Kaleidoscope Project NotesExperiences and Recommendations Daryl Smith O’Hare and Susan C. Hines Chadron State College, Chadron, NE Park City, UT October 28, 2011
Presentation OutlinePart 1: Project Management, Instructional Design 1. Planning: Schedules, Calendars, Deadlines 2. Course Design: Technical and Structural Issues 3. Learning Design: Arcs and Outcomes Tracking 4. Divisions of Labor and Developer Roles Part 2: Course Development, Online Instruction 5. Getting the Best Content 6. Measurable Learning Outcomes 7. Creating and Orchestrating Content 8. Learning as a Community 9. The Impact of Multimedia 10. Reflection and the Portfolio 11. Feedback and Contacts
Planning: Schedules, Calendars, DeadlinesExperiences 1. We kept a regular development schedule, but the first deadline(for course outcomes) was difficult to meet, as there was little time to bring the SME/writerup to speed on the ID process. 2. We (the ID and the SME) developed and installed thecourse in 8 weeks, then made course revisions during the 8 weeks during which the course was taught. It was stressful on the SME (to teach while revising), but it was important to make the revisions while the revisions seemed important to make. 3. During the initial writing of the course, SME deadlines for modulesRecommendations were on Fridays, with revisions of modules due on the following Wednesdays. The ID would provide feedback on the modules by Sunday and meet via Skype with the SME on Mondays to assure that edits and recommendations were understood. Recommendations 1. Longer development timeframes are needed. Consider a minimum of 10-12 weeks instead of 6-8 weeks. 2. Clarify minimum standards for course design.
Learning Design: Arcs and Outcomes TrackingExperiences 1. All good courses have an internal logic and rhythm by whichstudents learn. We thought it best to make what was implicit explicit, however, and included a graphic depiction of the learning arc early on in the syllabus; each course module fullyrealizes an arc, and it is along key points of the arc that assignments are completed andsubmitted. The regularity by whichassignments are completed and submitted(say every Thursday for discussionsand every Monday for written exercises)fosters consistency in students. 2. Wouldn’tit be nice to have a course that cross-references all of its assignments with itsoutcomes and instructional content? Wethough so too—and discovered that studentscould benefit from the connection, as well.Recommendations 1. Thebest designs feature no more or less of whatis necessary to do the job exceedingly well.
Divisions of Labor and Developer RolesHines O’Hare Experiences 1. To get the job done in a way that made good useProject Manager Subject Matter Expert of our time, we divided our labor alongInstructional Designer Writer specific job functions (see table, left).Editor ResearcherProofreader ProofreaderBeta-Tester Beta-Tester Recommendations 1. While it’s not impossible, it isunusual for two academics in the same discipline to be highly productive in a collaborationas equal partners performing the same function. We recommend that course developerslist the roles that are involved in producing a quality course, then decide who performscertain roles. 2. The management, design, and editorial functions are more importantto the process than novice developers realize, particularly if the novice is the SME/writer.Even if you are a development team of one, try to split these roles out from your writingand research. 3. Have faith in a solid design process, and try not to cut corners even whenthe timeline seems impossible. Too many online courses remain in their initial iterationsfor years to come, as course revisions are typically put off by lack of time or funding or both.
Getting the Best ContentExperiences 1. We found it difficult to find a singleopen textbook that supported the entirety of the course. 2. And,too many texts were not using the kinds of media that would becompelling to Generation Y students. 3. We spent too much timeperforming fruitless WWW searches. 4. How to determine OERmaterial was often unclear, so even when useful materials werefound, we were not always sure they could be used. 5. Thegood news is the frustrations of search led to a content strategybased upon disparate texts, images, audio clips, and videos.The course itself would become a kind of textbook, using thetopics within modules to provide a clear context for media use.Recommendations1. If you can’t find a textbook that supports your course, usemultiple OER. 2. To avoid time consuming searches, find sitesthat index OER and use your own social network as qualifiedRAs. 3. Don’t be afraid of new media; sometimes it doesn’tmake sense how you’ll use it until it’s embedded in the page!
