It’s done! I have completed my course BlendKit 2014: Becoming a Blended Learning Designer https://blended.online.ucf.edu/blendkit-course/
This course started out as a “good thing to learn and do” and quickly became a personal obsession! My original goal was to add a few more design elements into a course I teach. However, over time I kept asking myself more questions about the learning design. A passionate lifelong learner, I knew from previous experience and courses there was a lot to learn. It does feel like a Pandora’s box has been opened now!
The reason for this is that my primary orientation since 1997 (when I built my first online course) has been ‘how can I do this online’. Today, my question is, ‘what is the BEST way to teach this’? My initial question was right for the time and the results of my experiences were positive. The learning outcomes of the online teaching were the same or better than what we got in the classroom. Additionally, we were able to serve more learners across the country. It is helpful to note here that I coordinate and teach in a post-graduate college certificate that trains career counsellors across Canada. That being said, approximately two-thirds of our learners now live within a 3-hour radius of the campus and are open to travelling a few times per term to campus to attend class. The combination of the student profile plus by shift in question led me here.
The documents created for the portfolio review are all housed in a Google Drive folder titled: BlendKit Portfolio. Anyone with this link can view all of the files:
In the middle of this course, many design ideas and strategies came together. They are best represented in this presentation:
A ‘light bulb’ went off and I was able to get a gestalt forming in my mind of what the classroom, webinar and LMS elements and ratios needed to be. Once I had this formed, it was much easier to complete the course.
The expectations are articulated in two documents:
A Guide to Getting Started: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G8yzwoCF9Vbj67xAQcHZoY3SV4ettG2tFIaIBsiSna8/edit?usp=sharing
A Guide to Understanding How This Course Works: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mnRtYIoZBxpgmikNTZRsun1zDKlBL_tTXTjf6Uyyn90/edit?usp=sharing
Feedback from students indicates that the second document is particularly important. Prior to entering the course, most students do not have an understanding of how it is possible to learn in this course. This simple sheet helps them out.
The course “blueprint” was very difficult to create and took a lot of time. However, now that it is done I am excited about sharing it with students. It really helped me to understand how I integrate the course learning process. I also believe that students will find the MixMap helpful for understanding the course design:
The official course outline is here:
This is an official course outline that meets college standards. Unfortunately, the layout and components have been simplified over time, I don’t find this current design helpful for students.
The Week 2 Module in this course is a useful example of the overall course design. It only includes the asynchronous online web content and the synchronous webinar.
Here is the core of the week’s activities: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pq0mCrdTPzVsR0BpvBIJ0ZpxG02t6zT9qSLvNrzJPOE/edit?usp=sharing
Here is the interaction design:
Here are the Webinar slides for Week 2:
The classroom pieces come later in the term and I am still redesigning those.
The Week by Week schedule is what students pay the most attention to, it drives the course learning and assessment: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1PynUGh9uRnId7tqtC1sWJ2ApgfB3Kfn5Ma7lCDd68Dg/edit?usp=sharing
The Instructions for the Course Assignments are located here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/13w6cjEEYzM8KKRNKjaWa8CB1_AcMuf0OjDjDmm-yBnY/edit?usp=sharing
The Marking Rubrics are here:
There are a variety of technologies used in this course. The main one is the learning management system: Desire2Learn (D2L). My greatest challenge over the years has become the LMSystems. In 1997 I started working in WebCT Beta and loved it. It was a simple design and layout that worked well from the student perspective. Over the past decades I believe that overall the LMS packages have become less about the learner and more about the institution and registration management. In my opinion, the LMS is a barrier to learning. On the longterm, I hope to free my courses of the LMS and go to a simpler CMS like WordPress.
I will be using the GoToTraining platform for the Webinar. This allows for presentation of slides, recording of webinars, text chat and voice interaction, polling and distribution of materials. Google Drive (Docs) will be used for students to sign-up for their learning partners (as well as for the Case Study Presentations later in the course). All of my personal files that I have created for the course are housed in DropBox. Students can directly link this folder with their own DropBox account (if they have one) or download the files directly to their device.
The Career Development Practitioner Certificate program runs in the Province of Ontario and is legally mandated to comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA): http://www.aoda.ca/ All of the documents that sit in the learning management and content management systems are based on templates that comply with the AODA standards.
Additionally, we have an Accessibility Office which provides excellent support to help ensure our students success by adapting the learning process to their specific needs
The CDP program educates professionals who are a part of a professional practice. The program is designed to ensure students learn the ethical foundations necessary to embrace the highest standard of professional ethics in the field in Canada. These standards are identified here: http://career-dev-guidelines.org/career_dev/
Evaluation and Review
At the time of writing, I have completed the Blended Course Implementation Checklist / Before the Course Starts form: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qkhsxY1d5zvkoXQGuj5IzFfoVwW87jmuJt-Tn2BzmEo/edit?usp=sharing
I am working on using the Peer Review sheet for myself and have a commitment from a colleague who teaches in the CDP program to review my course using this template.
We just finished a review of the technology we use in the program, an extract is available here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1w-JWFzh9SyzSn6TnbVFLgUHZ4ZmVrql9yUOELUitJfQ/edit?usp=sharing
Finally, we have done a variety of “Student Appraisals of Teaching” in the program. This process is being reviewed. I participated in a pilot study last winter and am looking forward to a program wide rollout to take place next year.
I love lifelong learning and this course has been a joy to participate in! It has also been an excellent reminder of the ‘stress’ that comes with trying to complete all of the assignments in a short period of time when one has work commitments and children to parent. I have appreciated the perspective that I have gained from this standpoint. Most importantly, I believe I have a strong blended design to implement next fall!