Moodle is done! Mostly anyway!

 

My Moodle course is finished!  Huzzah!!!

It felt like it took forever.  It kind of did take forever.  Designing then developing a seven week blended and flipped course is no paltry feat.  But I came, I saw, I conquered!  …That’s so corny, I apologize.  But I did it, and I’m really excited because I am two weeks away from completing my Master’s of Science in Learning Technology… which means I’m two weeks away from having my evenings and weekends back!  I don’t know what I’ll do with all this extra time!  Now that this project is about complete, I feel like it’s all downhill from here, and that is an exciting feeling.

So how did I do it?  How does someone who works 45-50 hours a week, enrolled in two accelerated grad school courses, manage to stay on top of her work (and still not completely neglect her social life)?  I guess I can attribute my success to staying focused and determined, and to not sleeping as much as I should/would like.  A typical weekday: wake up early, go to work for 9 hours, come home, work on grad school for 6-8 hours, sleep.  That’s at least 3 weekdays a week, usually trying to workout the other evenings and maybe hang out with friends/family.  I then spend another 6-8 hours on Saturday and/or Sunday finishing the week’s requirements.  It’s been a very busy year, but the end is near!  I’m a poet and don’t know it!

Throughout the development of my Moodle course, I hit a few technological snags.  My internet is pretty reliable, but occasionally it would decide it didn’t want to work anymore… sometimes before I saved what I was working on (on Moodle or on BlackBoard).  That is always SO frustrating.  I’ve gotten better at preparing for these mishaps by making sure what I’m typing or what I’m working on is saved somewhere else offline also (or working on it in a program like Google Docs which saves as you go).  I can’t say that I’ve had many “people” challenges.  My partner, Jason, was great, my professors were super helpful, my husband took care of dinner most nights, life was/is good.

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed working on this project, and I’m excited that we’ll actually be able to implement it come January.  In fact, the students who will be completing this blended course will be receiving their Chromebooks next week, so I’m excited to work with their teacher in helping them get acclimated to the Chromebooks and activities on them.  It was stressful, and a whole lot of work at times, but I think I work best under pressure and I love the creativity and problem solving it requires.  After years as a high school teacher, I think it’s fair to say that I’ve mastered multitasking, working under pressure and stress (uh, adolescents aren’t always friendly), being flexible, and coming up with creative solutions to problems or meeting objectives.  I’m confident that I would thrive in a career that applies these same skills to the Instructional Design (or even Online/Computer-Based Instructional Design) field.

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Moodle Course Half Complete!

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!

Isman Instructional Design Model

We were instructed to find an instructional design model which we weren’t familiar with and answer some basic questions about it.  I found a kind of obscure one, referred to as the Isman model of instructional design, which I will discuss here.

The Isman model’s goal is very similar to any instructional design model’s goal: “to point up how to plan, develop, implement, evaluate, and organize full learning activities effectively so that it will ensure competent performance by students.” (Isman 2011)  Here is a basic visualization of how the model works (Isman 2011):

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It is based on behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism – some of my favorite learning theories! – but with an overarching goal of reinforcing long-term learning.  It has five basic steps in the design process:  Input, Process, Output, Feedback, and Learning.  Within each step are stages.  Most of these stages seem familiar to me from the ADDIE model, though named differently.

Step 1, Input, is similar to both the Analyze and Design phases in the ADDIE model.  One of the main differences between the two in this part of the design model is that the Isman model emphasizes “modern instructional media” (such as multimedia, internet, projection, film, etc.) as well as “classical instructional media” (such as books, journals, pictures, etc.), and it also emphasizes active learning (whereas I don’t remember there being an emphasis on any of these things in the ADDIE model).

Step 2, Process, is similar to the next two phases in the ADDIE model: Development and Implementation.  The ADDIE model seems to go into more detail in this part of the instructional design process.  Between both the Development and Implementation phases, there are seven different steps for the instructional designer to complete.  In the Process stage of the Isman model, he only lists three steps:  Test prototypes (similar to the ADDIE step for validating instruction), Redesigning (also part of the validating instruction step in the ADDIE model), and Teaching Activities (which is the last step – conducting instruction – in the Implementation phase of the ADDIE model).

Step 3 and 4, Output and Feedback, go along with the final phase of the ADDIE model – Evaluation.  Basically, this step is the assessment and analysis of results, followed by a redesign of instruction if necessary (based on said results).  Step 5, Learning, basically has the Instructional Designer look over the results and determine whether long term learning is occurring, and if not, reteach is necessary (and redesign for future instruction would also be necessary).  I guess that kind of goes along with the Evaluation phase of the ADDIE model, too.

So, would I use this model to develop instructional design?  It has all the basic steps I would want in an instructional design model… but the thing is, it seems really similar to the more common models out there.  The big difference, I suppose, is the detail given to the end product (assessment/redesign/analysis of data) seems more in-depth in this model than in the ADDIE model, whereas the detail given to the actual initial design and process of teaching seems more in-depth in the ADDIE model.  I think both design and analysis of results are probably equally important, so perhaps it would be best to do some conglomeration of the two.  The way my current project is set up, I think there is more focus on the design, which I suppose falls more under the umbrella of the ADDIE model.

It’s important to note that learning theories (like behaviorism / cognitivism / constructivism) is different from an instructional design model.  I see learning theories as guides to how you should design your instruction.  If you are of the belief, for example, that learners learn most effectively through social constructivist means, then your ID model should emphasize a design structure that supports that learning theory.  So, in effect, one drives the other.  It’s important to do it in that order, too — if you develop an instructional design first, then consider your learning theories later, you will likely have to start from scratch as your instruction might not fit under the learning theory you subscribe to.  And this is especially important if you are developing instructional design for a client.  Make sure to ask their opinion on learning theory before diving into your ID!  Otherwise your time and energy may be wasted.

Isman, A. (2011) Instructional Design in Education: New Model.  The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 10(1).  Accessed from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ926562.pdf