LEC4: Module 4 Reflection-Impact of the Internet on Learning

eLearning, Uncategorized

Think about how the Internet has impacted your own personal learning, communication, and sense of community. Write a new post that includes a screenshot showing your participation in a social or professional network, and a summary of how you use that network for personal or professional connections or for new learning. In your post reflect on:

  • When does the Internet help your learning? When does it distract from good learning for you?
  • How might your answers to these questions be similar to or different from the answers your students might give?
  • How might you support your students in using the Internet as their own personal learning space?

I LOVE this prompt! For lifelong learners like myself, the Internet has been a blessing (and a curse, at times)! I mostly joke about the curse, of course…but it has led to more than a few other tasks not getting done and even more than a few late nights! This mostly happens when I lose focus on my objectives and what I am working on at that moment. It is almost always something related to what I am working on, and not Facebook, Pinterest etc. But sometimes there are those shiny articles in other areas of interest that pop up…and I have to reign myself in. I find bookmarking and to-do lists in One Note to be a huge help at times like these!

THE POSITIVE IMPACT OF THE INTERNET ON MY LEARNING

I have several hobbies that have benefited over and over again by engaging in forums, researching websites, ordering materials (books mostly), checking my social media connections etc. I have been able to learn new skills, enhance or refresh current skills, discover new passions/interests and meet people who more than likely would have never otherwise crossed my path! I think student answers to these prompts would be less on the learning side in most cases, and more on websites/apps that enable them to socialize with their friends more. This could be a gray area, but I think most students K-12 and many in college like to and should be socializing with their friends. It is just harder to balance that and school for them, I think. Again, some, not all. I encourage students to use the Internet for finding out more about topics of interest, to share their work, and to get to know others…BUT, in a responsible way. Good digital citizenship does need to be taught or at least made aware that it is a focus in the classroom. Just because they may use the Internet and social media, does not always mean they know how to do so in a responsible way.

COMMUNICATION AND COMMUNITY

My job history, like many I would assume, includes jobs that were not entirely suited to my career goals. Having groups and forums online that I could participate in and people who I could network with allowed me to keep up what I was learning in college and continue to move forward in my field. For the most part, my professional life has existed mostly online. Due to that I feel a real sense of community when I am online…so many people who I have never met, but appreciate and enjoy learning from and talking with! Communication within those groups often makes more sense to me. This could probably be (as we have talked about in past modules) due to being able to better focus on the message when online…in person, there are tendencies to misread people or be distracted by other things going on around you. Different personality types can conflict more easily and sometimes the communication is one-way. True, there is the possibility that messages online can be misread or misinterpreted, but I feel that is something that can be overcome.

ONE OF MY PROFESSIONAL NETWORKS

One of the most useful and frequented professional networks that I participate in is the Adobe Education Exchange. I engage in the community as a learner, a trainer, an instructional designer and a moderator. There are live and on-demand classes to take and tons of great resources on using Adobe products. Since I use a lot of these in my work as a trainer and ID, I find it invaluable.

Adobe Ed Ex profile

My profile on the Adobe Education Exchange.

Most recently I have become an Adobe Campus Leader (ACL) and an Adobe Education Trainer (AET). Some of you may have seen my past post from my T4T classes (Training for the Trainer)…the first Adobe T4T was last Summer. The most recent one I am actually finishing up this month...the focus of this T4T is eLearning. The courses are a great way to learn new features of Captivate, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Muse, etc. (Photoshop alone could keep almost anyone occupied with things to learn for a long time!) I have used a few of the resources and lessons here in my Community Education courses and with staff at my full-time job. Last year we received a grant from Adobe (HOORAY) for Photoshop Elements, Premiere Elements, and Captivate so I am gathering ideas and formulating a plan for professional development. This site and the ConnectEd group I am a part of is and will be a primary resource as I work on that project!

LEC4: Module 2 Reflection-Online and Blended Learning

eLearning

The reflection this week is guided by the following questions:

  1. Reflecting on the information covered in this module, how might your instructional methodologies need to change in an online or blended learning environment?
  2. What skills and strategies might you improve or expand upon in order to best support student learning in a blended or online environment?

Having a good foundation and understanding of effective instructional methodologies and strategies is key to any learning environment. In an online or blended learning environment, much of this does not change but the online component does require an awareness and often a change of methodology. During this module, we reviewed four emerging models (flex, rotation, self-blend, and online lab) where either all or part of the student contact time is online. Whether it is the online component of the blended classroom, or a fully online course, attention to the following areas can be noted:

  • Communication-students will expect, and within reason should expect, regular feedback and replies to their questions and assignments. Parameters should be set so that student expectations are reasonable to keep the pace and progress of the course. This is the same for a face-to-face course, but in an online course there is a bit more urgency due to the 24/7 nature of being online.
  • Class Discussions-guiding online discussions require closer attention to keeping on topic and moderating discussions towards the lesson objectives. Since several students can post at once, versus just one student being called on at a time, this can be challenging but also can lead to very rich and informative discussions.
  • Assessment-not being able to adjust on the fly based on facial cues and body language as in a face-to-face class, the teacher needs to interact and question students to ensure understanding in ongoing assessments. Pre and post assessments remain largely the same.

There are other instructional methodologies that need to change, but those are a few of the areas that came to mind after reviewing this module. Depending on the course and the students themselves, other strategies can be effective as well.

Personally, the skills and strategies I can improve on revolve around stability and keeping on top changing educational technology and course design. In an online course, students can be left feeling isolated and not part of the class if the teacher does not maintain a regular presence online. Replying to forum posts, returning assignments in a timely manner, maintaining regular “office hours”, and personalizing lessons can help offer this stability. When designing courses, an awareness of these factors can help make for a more interesting and engaging experience for the teacher and students. To some extent the LMS (learning management system) maybe set so there is only a limited number of ways to set up the online environment, but this is where knowing what does and does not work related to instructional design is valuable.

