Final Reflection

Looking over the four learning goals for this course, I feel that I have received a good introduction to the field of online instruction.  I definitely do not feel like an expert on any of these goals, but I feel like I have been given a foundation to build upon.  I think my biggest change came from goal #3, “effective virtual systematic instructional design through the development  of a virtual learning environment”.  It has been a big change to go from face-to-face instruction to online only.

The activities that I found most effective in the course were the ones involved with the actual development of our online module.  Creating outlines, receiving feedback and making a final product were most helpful.  The least effective activities were those that involved reading and blogging about  studies that involved too much data reporting (Community of Inquiry comes to mind),

The only improvement I can think of reflects on my face-to-face classroom preference – I would have loved to have gotten the entire class and instructor physically together at least once during the course, just for social interaction.

Final Project Blog

It’s done.  The project is finished (for now – I know I will “tweak” it again when I actually use it in my class).  I have created a hybrid module to introduce my students to the field of cybersecurity.  Since this is an introductory module, there will be no formal assessment, but instead the students will post a reflection on what they have learned at the end of the module.  In addition, I have created a new kind of forum for them to express themselves – I am looking forward to see how they utilize the discussion portions of this module.

I would love for my fellow classmates (and instructor) to look over the module, and offer any suggestions.  As I have mentioned before, it’s hard to see problems when you are too close to something.

It has been an interesting journey.  I have learned there are both many similarities and many differences between face-to-face classes and online classes.  Building community is important in both – we just have to accomplish this in different ways.   Discussions can take longer in online classes (since students are working at different times), but it can also be a better way, since normally quiet students can more easily participate.

Project evaluation – if you use the criteria that the module had to be mostly online, and would utilize technology to achieve the learning goal, then my project meets those standards.

Virtual Reality

Jeremy Bailenson’s video was amazing.  There was so much information presented that I want to follow up on , just no time right now (sigh).  Break will be here soon, however.

If I could use VR in my classes, I think I could most benefit from the “gaze” item mentioned in the video, as well as the ability to tailor a lecture to a given student.   I have many students who have issues with paying attention, who are easily distracted (I have so many students with IEPs and 504s this year I had to create a spreadsheet to keep track of them all).  Bailenson’s work (even his rudimentary “11 lines of Python code”) showed that the students who had the direct attention of the VR instructor did better.  And using the Kinect to monitor body language, to see when students were losing attention, you could slow down a virtual lesson, or add additional information based on the student’s response.

It will be very interesting to see how this field evolves.  Yet another person/subject to follow online….

MOOCs!

While MOOCs are online courses, I do not feel that they meet the requirements of the courses we have been learning to design.  I do not think they belong as a CREDIT course in the K-12 environment, but I could see them being used as an enrichment option for some of our more mature students (self-regulated learners)  who want to explore topics not offered at the high school.

After reading the three articles, I cannot imagine myself as an instructor for a MOOC.  I rely too much on the interaction with my students, both online and face-to-face.  The module I am developing depends on interactions between the students, to develop a better sense of community.  I also need the students to read all of their classmates’ responses, something that would be impossible in a MOOC.

I do have difficulty seeing MOOCs used as a credit course.  I agree more with the following quote from the “Exploring the Instructional Value and Worth of a MOOC”:

“…could utilize MOOCs for the purpose of providing useful information to very large target groups.  In essence, a MOOC would be designed as an information seminar that would allow participants benefit from learning from a field expert but with limited interactions and little-to-no assessment of their learning”.