Week 13

I am now in Week 13 of CECS 5510. Only 4 more weeks left, and I’ll be done with this class and this master’s program! At this point I have finished a draft of my course in Canvas, and all I have left to do for the project is to review the course to make sure I didn’t forget anything and make final revisions based on feedback that I receive.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the most challenging part of the project has been paying attention to the details. It’s making sure that I have a rubric for each assignment, and that I have the “Use this rubric for assignment grading” box checked. It’s making sure that wiki pages have both teachers and students selected for who can edit the page. I just clicked through all the rubrics, for example, and saw that I had forgotten to select that “Use this rubric for assignment grading” box for about 10 different rubrics. There are so many different parts and options to consider that it can be difficult to keep track of them all. You just have to do the best you can do and reassure yourself that anything you miss, the students can point out to the instructor or you for course improvement. It won’t be the end of the world.

Fortunately, I was able to meet my timeline for completion. In fact, I actually beat it, since after reading about and completing assignments, I soon realized that the timeline I had drafted at the beginning of the semester did not align with the due dates of certain assignments (e.g., We had to have our entire course completed by last week, so that our assigned peer could review it this week). (So, for any future students of CECS 5510, keep that in mind when you’re drafting your timeline in Week 2!)

Being able to find wonderfully appropriate YouTube videos made by awesome teachers for my lessons helped a bunch. I am so grateful that I did not have to make those videos myself from scratch, because these teachers did a much better job than I could have done in my given timeframe. Why reinvent the wheel when you don’t have to, right?

The course structure of CECS 5510 does not have us implement and evaluate our designed course as part of the project, but I do hope to be able to implement and evaluate one day. Because my full-time job is in the corporate world, I will not be able to be an instructor for my designed course with an actual 9th grade class, but I do plan on sharing my course  in Canvas Commons, in hopes that a teacher will one day be able to benefit from it!

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Estimating the Professional Timeline

For this week’s blog post, my classmates and I need to respond to the following prompt: Given that many standard corporate ID projects last about 3 weeks and this is week 8 of the session, how do you feel about working on a professional timeline?

The major project for CECS 5510 is building a 45-hour online course in Canvas. This could be a 40-hour (1 week long) corporate training online course, a 40-45 hour six-week K-12 online course, etc. I chose to create a 45 hour six-week online course for ninth-grade students, focusing on Fahrenheit 451 and the Reading Standards for Literature from the Common Core State Standards. So far, it has taken me one hour to build approximately one and a half hours of course content; in other words, it takes me one hour to create a day’s assignments for the course (that would take students approximately one and a half hours to complete) along with accompanying instructions for the assignments in an instructor’s guide. If this task were for a full-time job, I should be able to complete this same project in approximately two weeks (this includes all steps in the ADDIE process, not just the development aspect). As a result, the typical 3-week professional timeline is definitely doable in this scenario.

However, I believe the professional timeline varies depending on how much the instructional designer already knows about the course subject. Because I was an English major in my undergraduate studies and a K-12 writer and editor for six years, I am already a subject matter expert on my course’s subject. If I had no knowledge about the course’s subject at all, I would need at least a week to study the subject myself. This was the case for the project assignment in CECS 5210. For that course, I built an online course on lens options for an optometric practice, and I had to spend a large majority of the instructional design time studying lens options. I would say that the research step is the most integral and most demanding part of the instructional design process. It ensures the accuracy of the course’s content so that the construction of knowledge can take place, and oftentimes, a lot must be learned in a short period of time. The more complex the subject material, the longer the professional timeline.

Developing in Canvas

For CECS 5510, my colleagues and I have begun building our courses in Canvas.  The entire process has been going well for me so far. Because my development is centered on the constructivist learning theory, I’ve tried to incorporate collaborative learning as much as possible. Students will construct their own knowledge and skills through discussion boards, wikis, and blogs. According to M.U. Paily (2013), “This emerging technology which is characterized by greater functionality, interoperability and connectivity helps in knowledge creation through open communication and collaboration” (p. 39). The Web 2.0 functionalities incorporated in the Canvas learning management system facilitates student reflection, communication, and collaboration so that knowledge can be constructed.

I was particularly relieved to learn that Canvas had wiki functionality built into its interface. It took some time for me to find it, but by creating a page and selecting the option “Teachers and students can edit this page,” students have the ability to edit the contents of a page and view the page history, so that knowledge can be constructed together.  Howard Community College has some training modules to assist its faculty in building courses in Canvas, and one of its pages explains how the wiki works (Howard Community College, 2011). With sources such as this to help me in development and Canvas’s user-friendly interface, I haven’t experienced many issues.

The most challenging aspect is paying attention to the details and the big picture at the same time.  For example, right away, you have to consider the big picture of how students will be assessed, what the assignment categories should be, what percentage of the grade should go to each category, and how many points are designated to each category. Then you have to think about each individual assignment in itself, how many points each assignment should be worth, how each assignment should be graded (i.e., rubrics), etc. Then, for each assignment, not only do you have to create instructions, materials, and the space for the student on how to complete the assignment, you have to create instructions and the tools for the teacher on how to facilitate the assignment.

There are so many little things to consider, that it can be difficult to keep track of them all. As a result, I have several little spreadsheets to help me keep track of everything, and I’ve learned to appreciate all the thought and work that has gone into all the online courses I’ve taken thus far!

References

Howard Community College. (2011). Using wiki pages. Retrieved from https://howardcc.instructure.com/courses/32484/pages/using-wiki-pages

Paily, M. U. (2013). Creating Constructivist Learning Environment: Role of “Web 2.0” Technology. International Forum of Teaching & Studies, 9(1), 39-50.