Follow by Email

Monday, March 4, 2013

Reflection


 Reflection

 

According to Schmit & Gallegos, “distance delivery is, and will continue to have an impact on education in the years to come”. In the future distance learning will be widely accepted a lot more than it is in the present time. In the job market now, when employers see your degree was obtained online they tend to be a little skeptic about hiring you but I believe as time goes on those issues will not be a factor.

Times definitely have changed from having to rearrange your schedule in order to accommodate going to school full time and putting your job on hold or cutting work hours just to meet the demands of being a full time student. Situations such as that will slowly become a thing of the past within the next 5, 10 to 20 years. People will still have the opportunities to have their educational needs met but will have the advantage of being able to maintain their busy lifestyles (work, family and school) and have access to their courses anytime, anywhere. As pointed out by Dr. Siemens pointed out, students find that online learning is “a preferable medium of learning” (Siemens, G. because students will develop a sense of comfort and naturally take to the environment. How can you as an instructional designer be a proponent for improving societal perceptions of distance learning?

Ways I can contribute to improving societal perceptions of distance learning is by first designing an online learning experience that will ease doubts, fears, and frustrations about online courses being too difficult. When students get the perception that distance learning is hard, it makes them lose their drive and motivation to participate in course (s).

The next thing I would consider in my design would be taking the constructivist approach. The course should be “relevant, interactive, project-based and collaborative, while providing learners with some choice or control over their learning”(Jeep-Kim, K. & Bonk C.J., 2012).

I could definitely be a positive force for continuous improvement in the field of distance education because I can use the experience gained through this degree program and provide suggestions and ideas on what would make the online learning experience more effective for the learners that come after me. As an instructional designer, you have to put yourself in the mindset of the learner and think of how you would want to be taught the content. Once you have obtained that, apply the concept to your design.

 

 

References

Jeep-Kim, K. & Bonk C.J., (2012) The future of online teaching and learning in higher


Schmidt, E., & Gallegos, A. (2001). Distance learning: Issues and concerns of distance learners. Journal of Industrial Technology, 17(3). Retrieved from http://atmae.org/jit/Articles/schmidt041801.pdf

 Siemens, G. (2010). The Future of Distance Education. [Video Presentation]  Laureate Education, Inc. Retrieved from:https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_2095296_1%26url%3D.

 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Converting to a Distance Learning Format


This post discusses steps that should be taken when coming from the traditional learning environment and transitioning to a blended or hybrid approach to learning. Essentially the instructional methods are similar but the structure needs to be restructured a bit to accommodate the environment conducive to online learning. In order to convert to the online format effectively, learning has to be student-centered; therefore the student can actively participate and take responsibility for their own learning process.

 

Scenario: Consider the following scenario: A training manager has been frustrated with the quality of communication among trainees in his face-to-face training sessions and wants to try something new. With his supervisor’s permission, the trainer plans to convert all current training modules to a blended learning format, which would provide trainees and trainers the opportunity to interact with each other and learn the material in both a face-to-face and online environment. In addition, he is considering putting all of his training materials on a server so that the trainees have access to resources and assignments at all times.

 

Question 1:

What are some of the pre- planning strategies the trainer needs to consider before converting his program?

 

Some  pre-planning strategies the training manager could consider using in making the transition from face-to-face to a blended format is to re-vamp his approach from teacher-led to student centered instruction in order to promote and increase student motivation, active learning and trainee interaction. He should also use resources that provide visual representation such as streaming video, slide share, prezi, Google docs, etc. He would also want to illustrate important concepts and topics through the use of a discussion forum so that the trainees can interact and collaborate with each other.

It is definitely important in pre-planning to make sure the trainees have the materials they need in order to make the transition from F2F to online learning so that the process does not become frustrating for them. Technology is the primary source in online learning so it would be beneficial for him to remember to have a backup plan just in case something goes wrong. Alternative means of communication should be offered through phone, fax and email addresses.

While discussing communication efforts, taking time to get to know the trainees interests and finding out what they need to learn from the training goes a long way. According to the text “knowing the students and their interests or needs will help the instructor plan useful learning experiences to ensure transfer of learning” (Simonson, M., et al., 2012).

Question 2:

What aspects of his original training program could be enhanced in the distance learning format?

Initially, the training manager was very frustrated with the lack of communication amongst trainees within the F2F format, therefore he needs to consider re-evaluating his instructional approach and think of some strategies to engage his trainees. Outlined below are steps that could be taken that would assist him and they include:

Ø       Creating a learning community where he and his trainees “must take an active role in the development of a collegial learning situation” (Simonson, M., et al., 2012).

