An Introduction to CECS 5211

This semester is off to an interesting start. I am enrolled in CECS 5211 (Instructional Systems Design II), but I am the only student in the course. This resulted in my being grouped with CECS 5210 (Instructional Systems Design I), the course that I completed last semester. I wasn’t sure what to expect at first, and I was worried that I would have to complete the same assignments again. But fortunately, my instructor has reassured me that this will not be the case. In fact, she has a special project in store for me.

The Learning Technologies Department would like my assistance in converting a doctoral level online course from Canvas to Blackboard and making improvements to the course along the way. I’ll be able to interview instructors who have taught the class in Canvas and analyze the course in order to suggest and design improvements and then develop those improvements in the conversion to Blackboard.

My being the only CECS 5211 student tasked with this project is a bit daunting. Unlike the other classes I’ve taken in this program, this class provides no assignment overview, no learning modules, or no fellow colleagues for me to work with. I wonder what CECS 5211 has typically been like for other students, whether the format for the course is like this simply because I’m the only one taking the class this semester or whether it is always like this. I’m actually very surprised that CECS 5211 isn’t a more popular course, considering that it’s one of the required courses for UNT’s Instructional Systems Design Certificate.

Regardless, the challenge of improving a doctoral level online course excites me. In fact, the hardest part of the task is what I think I’ll enjoy the most: going through the doctoral level content and learning the content myself. Becoming familiar with the content so that I could better understand how best to teach the content will likely be the most time consuming part, and I hope the content won’t be too far over my head, considering that I’m only a master’s student at the moment.

I am also looking forward to broadening my toolset by learning more about Canvas and Blackboard. I have not had the opportunity to view instruction in Canvas or create instruction in Blackboard before, and seeing Blackboard and its capabilities from an instructor’s viewpoint will be enlightening. I’m delighted that I have this opportunity to improve the learning experience of doctoral level students. I’ll do my best not to disappoint!

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