As I look back over these last 8 weeks, I am amazed at the changes which have occurred, both in my way of thinking toward e-learning, and my attitudes about the processes experienced in the various artifacts throughout the course. I have grown as a learner and as an educator, in the way I approach the online classroom. I realize how much I have left to learn, particularly in the areas of accessibility and section 508 compliance. I eagerly look forward to the next two classes in this program, and yes, even the practicum which is to follow.
I can hardly believe this is week 8! It seems like this class just started and now it is coming to a close. We’re finishing our e-Portfolios and making final tweaks to them as needed. Peer reviews have helped in this area as another set of eyes always pick up on those things I might miss, no matter how careful I am. I value the critique of my peers as another invaluable tool in this process.
We are also exploring the subject of disabilities (which I did in the Instructional Design Class as well) and how it relates to online education. One question we were asked to reflect on is if we should be expected to make all of our online sites accessible to everyone and what that would require if we were section 508 compliant. I am now more aware of the efforts I need to make as I develop online courses. I am excited to register for the next two courses toward the E-Learning Certificate Program.
Are we really at week 7 already? This course has simply gone by way too quickly. Out focus this week has been on the creation of our e-Portfolio. Fortunately, I haven’t had to start from scratch, since I already had a template from my Instructional Design class. However, there were many components in this section that gave me some challenges, and so the learning continues. Perhaps one of the biggest changes I made was to the actual appearance of my site. I wasn’t thrilled with the outcome the first time around, so I made some drastic changes and am more pleased with the cleaner lines and the less cluttered look. See my portfolio here: PMorlock Portfolio. The opportunity to see what my peers are up to in their creation is enlightening, as we all have different views and perspectives.
Casting a shadow over the learning process this week are the tragic events at the Boston Marathon and the explosion in West, Texas. That someone would intentionally seek to cause harm to others in such a heinous way is beyond me, and I can only pray. That more lives are lost in the process of apprehending these crazed people just adds to the tragic senselessness of it all. God help us.
This week we read an interesting article called the 2011 Horizon Report. The purpose of this report is to describe several technologies that will have a significant impact on higher education over the next several years. We were then asked to choose one area of technology and reflect on it and its possibilities in the classroom. I chose gaming as my area of focus, as I felt this was an area that would enhance any classroom experience if used correctly.
We were also asked to create a CSE or Custom Search Engine, which allows specific searches to be done on the web, allowing the instructor to make sure that approved articles, websites, blogs, video clips, etc. are viewed and used without concern of using unapproved material.
I created a CSE on games in the classroom and it can be found here: Patti’s Search Engine. Because of the introduction of mobile devices into the classroom as part of the learning process, I am interested in how to use games as part of a valid self-assessment system, and also as part of reinforcement of material already learned.
What was not useful this week: The worksheets on how to set up a CSE seemed outdated with Google. It took longer to figure out what the directions on the sheet meant in reference to what the new face of Google showed. This is a good reminder for me on the importance of updating constantly.
This week, back to being a student, a self-paced student, using an online fluency training program called Information Investigator 4.0. This was an exercise in self-paced learning as well as the opportunity to practice investigative searches to evaluate websites on authenticity by digging deeper into the site’s origin and ownership. This exercise took several hours to complete, was frustrating at times as correct answers, if not formatted exactly as the test wanted them were marked wrong, gave a great insight into self-paced learning and the pros and cons which it entails. Upon completion of the assessment, an Information Fluency Certificate was generated. My score, reflects both the challenges of investigative research and the frustration of incorrectly formatted answers being rejected as wrong even though the answer was correct. Needless to say, I felt like a complete dolt most of the time, because while I was absolutely sure I had the correct answers, I couldn’t get the damn thing formatted in a way that was accepted as correct. Grr. Glad it’s over, as I have been brought to my knees – again.
What was NOT useful to me this week was the feeling of utter and complete frustration with the process. I was excited at the beginning of the week to get in to this whole thing, but as the week wore on, I began to not really care, and just wanted to get through. Glad it’s over, for sure. I think there’s got to be a different way to teach the same material without it being such a source of discouragement.
This week involved putting on the hat of the instructor and creating an assessment in the form of either a quiz or a survey using Moodle to do so. After having my new group read an article on plagiarism, I created a true/false quiz to test their knowledge. I also included an essay question that I would have to evaluate on my own. The interesting part of this exercise was seeing how the software works (and how tedious it is to do the actual creating part), the stumbling block for me was getting the quiz to actually be where I wanted it under my group. That was a source of frustration. The other source of frustration was that the quiz link didn’t work at first, but I wasn’t aware of this until the very end of the week which is when the rest of my group chose to do their work. I am finding the group process to be a source of frustration when we are to be working at the beginning, middle and end of the week and for two weeks in a row now, my groups have waited till the last minute to do their work which makes it inconvenient for me to evaluate them last minute. I also feel as if the evaluation I receive then is almost an afterthought.
This week was an introduction to a new CMS (Course Management System) called Moodle, also known as a LMS (Learning Management System) or VLE (Virtual Learning Environment. It’s good for educators to use to create effective learning sites. We were asked this week to facilitate a discussion forum. The up side of this was getting to know the members of my group in a deeper, more intense way, as we asked and answered questions back and forth throughout the course of the week. The down side was that one member of the group was a no-show, so there was a little frustration in that she didn’t respond to my email or to the group project.