Archive for February, 2015

Week 7 Assignment

Posted: 02/26/2015 in Assignments

This week we were asked to create a Best Practices Guide for moving a training course from a traditional classroom setting to an online environment. This was a challenging project as many of us were working on finishing up our CMS page. There is so much information one needs to have a grasp of to take on this challenge, it was difficult to narrow it down to specific highlights. I could see how this project could be worked on over two or three weeks to truly come up with a quality guide. As time permits in the future I plan to edit or revamp this guide as a personal reference for myself.

Here is the link to the guide I created.

WK7_Assign_Heche_J

The Impact of Open Source

Posted: 02/09/2015 in Assignments

MIT has an extensive list of open course ware that it makes available to on the web, free of charge, and is available under the Creative Commons License. This license allows others to use the content, as long as proper recognition is given, a link to the Creative Commons License is attached, and it is notated if the material has been altered. It cannot be used for commercial purposes.

The content replicates what students enrolled in MIT experience, with the exception of specific material that is Copyright protected and used in-house. I selected the course entitled “Technologies for Creative Learning”, found at http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/media-arts-and-sciences/mas-714j-technologies-for-creative-learning-fall-2009/index.htm

This course is a blended learning course, with students participating in a blog, class sessions, and taking on the role of facilitation in one class session.

From the outset the design of the course is very easy to navigate, with all of the links on the course homepage for easy access. When a link is click it with open information to the right of the link, but retains the integrity of the navigation pane.

The Syllabus is very basic, with the requirements for participation, and a calendar showing the session and topic, with due dates for activities. It notates that there will be a final project, and how grading is broken into thirds; class participation, contribution to the blog, and final project.

The required reading list is very comprehensive and is broken into what is required for each learning session. For those that would like to experience the course like a MIT student, there is a link where the textbooks could be purchased. Other materials are linked as PDFs. For someone taking this course as an open course, they can benefit from the asynchronous information the students in the class posted to the discussions on the class blog, as these are attached to the reading list. This is a great way to follow the discussion and learn from others that participated in the course (Simonson, Smaldino, Albrights, & Zvacek, 2012).

The Assignment link is full of different activities for students to complete for different learning sessions. Several of the activities have the students perform the activity with one resource and then use an additional resources to determine which has the better outcome (Simonson, et al., 2012). In addition to the completion of different activities, students are provided a list of questions to think about that will be discussed in the next face-to-face session. Using this type of a flipped classroom approach has proved very beneficial to focusing more time in the classroom on the learning aspect and not the teaching aspect (Hill, 2013). Many of assignments of examples of what other students have created, this provides visual cues and aids appeals to different learners and is important for distance learners as they do not have the advantage of the interaction and visual learning typical of a traditional classroom (Simonson et al., 2012).

Throughout the course instructors encourage questions and discussion during the classroom time, but also via the blog, and by encouraging students to work on projects together to collaborate on ideas and projects (Simonson et al., 2012). This is one of the ways that blended courses have an advantage over a strictly on line course. Blended courses allow for groups to work in a face-to-face environment, this can somewhat be replicated in the online community through the use of Skype ™, and other social media applications, but is still somewhat limited how beneficial this is for the learner (Simonson et al., 2012).

The project link has several of the same features as the assignment link and also has some additional resource material in the form of PDFs. This information is useful for reference materials and points students in the direction needed to complete their tasks based on solid examples of other student’s success (Simonson et al, 2012). Part of the final project was putting into use what the students learned in the course, by assisting someone else to learn the program/application that they used in the creation of their assignments. Putting to use in a real life situation is one of the best ways to reinforce and use learning (Morrison, Ross, Kalman, & Kemp, 2013).

The course appears to be planned exceptionally well for a blended learning course. For open course learners, a great amount of knowledge could be obtained by following the course outline, completing the reading materials and assignments. The course has most of the aspects needed for online instruction, because this is now open course, the feedback and interaction with classmates would be minimal, unless you took advantage of the link on the MIT page linking you with others that are interested in the course. You could use this to create your own blog and have synchronous discussions with others going through the course, so you could achieve feedback and interactivity. Looking at the different activities and the examples of other students, students were very actively learning throughout the course and created some interesting technologies for learning.

References

Hill, C. A. (2013). The benefits of flipping your classroom. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/instructional-design/the-benefits-of-flipping-your-classroom/

Morrison, G. R., Ross, S. M., Kalman, H. K., & Kemp, J. E. (2013). Designing effective instruction (7th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.