Course Design Reflection

Developing an online learning environment is not easy because it takes a lot of thought and planning to make sure the learners in the course reach the learning goals and objectives offered. Applying an instructional design strategy can help you build the course with content, activities, and assessments that engage the learners and enhance the learning process as well. Part of the design process is integrating theories of learning that best support online learning environments. Learning theories such as congnitivism, constructivism, and connectivism are good theories to model when designing online courses for higher education, continuing education, or professional development.

According to Bates (2015), congnitivism focuses on the mental processes that are considered essential for human learning. This means when we get new information we process it by measuring up to our previous knowledge. Bloom’s taxonomy is based on this theory where the cognitive domain is made up of levels of thinking which include: remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating. The idea is that the learner moves through the process from understanding to eventually creating as knowledge develops. This way, the learner is actively taking a part in the learning process, while changing and updating the knowledge they already have. (Dabbagh, 2016).  Constructivism is somewhat similar in that knowledge is processed cognitively and it is constructed not acquired (Bates, 2015). Constructivisms represent more of a social process to learning and understanding through social interaction supported by reflection, analysis, discussion and relationships. Connectivism is consists of a web of connections and the flow of information across them. Knowledge is attained by forming, cultivation, and maintaining connections for continual learning where the knowledge is kept up to date. Connections are made and maintained as needed.

In the instructional design process, it is important to consider that students have different learning styles. Therefore, it is a good strategy to use a combination of learning theories in order to better personalize the learning experience for the students. My course, Blended Learning in a Nutshell, was developed with a combination of these so that the learners could engage with the content and each other while participating in authentic tasks that were meaningful to them.

Throughout my course development, I have referenced my Understanding by Design’s (UbD) Backward Design  (see the original blog post UbD) that outlines the desired results, assessment evidence, and learning plan. Advances in technology have changed the way we learn. As educators, it is important to bring up to date our role in the classroom and the teaching methods we use in order to provide students with the skills and knowledge they need in order to be successful in this technology-filled, digital world. Content and activities that are structured in an online learning environment, whether fully online or blended into face-to-face classes, helps us tap into the wealth of knowledge and rich media content available through online technologies and the Internet. Lastly, online learning environments give the instructor the ability to transform their traditional role as a deliverer of content into a facilitator of learning that fosters peer-to-peer learning and knowledge building.

Overall, studying instructional design for online learning has taught me that online courses and online learning environments can be developed for significant learning to take place. Furthermore, I have learned that no matter how well your course comes together it is always a “work in progress”. Online courses will need to be appraised; revised and updated constantly as time goes on. I believe that  student and peer-to-peer feedback are essential for continuous improvement. In closing, the critical need for instructional design in online learning in the 21st century and beyond is irrefutable.

Bates, A.W. (2015). Teaching in a digital age: Guidelines for designing teaching and learning. Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/

Dabbagh, N. (2016, Nov. 02). The Instructional Design Knowledge Base. Retrieved November, 2, 2016 from Nada Dabbagh’s Homepage, George Mason University, Instructional Technology Program.

 

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Let’s Blend!!!

This past week I have been busy entering in the last portion of my course that I outlined in last week’s post, “Almost There”  I completed the discussion board forums and set up all of the assignments for the course. Our discussion forum will be the collaborative piece of the course. All other assignments throughout the course are done individually be each learner.

I can say that it has been fun designing this course and it is not an easy task. Meyer’s Universal Design for Learning – Theory and Practice has really been a valuable tool for planning my course.

You can sign up for my course below.

Link to class: https://www.coursesites.com/webapps/Bb-sites-course-creation-BBLEARN/courseHomepage.htmlx?course_id=_450253_1

In addition to my course I had to think of two courses in my school that I can redesign into online courses.  In the state of Texas students take the STAAR test. The STAAR test is a series of state-mandated standardized tests used in Texas public primary and secondary schools to assess a student’s achievements and knowledge learned in the grade level. Per Texas law, a fifth-grade student must pass the STAAR exam in mathematics to be promoted to sixth grade. Students who do not pass the exam must take an accelerated math class to review concepts and later demonstrate understanding through a retest. Students are allowed three attempts to pass the STAAR exam before being retained in fifth grade.

With that in mind one course that I would redesign in an online course would be Math. I would present an online course for 5th grade math that can be used in a blended classroom. I will also use it for tutorials or Saturday school for those struggling students. I think with the support of math online and to go along with in classroom assignments will allow teachers to give multiple avenues for their students a chance of better preparation for the STAAR test.

Another course I would redesign is Social Studies. Most kids think that history is boring. I think with an online course I would be able to bring history to life with supplemental videos, interactive timeline of events, etc.

 

Almost There!!!

The song “Almost There” from Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog” All content in this video belongs to Disney

This is my theme song this week “Almost There”!!! This has been a busy week for me working in CourseSites to complete the first half of my course.

I have also been making that all my course links work and accessibility is good for users. In the opinion of my professor I did fine tune my 3-column table in my course syllabus.

Next, week I plan to have the entire course completed in CourseSites and I’m really looking forward to feedback on what I’ve done so far. Below is an outline of the last half of the course I plan to add by the end of week 4.

 

Week 4 Blending in the Classroom
   

Required Readings:

Videos:

Discussion:

  • Discussions are directly related to the reading assignments and videos for each week.

 

Assignment:

·       Learners will put their lesson plan into action and implement a blended learning lesson in the classroom.

 

 

Week 5 Action!!!
   

Required Readings:

Videos:

Discussion:

  • Discussions are directly related to the reading assignments and videos for each week.

 

Assignment:

  • Develop and share your experience with blended learning in your classroom via video or blog post.
  • Provide the link to your shared digital resource or blog in the Week 5 Discussion area to share with your peers.
  • Submit the link in the text submission box in your Week 5 Assignment link into Course Sites.

You can sign up for my course below.

Link to class: https://www.coursesites.com/webapps/Bb-sites-course-creation-BBLEARN/courseHomepage.htmlx?course_id=_450253_1