Ø       Including icebreaker activities as a means for learner interaction, so that they can get to know each other. According to the text “by gaining knowledge about each member of the class, the opportunities for communications and collaborations are enhanced” (Simonson, M., 2012).

Question 3:

How will his role, as trainer, change in a distance learning environment?

 

His role would change from being a face-to-face instructor or traditional lecturer; to becoming more of a facilitator. This is because more responsibility will be placed on the learner. He also needs to:

Ø       Make sure goals, objectives and expectations are clearly aligned and trainee have an understanding of them.

Ø       Be there as a source of guidance for the trainees to facilitate them through the process.  According to Dr. Piskurich “each learner learns at their own pace and in their own way” (Laureate Education,  n.d), so as a facilitator it is important to keep that in mind because everyone will not work at the same level.

Ø       Provide them with various tools and resources

 

Question 4:

What steps should the trainer take to encourage the trainees to communicate online?

 

Steps that could be taken to encourage the trainees to communicate online with each other are:

Ø       Having them participate in discussion board activities and work in small groups. Using the discussion forum gives learners the format to communicate with each other regularly and discuss various topics. Even learners that are usually more passive in the F2F environment feel comfortable participating in discussions because they don’t have the feeling of intimidation and feel more confident about expressing themselves.

Ø       Developing a tool such as a Wiki or a blog where students can collaborate on assignments, share points of views, ideas and resources.

 

 

 

 

References

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., Zvacek, S., (2012) Teaching and Learning

At a distance. Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) p. 194-205. Pearson education Inc.

 

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (n.d.). Facilitating Online Learning [Video Presentation]. Baltimore, MD. Dr. George Piskurich and Jacqueline Chauser.

 

 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Open Courses


Application: The Impact of Open Source Week 5

 

In order to fully understand this assignment, I needed to examine what exactly and Open Course was. Its defined as “free educational software that’s maintained by users who implement, even modify, and ultimately support their systems to meet local, specific needs” (Simonson, M., et al. 2012). Out of the open course sites provided I chose to look deeper at Yale University’s courses. Their program is designed for people that  are not seeking a degree or certificate but are self-directed, life-long learners. The courses are optional and the learner is not required to register.

The African American history course taught by Professor Johnathon Holloway caught my interest the most. Looking at the course; the layout was organized very well for each session lecture. The sessions included recorded video lectures and each one was specified by time frames and  events that took place within those times. Chapter readings and other resources were also provided with each lecture and you also had the ability to playback the parts you needed. This course appears to be carefully pre-planned and designed for the distance learning environment because learners taking the course are already self- disciplined and motivated to seek additional knowledge on the topic of African America history. They can also structure their own learning process by using the course resources  and remixing the course content  breaking it down into strategies that can help them to understand it. The syllabus is a great tool to assist in planning and design. It is the  “glue that holds the course or learning experience together” (Simonson. M., et al. 2012)  because it gives a clear outline and understanding of what the course is about before making the decision to take it and the learner would also know what kinds of materials and resources would be needed to start the class. The grading and course requirements are outlined as well so the student knows what is expected of them.

At the beginning of each session there’s an overview. It consist of the content the professor covers throughout the recorded lecture. A transcript is also provided so the learner can  read through and take notes if necessary. An audio or mp3 version is also available. This can be downloaded to an iPod or mp3 device.

These courses seem similar to the “talking head” approach to distance learning by using prerecorded media because Holloway is giving the lecture in the classroom setting and the learner has reading material, self-help and video resources for independent study to go along with the lesson. The course layout was very basic and fairly easy to follow but I am not sure if it follows the recommendations for online instruction according to the text because opportunities are not provided for students to become actively engaged and there is no interaction. It’s like having the F2F classroom where the instructor is talking the whole time and there is no opportunity to participate.

In this particular open course site setup there were no activities that could maximize active learning for students because the format is geared more toward self -help but what students could do to maximize their learning experience is create strategies of their own to assist in active learning.

 

 

 

Resources

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., Zvacek, S., (2012) Teaching and learning at a distance. (5th e.d.). p. 162

Yale University, (2012) Open Yale Courses. African American history: from emancipation to present. Retrieved from: http://oyc.yale.edu/african-american-studies

 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Selecting Distance Learning Technologies


 

