Monthly Archives: February 2014

The Partnership of The Virtual Instructor Team and The On-Site Teacher/Facilitator

Aleta May

Initial Blog Post Week 7

February 27, 2014

EDTE674 with Dr. Lee Graham

Week 7–Essential Question: What will you require of the instructors who teach the course you design? Why?

Since this credit recovery course may be taken at various times of the summer across the state of Alaska, there is no guarantee that the instructor at the site will have access to other students for their own students to blog with.  Additionally, the modules will be designed for the American Literature class to be taken on an as needed basis.  Therefore, students may be in different modules even within one school site.

This credit recovery class will be designed to be as independently user friendly as possible.  The on-site adults who will facilitate the course, may be paraprofessionals; particularly if the course is offered at a site where a lot of students are participating at the same time with only one certified professional who guides the process for many.  It is possible that the certified professional will be on site guiding the Algebra I credit recovery class simultaneously with the American Literature course.

This credit recovery course can be considered to be at least a partial blended course design Grading using the rubrics designed for each major standard addressed in order to create continuity across districts in Alaska.  Beyond assuring that there is consistency in assessment between site facilitators, “a sufficient number of tasks must be included to provide stable estimates of student performance” (p. 592).  When there are enough samples collected, such as is normal in a traditional face-to-face (F2F) class through a variety of means, there is not much variance in grading between a full F2F class and a blended class.

With the class facilitated in person with and through teaching modules that include activities, the class is as much standards driven as a F2F only class.  The pedagogy of the online delivery will in most cases emulate traditional F2F instructional design, but some strategies are best kept to F2F only, while some strategies are uniquely designed to take advantage of the internet and Blackboard benefits.  Therefore, the onsite facilitator will need to have some basic computer skills to guide students.  Course designers are highly qualified instructors in theses areas:  secondary English teachers, an educational specialist (for making adaptations), and using demonstration strategies.   The instructors in this case are a team, and their role is to “support and assist each student as he or she interacts with the content and converts it into personal knowledge” (Moore and Kearsley, 2012, p. 132).   ADDIE (analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation) is a model that is being used to design the American Literature course. During the Design stage of ADDIE, instructional strategies are the focus (Shibley, Amaral, Shank, and Shibley, 2011).  Instructor-designers will not be there in person, but through video clips, podcasts, PowerPoints, scaffolded lesssons (to assist English language learners and students with learning disabilities) and likely study guides to go with modules; students should “feel” the presence and care of a learner-instructor and learner-content interaction.

During the development stage of ADDIE, a lot of time is spent on developing resources.  (Shibley, Amaral, et. al.).  Overall, a module can include a guide that has an outline of contents and sub-content lessons.  A module guide may include a glossary of vocabulary terms with content friendly definitions, video clips, animations, graphics and primary sources that are referred to in the lesson.  So even if a student is introduced to a term during a PowerPoint, they can still find it in the glossary for writing assignments.  Action items are a key component of the development stage where reading, note taking, and essays are taught to students (as they apply learning along the way as assigned).

Implementation of the assignments is the responsibility of the facilitator to oversee.  This responsibility includes making sure the student spends the time completing learning activities, and uploads assignments or grades the assignment and returns some assignments to the student for correction.  Also, if more than one student at a site is completing the same module, the facilitator may allow one peer to assist another peer, or develop an assignment together.

In conclusion, the primary responsibility of the course delivery is the team of teachers designing the course.  The on-site facilitators’ responsibilities are to help students understand the structure of the course, access the assignment when there may be confusion about this by the student, oversee student study habits in regards to accessing and truly reading or watching the assignments provided to them, and making sure student complete and turn in assignments for grading.  In this way, the class is a blended design.


Gleason, J. (2013).  An interpretive argument for blended course

design.  Foreign Language Annals 46(4), pp. 588-609.

Moore, M. G. and Kearsley, G. (2012).  Distance education:  A

            systems view of online learning.  Belmont, CA:  Wadsworth-Cengage Learning.

Shibley, I., Amaral, K. E., Shank, J. D., and Shibley, L. R. (2011).  Designing a blended

course:  Using ADDIE to guide instructional design.  Journal of College Science

             Teaching, 40(6).

Ways and Means to Designing an Effective Online Class

Reflection for Week 6


by Aleta May

for EDTE674 with Dr. Lee Graham


1.  I got a lot from reading Thomas’s post and watching the video clip related to it.

            Thomas’s video clip was very helpful.  Making a Khan Style Video (KSV).  First, the teacher should have a conversational tone, like in a face-2-face (F2F) conversation.  Non-conversational styles that are highly scripted and emotionless and polished with voice over are difficult for students to relate to.   I want to add to this, that I believe a video using the think-aloud strategy would be a great example of making thinking visible by going over how the student should approach a new skill taught to them in a conversational tone.  Talking above (teaching so rapidly they don’t “get” the material that is assumed the student already knows).  Talking below is very condescending.  I have experienced both, and believe that most of us have. 

