Monthly Archives: March 2014

Beginning our Advanced ID Project

This week we broke into groups and began working on our advanced instructional design group projects. One member of my group has a real problem which we decided we wanted to address with this project.

At his university, he has incoming freshmen who are unprepared to manage their time as they should to be successful in college. His school offers a face-to-face one-hour long lecture-style seminar to these students to try and address this issue, but to date this method has proven ineffective. The schedule demands on new freshmen will not permit a longer face-to-face session, so my group member is seeking a way to increase instructional time by adding an online component. In analyzing the learners we determined one problem with added instruction was a lack of motivation; if the online activities were not intrinsically motivating to the students there would be little incentive for them to complete them.

Since the unit of instruction we are planning will be online and will likely involve media of some type, and since it is imperative we engage our learners and require their participation in the learning process, we decided the most appropriate instructional design model on which to focus would be the ASSURE model. This advanced ID model is perfect for technology mediated instruction and is very learner-centric.

As we discussed ways to engage the learners and offer intrinsic motivation, one medium that came to mind is educational gaming. An immersive virtual game environment which places the learner in a situation which requires time-management skills in order to be successful and solve the game challenges would allow learners to learn time management skills through play. Learners could go through a series of quests each involving various time-management skills such as scheduling, prioritizing, goal-setting, concentration, etc. Following the gaming activities, face-to-face facilitators could then make best use of the hour-long presentation to summarize needed skills and/or breakdown time requirements for the average freshman course load.

We have opened a Google Drive folder to share resources among the group members and have already met twice via Zoom Web Conference to discuss the project. A shared Google document allows us all to work together on the document to complete the writing. Our plan is to have a draft which includes an introduction and strengths and weaknesses of the model by Friday. As we work on the research to write these sections, literature we review in the process will be added to the literature review section so that we can slowly develop that section.

What I’ve learned in Advance ID and what I hope to learn

When I began this course in Advanced Instructional Design, I expected to learn about the newest and most complicated ID techniques available. Instead I have been surprised to hear presentations on some very old ID models such as Merrill’s Component Display Theory, and some relatively simple models, such as ASSURE, demonstrated as examples of advanced ID.

What I am beginning to see is that there are some common elements to the selections presented in class. As I examine the elements and break them down, I might be able to analyze what makes an ID model advanced.

Student-focused: Pretty much every model that has been presented has had a strong emphasis on what the student is learning rather than what the teacher is presenting. In some instances, as in problem-based learning, the teacher actually takes on the role of a facilitator while the student takes charge of their own learning.

Engaging: Many of the models incorporated authentic learning, problem-solving, and/or active learning techniques to engage the students.

Non-linear: For the most part, the models presented were cyclical or systemic. Steps were not performed in a linear fashion but might be performed in any order and any stage of the design might branch to any other.

I doubt I’ve identified every common characteristic of an advanced instructional design, but for half-way through the semester, I believe I’ve learned a lot. I am looking forward to watching the rest of the presentations and also to getting feedback on my model.

The group project mentioned in this week’s assignment is an area of great interest but also of concern. I always enjoy working with my peers in this cohort. I have gotten to know a number of them. There is not a slacker among them. When participating in group projects I know I can count on equal contributions from everyone, and I get to enjoy multiple perspectives and insights and benefit from the experiences of others. This one has me a little concerned because I’m still unclear as to the parameters of the project. As of today, I still don’t know if we pick our own groups or if they are assigned. I have asked one class member to join me in a group on the assumption that we must pick our own. I don’t know how many people constitute a group, so I’m not sure how many others I should contact. I am unclear as to what the group project is about; what are we supposed to be producing together in our groups? I have gone through the syllabus and do not see any mention of a group project there. The only assignments mentioned are the advanced ID presentation and rough design draft, and then the prototype. Is this prototype supposed to be completed as a group? We all did separate presentations.

The prototype will be a lot of work but it will force me to at least on paper design the flow of the professional development course for faculty that I’ve been working on for months. It will make it a higher priority for me than it has been while the tyranny of the urgent has taken over at work. Just being in this class has forced me to think about the design and rethink it several times, so the class has been good for me. I believe the end result will be much more engaging and an active learning experience for my faculty rather than the long, boring series of “lectures” with a few practice sessions I’d originally been designing. I’m going to make this much more about them, present necessary information in smaller chunks, and allow them to make their own discoveries.

Reflections from the Teaching with Technology Conference

I was unable to attend this week’s class as I was on the road returning from a conference in College Station, Texas, and didn’t have enough signal on my phone on back country roads to push through a text message much less attempt an Adobe Connect session. I do not want to miss out on the blog points for this week, so in lieu of blogging about my fellow students’ presentations, which I will watch when they are posted at a later date, I thought I would blog about the conference and what I learned there.

One especially interesting and informative session discussed the use of GIS interactive mapping to engage students. This was a technique I had never used before. The presenter discussed the difference between using GIS mapping software on the desktop and using the web-based version. Apparently, the desktop version has over 11,000 functions and requires at least a minimum knowledge of GIS mapping skills in order to use. The web version in comparison has only 1500 functions, and if you are good at social media, you are ready to use this version of GIS mapping. A brief hands-on demonstration had us creating an account, uploading data, and displaying a GIS map of John Snow’s cholera data within minutes. My map is embedded below.

View Larger Map

The presenter then demonstrated a different use. She had taken geo-tagged photos on a recent bike ride. She presented a hands-on demonstration where we linked the photos from her Flickr account to the GIS map and a video from her YouTube account and shared them publicly as a story map. The link to my story map is http://bit.ly/1gLXbJv.

These two demonstrations showed me how GIS mapping could be used in any discipline to engage students, with a minimum of technical knowledge or skill required to use the application. We created these two maps in a 50 minute hands-on session with no prior training; in fact, prior to this session, I had never even heard of GIS mapping.

Another session I attended which interested me dealt with the use of infographics to convey information in a visually appealing way. In this research grant study, researchers used infographics to present statistical information about various issues in a women’s health course as a supplement to the course textbook. They had some positive outcomes and learned some lessons along the way which were both informative. Again, the terminology was new to me; before deciding to attend the session I had to Google infographics. I realized I had seen infographics before but was unaware they had a specific name. One thing the researchers stated with which I’m not sure I agree was that infographics were most appropriate when dealing with quantitative data. When I Googled the term, one of the first things that came up in the search results was an infographic explaining the recent “Gangnam Style” craze and demonstrating the moves and where to do them in the song, as well as how to dress. I guess that isn’t exactly “qualitative” in nature, but it certainly isn’t the statistical data the researchers where touting as the best information to include in an infographic. Nevertheless, the workshop was helpful, providing not only information but resources as to where to get started. They recommended watching Sean Nufer on YouTube and looking at tagxedo.com, and they demonstrated how to disassemble and customize clip art in Microsoft PowerPoint.