Name: Kayla SmithDegree Program: Master’s of Education in Educational Technology – USC ColumbiaCourse: ED ET 755 – Evaluation of Information Access and DeliveryResearch and Practice in Distance EducationCourse Rationale:The course provides an opportunity for an in-depth examination of distance educationand issues related to instructional delivery, connectivity, and distribution methods. Wewill explore current thinking about the field and its significance, and review theresearch conducted by scholars in the field. We also will review and evaluate currentpractice in the field. Finally, using what we have learned from theory and practice, wewill construct our own models of distance education.Course Objectives:The candidate will 1. Create a plan for a topic of a content area (e.g., a thematic unit, a text chapter, an interdisciplinary unit) to demonstrate application of the principles of macro- level design. (1.1.2a ) 2. Create instructional plans (micro-level design) that address the needs of all learners, including appropriate accommodations for learners with special needs. (1.1.2b) 3. Incorporate contemporary instructional technology processes in the development of interactive lessons that promote student learning. (1.1.2d ) 4. Develop and prepare instructional materials and products for various distance education delivery technologies. (2.4.2 ) 5. Identify policies and regulations which apply to the utilization, application, and integration of distance delivery technologies. (3.4.5 ) 6. Demonstrate leadership attributes with individuals and groups (e.g., interpersonal skills, group dynamics, team building). (4.0.1 )
Introduction: Below is a description of the assignments, activities, and projects that I havecompleted in this course. Each artifact demonstrates how I have reached the followinggoals:Goal One: To be knowledgeable about research in aspects of distance education and theuse of telecommunications in educational and other settings.Relevant Examples:Assignment: Discussion Boards (http://smith755.wikispaces.com/Discussion+Boards)Assignment: Chapter Thirteen Presentation(http://smith755.wikispaces.com/Chapter+Thirteen+Presentation)Assignment: Research Synthesis (http://smith755.wikispaces.com/Research+Synthesis) Throughout this semester, we completed numerous assignments and activitieswhere we examined the information in our textbook, The Theory and Practice of OnlineLearning, edited by Terry Anderson. As a class, we reflected on two of the chaptersusing discussion board forums in our course management system, Blackboard. In chapterone, I became both knowledgeable and aware of the benefits as well as the implicationsinvolved with online learning. This chapter also reviewed several of the learningtheories that we have studied in previous classes, such as, Behaviorism, Cognitivism,and Constructivism. All of these theories are important and should be displayed in aneducator’s pedagogy because they allow students to learn using various approaches.Chapter one also presented several key ideas on the role of technology and how thesetools should be implemented into the classroom. These instruments not only enhanceinstruction, but also allow the students to get actively involved in the content. Inchapter two, I learned a great deal of information about effective learning environments(learner-centered, knowledge-centered, assessment-centered, and community-centered)as well as the different forms of interaction (student-student, student-teacher, andstudent-content). All of the learning environments discussed are equally important andshould be used to help each student succeed. This chapter also talked about thesignificance of a learning community and provided helpful ways for students to buildstrong relationships with both their instructors and peers in order to collaborate,interact, and become deeply involved with others in the educational process. Additionally, we analyzed chapters ten and thirteen in our textbook, The Theoryand Practice of Online Learning, by creating and narrating presentations of our thoughtsand reactions to the content. In chapter thirteen, I explored the dilemma that iscurrently occurring in online education, and furthermore, I developed anunderstanding of the quality assurance standards that are emerging into practice. Thesestandards and principles ensure that higher-education institutions are providing
credible and appropriate courses and programs for their students. Furthermore, thestandards guide instructors in the creation of these courses to substantiate that theinstruction is useful, valuable, and of the highest quality. Lastly, we were given the opportunity to complete an annotated bibliography ona topic of our choice. I decided to gather information and research the topic on learningand teaching strategies for those (students and teachers) involved in distance education.In this assignment, I developed a thorough list of both scholarly articles as well asresearch studies in order to become an expert in this field of distance education. Thesearticles contained numerous strategies for students enrolled in online education andprovided effective means for success and achievement. Both technology and distanceeducation continue to grow and progress. Though there are challenges and difficultiesthat many students encounter with this type of learning, the development of new,innovative technological tools as well as the complex network of connections thatstudents are given (Internet) allow for success in an online environment. Distanceeducation has impacted the nation because of its convenience, flexibility of