Well, This was a huge week. I finished and submitted my final project, and I must admit there was a moment of intense pride at what I submitted. There has been an incredible amount of work put into this project, loads of revision and editing along the way, and hitting the send button had the butterflies in my stomach fluttering at full force. This coming week, I am anxious for the peer review, wondering what changes will need to be made and eager to see the work of my colleagues, knowing they have been working as diligently as I have.
As the class wraps up, I am so grateful for the continued level of excellence these courses have been. I have been able to create a course for Junior High Social Studies on the Underground Railroad, and used Weebly as my platform of choice. I found that it was quite user friendly and made web creating a relatively simple task. Making changes to both content and style were pretty hassle free as well. Here’s hoping I won’t have too many changes to make in this last week.
Take a look at my project here and feel free to leave comments on this blog afterward if you wish. Feedback is appreciated.
I’m beginning to wonder if taking two courses at the same time was a wise move. With working full time, and being a mom to two teenagers, I have an overflowing plate. I am afraid that something is going to fall through the cracks or I’m going to crack under the pressure before it’s all said and done. But then I remember that if I take one task at a time, one step at a time, it becomes more manageable, and I begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel (unless the light is actually a train headed straight for me).
Cybercoaching was the topic of conversation this week, and generated some interesting dialogue around the challenges that arise in the classroom (whether F2F or online) of providing genuine and constructive formative and summative assessment in a manner that is both timely and realistic without burning ones self out in the process. From the readings for this week, the article E-Learning and Constructivism: From Theory to Application, the assessment model I am using is well in line with what the article suggests, from a variety of sources, not just between the learner and instructor, but between the learner and the content, and between the learner and their peers. SOme of my activities are not “graded” per se, but “success” is determined by the completion of a given task and others’ ability to use the completed task to get from one point to another.
This week we focused on a pre-course survey, and were to use personal starts to the questions so that our potential students could get a glimpse of who we are as instructors. This was a challenge for me, to create a series of questions that give me a glimpse int the personality and preferences of these students while giving them a hint or two as to the direction the course will take.
I used SurveyMonkey to create my survey, Getting from Point A to Point B and have used a variety of open ended questions including multiple choice and short answer. The survey making tool was simple to use and easy to link to both this blog and my web page. Go to the link and take the survey, as I would be interested in a wide variety of answers.
This week, our focus was on Learning Objectives for our online course, and we created a Taxonomy Table using Blooms Revised Taxonomy to aid in the process. Since I’m currently not teaching, and the course is one I am putting together myself, the feedback from the instructor, her assistant, and my peers has been helpful. I’m on the right track, and with a few tweeks, I know this can be an exciting and engaging class for junior high students. Looking at a wide range of higher order thinking skills to engage students beyond simple knowledge acquisition became the challenge, and finding Web tools to use for those processes was also part of the challenge. I’m still working on thinking beyond traditional learning ideas which seem to be my drawback, and move more toward what online teaching is intended to be – student-centered, innovative, and exciting. As we posted our taxonomy to the discussion board, I was very pleased by the feedback from my peers about the course. Their enthusiasm was contagious and has me encouraged about the direction I am headed.
This course is designed for a junior high social studies unit on slavery and the Underground Railroad. One Module is devoted to quilts as communication by slaves and those on the UGRR. One of the final objectives is under synthesis: (design and create) I remember learning Bloom back in the early 70’s when I was getting my degree in Education. His lower and higher order thinking skills were helpful in making lesson plans – plans that were very much teacher centered as I focused on those very important nouns and how I could have such wonderful classes that we would move right up that list to those higher level skills in short order. I was young, and naive, and idealistic. But as I read the rather lengthy revised taxonomy, I felt that same excitement all over again. His revision, using verbs, brings those concepts alive in a way that puts the student squarely as the focus of the learning plans.
The student will design and create a quilt block using their research from quilt symbol identification and the written directions or video link provided.
Besides the attachhed Assessment Taxanomy, you will see the video link and written instructions link.
My taxonomy table can be found here
The Instructional video can be found here.
