Is it just my imagination or is the bread crumb trail missing from the Desire2Learn navigation screen? I find it to be helpful to be able to select a back arrow and go back to the page I just came from! Now I seem to have to use the Content Map. If I find it a bit confusing, students probably will too!
I recently launched a course on instructional design based on the ADDIE and UBD instructional design models. The course has been setup on several sites so that I can evaluate the designer tools offered in each learning environment. I am experimenting with the tools of 3 different learning management systems: Moodle, Blackboard, and Desire2Learn. It has been interesting to observe how drastically the look and feel of the course changes from platform to platform. I also setup the course in Udemy. Udemy offers a wide variety of online courses including The ABCs of Instructional Design, facilitated by yours truly. I think I just about have the course organized the way I want it. It’s amazing how different a course that you have been designing for years looks when you start seeing it through the eyes of new students!
I am still trying to get my bearings because the MOOC assignments are hosted in several different learning environments. Sometimes when I am asked to respond to a discussion post or blog, I’m not sure which environment I am supposed to be working in. Today I have spent some time working in the practice area setting up course units using the Moodle “book” resource. So far, I think I am going to like this format. I generally use the “page” resource to setup up overview pages, but this can tend to result in a long string of Unit tasks and I want to find an alternative. Sometimes seeing too much information at one time can be overwhelming for students. The book format will allow me to focus their attention on the topic at hand.
So far so good! I just started the self-paced course and I find it to be interesting as well as challenging! Being introduced to many new tools and the Moodle platform is a bit overwhelming at times! Of course, I just have to remind myself to slow down and remember it’s self-paced. The Moodle MOOC includes 3 components that I strive to include in my course design: self-reflection, active learning, and social engagement!
While reading the article, Investigating the Effect(s) of Technology Integration on Teaching Practices that May Lead to the Development of a Community of Learners by Julie Machnaik (http://www.usask.ca/education/coursework/802papers/machnaik/machnaik.pdf), it made me think: Educators often dictate to students exactly what they should know (in the name of objectives), but should that be their primary role? Perhaps an educator’s role should be to help students better articulate and communicate what they already know, allowing them to know and understand the value of knowing it. In other words, what benefit is it to you and/or others to understand what you are communicating.
“Learning is not a task or problem; it is a way to be in the world. Man learns as he pursues goals and projects that have meaning for him. He is always learning something.” Educational Psychologist, Sidney Jourard, 1972
Recently, we started exploring ways to use our learning management system to facilitate greater collaboration, particularly asynchronous communication. Today I was pleasantly surprised to see that a faculty member had opened a discussion post that inspired feedback from other members. With faculty being so over committed, being open to virtual discussion and collaboration will create so many more opportunities for interaction. It’s only the tip of the iceberg, but imagining the potential is very exciting!!
As my organization transitions to a new learning management system (Desire2Learn), I keep trying to figure out ways to help acclimate the faculty I support to the new platform. The more I can model the functionality of various features in the section designated for discipline resources, the more opportunities the faculty will have to experience the added value, rather than be “sold” on the added value.
The everchanging schedule of approved textbooks would be perfect for co-authoring by multiple authors. All responsible parties could take ownership of their curriculum’s textbooks and have the capability of making revisions to their portion of the document as needed. This would allow for version control and we would have a record of any revisions.
Looks like SharePoint is a no go for collaboration right now. Switching focus to temporarily using Blackboard LMS for document management. It’s not ideal because the features we have implemented don’t really facilitate document sharing and collaboration using a wiki platform, but for now it will do.
There are multiple cloud-based web 2.0 tools, but there are privacy concerns that would limit the scope of discussion, and they don’t support the goal of finding a centralized location for collaboration. Besides, the one feature that is really needed is the ability for multiple users to edit a single document (Word, PowerPoint, Excel). So far, I haven’t really found a web 2.0 tool that not only allows multiple editors, but tracks changes, and maintains several versions on file for reference. Looks like we may just have to wait for that capability.