Integrated Course Design – Module 7

What have you learned about integrated course design, taxonomies of learning, active learning, or problem-based learning?

After reading these last few chapters in Fink, I think that I was closer in basing my course design on significant learning strategies then I really thought I was. I have had previous experience with taxonomies of learning and active and problem-based learning and have helped faculty apply these strategies to their own courses. I have just finished up leading some of the sessions in a four-day faculty training workshop (iTeach) where we talk through many of the suggestions that Fink talks about in the chapters we read: topic coverage vs. learning goals, measurable learning objectives, feedback, assessment, learning activities. Doing the reading for this class and participating in those activity so close in time has been a good experience for me applying and doing what I’m reading and learning.

I also just found out that my class is on the spring schedule so having this time to review and rethink and apply couldn’t have worked out better for me.

One concept that I really like about Fink’s model is Figure 4.7 the “Castle Top” diagram on page 132. I think this is an important practice that face-to-face instructors should consider for their classes. All too often, students aren’t given a thorough understanding of what they should be doing outside of class. Having instructor go through this exercise might help them when they create their schedule.  Being explicate about what your expectations are for students can sure help to clear up any misunderstandings. Should a reading assignment be completed before class or as a supplement after the concepts have been introduced in class? Perhaps we assume that students will be prepared, but I expect that isn’t the case.

How is the online learning environment working for you? What are the advantages and/or the challenges of taking this class in this format?

Coming into this course I had no doubt that the online delivery option would be the best choice for me. I have a busy schedule and committing to a time and day can be difficult. I also need structure so having weekly deadlines helps to keep me on task. I normally don’t do well if the schedule is really loose, although I may be better disciplined than I used to me. Having the convenience of studying and interacting with my class when I choose is a very good model for me. I can spread things out over a week, read, ruminate, write, ruminate, submit, read, ruminate, comment and ruminate some more. Until you asked this question, I might not have been aware of how this model really works for me. I’m able to take what I’m reading, think about it and even apply it, commit to a position by posting to the discussion board and then revise and rephrase as we discuss things as a class. If I were in a classroom situation, I know myself pretty well and I know that I would do anything I could to not make eye contact with the instructor in hopes that I wouldn’t be called on in discussion. I need that time to think and compose. Perhaps at some point in my life I will need to be taken out of that comfort zone and be forced to perform but it certainly isn’t something I’ll volunteer for.

Except for a few challenges with Canvas, I don’t feel there are any challenges of disadvantages with the content or how it is delivered. Here’s my issues with Canvas:

  1. The main menu structure of Canvas plays a more prominent part than the main menu for the course. I’d like Home, Announcements, Assignments, Discussions, Grades, etc. to be static when you scroll down a page instead of the Canvas items. Except for “Account” where you have to go to upload images, I haven’t used any of the Canvas items.
  2. From the discussion board
    1. you can’t upload images directly – you have to upload them to canvas first and then find them
    2. when you scroll down a page there is no quick access to “top of page”
    3. in the formatting bar there is no numbered list option
    4. there is no save draft

What have you learned about yourself during this unit? Have you discovered anything new about your own learning styles or preferences? Have you developed any new strategies that help you learn more effectively?

I knew this before, but the articles reviews confirmed that I need to brush up on my statistics. I’ve actually never taken a stats class and I think it would really help me when reading and analyzing study results. In ED 601 there were some activities using stats but I was able to make it through those without really learning or remembering. It has been something I can usually skip over and still gain some understanding of the article, but it is clear that understanding more would be beneficial.

I’m not sure I’ve learned anything new about my own learning style preference nor have I taken on any new learning strategies. But I have learned or confirmed, is that every teaching style is different so being able to adapt to that style is helpful.

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