LEC4: Module 1 Reflection-Goals for LEC4 Course

eLearning

Considering the online learning self-assessment you took this week, and thinking about your reasons for taking this course, what is your highest priority learning goal for this course? What are some specific skills, strategies or tools you are hoping to learn more about?

My highest priority (other than completing the course) is to have a portfolio completed by the end of the course that is a good representation of my knowledge and skills in this area. I have learning objects and lessons all over (on my computer and in various places on the web) so it will be great to have one place that shows some of what I know and can do.

I am hoping to learn more about what makes a great and engaging online lesson, how to abide by copyright and online safety regulations, and since I work as an instructor and an Instructional Designer, what I can do as an ID when working with others (instructors, SME’s, etc.) to create quality online materials.

I admit, I did not read all 29 pages of the letters, but after getting through about half of them there were some common themes-plan, work hard, read everything, relate to cohort members, and have fun (among others)! Hey, I like to have fun so there is the piece of advice from the LEC letters I connected the most with. I really do love technology and have ever since I was a kid. I really enjoy learning new tools, playing around with new software or new web 2.0 tools as we are in this course. Even when I am working on a tough project like programming or learning how to build my own mod for Minecraft, I am having fun. Sure, sometimes I might want to throw my computer across the room at times when things get really tough, but it is so rewarding in the end. I know I will be putting a lot of time and effort into this course and at times with other stuff going on, it may get a little frustrating but I know we are all in the same boat and will have our portfolios and the certification when we are done! Along with having learned about some new tools and skills-that sounds like FUN to me! Let’s do this!

Online and Blended Learning Course

eLearning, instructional design

This week began with a full day introduction to the Leading Edge Alliance course “Online and Blended Learning”. After the completion of this 8-week course, participants such as myself will received the certification and have a completed portfolio showcasing our skills in that area. Like others, I have learning objects and lessons in various places so it will be great to put some of that together in a professional and organized fashion.

Part of the course requirements include regular reflections on the weekly units, and I will be posting those reflections here. I encourage feedback, tips, and other related information on those posts (as I do for any posts).

For more information on this course, please visit their website.

eLearning Course

Adobe, instructional design

(side note: normally I would not go 3 months without a post..I am lucky that I am just starting out with this blog, but still want to apologize to my Followers for the lack of content. I blame it on the cold! haha)

This week started a new 8-week course from Adobe for me and what I am sure are hundreds (thousands?) of others across the world. Last year I wrote about my experience in the first Train the Trainer course and it honestly was a great experience. (Read this post via this link.) This round I am very excited because the focus is on eLearning! Visit edex.adobe.com and search for Elements and eLearning. Here is a short description from the Adobe Ed Exchange about this course:

If you currently train or seek to train teachers who have little to no familiarity with digital media or online learning, this course is for you. Over eight weeks, you’ll explore interactive content that will prepare you to train educators on the Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements products as well as Adobe’s powerful eLearning tools, Adobe Captivate and Adobe Presenter. You’ll become familiar with Adobe Education’s support for trainers as you explore the important role digital skills and creativity play in the classrooms of today and tomorrow. Finally, you’ll engage in a peer-based interactive professional development design curriculum that will take your trainings to the next level.

Did I mention this is FREE?? I will not deny there is a fair amount of work and time required but, like anything, you get what you put into it…I noticed last year when I got into a routine and spent time on the lessons and participated in the Live Sessions it was a rewarding experience. Bottom line, I say join and try it out. If things get to hectic you can leave and join the course again in the Summer if that works better for your schedule-it will be offered July-August 2015.

Desire2Learn – (First ID Experience)

instructional design

Many moons ago, I took a few courses using the Desire2Learn platform. It was in the early days of e-Learning and I am fairly certain those experiences gave me insight into what was needed to make online courses and served to fuel my later wish to pursue a degree in Instructional Design.

Recently, I was able to play around…yes, I said PLAY (I love these types of tools) with D2L from an Instructor and a Designer perspective. I was given one unit in a course on Shakespeare and a links to the college’s CSS formatting and asked to design a module for it on D2L. Unfortunately I only had one week within which to do this…so I had to get to work quickly.

First, I had to teach myself how to work within D2L from each perspective of student, instructor, and designer. Now and then I had to reign in my desire to play around too much, but it was interesting to learn about the various components. After I had worked with individual parts of the platform, I found there was an Instruction Design wizard that pretty much guides you through the entire design process…so I did that too, just to compare the experience.

Second, I analyzed the content given to me. This is where I put on my “instructor hat” and wrote down questions I would ask the actual instructor if the opportunity arose. I also looked at it from the student perspective and envisioned how this unit would look on a course syllabus.

Lastly, I got to work on the design. I played around with the overall look of the module and found that some of the parts I wanted to change were locked down by the college. Once I got over that, I used what I had learned from looking over the unit materials and decided what interactive components and accessibility needs were present and how I would design those around the main content. I played around with some of the images given to me in Photoshop and added a couple of them to the module. I then decided on InDesign to make an interactive flowchart. Even though it would not show up on mobile devices, in the given timeframe I made the call to go ahead with it. I found it fairly easy to upload the files I need to make that all work and learned a few shortcuts along the way.Under normal circumstances, I would have chosen another interactive element that everyone accessing it on whatever chosen devices could use.

Overall, I enjoyed working with D2L and hope to get a chance to learn more about it in the future.