Further, it is important to use visuals so that the auditory and visual lesson can connect in the student’s mind better. The use of colors and diagramming was mentioned in this video.  Colors communicate messages quickly, and often help to anchor the learning into the student’s long-term memory.  Preparation (prepare your mind); visualize the concept to be taught ahead of time, and speak from the heart.  Writing an outline can help prepare the mind.  If a script is used by the teacher, it should be a tool to help reengage into the topic/concept.  Otherwise, the script becomes teacher notes that are passed along to the student, and neither teacher nor student really thinks about the notes.  The teacher needs to process this through their thoughts.  One reason this resonates with me, is that I have often taught this way, but felt I was falling below what was expected of me; until I noticed that my evaluations went best when I used the notes as a tool to get me back on track, and I spoke naturally.  Students visibly respond well to me when I do this.  And this is F2F.  When teaching virtually, where I may not be seen, I have just cut off a major part of communication—body language, including facial expression. 

Length of time needs to be chunked.  During one of my video produced lessons for classes I took, we were given a time limit of 5 minutes.  Then we posted this for others in our class to evaluate.  Editing the lesson to that short amount of time was difficult!  However, when I watched video clips, 5 minutes seemed just right.  Usually a mini lesson in person can go on up to 15 minutes maximum.  But an online lesson should be between 5 and 10 minutes.  The audience needs to be considered as well.  It is easier for the student to review the video segments when lessons are broken into segments.  In Chapter 5 of our text, 15 to 20 minute segments of time could be used to create 6 segments of time for a 90 minute classroom session (Moore & Kearsley, 2012).  A short video clip can be presented to the student, with an activity that follows.  Then another clip may be used paired with another activity. 

Related to making a KSV, is the Mastery Model for a flipped classroom.  In a blended learning classroom, teachers use online delivery and F2F facilitated activity learning to teach.  The computer may be used with program related to the class.  Or, the teacher may record his/herself teaching the lesson like the KSV, and the student can use the short lesson recording to review learning.  Another advantage is letting the student choose this as an option, or a link to a website that can teach the content in another way, or they might use the textbook or library book (Bergmann & Sams, 2012).  In the case where lectures are recorded, students who were absent can watch it at a later time.  


2.  Chapter 5

On page 107, there is a link provided for writing study guides.  I think this would be helpful to apply to each module:

On page 3 of the guide template, I especially like the suggestions section. 

Interwoven into course design is Maslow’s taxonomy of learning.  Below is a chart adapted from Stavredes & Herder (2014, p. 37):

Cognitive (Knowledge)
Facts and Concepts:
•Skills (including psychomotor)
•~~Critical Thinking
•~~Problem Solving
•Affective (attitude)
•”changes in interest, attitudes, and values, and the appreciations and adequate adjustment” (Stavredes & Herder, p. 38)

How to Organize Learning Outcome Statements.

  1. The skills, knowledge, attitudes column, should be added to each key themes.
  2. In the purpose column, write how the skills, knowledge, and attitudes are valuable to the learner.
  3. In the real-world column, connect any specific information about ways the learner can relate learning to their lives.
  4. In the active verb column, use an active verb connected to the other information in the row; this reminds me of writing special education goals and objectives.

I adapted the chart shown in the Appendix, because helps me to visualize our grades 9-12 standards in a practical way.

From:  (Stavredes & Herder, 2014).


3.  What did I contribute to the class?


Although there are no comments shown in my post, Dan told me that finding the legal limits for copyright laws for distance learning classes.  The Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act (TEACH), passed in 2002, was very helpful to me.  And as Dan with his math group use a variety of books and sources to build explanations to how to complete problems, having this pointed out to him from the text brought to his mind how they could use materials for their online course design.  In my initial post, I believe I contributed to class discussion when I gave an explanation of how communication or conversations in our class has gone.  Also, as I shared a graphic I found about ADDIE, I think it made the reading from Chapter 5 easier to understand.  Just like this graphic organizer helps me to learn, it helps people in our class to visualize how Active Mastery Learning and ADDIE bring order to course design. 


When Naomi posed questions:  How do we keep them engaged?  and Is the reading material we choose going to prove to be too mature? I believe I helped to answer her with an example from a study of how the computer reading assignments were scaffolded in a PowerPoint for students to click through, with a vocabulary function over words.  Scaffolding relates to the concept of chunking we read about this week as well. 





Bergmann, J. and Sams, A. (2012).  Flip your classroom:  Reach every student in every class every day.  Eugene, OR:  International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). 


