the group assignments.

Other things I have yet to complete are reading assignments.  I still need to gather information that will be used to teach the lesson.  I’ve only collected some week’s “reading” assignments.  I put reading in quotation marks because some of the lessons will be delivered in video or audio, if I can find content in that format.  I want to try to keep the course interesting.

Another challenge I think I’m facing is Spring Fever.  Or, is it Graduation Fever – more correctly Senioritis?  In looking up how to spell that word I found a list of Tip for Avoiding Senioritis which includes planning ahead, not obsessing, talking and having fun.  Well, fine then.  I’m going to go have fun while camping with my daughters in the middle of April.  This creates a new goal for me – getting done with content and the Job Aid.  Actually I need to plan better for the Job Aid because I have not been comfortable with that step in previous classes I’ve taken.  I’m sure I’ll write more about my Job Aid in a later blog.

I do feel I will be able to meet the timeline for completion because I often work well under pressure.  Is it an ideal method for good work?  No, not always.  But I seem to take it more seriously when it’s getting closer to the deadline.

I don’t know about implementing the course.  Was this something we were actually going to do?  Who would sign up to take my course?  It’s not being offered in real life.  It just needs to showcase that I can create a course from start to finish.  And what about evaluating it?  Doesn’t evaluation have to happen after students have taken the course?  I created a 16-week course and there are only about 6 weeks left in the semester.  I don’t see how the evaluation step can take place.

I need to go into the CECS 5510 assignments and read what is coming up.  Maybe looking at future assignments will help me understand about implementation and evaluation.

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CECS 5580.080 Blog March 27

How have your career goals changed since you started your Master’s Degree Program?  Or, if they haven’t changed, how have you further refined them?

I feel my career goals are constantly changing. Over the course of the last two years I have wanted to be a HR Rep in Training and Development, an Academic Instructor at any University, and a Web Designer. (But not freelance, because I don’t want to be an entrepreneur.) My ultimate goal is the same.  I want to get a high paying job after I graduate. I’m going to have to start paying  back by student loans soon. Not all the doors are open for me yet so I don’t know which one I will choose.

If I pursue a position in Training and Development I would get to use some of the specific skills I developed in my instructional design courses.  I am already comfortable presenting because of my years of conducting bi-weekly orientation for new hires when I worked in HR.  I am sure I would be successful performing many of the responsibilities of a Training and Development position.  According to resources.workable.com some of the job duties would be:

  • Identify and assess future and current training needs through job analysis, career paths, annual performance appraisals and consultation with line managers
  • Draw an overall or individualized training and development plan that addresses needs and expectations
  • Deploy a wide variety of training methods
  • Conduct effective induction and orientation sessions
  • Monitor and evaluate training program’s effectiveness, success and ROI periodically and report on them
  • Provide opportunities for ongoing development
  • Resolve any specific problems and tailor programs as necessary
  • Maintain a keen understanding of training trends, developments and best practices.

I have reservations about to pursuing a position as an Instructor, the starting salary. Without experience or a Ph.D. I could only qualify for an Adjunct or Lecturer position at this point.  It seems to me this option is similar to an entry-level job and wouldn’t pay well.  Although, I do have the required skills of excellent communication and interpersonal skills, strong organizational skills, the ability to multitask and the ability to engage large groups of people.  I believe my courses have prepared me for the responsibilities of an Adjunct position.  According to greatsampleresume.com some of the job duties would be:

  • Creates, distributes, and reviews the course syllabus
  •  Use a variety of instructional strategies in order to engage students, including cooperative and experiential learning
  •  Meets with academic department chair to develop courseware and curriculum
  •  Presents prepared materials and supervises organized activities
  •  Evaluates student performance promptly and accurately based on departmental rubrics
  •  Maintains records of student attendance, involvement, and progress
  • Teaches assigned class material in accordance with learning objectives that are developed by the department
  •  Communicates with students outside of class to provide supplementary instruction, when necessary.

