May 15

my first thoughts were …

so, i am reflecting… when faced with designing this course i had to consider several things:

  • how long the course will be
  • who the students will be
  • and what needs to be covered

1. The course is supposed to be 12 weeks long.

2. The course title is: Introduction to Online Teaching. so i have to make these assumptions to design the course and target the conent: the students are new to online teaching and learning ,they have not taught online before, this may be their first online instructional experience, they are interested in learning more about this, they may be thinking about developing and teaching an online course, or they may be asked to do so in hte near future

3. Content? I have been working with online faculty, doing research, developing a home grown course management system, working with large numbers of faculty, students, campuses, and instructional support staff for more than 13 years precisily on how to build an effective teaching and learning environment online… so i know this content… i am an expert in this…

First, there are 7 steps in my process… (i had a wonderful mentor when i first began in instructional design in the 80’s who introduced me to Arthur M. Young’s Theory of Process, and how he made a career adapting that theory to the fields of organization, team, and leadership development. David Sibbet is an amazing man who had a profound effect on me and the person i have become in more ways than he will ever know. I am the instructional designer that i am today because of him and because of the understanding about “process” that i learned from him and have used over the years to “understand” the process of how to “develop” effective and satisfied online faculty, that can build and teach effective and satisfying online teaching and learning environemnts. I have had a lot of success with this… and it all comes back to my seven step process…)

So, my first design delema was how do i organize 7 steps (and an ice breaker, class community activities/resources, course wrap up activities, engaging content presentation, interaction, assessment and feedback) into a 12 week course… : ) As my architect would say, you can’t put 10 pounds of sugar in a 5 pound cup!!

The second challenge was using moodle. Now first you need to know that i have never built a course in a CMS that i did not design myself… (one of my first thoughts was … “i wonder if this is how my faculty feel when they open the course development application i designed for them?”) i am probably unique in the world for this …but it is none the less true… the first time i opened moodle and looked at i was frustrated like i am when i look at any of the commercial course management applications. I hate them. application developers not teachers designed them… and though they are very nice and intersting people (i have very nice colleagues that are app developers), they design from their context which starts with the technology, not the teaching…i have spent the last 14 years of my professional life (well at least 12) passionately designing a simple integrated teaching an learning environment that is flexible and designed according to my vision of what an online should do, feel like, look like, function, etc…

so, needless to say, faced with moodle, i had some thoughts like… how the hell am i going to make this do what i want/need it to do…

I also realize for the first time how tied to the my understanding and interpretations of effective online teaching and learning practices my design is… i mean i really didn’t realize that… and so faced with another tool, that does not have that underlying sensiiblity, how foreign, and out of water i felt… it is very weird… i always felt very strongly that the technology was just that… a tool and that it was the practices that mattered, not the tool. i am now faced with this rather uncomfortable realization, that the tool is much more integrated into the pedagogy than i realized.

I have loved every minute of building this course. It is the process – frustrating as it has been at times – that has been so satisfying for me and seeing what i can do with moodle. I couldn’t wait for work to be over, so i could get home and start to work on my course…. and now i can’t wait for the course to actually start, so i can see how it will work with students.

Posted May 15, 2008 by alexandrapickett in category design considerations, reflection

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Alexandra M. Pickett

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