Module 3 Post

From Bates:

1. Take one of your courses, and analyze how social media could be used in your course. In particular:

  • what new learning outcomes could the use of social media help develop?

  • While I am sure we could develop new learning outcomes by adding social media I think a better use of resources would be to enhance how we are getting our students to the desired learning outcomes. If I allocate resources to add social media to the course and can give the students a more solidified base of knowledge our courses would be better and students graduating with a better knowledge of computer science (graduating from either the class or the program).

    1. If I looked at one learning outcome that could be added to a course in my program I would say that we could work more diligently to develop a portfolio. It is common knowledge within computer science that employers want to see projects before they hire someone. If we added an e-portfolio set up and expected student to build on this their career perspectives may improve and it would be part of the curriculum.

  • would it be better just to add social media to the course or to re-design it around social media?

  • I think that social media is such an ingrained part of society today that for my courses which have been designed less than 1 year ago. The best option would be to add social media to them. One way that I think would make the largest aspect but would not be an easy way for me to add social media to my courses would be to add multi - player games. In our courses we want to make sure that our courses are implemented a sense of community and by adding an interactive game to the course we would be able to give the students a fun way to practice and their coding skills and a place to be competitive and work together to improve skills.

2. Are you (still) skeptical about the value of social media in education? What do you see as its downsides?

  • As a person that has grown up with social media I believe that the value is large. It is such an ingrained part of our society that instead of try to keep it out of the classroom why would we not utilize a tool that students are familiar with and use regularly to enhance education.

  • One downside might be that it will need to be structured in a way that the students do not focus on their social lives during course time. I do however see this as a valuable skill we need to be ingraining into education especially in distance education. Our courses need to be helping people develop better time management skills, and other life skills that the enhancement of technology is causing people to need and not have the ability to develop on their own.

Module 2 Post

Objective: Exercise Best Practices in the creation and implementation of rubrics for assessment.

The above objective is for Module 2. I want to discuss a personal experience about why this is important and how I have seen it fail students. Not only did this cause frustration for the students but it causes the instructor and course staff more work.

While running MCIT online Courses at UPenn. I am not an instructor which allows me a unique perspective from the outside. One instructor in particular was very set on the fact that we did not need to outline every thing the students needed to do as they needed to learn to ask the appropriate questions. What this led to over the time duration of the semester was students who failed the first assignment because they did not know how to succeed. Then as the semester went on and this did not get changed the students became grade grubbing individuals. The discussions on the forum quickly became focused on requirements for the auto grader and less about how to code or the understanding of the concepts being taught.

This leads the course and teaching staff to be answering a lot of nitty gritty questions that a well designed rubric would have solved. After the assignments where submitted the problem quickly escalated to individuals wanting regrades and letting us know how unfair it was to hide things and test them on something they didn’t know they needed to include in their submissions.

Not only did this cause disgruntled students and course staff that didn’t want to work or help students who came across as angry all the time. It gave our course and program a poor name. While it was not the best way for me personally to learn that rubrics are important was a valuable lesson that I now know and can help guide faculty to give more precise and accurate rubrics.

May 31st - Module 1

This week I learned something inadvertently. It has been a few years since I got my undergraduate degree. While I worked full time during that process as well, my priority was always school then work. This time around I am forced to prioritize work, family and then school. This is an interesting change in realizing it affects my time management. Theoretically the number of hours work out for it to all happen and happen on time. Simply put I dropped the ball this week. It is the first real week of full class work and I did not hit the deadlines I set for myself or the deadlines for two of my classes. This prompted a late night thought process of how as distance educators and facilitators do we help our students with this. Distance education is a different process than most people have experienced. Are we building courses and experiences that guide adults through learning? Are we teaching enough time management skills? This is an interested concept to try and grasp when you couple it with how much hand holding is appropriate for the level of course we are developing. How much does this play a part in the fashion of pedagogy one believes in? Does making a realization on this affect my personal beliefs of what online education should be and what it should entail? These are truly thought provoking questions and I don’t have answers yet. I would love to be able to say at the end of the semester I understand more fully the answers to these questions and more.

