Throughout the design of an online course, principles of instructional design theories come into play from the spectrum of schools of thought. From the schools of behaviorism, to cognitive pragmatism, to constructivism, educators can use tools from each to influence their learners depending on the learning goals. The design of the online course Technology Standards for Instructional Personnel can be categorized mostly under the umbrella of the principles of cognitivism (Dabbagh, 2002). During the course, the learner is frequently required to process and relate to the presented information to attach personal meaning to the key concepts being addressed. Having the student create a personalized schema through which she can process the information helps the student retain the concepts in a meaningful way (Dabbagh, 2002). Occasionally the course leans into a constructivist approach with activities that require students to synthesize their understanding of key concepts in the form of authentic tasks and apply them to real-world scenarios, or create artifacts for real-world application (Dabbagh, 2002).
Applying the Understanding by Design principles of McTighe and Wiggins, the modules in this course were designed by first identifying the overall instructional goals of the course, deciding the level of mastery or competency for each goal, how competency would be assessed and measured, then finally what activities would be provided for students to engage with material that would lead them to mastery performance (2012). Topics were chosen to support the overall theme and instructional objectives of the course. Modules were constructed with Gagne’s nine events of instruction in mind (Northern Illinois University, n.d.). Each module follows a familiar pattern of an attention-grabbing video or article, connecting information to students’ personal experience, presentation of additional content, learning guidance, opportunities for performance, engagement and peer feedback, then performance assessment (Northern Illinois University, n.d,). Although there is not strict adherence and conformity across all modules, the pattern of expectations is apparent and also builds as the course progresses.
Creating and providing high-quality online learning experiences is increasingly important. A. W. Bates writes that employment growth is happening in knowledge-based sectors (2015). Opportunities lie in places where expertise is not stagnant, but maintained through continuous, highly specialized professional learning. With rapidly changing industries, workers must be able to access learning through a platform that is flexible enough to work around obligations, yet high quality and specific enough to meet their needs (Bates, 2015). Bates mentions the conflicting of the conundrum of the academy: to train thinkers, or to training workers (2015)? Through a well-designed online course, a well-trained learner might become successful as both thinker and worker.
Course design is a process that takes discipline and order. Refining a course is something that may take many administrations of the course with feedback and revisions. As in the physical classroom, a course is never completely finished and in the can. There is always room for improvement or expansion. Drawing upon the work of others, grounded instructional theory, being open to feedback, and relying on tested resources is an important foundation for the development of a class.
Bates, A.W. (2015) Teaching in a Digital Age: Guidelines for designing teaching and learning. Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/
Dabbagh, N. (2002). Instructional Design Knowledge Base. Retrieved August 18, 2019, from http://cehdclass.gmu.edu/ndabbagh/Resources/IDKB/models_theories.htm
McTighe, J., & Wiggins, G. (2012, March). Understanding by Design Framework. Retrieved August 18, 2019, from https://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/siteASCD/publications/UbD_WhitePaper0312.pdf
Northern Illinois University, Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center. (n.d.). Gagné’s Nine Events of Instruction. Retrieved August 18, 2019, from https://www.niu.edu/facdev/_pdf/guide/learning/gagnes_nine_events_instruction.pdf
Beck, M. J., & Wikoff, H. D. (2019). LGBT Families and School Community Partnerships: A Critical Role for School Counselors. Journal of School Counseling, 17(5). Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.libproxy.lamar.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1213127&site=eds-live
Casto, H. G. (2016). “Just One More Thing I Have to Do”: School-Community Partnerships. School Community Journal, 26(1), 139–162. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.libproxy.lamar.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1104400&site=eds-live
Cronin, S., Ohrtman, M., Colton, E., Crouse, B., Depuydt, J., Merwin, C., & Rinn, M. (2018). School Counselor Technology Use and School-Family-Community Partnerships. Journal of School Counseling, 16(6). Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.libproxy.lamar.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1182114&site=eds-live
O’Connor, M. T., & Daniello, F. (2019). From Implication to Naming: Reconceptualizing School-Community Partnership Literature Using a Framework Nested in Social Justice. School Community Journal, 29(1), 297–316. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.libproxy.lamar.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1219896&site=eds-live
Roche, M. K., Strobach, K. V., Coalition for Community Schools, Institute for Educational Leadership, & National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). (2019). Nine Elements of Effective School Community Partnerships to Address Student Mental Health, Physical Health, and Overall Wellness. Coalition for Community Schools. Coalition for Community Schools. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.libproxy.lamar.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=ED593295&site=eds-live
Stefanski, A., Valli, L., & Jacobson, R. (2016). Beyond Involvement and Engagement: The Role of the Family in School-Community Partnerships. School Community Journal, 26(2), 135–160. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.libproxy.lamar.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1124001&site=eds-live
Four weeks goes by in a flash. I am racing against the clock to make sure that I can get in as much as I can into the skeleton of the online course that I have been tasked to develop. With all that we have read, and learning from the examples of the classes that we are taking, I know that there is much more that can be done to develop my course. I see my work so far as a strong starting point. From here I can think about how I can make the next iteration stronger. Each time I read through the files and directions, I see more that I can expand on over time. Maybe after I am finished with this program, I can explore a variety of online offerings to see how other places are delivering their product. Asynchronous online learning is where PD has to happen for me. I know it is that way for many. Keeping it affordable, appropriate, academically rigorous, and accessible is the the brass ring.
I am working on populating my online class with resources. I keep getting sucked down the internet rabbit hole. There are so many great resources out there on online privacy, how to write an email, and being a better professional you. I think I need to let go of some of the content control that I want and simply ask more questions of my learners and send them out to bring back resources with explanations. This will take more revision, but I believe it will be more true to the COVA philosophy. Teachers will be able to explore a topic as it relates to them, then create a resource that serves them purpose. This revelation would have been more helpful an hour or two ago..... not to late.
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