Posted by: cgrazier | July 2, 2011

Distance Learning Past, Present and Future

Blog Assignment: Defining Distance Learning

My former personal definition of “Distance Learning” is similar to Schlosser & Simonson definition in that it is education where the learning participant or group is separated from each other and the instructor and where communication systems are used to connect learners, resources and instructors. I don’t believe that it must be institution-based or formal education nor do I believe that distance learning must use telecommunication systems (though I agree this is the most common resource these days).

It seems like I have been involved in some type of distance learning since I began my undergraduate education. My first experience was correspondence courses taken from the University of Missouri. I’ll never forget that summer and 6 hours of course material. The first class “Introduction to Shakespeare” and the second “Basic Concepts of Modern Math.” It definitely helped that I had read many of Shakespeare’s work in high school and was familiar with the style. The test pieces were multiple choice exams regarding the concepts of each play. The math course though basic had its moments of hesitation. Again, the exams were multiple choice where I performed the mathematical equations and then selected the right answer.

I found that during both of these courses I missed the interaction with fellow students and with the professor. The easy access to ask questions and obtain immediate feedback are items that I found make the courses more informative, enjoyable and memorable. A problem that I still have with distance learning to this day.

My new definition of distance learning, is the same as my previous definition, it is education where the learning participant or group is separated from each other and the instructor and where communication systems are used to connect learners, resources and instructors. I don’t believe that it must be institution-based or formal education nor do I believe that distance learning must use telecommunication systems.

I think that my definition of distance learning expanded this week by grasping how much distance learning has grown with the use of technology. I do believe that online course are better than correspondence courses in that you do achieve some class involvement and have access to classmates and instructors in a more timely fashion. The use of other resources such as “YouTube” can bring such classes as “Introduction to Shakespeare” to life through videos of plays and discussions. The idea of seeing the Globe Theater recreated can inspire the Shakespearean reader to envision plays as the Bard himself saw them enacted.
I think as an adult learner, I have become more entrenched in the idea of “making a living” and distance learning allows me to obtain a degree that will further my ability to do so at a convenient time so I can pay my bills in the mean time. However, with that being said the idea of learning for the sake of learning seems to become less important. I would regret to see us become so involved about learning being a “means to an end” that we forget the necessity to learn for pure enjoyment. I would have missed much by not taking Art Appreciation or English Literature but I am definitely not using the things I learned in those classes to make a living.

I am currently looking to Distance Learning to aid people as they study for professional licensing exams such as real estate or property management. The majority of these classes are individualized, where students read pages of materials, take chapter exams, take a final exam review, take a final exam, print off completion course and then go take the State Test for their license. In my opinion these courses thought time-effective and less expensive than face to face courses need to be reorganized so that students would not only be more prepared to take their State Licensing Exams but would also be more prepared for real-life application. Therefore, engaging students in class discussions and participation, case studies, and practical mathematical application would benefit not only the student but the public as well.

 
educ 6135 week 1 mind map
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Posted by: cgrazier | October 12, 2011

Week 6: Blog Assignment: Scope Creep

When given the assignment to describe a project, either personal or professional, that experienced issues related to scope creep. I found myself immediately thinking of which projects didn’t have scope creep and very few came to mind.

A former employer was brilliant in drafting RFPs and winning contracts. However, she would often times let new clients change their requirements after the contract had been placed. Much of the time, this was a bidding strategy, especially if she was trying to win a new client.

We had one project where the clients continued to make changes in the professional development curriculum till the night before the pilot 2-½ day class. These continual changes including adding pre-class personality assessments, case studies, and a final course paper to be submitted after the class to be graded by the facilitators, created havoc for many of the stakeholders, such as, the team curriculum designers, the instructors of the class, the administrative staff who made sure all the changes were completed in participants course books, posters, charts, facilitator guides, etc. We managed to make the changes and presented a professional class. However, the effort was monumental and exhausting. The client who watched from the back of the room may not have seen or sensed the feeling of chaos but upon the completion of the program – a break was definitely needed by all involved.