Of al the courses I took for my Master’s degree in Learning Technologies, I had the most fun with Web Design.  Learning and creating with Adobe DreamWeaver was both challenging and yet very satisfying.  I also enjoyed working with PhotoShop, Illustrator, and Audition.  However, I think it would be even harder for me to obtain a Web Developer position that wasn’t entry level.  I lack the required number of years of professional working experience in this field.  Perhaps I can find a position that has this task as part of the job while I’m doing other duties as well so I can develop my skills and increase my years of experience.  If I pursue a position as a Web Developer I would get to use some of the knowledge gained while taking my master’s courses.  According to study.com some of the job duties would be:

  • Writing and editing content
  • Designing webpage layout
  • Determining technical requirements
  • Updating websites
  • Creating back up files
  • Solving code problems

In addition to the positions I’m investigating, I might have created an opportunity to be a Business Processes Trainer.  At my current job in the Department of Mathematics at the University of North Texas there has been a recent change with the chart of accounts.  I have attended many training sessions for this change.  One training I attended was given by the new Director of Business Process Training and I was very impressed with her.  She mentioned in her introduction that she was developing this new division and she would be looking for others to work with her.  Now I became very intrigued!  After class I walked up to her, shook her hand and gave her my elevator speech.  I believe she was also interested in me at that point because she gave me her email address and told me to contact her.  She also shared that she would have to develop a new position for me, but that position wouldn’t be available until later, after she developed her budget and got it approved.  I got back to my office and sent her the email.  She responded the same day and thanked me for letting her know I was interested in working with her.  This could be a great opportunity for me further develop my trainer skills and help other people learn new Business Processes while maintaining my employment at UNT.  Maybe I will wait and see what develops over the summer.

References

https://resources.workable.com/training-manager-job-description

Adjunct Professor Job Description

http://study.com/articles/Web_Designer_Job_Description_Duties_and_Requirements.html

CECS 5510 – Week 8 Activity 4

What feedback have you received and what have you done as a result? Why? Given that many standard corporate ID projects last about 3 weeks and this is week 8 of the session, how do you feel about working on a professional timeline?

So far the feedback I’ve received on my Recruiting and Interviewing Canvas Course has been positive. Both reviewers in my peer group have said they look forward to my course being complete so they can learn my topic. One reviewer likes the way my introduction looks and the other one we impressed with my use of the calendar. I tried to make my course introduction sound interesting and let the reader know there was a live person available to assistance. Although, I still need to modify some of the words because I’m aware I have one sentence that reads: This paragraph is still in progress and will be adjusted to sound more pleasing. I used the calendar to line out when assignments would be do so my students could stay on track. I still want to add pictures and images. I haven’t focused on that yet because I’m working on content.

When I submitted this week’s peer review, I only used information from one reviewer. The other reviewer mostly wrote observations about what I had already completed. I am continuing to add content to the course. This week I haven’t decided to make any significant changes to the things I’m adding. But I am going to have to review the total points earned to make sure it equals 100. One of my reviewers said the assignments so far didn’t add up correctly. I think it’s because I don’t have all the content entered yet, but I’m going to check and make sure.

New this week, I spend some time playing with the Quiz section. I’ve got two quizzes to create. This doesn’t seem to be difficult, nor too time consuming if the questions are already written out so I can copy/paste. Unfortunately, my questions are not already written out. I do, however, have the reading assignment finished for one of the quiz topics so I can pull questions from that document. I am going to remove the “available after” date on my quizzes so my peer reviewers can see them. One change I would like in the Quiz section of Canvas is to randomize the order of the questions. There is a button to click if I want to shuffle the answers, but not one for shuffling the questions.

I think I would be both comfortable and pleased with a 3 week timeline to complete a course for a standard corporate assignment. First of all, 16 weeks is too long to complete a course if that’s the only thing I was working one. Because I have my full time job and full time family I’m glad I have 16 weeks to develop and create this course. But I often think I have too much down time. Unfortunately, I do not use this time to get ahead. Instead I procrastinate and then spend large chunks of time playing catch up. Working 3 weeks, at a steady pace, sounds like a good idea for course creation for me. Professional timeline? Bring it on!

CECS 5510 – Week 7 Activity 3

You have completed a rough version of ½ of your full course now. Have you had to make revisions to your design based on the structure of the LMS? How well is the design model working for you?

