Sunday, July 1, 2012

Blog Reflection 3

I still thought about what teaching next year will be like, mostly because I decided to dedicate myself to this course while it was here and then devote myself to designing my face-to-face course afterwards. For as much as I have thought about, visualized, and worried about upcoming teaching experiences, I hope I equally finding assurance by thinking back to this course to as a guide.

I feel like I have a better grasp of designing a course for its content progression, but now I also know that there’s nothing like actually getting down and trying to put a course together to see what it looks like when all of your proposed projects and lecturettes are available and next to each other.

I knew that the internet had potential as an educational tool, but wanted to know what that potential was and how to utilize it from an instructor’s perspective, which I appreciatively learned about during this course. I also knew that online courses were different from face-to-face courses, but I didn’t know that both offered benefits and concerns unique to their environments. I believed that online courses lacked student engagement and that anything a student learned online simply wouldn’t stick. I’m glad I got to learn about creating meaningful online communities and providing intrinsically purposeful content, because it helped changed my perspective of online learning. I’m also glad that while I got more acquainted with wikis and yodios, I also have further possibilities I can try to better utilize the technology for the purpose of the pedagogy as a result of our group discussions.

I will not forget the resources of today’s technology and how they can be relevant to classroom work. I will not forget that there are articles, videos, and other online materials that are accessible and could greatly contribute to students’ learning experiences. Also, I will not forget to look at course design as many pieces, resources, and concerns coming together into a constructed whole instead of getting lost at the daunting immensity of taking on an entire course, design and content, as an object in itself. I did it once; now I know I can do it again.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Blog Reflection 2

While I’ve participated in this course, I’ve thought about the online courses I took as an undergraduate and how they didn’t utilize most of the information I’m currently processing. Those online classes weren’t bad, but they certainly didn’t stick with me and they gave me a jilted understanding about the usefulness of eLearning. Also, I’m visualizing what it will be like to teach face-to-face next year and imagining how that teaching will be different from the kind of teaching I’m learning about in this course. I feel anxious whenever I work for this class because I think about how I’ll have to be a different medium of teacher next year. I get incredibly nervous because I’m not sure how to interact with a classroom of students and I’m not sure that I’m enough of a content expert to be confident as an instructor.

I’ve learned a lot about the different online technologies available. I feel more comfortable having discussions about open source technologies, mLearning, and different roles teachers play for their students (scaffolding, constructing presentation of information, discerning course content, etc). My attitude has changed because, since I’d never seen eLearning done well, I didn’t think technology could be an effective medium for educational development before I participated in this course.

I knew online learning had situated course hubs (like Blackboard) and was flexible for student time and location. I wanted to know theory for organizing courses and to have an opportunity to practice being in an instructor-like position. I’ve learned how structuring matters and to organize course content so that students can see themselves building from what they already know to construct new knowledge with an understanding of that information’s application; I will not forget that tomorrow!

I also learned about developing community through technology, which I didn’t think technology capable of prior to this course. I’m afraid I’ll forget things like the names of teaching philosophies and their ideas (like progressive, humanist, etc.); I liked having that language at the forefront of my mind.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Podcast Review

Soukhanov, Denis. (Producer). (2011, April 20). The Pros and Cons of Online Learning: e-Learning Today TV [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from

This podcast as a series provides an overview of information concerning resources, articles, news, and apps for teachers of K-12 students. In this particular episode, Lauren Grossberg introduced an online resource called, a free website that customizes stories for younger children to read along with. Lina Gonzalez summarized an article about the pros and cons of online learning; the pros being cost effectiveness, a possible alternative to traditional education delivery, flexibility, and the ability to offer additional electives or make up classes to students. The only con mentioned was that the quality of the time spent in eLearning environments was generally not as productive as time spent in traditional classrooms. Grossberg then introduced several apps that teachers could use in the classroom that allowed children to do picture searches, read random facts, and create their own monster characters. Gonzalez concluded the episode by describing a school where free classes were being offered to parents so they could learn and be empowered to support their younger students with schoolwork challenges at home.

I want apply this information by implementing customizable story sites that creative writing students could use to analyze basic elements of writing craft. I also enjoyed how the news report depicted a school helping to build a community around its students; this communal inclusion in the learning process is an element I would like to embrace in my teaching and in my courses by providing conversation topics or other materials that eLearners could take beyond the virtual classroom to engage with their face-to-face contacts who aren’t in the course but could still provide intrinsically productive discussion and a sense of real life application for the students.

Bickford, Alison. (Producer). (2011, June, 24). E-Learning Academy: #13 E-Learning Instructional Design Approaches [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from

In this podcast, Alison Bickford introduced five approaches to instructional design for adult eLearning courses. Initially, Bickford suggested that educational interaction requires more than the click and reveal progression design of earlier online courses. A lot of eLearning courses for adults are stuck in a design that’s linear, content-heavy, and doesn’t allow for student control over the material when what adult learners are looking for is relevancy, application, practical learning outcomes, and take away materials. In order to better design a course for adult learners, instructional designers should differentiate between prescriptive “just in case” information and performance-enabling “just in time” scenarios, giving the learners appropriate interactions with each kind of information. Courses should also be organization-specific and imitate real life situations applicable to those organizations. Games can be incorporated into the instructional design to make important content memorable. Games can also play a role in constructing payoffs for learners via scoring systems. Adult learners respond well when they know that what they are learning either provides a gain or helps them to avoid undesirable consequences, and instructional designers should consider that when structuring a course.

I want to apply information from this podcast into my course by considering it a priority to clearly organize and demonstrate the application of course content to tangible learning outcomes. I would also like to develop a basic game, maybe through Gamemaker Lite, that would help students develop creative writing skills. Games could focus on finding examples of alliteration and assonance in different difficulty levels of text or having graphics and music of various tones presented to participants for them to write to; the possibilities are numerous and exciting. I also want to take the time to not only articulate the benefits of creative writing skills, but also the consequences that skillful writing can help students avoid; previously, consequences where a side of motivation I hadn’t considered much before this podcast.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Reflection 1: Quiz Results

        The student online learner quiz labeled me as readily competent for enrolling in distance learning courses. However, I felt like I should have been docked points because I know I have a stronger inclination to procrastinate if the course is online instead of in person. It’s not that I disrespect the online course; I just find it easier to leave projects for later than I should because, like the internet and Facebook and viral YouTube videos, the class is always available for me. I’m not as focused on establishing a time for class work because the timing of the course is so intangible. Several of my peers still see me as a workaholic, so maybe I’m being too critical, but I don’t think I’m a 10 out of 10 student candidate; at least give me a 9 because I know I have room to grow.

        When I took the quiz for instructors, I received the results I expected: mostly prepared, but not optimal. I’m inexperienced with some of the technology and I’ve never had to design a course before. I understand why I felt unprepared after taking the instructor quiz; I have only recently been explicitly introduced to standard teaching concepts (timeliness, organization, learning goals). I’m thankful that C&I 438 can reinforce the pedagogical information I was exposed to in the Future Professors workshop at CTLT (Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology) because the quiz was right: I have a grasp of, but am not confident of, what to do yet.

        I always want to see where I can improve, and I saw that space in the student quiz. I’m not content with my preparedness after the instructor quiz, but I’m excited to practice relevant skills and for personal metacognitive examination of what kind of instructor I want to be over the duration of this distance learning course.