After reviewing our materials and be involved in the discussions and the course project and if I had been the PM – I think that I would have discussed the proposed changes with both the VP and the client to determine why there were so many changes between the RFP and the actual deliverable. As many of the changes that could be made, I would have tried to keep the client happy but I think that I would have insisted to a week cut-off date before delivery. This would have allowed all who were involved to get materials ready, given facilitators time to prepare for the course, and given the client the ability to see many of their required changes in the pilot, and given the VP the opportunity to write an addendum to the contract to cover additional changes.

 

 

 

“Time to Develop One Hour of Training” by Robyn A. Defelice and Karl M. Kapp first published as an article for ASTD in 2003 and revised in 2009. The article presents the low and high numbers of development hours per 1 hour of instruction. He article also provides ideas on how the number of hours can be reduced. It serves as a guide for managing projects that require the creation of instruction.

http://www.astd.org/LC/2009/0809_kapp.htm

The second article I would suggest people read is “Effective Strategy to Estimate Time For Your Design Projects” by Sam Barnes written June 11, 2009. This article was written as a guide for people designed web site projects, however, it provides, logistical reasons as to why underestimating project costs are very common and provides ideas to keep your project on its financial course. I personally like the idea of breaking down the project phases and tasks for each project in a consistent manner. Many of the articles I reviewed suggested using the ADDIE approach for estimating – I liked the idea of breaking down the phases into:

Research and planning
Solution design
Design
Front-end development
Back end development
Content entry
Testing
Go-live

I like this break down in that it allows for development in the back end of the project as well as the testing phase which provides the ID the ability to make corrections before the go live time frame. It also allows the designer the ability to track hours in such a way that may be useful for additional bids.

Another idea I took from this article is the use of a time tracking tool. As I review my previously discussed PM venture – this tool would have provided me necessary information to provide my VP of hours kept for the project.

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/06/11/effective-strategy-to-estimate-time-for-your-design-projects/

Posted by: cgrazier | September 20, 2011

Blog Assignment: Communicating Effectively

For this week’s blog we were assigned to watch a multimedia program titled “The Art of Effective Communication” and observe a piece of communication in three different modalities: as written text, as audio, and as video. After, reviewing the multimedia program the class was asked to reflect upon the experience by considering the following:

  • How did your interpretation of the message change from one modality to the next?
  • What factors influenced how you perceived the message?
  • Which form of communication best conveyed the true meaning and intent of the message?
  • What are the implications of what you learned from this exercise for communicating effectively with members of a project team?

My interpretation of the message changed completely from the written email to the face to face. The email message left me unsure about the senders frame of mind, “Am I in trouble” to “Yes, I have been busy – Yes, I have been in a meeting all day and Why, should this situation be of any worry of mine” all fleeted across my train of thought.

The voicemail message made me feel more comfortable in hearing the senders tone of voice but not quite sure of our personal relationship. I was wondering “Are we ok or not”.

And, the third message the face-to-face meeting put me at ease and actually wanting to provide my co-worker the information as soon as possible. The friendly tone of voice and the visual clues in facial expression and body language made me feel at ease.

Again the factors that influenced how I received the message was basically in the facial expression of the co-worker in this situation. Her friendly face put me at ease and created a sense of collaboration in helping her get to her goal.

The implication of this example was simply to assert validity to Albert Mehrabian’s study for UCLA on the effectiveness of spoken communication. His model declared that 7% of the meaning is in the words spoken or written; 38% of the meaning is in the way the words are said; and 55% of the meaning is in facial expression.

My take away is that I will be aware of words-only communication that are very easy to misunderstand and use voice and if possible complete face-to-face communication for extremely important messages.

Reference

Mehrabian, Albert, and Ferris, Susan R. “Inference of Attitudes from Nonverbal Communication in Two Channels,” Journal of Consulting Psychology, Vol. 31, No. 3, June 1967, pp. 248-258

 

 

Posted by: cgrazier | September 15, 2011

Learning From My Mistakes

It has been said that people learn more from their failures or mistakes than they learn from doing something correctly the first time out. This is probably true because the human nature is to reflect on those things that did not go according to plan to determine how they can be improved the next time around.