Soon I will have completed entering details on about half of my Canvas course, Recruiting and Interviewing. I have many place holders and still need to create content. It is going well. I did think I was ahead of schedule, but today I’m feeling behind schedule. A lot of time goes into creating content. Originally, I had much of the material saved on a jump drive so I was going to copy/paste lesson information. But the jump drive has died and I’m having to re-create the wheel. At least I know what I want each lesson to say. It is just taking a bit longer to find the lesson information on the web again and put it in a format I want to use.

I haven’t made any revisions on my original design based on the structure of the LMS. Canvas has accomplished everything I’ve wanted to do so far. There are some changes I’m making along the way because of input from peer reviews. For example, I’m now adding a ‘collaboration’ section for the group projects and I’m going to go back and find images/pictures to add to some of the pages so the course appears more exciting. Based on advice from on peer, and following the example of my professor’s communication in CECS 5510, I’m going to try and modify some words to help make the course sound friendly. Helping the students understand that there is a real person behind the lessons will make them more comfortable and give them a sense of personal touch. No one likes to interact with a nameless, faceless, droid.

Earlier this semester I wrote about the Backward Design Model. I don’t believe I am following this method of designing instruction for this project. Actually, I’m not aware of which design model I am following. My thinking during this process has been “I want students to learn X. To confirm they know X I will ask them to post in Discussion Boards.” My plan has been to read the students comments and determine if they are on the right track or provide guidance if it seems they do not understand the material. Perhaps that is one of the more traditional design models like ADDIE, but without the A because I did not actually analyze what needed to be taught, I just stated that learners need to know how to recruit and interview. Ah the freedom that the powers of assumption provides.

My plan for next week is to finish entering the missing content on the various assignments, discussions, and collaborations. Then I need to attack the quizzes. I’m really not sure how that part is going to go yet. Many semesters ago I had a great professor that knew how to write online quizzes in such a way that classmates couldn’t get together and cheat. There would be a pool of 20 questions and when you logged in to the quiz 10 of them would be randomly assigned for you to answer. And his questions may have been multiple choice or matching, but it wasn’t stuff you could find quickly in the textbook – you had to have already read the material. I hope to use his methods as inspiration for the quizzes I create for this course. But at the same time, I really want the quizzes to be easy. I just want the students to know the material they are being quizzed on is important. Time will tell if I convey my message successfully or not.

CECS 5510 – Week 6 Activity 3

You have begun putting together your full course. What has gone well? What has challenged you? What feedback have you received? What feedback have you given? What have you learned from the process of developing instruction in an LMS?

Last week I started creating my course in Canvas. So far it is going very well. On the Home page I’ve entered TAP, Format, and Learning Theory. I’ve created pages for Goals and Objectives, Grading Policy, and one page where I will enter links to reading material and videos. In the Modules section I’ve entered activities for all 16 weeks of the course. I’ve entered places for students to submit their Assignments, Discussions, and Quizzes. My next step is to create the reading materials, videos, assignments and discussions.

Currently I’m working in Adobe Dreamweaver to create the online course evaluation. When complete this is the Extra Credit Assignment due at the end of the 16-week course. Although the evaluation looks good, I’m having difficulty with programming the ‘submit’ button. I believe I need to re-learn some CSS to get the evaluation to submit responses to my email.

(At the time of this writing I have not yet received any feedback or given any feedback. I will edit this post after these steps are complete.)

The process of developing instruction in Canvas LMS hasn’t been difficult. I spend more time on the content than on placing the content in the online course. I don’t feel Canvas is intuitive. I needed to watch the introduction videos to learn where or how to enter or change anything. I’m also not unsure if what I want my students to see is what I’m creating. I’ve used the ‘view as student’ feature, but there isn’t enough content for me to assess whether or not I’m heading in the right direction. Time will tell. I just hope I don’t get too far into creating this course before I realize significant changes are needed.

 

 

CECS 5510 – Week 4 Activity 4

Using UNT libraries databases locate an instructional design model with which you are not currently familiar. In your Blog answer and discuss the following:

  • What was the model
  • What is the point of the model?
  • How is the model different from what you already know? How is it the same?
  • Is this model something you may use? Why or why not?
  • How is an ID model different from a theoretical model (i.e. social constructivism)? Why is this distinction important?
  • Do you think such a differentiation will matter for a client?