Here is to hoping I can make a better week for week 3 of my courses!

Emilie Austin

May 29th - Module 1

While reading the second chapter of Bate’s text book this week I have been struck by the thought that knowledge can and in my opinion should be defined by not just the information I can retain in my mind but also by my ability to know where to find information and locate more detailed specifics on topics. I was particularly struck by this for two reasons. One is from my childhood, When I was probably a third grader I can remember a teacher calling my resourceful after I had to ask her for a copy of the reference material I wanted to use for the third time. It struck me as interesting that she thought I was being resourceful when I felt like I was being forgetful and disorganized.

This memory recently came back up when I decided to take a Strengths Based Leadership assessment. I rediscovered that my strongest strength personally and in my career is learning. Not mastery but the concept of initial information. One of the professional development plans that this set me on what building a robust database where I save all kind of information that is now available at my fingertips. It can share information quickly, I can refresh on topics before meetings or briefings. I believe strongly after these two experiences that knowledge has changed and distance education needs to be working to help accommodate this and teach students how to navigate a world where we are inundated with information, not all of which is good information.

Module 1 Post

One of the objectives about this module is to Explain the role of epistemology in learning theory. This was my favorite learning objective. I got incredibly interested in the idea that the concept of Knowledge as we define it could be changing. This also is speaking right to me. I one time was called “the most confident incompetent person at the table” This was meant in a perfectly nice and loving way. What my coworker meant was that I always had something to say in the conversation and it was normally insightful but I rarely can remember specifics or details about where I saw/read/hear this information.

I can take this back to one of the many things I can’t remember where I heard it but Linkedin sounds like a good place. This is that Millennials and generations to come hold one fo the most powerful skill sets and they don’t realize how important it is. The ability to google nearly everything and have it implemented or on a basic level understood within a workday. This is especially valuable when we think about designing courses and how this should change our course scaffolding. I still believe that we should be giving all the pieces and not leaving the googling up for grabs but how are we facilitating the ability to pick things up quickly from small youtube tutorials. How is education going to change when a person does not need to remember that they read that in the Wall Street journal or the dusty book at the library but can recall new studies that were advertised to them through facebook?

Some find this scary. It is so incredibly exhilarating and exciting to me!

The final objective is to Discuss the relationships among traditional DE theory, learning theory, and current practices in online teaching and learning. I think after completing this module I can hold a higher level conversation about theory and current practices. The thing this module really helped me with though was a thing I see all the time when we bring in new faculty to our online program. Many of these faculty have never learned how to teach or how learning is done from a behavioral science perspective. It means on campus one of the biggest challenges is not always the material the students have to learn but how they are being taught it. As with everything online the problem is only multiplied. While there are differences between how to teach online and the theories are implemented in choice manners to bring out the strengths in different manners the real interesting thing that I think will help me in my current position when helping a ten-year faculty member teach more effectively is that they can use these skills to have an easier time teaching both online and on campus. I can’t think of a single faculty who would not want to have an easier time with their job.

6/19/18 - Learning Journal entry

This is my first learning journal in many years. As I remember them being difficult for me to maintain throughout the semester, I will be implementing a system for myself where I break up my entries based on how the rubric is set up. I am optimistic that these will get easier to maintain as the course moves forward.

This is technically still pre-week, which the main purpose is orientation. As such, I have had access to the syllabus for 19 days already, so I have been familiarizing myself with the logistics of the course. I have also reviewed how to use LEO ensuring nothing has changed from the copy of the syllabus I was given at the beginning of the month.

I find LEO to be very easy to use, which is a wonderful discovery. I am disappointed to find out that everything for week 1 is locked until tomorrow morning at 9 am. If this is a pattern that continues this will hinder my workflow greatly. The good news is, I have already completed the readings for the “Getting Started WEEK”. This allows me to get an early start on the Module 1 readings, even though the content is still locked.

I am looking forward to being able to get the ball rolling tomorrow with the first official week of the Course.

Feeling optimistically cautious,

Emilie Austin