This week was a crazy one. I took a mini vacation to Michigan with some of my quilting friends and worked on a difficult paper-piecing project. 20 blocks finished, 16 to go. I had 2 video/tele-conferences while there, to complete work on two separate collaborative projects, one being the mid-term for this class. I was up every morning at 6 to do school work till 10, so I could enjoy quilting the rest of the day till the evening collaborations with my classmates.
Our project (the link is at the end of this post) was to research and compile a report on different assessment tools available to the online teacher. We chose from 4 different categories, each of us taking a different category, and evaluated one tool from within that list. Not only did we learn about our own tool, we also shared in the review of each other’s as we built the Assessment Toolbox as a team. We also got to try out WebEx firsthand as that was the tool we used for our group meeting and document review. Our team worked very well together as not only did we each do our individual parts, but each stepped up to make the project a cohesive unit as one wrote the intro, another the conclusion, another communicated with the professor, etc. All in all, a great collaborative experience where the concern for the good of the whole was evident throughout.
Quilting and collaborative work have a lot in common. Both start with individual parts and come together to make a beautiful whole. Both require patience and attention to detail. Both require hard work and careful planning. But piece by piece, each builds upon something else, until the finished product is far greater than the individual parts.
Our project can be seen here AssessmentToolbox(1)
This has been an interesting week. Working on mapping a course, playing around with new technology, getting a finished product I really liked and not having it export as a compatible file was frustrating to say the least. Not sure if it was a MAC thing or dumbness on my part, but I just don’t have the time to blow on figuring it out. So I switched to another program, redid the map and hope it is readable when I post this.
The readings this week were excellent fodder for thought on my commute to and from work. Thinking of this boom of virtual classrooms which have emerged over the last few years, and Bonk’s statement about most online educators not being certified or degreed gave me great concern for the learner. Who assures that THEY get what is a high quality learning experience? Remembering some of our earlier discussions where some of my classmates first e-learning experiences were anything but stellar tells me we have a long way to go see to it that this learning becomes and remains learner centered.
My map is here:
I’m in the thick of week two. I’ve begun another course to complete this journey and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed right at this moment. To top it off, my daughter took a nasty hit to the nose at softball this week and ended up with a broken nose. Breathe, I keep saying, breathe! I can do this. She’s gonna be just fine because she’s one tough cookie.
So it’s interesting this week that the focus is on blogging, introspection if you will. I’m struggling with trying to figure out how to set up Word Press to handle Multiple pages instead of one long running journal, I can’t figure out the way to do the intro page for me, I am desperately in need of sleep and I think things will look better later. But the set-back early in the week has put me behind, so I’ll go back to it over the weekend with a fresh mind and perspective.
About Blogging as an Assessment Tool, which was this week’s module, I was intrigued with the idea of using blogs in the classroom for a whole range of purposes, from sharing resources to allowing the students to reflect on what they learned throughout the week by being “scribe” for the day. Mena Trott’s video, Mena Trott on Blogs was a poignant conversation on what happens when one opens them self up to the world of blogging. Mena actually phased out one of her blogs because of the nasty feedback she received about one of her posts. This raised questions about monitoring the classroom blog for unsavory behaviors and setting carefully structured uses for blogs. This gives me much to think about as I look forward to the realities of a more active online presence.
A Post Script: After reading several other comments in the discussion board in class, I realize I am not the only one with the Word Press page issue. What I want to do doesn’t exist, at least not in the free version. Grr. Now off to bed.
This blog is a continued reflection of the courses I am taking as I progress on this path toward certification in E-Learning and Online Teaching.
Since this is a course about assessment, I am keenly aware that while we are learning about best practices for grading procedures, performance- based assessment, summative and formative feedback methods as well as a host of other useful evaluative tools, I am also being assessed and evaluated every step of the way. What I say, how often I reply, the questions I ask, the manner in which I give feedback, all are evaluated in order to make me a better instructor.
The Wiki as Online Assessment Tool this first week was taught using this activity , the Assessment of Student Learning in the Online Classroom. I believe the instructors intent was to see how well we could a) collaborate with another student to complete a task such as an interview, and b) to see how well we understood the guidelines on online etiquette also know as netiquette. Our intros were fun to do because of the use of perspective. Even tough we told a story of who we were to another, it was then told through their voice to the class. Some things became interesting in translation. This could prove to be a fun course after all.