Saturday, June 7, 2014

Blended and Online Learning Class-Reflection on my Responses

This summer I am taking an online course from Five-Star Academy on Blended and Online Learning, in addition to continuing my course work via EdX this time on Sabermetrics and Coding.  From time to time I will be posting reflections based on my learning through Five Star, this being the first.

For this week's introductory course we were introduced to the course software, learned about the expectations for our coursework and when assignments are due, and learned about the projects we will be doing.  I really liked the format for this introduction, particularly the use of rubrics to set the expectations for posts, as well as did some reading on the different standards for online educators from the State of Indiana, iNACOL, and ISTE.

I found this article about Online Discussion Response Techinques as that is something that I always struggle with when taking online courses.  Which leads me to today's assignment, an evaluation of how I did responding this week to the writing prompts and the writing of my classmates.  The three questions for this prompt were based on the rubric below:

  1. Where do you fall on the rubric?
  2. What qualities of your entries effective or exceptional?
  3. What qualities of your entries were emerging or evolving?
In reading over my response to the question:  Which set of digital standards would you be most likely to use as a point of reference in your professional situation? What characteristics of those standards make them the best choice?   I believe that I fall predominantly in the Effective area.  I did a good job of understanding the readings that we were asked to write about and incorporate professional experiences in to both my response to the question and my response to my classmate's posts.  I also felt that I could be considered exceptional in the area of the presentation of my ideas.  That being said, I believe that my response to a classmate's post was a little too shallow to be considered effective, and thus I believe it is emerging.  While I did reference other posts that I had read, and also expanded on the topic by bringing in my beliefs about the standards as they related to our adoption of MacBooks in a 1:1 environment 3 years ago, I felt that my post was too much on the agreeable side of the scale.  

Another drawback to my post, is that I always find it hard to evaluate myself.  I tend to fall on the "too hard on myself" side of the scale, but when it comes to my writing, I think I grade myself too easily, plus it is always nice to get another perspective, so I have copied both my post and response to a classmate below. What do you think?

My Post:
As we are embarking on expanding our online offerings from 2 courses (Economics and English Composition) that were taught in a blended environment to a more comprehensive offering of core courses (we are adding Government and English 12) I believe that the Indiana Standards for Online Educators would be a great starting point. They are concise (11 pages long), easy to understand, and provide details as to what is to be expected when establishing yourself as an online educator. I believe that the interactions between the instructor and students is in many ways more important than the content that is being developed for these courses. Without great communication skills, the ability to connect with your learners, and the ability to engage them in the content, even the best lessons will fall flat. Thus I believe that these standards which give a nice overview of the process are a great place to start. 

I would back these up by using the other pieces as supplemental readings and discussions using the save the last word for me protocol established by NSRF ( or a similar text exploration protocol as part of a summer boot camp for online instructors as they offer more meet to grow from.

 Response to a Classmate:

Amy, I like your take on the ISTE standards being very well aligned to the goals your corporation has established for the coming year. I think that they can serve as a great guide for students to see what direct their digital learning can take them. I, agree with Kelly's earlier post regarding wanting to blend these documents into one final document that takes the best from all. I think incorporating the Indiana Online Educator standards does this in many ways, as she pointed out in her post, that it blends items from INaCol and ISTE to try and create a foundations document for teachers. I believe that having teachers understand the unique environment that blended/online learning is will be vital in making any technology change go beyond advanced power point and word processing. It is one of my biggest regrets from our transition to 1:1 that we did not access similar standards and discuss them as part of our teacher PD.

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