In the UNT libraries databases I found an article on Backward Design. The idea of Backward Design comes from Grant Wiggins & Jay McTighe and suggests that learning should be planned with the final assessment in mind. Backward design creates instruction by first looking at the desired results then developing the curriculum based on what is an acceptable measure of learning and then deciding what is the particular teaching that students need in order to produce the desired performance. For example, if an algebra teacher determines the desired result is that their students understand the ‘FOIL’ method of multiplying two binomials, then the acceptable measure of learning is that students can successfully complete the ‘FOIL’ step on a test and the particular teaching needed might be a hands-on-activity of completing the ‘FOIL’ method steps.

The Backwards Design method of instructional design is different from other models I know because it is … backwards. (Sorry for the poor description but that’s the best word to put here.) Instructional design thus far starts with stating what needs to be taught and ends with assessing if the lesson was learned. Backward Design doesn’t do an end assessment to determine if what was supposed to be learned was actually learned. The assessment is in the middle of the Backward Design.

The Backward Design is the same as other theoretical models, like social constructivism, in that constructivists believe that learning is an active process (Tram, 2000). Constructivists believe, however, that knowledge is constructed by people and doesn’t exist outside the human mind (Tram, 2000) and Backward Design operates on the premise that students will acquire knowledge as a result of performance (Fox & Doherty, 2011).

I will probably not directly use the Backward Design method of instructional design. I will, however, keep the end goal in mind when creating instruction. There is a purpose to teaching which is evident in the key elements of Backward Design:

* The importance of what students learn rather than what faculty teach; i.e. the value of student learning outcomes rather than on topic “coverage”

* A need to design curriculum to help students achieve these outcomes

* The recognition that topic expertise does not necessarily closely track with course design so there needs to be collaboration

* The understanding that different delivery modes may necessitate radically different course designs

* An explicit recognition of the value of education that occurs outside the classroom (Fox & Doherty, 2011).

I like the concept of instructors teaching how to learn rather than merely providing facts and figures for students to regurgitate during the test. In my experience memorizing for the test does not result in retention of learning material.

The argument against Backward Design is that it supports ‘teaching to the test.’ This concept is the very reason some grade school teachers no longer teach. They were frustrated that their job had become centered on making sure the students pass the state standardized test instead of stimulating the minds of the students so they can think and learn. In our current education system, instructors are supposed to teach material that students need to know by the next assessment. This method doesn’t help students develop learning skills.

I think the type of design I use to create instruction should matter to my clients, but I am not sure if my clients understand or care about the difference as long as the end result is the same. I once found an explanation of instructional design that basically said learning happens, everywhere, all the time. The role of the instructional designer is to focus the students’ attention on what needs to be learned and help make sense of the material. For this reason I don’t think clients pay much attention to how something is taught as long as the students learn what is taught. There is an exception – if the clients feel the teaching method is too unusual or significantly different than the established normal teaching method they are already comfortable with, then the clients don’t particularly like it. It is difficult to accept change.

 

Reference

Fox, B., Doherty, J. (2011). Design to learn, learn to design: Using backward design for information literacy instruction. Communication in Information Literacy. 5(22). 144-155.

Tram, M. (2000). Constructivism, instructional design, and technology: Implications for transforming distance learning. Educational Technology & Society. 3(2). Retrieved from http://www.ifets.info/journals/3_2/tam.html

CECS 5510 – Week 4 Activity 4

CECS 5510 – Week 3 Activity 4

Based upon your experience revising your instructional design document this week, reflect on what you learned from your peer’s feedback. What did you learn about your work? What did you change as a result? What did you not change? Why?