The blog assignment for this week was to recall a project that I worked on in the past that was not successful or did not result in the desired outcomes. Then using the Project “Post Mortem” Review Questions found on pages 42–43 of The Project Management Minimalist. Then, reflect on the following:

  • What processes, project artifacts, or activities did you include in the project that contributed to its success?
  • What processes, project artifacts, or activities did you not include in the project that might have made the project more successful?

The project that came to mind was when I was given an assignment to be a Project Manager assigned an Instructional Designer to prepare a 1-day course to be designed in a learner centered format. Many problems come to mind as I reflect on this project. First, I had not designed a course myself and was to direct a “seasoned” Instructional Designer. Two, I was out of the office delivering classes while the Instructional Designer was working in the office while the Vice-President of the Company was also in the office changing the scope of the project and reviewing the work on a daily basis.

I will be the first to admit that this project was not a success. As I review back on this experience it plays out more like a horror movie – but as from all good horror movies (don’t go into the basement when the lights are out) – I learned quite a bit.

Phase I – I was not allowed to attend meetings with the client and the VP who had obtained the work contract. Therefore, I did not have a complete understanding of the needs of the client. I learned that it is imperative for the PM to be able to identify all the project deliverables in order to meet or discuss further the client’s needs.

Phase II – The project plan. During the course of this project, I was on the road 85% of the time, facilitating other classes. The Instructional Designer and I had created what I thought to be a functional project plan. In which we would correspond daily and talk at least twice a week. The class was to be delivered to the clients in eight weeks.  The project plan we created provided the first four weeks for design and development, the fifth week for a trial run and evaluation, the sixth and seventh week for revisions and delivery completed in week 8. However, the VP chose to change the project plan while I was on the road without informing me and to the dismay of the Instructional Designer.

Lessons learned: First, talk to the client to do a complete analysis of the work and the importance of an SOW. I relied upon the information given to me by the VP requesting the work. I believed that the VP was a director and a supporter when I later discovered she had another agenda and had a negative effective on the project. When I asked to speak to the client or attend meetings I was denied. This should have been my first clue that the project was not going to be successful.

Second, develop a complete timetable and have all parties agree to the document. In this situation, the VP discussed and agreed to a timetable but then began reviewing the work on a weekly basis when I was on the road. This did not provide me the time to determine if there was a problem and how it could be remediated.

A third lesson was the importance of trust in any project management situation. By the end of this exercise I learned that there had never been a client who requested the classroom instruction. The exercise was done to flesh out a class that might be created somewhere down the line.

The experience and taking the time to reflect and learn from the experience both then and now clarifies the lessons learned and why they will remain with me for life.

 

Greer, M. (2010). The project management minimalist: Just enough PM to rock your projects! (Laureate custom ed.). Baltimore: Laureate Education, Inc. Retrieved September 15, 2011 from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/courses/72033/CRS-CW-5693700/EDUC_6145_readings/PM-Minimalist-Ver-3-Laureate.pdf

 

Posted by: cgrazier | September 7, 2011

EDUC 6145 – Project Managment in Education and Training

Welcome to EDUC 6145-4 Project Management in Education & Training. My name is Cheryl Grazier and I live in the nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine, FL. I received an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Stephens College in Columbia, MO and my graduate degree in Public Administration from the University of Missouri – Columbia.

I am looking forward to this course in Project Management in Education and Training as my future goal is to open a Real Estate Education and Professional Development School using both online and traditional classroom settings.

Posted by: cgrazier | August 18, 2011

Week 7 Application

 

 

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The above is my link to the PDF brochure I created for Week 7 of Educ 6135. I hope you like it.

 

 

 

 

Posted by: cgrazier | August 17, 2011

Reflection

Reflection

What do you think the perceptions of distance learning will be in the future (in 5–10 years; 10–20 years)?

I think that the perceptions of distance learning will become more mainstream in the next 5-10 years and possibility even more so in the next 10 to 20 years. However, I think the brick and mortar schools with their built in support systems through alumni activities and major sports programs will continue to be the broad base for undergraduate degrees through out the United States.