Moore, M. G. and Kearsley, G. (2012).  Distance education:  A systems view of online learning.  Belmont, CA:  Wadsworth–Cengage Learning. 


Stavredes, T. and Herder, T. (2014).  A guide to online course design:  Strategies for Student Success. San Francisco, CA   Jossey-Bass.



Online References


Outcome Statements Draft:



Outcome Statements Draft


Active Verb

Skills, Knowledge, Attitudes



(standards and learner connections)

Design Models for Online Course Design

Aleta May                                                                                                              Initial Blog Post Week 6

EDTE674 with Dr. Lee Graham                                                                           IMG_0963

In what way is the process my group is using facilitating the design of our course?

One of the questions I have had as we design this course regards copyright laws; and more specifically, copyright laws for distance learning classes.  The Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act (TEACH), passed in 2002, outlines three fair use measures that address the needs unique to distance learning classes:  extent of access, amount of material and length of time (Moore and Kearsley, 2012).  When a small section from a book is used, I would propose that it would not only not negatively impact sales as stated in the text, it could likely increase sales.  I have written (on 2-20-14) to an author to request permission to use section(s) of her books.  In my request, I stated that one of my goals would be to draw interest to her books so that the school will want to purchase these for their students.  After sections have been approved for use by her publisher; likely to happen, according to the author; selection of the sections is imminent due to time lines for gaining permissions and for our class.  My next step will be to go over the standards that will structure our American Literature course design; while simultaneously reviewing one book I have read and reading the other.

While reading through Web Design Principles on pages 111-112 (Moore & Kearsley, 2012), I was reminded of a computer design class I took about 4 or 5 years ago through University of Alaska Southeast.  We applied several of the principles in this list.  Planning for blank space on a power point is a feature that draws attention to the words.  During my Reading Specialist coursework, we created visuals for use in a variety of things.  I used Smart Art to create diagrams and concept maps with pictures to show how one concept relates to others to build vocabulary.  I like the book example for writing a series of “if / then” sentences in a table.

Things I have found to be true as our team has met regarding the course team approach talked are taking advantage of “the greater wealth of knowledge and experience in the course team . . .” (Moore & Kearsley, 2012, p. 102), and the quality of the course design as the duties will be shared.  I have jumped into the conversations regarding ways to reach students across the state at a variety of reading and writing abilities as well as making our course accessible to English language learners; a very pertinent issue in the Lower Kuskokwim School District which covers 27 schools, most of those in villages.  Working through differences in how a class will be structured; such as, will students be able to use only some of the modules created? the types and amounts of literature will be included, discussions about reaching students who are college bound and need the rigor expected of an 11th grade high school student; has taken time.  Also, we have worked through issues where we have needed to come to agreements as to instructional materials and I agree with the blog in our readings that states that it is difficult to transition to releasing exclusive control over decision making in course design (online learning insights, 2013). However, we are now at a place where we understand each other’s point of view and are ready to prepare a class that is truly meaningful to the wide range of student needs and interests.

The Active Mastery Learning model is designed to assign team roles that will keep the focus on the learner rather than being content-driven (online learning insights, 2013), and keep the instructional design cohesive.  It is important to include people who have multimedia experience and technology (or to invest in people to gain these skills).  In our text, ADDIE is the model that sets up the stages in instructional design.  The stages of ADDIE are:  Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation (module by module that includes formative—along the way—assessment) (Moore & Kearsley, 2012, pp. 98-99).  In our group discussion yesterday, 2-19-14, we decided that next to knowing each standard, we need to create assessment rubrics that will either cover each standard, or groups of standards.  This way we will insert engaging learning strategies/activities that meet these standards.  This approach will help our activities not to be ancillary to standards, rather to be driven by standards.  The standards drive design, design is created with student-driven and teacher facilitated learning as its vision.  Students own their learning.  Here is a graphic organizer that helps me to see how the ADDIE Model is designed to work in stages, but perhaps more as a spiral where the design group meets to revisit the progress or snags in the planning to enhance successful planning and problem-solve snafus:


The ADDIE model was used by a team of six professionals to design a blended; online and face-to-face; General Chemistry course.  In this article, the analysis stage was used for “assessing student learner characteristics, as well as identifying learning objectives for the course” (Shibley, Amaral, Shank, and Shibley, 2011).  This explains why our group went back to standards and assessments as a place to start.  I think we got much out of discussing with each other first about who our course will include, and brainstorming ideas for focus of attention regarding topics based on team members experiences.  Our initial module layout did serve as an outline that included literacy elements, cultural needs, and more.  During the design stage for this General Chemistry course, the team focused on how students would engage with the content, the importance us including critical thinking and how to balance these via online tools and face-to-face interactions.  The accomplishment of the course included a significant increase of student time-on-task.


