In one week from Sunday, I will officially have completed all my coursework for my Master of Science in Learning Technologies! I cannot tell you how excited this makes me. I look forward to taking up old hobbies and reading for fun again! I also look forward to the other job opportunities this might afford me, and at the very least, the pay raise it will get me (though the raise would still take about 13 years for me to break even for grad school, not because grad school was so expensive, but because public education doesn’t necessarily value higher degrees enough to pay much for you getting one).
In both courses, I am nearly finished with all that is required of me, save a few presentations. For Technology Based Learning, I have completed my Moodle Course. I may have a couple small things to fix, but overall it is done and done! And it’s exciting, because the kiddos who will actually be completing the course just got their Chromebooks on Wednesday, so we’re starting to teach them the ways of Academic Internet Use (including technology skills we take for granted that they’ll know, like getting pictures off Google images, or attaching documents to emails… stuff like that). I can’t wait to implement this in January. Both the students and the instructor will have plenty of time to ease into enough technological fluency (and fix any hiccups that I’m sure will manifest as we progress) to transition to the Moodle course. However, we might be using another LMS; we have a new LMS called ATLAS which is apparently a couple years in the making and will give Blackboard a run for its money… I’m still trying to find out if it’s SCORM compliant or if I’ll just have to transfer the content over to Canvas or something. We’ll figure something out I’m sure!
Overall, it feels great to be so close to done, and so close to reacquiring my sleep and social schedule. I’ve completed this program in about 14 months, which was difficult but doable as a full time employee. Prior to that, I completed a year of grad school toward my Master of Applied Geography at Texas State University… so it has been awhile since I’ve had a totally free schedule. I’m looking forward to it! 🙂 I plan to reacquaint myself with my instruments, learn German, maybe write a book (why not?). And my husband is probably even more excited than I am, hah!
So, here I am halfway through with creating this online course which will be used to blend and flip a high school classroom. Moodle still surprises me with its relative ease of use – editing is a cinch, they have this duplication feature which lets you easily duplicate a piece that will look relatively similar in another area of the course… it’s very user friendly. I really haven’t had to change any part of my design due to limitations of the LMS. But I’m pretty sure I’ve already talked about that.
Now that I have half of the course developed, and one peer review down, there are a number of slight revisions I’ve made and there are still a few things I need to learn and adjust. My peer review came from my classmate Jason, who gave me a number of good things to look at. The main one I’ve implemented so far is changing each week’s headings to be more prominent so that each section is more distinct on the main page of the course. It looks so much better. He reminded me to make sure that any PDFs I want turned in should have form regions that allow students to complete them without scanning them in (which I believe I’ve done). Jason also pointed out that I need to clarify expectations of the wikis, as well as the overall format of the course, which I intend to do within the next two weeks. He also wondered if there’s a way to make one glossary and just link each section to it without having independent glossaries. I’m going to have to look into that, though my gut feeling is that I will keep them as independent glossaries if only for the reason that it will make it easier for the teacher to grade each week’s additions. Maybe there’s a way to then combine them all at the end? I don’t know. I’ll look into it.
I still haven’t taken the time to figure out the grade system yet. I think when I get toward the end of the development, I will then look over all the grading ins and outs and then edit everything I’ve done to make sure it is all cohesive. I also looked at some of my peers’ courses and found a few elements I liked – like limiting quiz retakes, only allowing access to the next assignments once the previous one is complete, etc. – which I would like to go back and implement. I will also look into downloading this into a system that works with whatever our school has access to so that my teacher who wants to utilize this course will have access to it.
I’m told that in the professional world, there is an average of a three week turn around on projects like this… to which I say, sign me up! It is certainly time consuming to do, but the fact that I’m working full time and able to do this plus another course… and still manage to do a few social things and hobbies too… means I think I’m cut out for a job in instructional design should I choose to go into a field like this. It requires creativity and an eye for detail, and I really enjoy that kind of stuff. It’s exciting to learn of new career opportunities that will be available to me after I finish this degree. So close! Can’t wait!