I reviewed two peer’s instructional design documents – one I felt needed many changes and the other I couldn’t find anything to be changed. I hope the first peer didn’t think I was being too picky and I hope what little feedback I gave to the second peer is helpful enough.  I was actually surprised that the first document I reviewed included activities for face-to-face instruction because the professor already told us we were to create only online instruction.  Maybe when the professor reviewed that design he already told this peer to make the change and she didn’t send me the adjusted design document. (3rd grade Place Value)  The second peer document has an online course I would be very interested in taking.  It sounds like a great class! (Photography)

From the review of my instructional design I learned that I shouldn’t use acronyms. I didn’t even realize that I did that. I’m often telling others to avoid acronyms because not everyone knows what they mean. I forgot to follow my own advice.

Changes I’m making to my own design document are to explain the acronyms I used, adding a Problem section, adding specific activities to the Timeline, and adjusting words used in subtitles, goals and objectives to use consistent verbiage.

I’m not changing Goals 2 and 3 – the suggestion in the review I received was that they sounded similar.  They actually are not. There is a significant difference between ‘job descriptions’ and ‘job postings.’ I will, however, add some words to help indicate how these elements are different. I also need to go back and tie my references to something in the document. I had unfortunately overlooked that modification after the professor’s review.

It feels like I’m on track so far.  My instructional design topic has been well received by both my professor and my peer reviewers.  I no longer feel discouraged.

CECS 5510 – Week 1 Activity 3 Part 3

Choose one of the ID articles posted by a peer and read it before next week. Write a blog reflection about what you learned from your three readings and note items, theories, and elements that you would like to know more about and whether it impacts your design or tells you more about how you learn. 

I read three articles for this week’s assignment. The first, “Problem based learning: An instructional model and its constructivist framework,” was assigned to us. The second we had to choose for ourselves and write about it – I chose “A theory for eLearning.” For the third article we had to choose one of the articles that a classmate chose to write on. I read “Learning Solutions.” From these articles I learned that where as teaching and social presence are more foundational to basic learning tasks, cognitive presence takes learning beyond basic knowledge and into deeper understanding, application, and appreciation (Wilcoxon, 2011).

Based on these three articles I want to know more about the role of social interaction on learning. I like the concept that the social environment is critical to developing our understanding (Savery & Duffy, 1995). How else can we know something to be true unless we test that knowledge against other’s opinions? Lack of social presence can lead to high levels of frustration, disengagement, critical attitudes toward the instruction, and lower levels of learning (Wilcoxon, 2011). If so, I question if my own apprehension to social interaction with classmates has influenced my perceptions of misunderstanding the course material. Too often I feel I am struggling with concepts in instructional design. At the start of each assignment I am again researching to answer questions like ‘what is learning theory,’ and ‘what are instructional design models?’ Knowing that I’ve had difficulty retaining the material leads me to embrace discussion assignment with a new set of eyes. I’m still not comfortable with sharing, privacy, and trust. But I think I need to use the discussion assignments as a learning tool. Before now, I was treating the individual perspective of others as their opinions and I didn’t take them as educational. I have not liked any of the previous course assignments that required me to ‘post meaningful comments to at least two classmates discussion threads.’ I didn’t see the benefit of comparing their experiences with mine to test my opinions or challenge my methods. Now I finally understand what I’m supposed to do with discussion assignments. (Although others may already understand this concept, a social interaction for learning course presented early in this online degree program would have been beneficial to me.)

Reading these articles will impact my instructional design project for this course. I now plan to add an element of social interaction. I will be creating a 16-week online course on recruiting. Topics covered will include legal issues and best practices in posting jobs, reviewing applicants, and interviewing candidates. My thoughts for designing the course originally included only how to present the material in a variety of methods so it appeals to different learning styles. Now I will include discussions so learners can interact and hopefully develop a greater understanding of the recruiting process as a whole.

 

References

Nichols, M. (2003). A theory for eLearning. Educational Technology & Society. 6(2). 1-10.

Savery, J. R., & Duffy, T. M. (1995). Problem based learning: An instructional model and its constructivist framework. Educational Technology, 35, 31–38.

Wilcoxon, K. (2011). Learning Solutions. Building an Online Learning Community.

Retrieved from: http://www.learningsolutionsmag.com/articles/761/building-an-online-learning-community

CECS 5210 Blog Reflection: Project B

Reflect on the outcome of Project B. What worked? What did not? Why? Did you use your peer for feedback? If so, discuss the feedback your peer provided; if not, explain why? Discuss your client’s feedback? What did you use? What did you reject? Why?