 

I also believe that for the majority of specialized degree programs such as Medicine and Law will remain in the domain of face-to-face degree programs. This again will go back to the type of education being provide, heavy support of alumni organizations and strong lobbying for support for licensure requirements making a degree from a traditional school mandatory for licensure in states across the union.

 

How can you as an instructional designer be a proponent for improving societal perceptions of distance learning?

 

As an instructional designer it will be my responsibility to provide well thought out, designed and executed courses that will increase learner competence will increasing learner confidence. Many of the programs that I will be facilitating will be professional licensure courses. Each successful student that I have who successfully completes a state professional pre-licensure, post-licensure or continuing education course will be my positive influence in improving societal perceptions of distance learning.

 

If the majority of my students are able to take my own line courses and pass state licensure tests and post licensure test then

 

How will you be a positive force for continuous improvement in the field of distance education?

 

To be a positive force for continuous improvement in the field of distance education I will develop my online pre and post licensure courses to meet the specific needs of my distance education students. I will need to incorporate media to engage auditory, visual and kinesthetic learners as well as reading/writing exercises. I will need to engage my students in more than the read 25 PowerPoint slides – take a quiz and then a final exam. The use of experiential activities to “land the learning” will aid students take the information presented, hopefully pass a statewide exam, and retain the material for application in the professional careers.

 

 

 

Posted by: cgrazier | July 31, 2011

The Impact of Open Source

Week 5 Application Assignment is a blog entitled “The Impact of Open Source” this assignment required participants to select a free Open Course site, review the course, and reflect on the learning and consider how the concepts and ideas presented on course design were implemented.

First, I decided that I needed a better understanding of Open Source or Open Courses. I soon discovered that “Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is the success story in this category, as this college started the initiative that pulled many colleges from all over the world into the OER initiative. In 1999, Provost Robert A. Brown asked a committee of MIT faculty, students, and administrators to provide strategic guidance on how MIT could advance knowledge and education to students in science, technology, and other scholarship areas. The program was created to literally fulfill MIT’s mission statement about how to best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century” (OEBd, 2007).

MIT published the first proof-of-concept site in 2002, containing 50 courses. By November 2007, MIT completed the initial publication of virtually the entire curriculum, over 1,800 courses in 33 academic disciplines. Going forward, the OCW team is updating existing courses and adding new content and services to the site.

I soon found the OpenCourseWare Consortium site and learned that the consortium is a worldwide community of hundreds of universities and associated organizations committed to advancing OpenCourseWare and its impact on global education. The courses offered through the Consortium are free and open digital publication of university‐level educational materials. These materials are organized as courses, and often include course planning materials and evaluation tools as well as thematic content. These courses are openly licensed allowing them to be accessible to anyone anytime via the Web.
Based upon this learning, I set forth to discover a site and a topic that would hold my interest. I happened upon the University of California – Irvine site.

There I learned the University launched its OpenCourseWare initiative in November 2006 ad they add nearly 10 new courses per month to their site. Many of their OCW offerings are directed at working adults seeking continuing education, with the option to enroll in instructor-led, for-credit courses, related to the OCW content. In addition, our OCW Web site also provides students and self-learners around the globe with access to UCI-faculty created undergraduate and graduate courses that are currently being taught to matriculated UCI students.
The course I chose to review is entitled, “Online Instructor Training”, http://ocw.uci.edu/courses/course.aspx?id=15.

The analysis that we were asked to follow included: Does the course appear to be carefully pre-planed and designed for a distance learning environment and how so. Yes, I found this site to be carefully pre-planned and designed. The course was arranged in two parts with separate individual lessons.

Part I is entitled “Getting Started with Moodle” and was broken down into 5 modules starting with adding text to Moodle and advancing through setting up a quiz. Each module added links to walk the participant through the required material.

Part II was entitled ” Developing and Facilitating an Asynchronous Online Course”. The individual lessons in Part II included, “Preparing to Teach an Online Course”, “Building an Online Course”, and “Facilitating an Online Course”.