In this scenario there is a high school History Teacher located on the west coast of the U.S. and wants to show her students new exhibits from two New York City museums by way of virtual tours where the students also are able to interact with the museum curator.
As a novice designer, I would have to make sure the method of learning is student centered “ because it so strongly promotes active learning, collaboration, mastery of the course material, and student control over the learning process” (Simonson, M., et al. 2012). The hybrid/blended learning approach would most likely be the best choice to use in this situation because students will be able to view and participate in the presentation and gather together back in the classroom to collaborate and critique. They would use a web conferencing software tool such as Blackboard Collaborate or Elluminate which “provides an online learning environment with Voice over Internet Protocol (Vo IP), video and collaboration options that allow teachers and students to interact as if face-to-face” (Laureate Edu., 2013). It can also be integrated into CMS’s such as Schoology. Using this CMS the instructor will be allowed to “adapt students learning strengths, differentiate instruction and easily develop new methods of instruction” (Schoology, 2013) as well as get her students to think and question things on a higher level, spark debate and increase participation. Within the museum tour the Curator will be able to interact with the student while giving the tour virtually and they will be able to get instant feedback to questions as well as participating actively in the session as if they were actually there. “Participants are also able to draw, write, and collaborate on the displayed content simultaneously” (Blackboard Collaborate, 2013).

Since Blackboard Collaborate can be used in conjunction with Schoology, this helps in boosting student engagement because the teacher can post pictures of the two pieces of artwork that she had chosen for the critique and the students can respond to what they see via instant messaging among each other. Then once the learners return to class within the face to face environment, the discussion can be continued and they can form their groups to critique the two art pieces the teacher had posted for them to talk about.

 

 

 

 

References

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

Blackboard Collaborate, (2013) Sharing content in a web conferencing session. Video Presentation.


Laureate Education,  (2013) Menu of technologies.  Discussion technologies. Video Presentation


Schoology, (2013)  Schoology’s teacher tools.

                Retrieved from: https://www.schoology.com/classroom-management.php

Monday, January 14, 2013

Defining Distance Learning

Week 1 Application
 
The actual definition of distance learning is an “institution based, formal education where the learning group is separated and where interactive telecommunications are used to connect learners, resources, and instructors” (Simonson, M., et al 2012). My definition of distance learning is being able to have access to courses and learning material from a remote location. Also having the ability to communicate via email, phone, or through online discussion forum.

In my experience as a distance learner I’ve been exposed to three types of distance learning. The first was a hybrid course during my undergrad studies about 13 years ago. I was able to have the F2F instruction from the professor for part of the course and the other part of the course was to be completed online. With this format you get the best of both worlds because you have the instructor to guide you along if you encounter any issues and it allowed for more flexibility, but one of the drawbacks was that it meant having more work and making sure to meet the requirements for weekly F2F class time and log in time outside the classroom.

The second experience I had was through synchronous learning. All of the courses were online so there was a lot more flexibility than hybrid but with this format the class was scheduled to meet at specific times and days. There was also the use of video conferencing and instant messaging with the instructor and classmates; this was a great idea for participation and engagement but when having to meet a specified times it could conflict with work schedules and be an issue for students in different time zones. In my case it began to conflict with my work schedule and family at the time.

The last approach I took to distance learning was the asynchronous format here at Walden. Out of them all, this one is best suited for me because I am able to work on my own time, participate in discussions where I’m able to formulate my thoughts when responding, unlike the synchronous approach where you are chatting live and others seem to overpower the discussion.

The definition of distance learning is always changing because DL is going to continue to evolve. There will always be ways to make improvements as technology continues to change.

In looking at the history and evolution of DL, it started out with correspondence study stemming way back at least 160 years ago, then eventually evolving into audio recordings, teleconferencing, video conferencing, computer technology and the internet, even the use of mobile devices. “Distance education provides the opportunity to widen intellectual horizons, as well as the chance to improve and update professional knowledge. Further, it stresses individuality of learning and flexibility in both time and place of study” (Simonson, M., et al. 2012).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at   a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Cost and Allocation of Resources

The first site I found to be helpful in gathering information on cost and allocation of resources is: http://www.cognitivedesignsolutions.com/Information/ProjectMgt.htm#Build. Since the "costs are compromised of all the resources to carry out a project"(Cognitive Design Solutions, 2003), the goals are to first estimate the costs by developing approximate tasks and/or resources that are needed; next is to define and share cost information, and lastly prepare to manage costs by tracking them to make sure you stay within budget.

As for managing resources tou have to track the progress on tasks, identify and resolve allocation problems and manage shared resources to make sure the project is cost effective and flexible as possible.

The second site I found is: http://university.uog.edu/cals/people/pubs/mgt/f217.pdf. The article is called "Understanding, Allocating, and Controlling Overhead Costs". It discusses ways to control overhead costs by departmentalizing and performing a break even analysis.


References

Kenkel, P., (n.d.). Understanding, allocating, and controlling overhead costs. Oklahoma State University.

Cognitive Design Solutions, (2003). Project management. retrieved from: http://www.cognitivedesignsolutions.com/Information/ProjectMgt.htm#Build