May 26

by design

some desicisions i’ve made:

  1. 6 modules = 12 weeks
  2. an ice breaking module = 2 weeks prior to term start.
  3. a course information area
  4. a class community area
  5. location of the panes – course info on the left. no choice about the center module/topic area. news announcements top right, participants, then calendar.
This order and locations on the moodle course homepage are dictated in part by moodle… i don’t have choice for example to rename the little panes or to move the center topic area… or to put anything above that center topic area. So the tool has made me adapt what i want it to do to what it allows.

i am using the topic summary pane for the course information documents. People read from left to right and this is important first information for the students to read, but after reading through this info. it takes a less important role in the course… and i don’t want it taking up the valuable course content real estate on the front page, so off to the left is the perfect location for this… it is there, visible throughout the course so that students can refer back to it, but it is not in the way of the current course content and areas of course interaction.

I am using the top center pane above the topic areas as a newsflash area. I want students to feel my presence every time they login immediately rather than having to go click on something to see an announcement. I will post daily announcements in this location. So, though there is a news forum, and a news area built into moodle, I will use this area to communicate on a daily basis with the course participants. I will archive these posts in the news forum, so that if they are missed, the course participants can see a running archive of each of my newsflashes. In addition, the moodle news forum forces subscription, which means every one will always get an email when anything is posted in the forum… I hate that, it is really irritating to get all these emails outside of the context of the course… a listserv is vastly different in nature from a course… i don’t understand why there is not the option to completely restrict course activity to the course location in moodle. I don’t want emails from my course as a professor or as a student. So that is why i also created the bulletin board in the class community are of my course. It is a space for non-course related communications, and it won’t force sending emails to everyone.. . my preference would have been to consolidate this area into one. So, since the moodle news forum is this forced subscription area, i had to come up with another area to meet the need of non course related communications for class community purposes. This is irritating because what this means for me as the instructor is that i now have 2 areas to tend to instead of just one and for my workload the result is more work. Another factor was that in the news forum, you only have 30 minutes to edit your post… reorgainze it, change the date… so if you are trying to set it up as a community  area for students it’s narrow functional scope just makes that too difficult… you can’t organize posts, edit them, the date posted becomes an issue, etc.

course modules follow the course manual. I organized them logically into the three week workshop modules. Loosely the content falls logically as follows 2 weeks for each step in the Manual.

each module has a consistent structure. They begin with an overview of the activities for the module, followed by a discussion, followed by assignments or activities . every module also has an ask a question area and a reflection blog activity. Consistency is very important from module to module. the questions asked in module one will all post to the module 1 question area… this so that i can best manage and understand the questions posted. One discussion per module. Very important for workload reasons.

I have decided to experiment with some web2.0 tools in the course: edublogs, voicethreads, diigo, meebome,  twitter. In part, to test the tools for their potential. And in part because i don’t want to lock everything up in the CMS. I would like some of these resources to be available to the students beyond the term. I also think there is something about the fact that they are public that adds an additional perspective to the use of the tool for instructional purposes. I think there is instructional value to that in a way that is not there if it is a closed environment.

its all in the design.


Posted May 26, 2008 by alexandrapickett in category design considerations

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Alexandra M. Pickett

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