The site also added a Supplemental Resources page.
The information provided in the Supplemental Resources pages provides a host of information of different kinds that you an Instructional Designer would found useful in the development of an online course. In fact, this is a site that I will use as I move through to the completion of my course project. It provided such useful information as templates for lesson plans, procedures for narrated PowerPoint (which I struggled with two courses ago), effective practices for creating a PowerPoint presentation, links to free images and photos, video links videos to enhance class design, additional technology tools such as TalkShoe, SlideShare, and PollDaddy.

The second question we were asked to consider is does the course follow the recommendations for online instruction as listed in our coursebook. This course provided me with an example of the ideas presented in our coursebook. As a kinesthetic learner, I enjoyed the hands on approach of working through the course, watching slideshow presentations, hearing a voice discuss the course material. It held my attention and had me asking additional questions regarding application for my own use.

The third question was did the course designer implement course activities that maximize active learning for the students. This course was designed as a teaching tool for online Instructor at UC Irvine Extension, the online assignments and activities were not posted in the non UC Irvine site. I would have enjoyed seeing the course activities above and beyond the power point links but found that this was not an essential lack in the course.

I thoroughly enjoyed the course and would have liked to see a similar type of course set up for Walden students at the beginning of our Instructional Design program that we could review as we work through the process. I think this type of course would have eliminated or lessened much of the tension that adult students have with designing for online courses and would have also provided students with necessary information to complete course assignments in a more effective and efficient manner. I will definitely be passing on this course to other students.

References

Online Instructor Training and Resource Repository. http://ocw.uci.edu/courses/course_banner.aspx?id=15
OEDb. 2007.

Online Education Database. How the Open Source Movement Has Changed Education: 10 Success Stories. http://oedb.org/library/features/how-the-open-source-movement-has-changed-education-10-success-stories

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2009). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (4th ed.) Boston, MA:

Pearson.
Weaver, Christopher. CMS.610 Media Industries and Systems, Spring 2006. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), http://ocw.mit.edu
(Accessed Accessed July 26, 2011). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

Posted by: cgrazier | July 17, 2011

Selecting Distance Learning Technologies

Application: Blog—Selecting Distance Learning Technologies

In this week’s blog assignment the class assignment was to choose one of three real world examples that describe a qunique distance learning technology challenge. After making the choice the assignment continues by asking for one or two distance learning technologies that would provide the best solution for the given challenge, provide examples and support for those choices.

For my blog assignment, I chose Example 1: Collaborative Training Environment. The scenario provided is shown below:

A new automated staff information system was recently purchased by a major corporation and needs to be implemented in six regional offices. Unfortunately, the staff is located throughout all the different offices and cannot meet at the same time or in the same location. As an instructional designer for the corporation, you have been charged with implementing a training workshop for these offices. As part of the training, you were advised how imperative it is that the staff members share information, in the form of screen captures and documents, and participate in ongoing collaboration.

Because this organization is implementing the same program in six regional offices, I would first move consider the following technologies. First, I would use MPG Files also known as podcasting. I would chose this method because it is usually a prerecorded single concept lesson, normally audio but can be accompanied by still or motion visuals. This would be the first step in rolling out a 10 minute recording introducing the new automated information system and providing a quick introduction to its capabilities. I would present this podcast in an upbeat manner to engage the participants and excite them about the new program. The podcast could be played at a time appropriate for each office and could be played more than once to bring more people on board with the new program.

The next techology I would use would be Web/Video Conferencing with I each individual office or a combination of offices if time would allow. The web/video conferencing uses audio and video to bring people at different sites together at the same time for a meeting. A videoconference can be as simple as connecting two people in different locations (point-to-point) or it can involve several people at one or more locations (multi-point). Available functionality depends on which videoconferencing system you use. Sharing computer screens is possible on the videoconferencing systems with fixed locations (TV studio and AK218), but is not possible with the portable system that is available to borrow from the ATC. Videoconferencing sessions in the TV studio can be recorded for later reference.

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2009). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (4th ed.) Boston, MA:

Distance Education At A Glance. (2008). Retrieved July 17, 2011 from http://www.uiweb.uidaho.edu/eo/dist5.html

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