Measureable Learning OutcomesExperiences 1. Writing course outcomes can be an unfamiliar process, as they are normally dictated by academic programs or departments, by other instructors or textbooks. 2. It’s difficult to tell sometimes if an outcome is actually measureable. 3. It can be a little intimidating to come up with outcomes that are useable by other institutions. 4. Module-level outcomes are not typically developed in traditional classes. So, it was surprising to learn they are the corner stones of online courses. Recommendations 1. Have course-level outcomes before you get started designing modules (even though they may change). 2. Remember that it’s a process, that you will have to tweak outcomes to meet the overarching goals of the course. 3. Design assignments and support content around outcomes. 4. Understand the difference between goals and outcomes. Many goals may not be measureable but outcomes must be.
Creating and Orchestrating ContentExperiences 1. We stuck to a contemporaryapproach to writing and critical reading skills, as wewanted something fresh for students who typicallydread taking a composition course — we went aboutdeprogramming the dread. 2. It was so important to findthe right content that when we couldn’t find it, wecreated it. 3. And when we did find it, we integrated itdirectly into the topics pages. 4. One of our favorite findswas the telescopic text “I Made Tea.”Recommendations 1. Utilize anInstructional designer’s expertise in employing technicalcontent – if you worry about it, you won’t have time todo any writing. 2. Even if there is copyright free workout there (literary samples, for example) do not settlejust because it is free—seek other free avenues. 3. Providecontext for everything. Remember that students shouldhave equal access to content. Cite sources.
Learning as a Community Experiences 1. Learning was iterative, and students started to feel a rhythm to the way the course worked. 2. Students responded well in discussion forums, often exceeding the minimum requirements. 3. Students built a strong community, relying on targeted peer review as a main source of revision. 4. We dealt with grammar issues “workshop style.” Students created teaching reports by investigating their mistakes, researching their mistakes, fixing their mistakes, and sharing the results with the entire class. The class then evaluated which report was the best. This process was empowering. Recommendations1. Create banks of feedback that you can reuse in general commentary. 2. Don’t be afraid tochange a module if it does not work. We didn’t love Module 6, so we edited for the next run.3. Seek media examples that are interchangeable with assignments.
The Impact of Multimedia 1. Students overwhelmingly loved the TED Talks. The TED TalkExperiences pictured on this slide made it possible to show students how otherdisciplines create and use portfolios.2. Students also enjoyed the OERtexts, which were sufficientlycompelling and not unnecessarily long.3. We useda wide variety of media, includingour own Facebook notes. We wantedto underscore that social media can bea great space to find and develop ideas.Recommendations1. Find media that appeals to the kindsof students that you teach. 2. Makesure it can be viewed in the mostpopular web browsers. 3. Makes sure it is ADA compliant—that images use ALT tags andthat videos use close captioning and that audio has transcripts. 4. Note that providing variousmedia appeals to different learning styles. We loved TED’s interactive transcript!
Reflection and the PortfolioExperiences 1. Students were ableto evaluate their work by creating a portfolioof their best writing accompanied by a reflectiveessay about their developing writing process.2. Remember that teachers make mistakes, butmistakes can be remedied—like writing in acomposition course: it’s a work in progress.3. Students used the discussion forum,writing exercises, and essays to look at earlyand developing work to discover theirevolution as writers. 4. They looked back ontheir stumbling blocks and how they workedaround them.Recommendations 1. Remember to make your submission instructionsspecific. The portfolio assignment omitted length requirements, which was problematic forsome students. 2. Remember that courses should evolve with their students. It is importantto make revisions. Change is good. Change is good. Change is good.
Feedback and Contacts “Looking back at my first assignment, diagnostic writing, I cannot believe how horrible I wrote. In my first writings, I would use run on sentences and vague references and found that much of what I wrote did not make sense. Now when I look at my most recent writings, I cannot believe the difference, and swear someone else wrote them.” – Composition I Student, Chadron State College, October 2011 You can visit Composition I at: http://shines.courseagent.com/kscope Contact Information Daryl Smith O’Hare: firstname.lastname@example.org Susan C. Hines: email@example.com
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