pace,location, and time, and opportunity to obtain higher education while working a job andraising a family. In conclusion, the research studies conducted proved that all of thesestrategies assisted students with several important components, including, motivation,metacognition, and resource management skills. A student should aim to develop theaforementioned skills in order to promote meaningful learning, engage with otherstudents, the instructor, and the content, and become involved through a deeperapproach that allows students to expand their knowledge through personal meaning,prior experience, and applicable real-life examples.Goal Two: To critically evaluate examples of distance education implementation ineducational and business settings.Relevant Examples:Assignment: LMS Rubric (http://smith755.wikispaces.com/LMS+Rubric)Assignment: LMS Evaluations(http://smith755.wikispaces.com/LMS+Evaluations+One+%26+Two) Another project that I was involved in this semester was the creation of an LMSrubric. In this assignment, I collaborated with two other team members (Mandy &Keith) to identify several components that should be included in an effective onlinecourse. Collectively, our team developed a rubric where we specified many significantelements which were used in the evaluation of two online courses produced bydifferent professionals in the field of education. As a group, we determined that themost important areas were based on the following criterion in the evaluation of onlinecourses: Design, Content, Interaction, and Assessment. We discussed and elaborated on
this information and decided to assess the courses according to these measurablecategories: Target, Acceptable, and Unacceptable. Both courses were lacking in a fewareas, especially Interaction and Assessment. However, we all gained a lot of valuableinformation that we could potentially use in the creation and implementation of ourown online course by assessing these strengths and weaknesses. Together, thecompletion of the rubric as well as both of the evaluations helped us to recognize theimportant aspects to consider in the development and design of an effective onlinecourse.Goal Three: To construct effective delivery of courses, topics, or training by usingexisting CMS tools.Relevant Examples:Project: LMS Build Project (http://tinyurl.com/86ueppz)Assignment: LMS Build Reflection(http://smith755.wikispaces.com/LMS+Build+Reflection) While all of the information that I have learned this semester has been useful andbeneficial, I consider the LMS Build Project to be the most important and worthwhile. Inthis project, I interacted with a great team of students from this class (Mandy, Michelle,Israel, & Dennis) to develop and design an online course on the integration of iPads intothe K-5 environment according to Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy. We found aninformative article to incorporate into our course on various iPad applications thatenhance each level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Our team also included a module tointroduce the iPad and a module to present an overview on Bloom’s RevisedTaxonomy. In addition, we provided the students with other valuable tools, such asinstructional guides, narrated presentations, and helpful resources. Through theattainment of this knowledge, we allowed the participating students to interact invarious discussion board forums to converse about the information learned. Thesestudents were given multiple opportunities to learn the content and participate in thecourse. Ultimately, this project helped me to implement the knowledge that I havegained from this course as well as the information that I have learned from both of theassignments that we completed previously with the rubric and the evaluations. Withthe identified criteria from the rubric, I was able to establish the effective components ofan online course and display those elements in a mock simulation that we conducted asinstructors with our participating students.Conclusion: All of the artifacts presented in this portfolio show my growth from thebeginning of the semester until now. It has definitely been a long and difficult journey,but I must say that I have learned a vast amount of information about the research
practices involved in distance education. Ultimately, I will apply this information to myown life by utilizing the content from this class (assignments, activities, & projects)throughout the rest of my graduate career and also with potential job opportunities thatmay emerge after the completion of this degree. Each assignment and project haspositively impacted my life – both personally and professionally – as I have gainedknowledge about different teaching and learning strategies to help me stay motivatedand determined as well as succeed in this class and the remainder of my graduatecoursework, became proficient in identifying and evaluating the components thatshould be displayed in an effective online course, implemented these skills into practiceby collaborating in a group to create a useful online course on the topic of iPads in theK-5 environment according to Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy, and learned a great deal ofnew information by reading, reviewing, and reflecting on our text and the contentassociated with several different theoretical perspectives and the advantages anddisadvantages of online learning, as well as the importance of mobile learning and thesignificance of interaction and collaboration in an online environment to enhance theeducational process for all and build a strong community of learners.