Finishing project B was an awesome feeling. I really enjoy creating webpages and adding “fun” elements such as sounds, video, animated words or pictures, and links.

The final webpages looked professional and the special features I picked out operated as expected. Originally there were some special features that didn’t work, but I have gone back and adjusted my programing so now all of the animations work. These are the word animations in the quiz. My plan is to go back one more time and adjust the order of the correct answers. Currently option B on each of the ten multiple choice questions is the correct answer.

My peers at work still need to give me some feedback, and I will make other adjustments as needed. It depends on what they discover. My client is pleased with the training and she is excited for the new Undergraduate Service Assistants to receive the training in January when the next semester starts.

I do feel that my Job Aid needed more material. It was fairly basic and after reading some of my classmates’ examples I see I could have gone into much more detail. Specifically, I could have included time slots so whoever is giving the instruction in a classroom setting knows how long it takes to cover each piece. Although the total time is between 15 and 20 minutes, the instructor (it is not me) would be more comfortable know what to expect.

The other issue I had was the ‘broken’ parts of the SmartBoard. The power button wasn’t working, the computer screen resolution automatically adjusted, and the communication between the SmartBoard and the computer wasn’t consistent. Now that the service call is completed, one aspect of the training I created will probably not be needed. That is the part about resetting the computer screen resolution settings. These setting shouldn’t automatically change anymore because the connection between the SmartBoard and the computer has been replaced with newer technology. But, it makes sense to leave this part in the training just in case the computer screen resolution settings change for some other reason.

I do see this project as ‘not finished’ but ‘ongoing.’ As a department, we are going to make modifications to the training as needed. Like almost everything we publish, this training will be reviewed at least once a year.

CECS 5210 Blog Reflection: Instructional Design and Course Reflections

Think about instructional design in general. What have you learned this semester about instructional design and development? What about process? What else?

Also, what did you learn from the Evaluation of the product? What would you do differently next time? How much did you learn from the process and evaluation that will make you a better future instructional designer?

The other day the University of North Texas held the annual Staff Holiday Party. The President spoke, some door prizes were given away, we ate some good finger food, and we drank some very nice cranberry punch. We got to socialize with other staff members from other departments – some we knew for years and others were new. I ran into Amanda from HR Training and Development. I met Amanda only a few days before the party during a class about Successful Supervisors. She is a dynamic and engaging trainer. As we were talking at the party I shared with her that I was almost done with my master’s degree in Learning Technologies. She asked how it was going and what did I want to do as my next career. Surprisingly, I found myself answering that I don’t particularly like Instructional Design. I like creating websites and presenting training, but I become frustrated and procrastinate too much when it comes to writing Analysis, Design, Job Aid, and Evaluations. This realization actually saddens me, and makes me question my degree choice. Do I have what it takes to be an Instructional Designer? What if I’ve selected a career that I won’t enjoy?

 This semester I learned that instructional design is detailed. I understand why all the steps are there – to ensure quality training is created. This “systematic process by which instructional materials are designed, developed, and delivered” has steps help remind the designer of all the elements they need to consider when creating training. The process takes time. But taking the time will help to get it right. I know that taking the time and following the process will make the training good.

 The evaluation of the finished project taught me that although I second guess my skills, others like the final project. I should have known. I am my own worse critic when it comes to creating something. My client was very pleased with the training.

 Next time I will maintain a better time schedule so I don’t get behind. Being behind schedule and playing catch up has been the most stressful part of this course. It’s my own fault. But I do appreciate being able to submit assignments all the way to the end of the semester.

 When debating my career choice, I found the following advice in another blog. “Identify what gives you the most satisfaction. Do you love analyzing a performance problem, figuring out a solution to it, and outlining a training program that you know will be effective? Or do you love to create the media for content that already exists, making it more interesting and interactive?” (Source: http://blog.cathy-moore.com/how-to-become-an-instructional-designer/) Possibly I only want to be a developer. I enjoy creating the instructional media much more than designing training from scratch. But I do feel my education has not been in vain. Knowing both sides will help me communicate intelligently on the subject.