I think my portfolio is just about presentable! There are so many details to consider and everytime I view a page or get feedback from someone who views a page, additional changes result. This week, someone was viewing some of the content using an iPad and I realized that all of my flash based presentations may need to be revised in order to allow access to iPad users. Imagine my horror, as the person indicated confusion because they were just seeing the presentation title and blank space! At this point, I am absolutely in overload trying to tie up loose ends! Major practicum assignments are due the beginning of next week! I am thankful that I have a couple of weeks before I have to present my portfolio to the program instructors and peers. I am in a burnt out stage and I need some time to put some distance between myself and the portfolio content so I can come back, view it with fresh eyes, and present it with enthusiasm!
Developing both a face-to-face and online version of the same workshop has been a great experience. I would recommend it to any instructor. Just when you think you have organized your course content in a way that is crystal clear, a workshop participant asks a question that alerts you the fact that it is not! Until I started receiving feedback from online participants, in my mind, I truly thought that the same amount of content covered in a face-to-face workshop would be covered in the online workshop in the same 3 hour timespan. In hindsight, I realize that that was a ridiculous thought. Participants were not required to start and finish at the same time therefore the learning community required to complete some of the required activities was not readily accessible. Asynchronous discussions can not be rushed, so that created an issue that I had not taken into consideration. Also, in the face-to-face setting, I could simply review how course content was being displayed in the participants building section. For some reason, I did not consider the fact that I would not be able to do that for online participants therefore the assessment of “Building a Virtual Learning Environment” become quite a bit more complicated as it required participants adding me as an auditor in their build class section. Not a big deal, but not something that I had fully considered!
Putting my technology resource center analysis together has been much like completing a puzzle. I started off in 1 room, the instructional design lab, interviewing 1 man, the instructional technology specialist. Ultimately the impact was so far reaching that I found myself in faculty & staff offices, as well as classrooms trying to get a snapshot view of the service the labs provide each campus. At a glance, it appeared to be a small operation but as I looked for a detailed explanation of how the labs accomplish their ultimate goal which is to support and encourage faculty & staff to effectively utilize technology, it became clear that a substantial amount of support was necessary from the Office of Information Technology. This was not a one man show. My analysis reveals that in order for a service like this to be effective, feedback from the users is critical. The instructional design labs have evolved and continue to evolve based upon the needs of its users!
My technology resource center analysis is finally shaping up! The information that I am using to base my assessment necessarily had to come from multiple sources: face to face interviews (with people working in multiple roles in the organization), research to find any existing planning documents, and information posted on the organization’s website. Consequently, I’ve been running around gathering scattered bits of information. I’ve finally had a chance to look at what I’ve collected as it relates to the required sections of the analysis. Thankfully, I seem to have enough data to make a realistic assessment! This demands a comprehensive viewof how technology implementation is being facilitated in an organization. I chose to evaluate a technology center at a relatively large institution so it’s been challenging to evaluate the effectiveness of a single unit (the instructional design lab) located on multiple campuses. I’ve discovered that a great deal of support staff contributes to the effectiveness of the labs.
It’s difficult to say how much time I invest in this area but at least 1/2 hour a day is spent trying to better organize the collected data.
I’m pretty confident in my plans for executing my workshop. As the date for my face to face workshop approaches, I get nervous because it is intimidating to teach teachers! One thing the process development revealed is that in general we don’t apply stringent standards of assessment to professional development workshops. We tend to evaluate the participants experience in the workshop but not if they have achieved the workshop objectives. Using the Understanding by Design instructional design method, you are reminded that you must include an objective assessment that evaluates whether or not your instructional strategies were effective.
I spend at least an hour a day on workshop issues: scheduling, coordinating the pre-workshop requirements, and of course just rehearsing a better way to communicate an idea.
I am absolutely exhausted! This whole process is wearing me down. At this point, I am constantly updating details on my portfolio, especially the online version of my staff development workshop. Just when you think your instructions are organized and perfectly clear, you ask someone else to look at it, and you realize that they are not seeing what you wanted them to see! The process is demanding but there is a great sense of accomplishment and relief as each section is completed. At least, an hour a day is devoted to updating my web content.
It’s been challenging to outline daily activities for a technology center monthly report because the technology specialist in the center does not do alot of his work at a central location. He manages an instructional technology lab but alot of the support seems to be provided outside of the lab: trouble shooting in the classroom, in faculty offices, or as phone support. Oddly, the fact that the technology specialist’s daily activities are so unpredictable is one of the things that appeals to me as I consider my future career goals. I spend at least 30 minutes a day trying to write a report that presents a complete picture of the role the center plays on the college campus.
The center analysis has been difficult for me because I’m not quite clear on the perspective I should be viewing it from. In other words, am I analyzing its role as it relates to the overall technology plan for the college or am I analyzing it as a stand alone unit? Today I visited the Director of Academic Technologies on the Georgia Perimeter College Lakeside Campus. The majority of the technology support staff is located on this campus. She emphasized that their actions are for the most part “faculty driven.” Her primary goal is always to listen and be responsive to faculty in order to provide the instructional support that they need, when they need it. In order to do her job efficiently and effectively, she requires networking & infrastructure support as well as support from the Office of Institutional Research and Planning for the evaluation of various pilot programs currently being implemented in classrooms on all GPC campuses. She highly values the input received from the Academic Technology Advisory committee which is composed of faculty members. Her advice to someone following in her footsteps is simply, “Don’t try to do it all at once. Pace yourself!”
Working on an online version of a face to face course can really help with fine tuning the details of both! I find myself getting realizations about the clarity of my explanations and expectations all the time. In other words, I don’t think my planning for the face to face workshop would be as well thought out without the things I’ve discovered when trying to make my expectations clear in my online copy. At this point, I’m thinking about some requirement of the practicum just about all the time that I am not working. I go to sleep with ideas in my head and I wake up with ideas! It’s hard to say exactly how much time I’m investing but at least 1-1/2 hours each day goes to some aspect of workshop development. I just keep telling myself: it will all be over in May!
The most challenging thing about the practicum experience is how often you have to switch perspectives. When I am working on my workshop it is from a much more focused perspective than when I am trying to evaluate the effectiveness of a technology resource center. Just thinking about the variety of issues technology specialists have to address daily can be somewhat intimidating!
I’m updating my portfolio as I complete assignments. Because I have so many loose ends to tie up, it gives me some sense of accomplishment everytime I can add another completed assessment to my portfolio! I spend at least 30 mins. to an hour daily uploading documents, adding links, adding images, and fine tuning the copy. The thing about websites is you have to effectively communicate your message with very few words. Coming up with those words and strategically placing images can be extremely time consuming!