ADDIE Solutions diagram retrieved on 2-20-14 from:

Moore, M. G. and Kearsley, G. (2012).  Distance education:  A

            systems view of online learning.  Belmont, CA:

Wadsworth-Cengage Learning.

WordPress Blog, (2013, June), How to apply a team based

           approach to online course design. Online Learning Insights.

Shibley, I., Amaral, K. E., Shank, J. D., and Shibley, L. R. (2011).

          Journal of College Science Teaching, 40(6).

Reflection Week 5 — Reflecting on the many tools available for using technology in online learning


Reflection for Week 5


by Aleta May

for EDTE674 with Dr. Lee Graham

As I read Tammy’s blog, I found that my idea in the beginning was to “embed tools within each module that are appropriate to the content and activities” (Tammy, Blog 5, 2014).  A week or so ago, when I mentioned doing something with Harrison Bergeron, another group member said to me that this was another group member’s idea, and that we should leave that to her.  In my thinking, I thought I had communicated previously that my part would be to find tools to adapt readings to meet the needs of students who struggle with reading and comprehending, It is refreshing to me that Tammy stated that tools would be embedded.  This further reminded me that communicating online, whether through emails or blogs, needs to take into consideration that I may or may not be getting my message out there as clearly as I had thought.  This is why meeting in Skype improved communication some.  I believe adding in the voice added intonation.  Communication is so multifaceted!  Tammy brought out how different it is to develop an online class than it is to develop a traditional class in the classroom.

I believe I contributed to Tammy’s thinking about how user friendly many online tools are becoming.  She reflected on how much time she spent, years ago, using much trial and error, to create websites on DreamWeaver; then she compared that to current day Weebly.  Although I have not created a website on either, I learned of a great example of “user friendly.”

Jon mentioned in his reply to me that we can use a screencast tool for talking about a PowerPoint presentation:  “I don’t think PowerPoint has the capability to record your spoken audio, but you can use a screencasting website or app to record yourself speaking over the presentation and have it automatically turned into a video file (PowerPoint visual, spoken audio)” (Jon, Blog 5, 2014).  This is not something I have done before that I think would be very useful for creating short presentations for our American Literature recovery class.   I wonder along with Jon whether we could add closed captioning?  I just visited screencast-o-matic so I will be reviewing how to use this.  In our text, two screen recording programs are mentioned:  Adobe Captivate and Techsmith Camtasia (Moore & Kearsley, 2012).  When I reviewed these sites, I can see that the capabilities look very wonderful.  Economically speaking, Techsmith Camtasia is much more inexpensive than Adobe Captivate.  I would have to explore more to understand why.  However, screencast-o-matic is free with an upgrade option of $15.  I believe this program will suite my needs for now, especially since we have Blackboard as a platform for the online recovery class.

I contributed a list of links to short readings, some authentic readings, an inspiring video clip reading of poetry, etc.  I tried to list the tools/links in an order that made sense.  One has a place for compare and contrast writing between a two men who served time in prison/jail over the same issue, Civil Rights, but in two different countries—and though there may be some overlap in their lives in terms of years, one brings us to current day:  Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela.  This will be posted below as an appendix.  Since the blog posting, I have located the Birmingham Letter online.

In summary, the ideas for bringing technology into the content are developing exponentially, especially when teachers collaborate.  During this module, I created an outline that can be used as part of our proposal for this online class.  To formalize this, specific alignment to standards and written instructions for students will be next.  Then, rubric designing for written activities will be added.


Moore, M. G., Kearsley, G. (2012).  Distance education:  A systems view of  online learning.  Belmont, CA:  Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Online References

Adobe Captivate

Techsmith Camtasia


Outline of Readings Including Writing

Brief transcripts to build background knowledge as to what led up to why Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote The Birmingham Letters:
John F. Kennedy and Civil Rights
Lyndon Johnson and Civil Rights

2’ 37” Martin Luther King’s Last Speech: “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop” (4-3-1968 at the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee. The next day, King was assassinated.

How the Caged Bird poem by Maya Angelou printed version–which I believe can be legally posted to our site:

might be used to speak to the way repression felt to the African American during the Civil Rights Movement days

That leads us to a modern day connection–using free style poetry there is a video clip of Maya Angelou reciting her poem tribute on behalf of the American people to Nelson Mandela–this is an excellent example of how students could be encouraged to write their own freestyle poem and create a video to go with it “His Day is Done”:

Actual clip:

retrieved from:
Watch Maya Angelou’s taped message of remembrance at Democracy Now!

Actual clip:
(includes a line about his 27 years in prison)

Birmingham Letter for here to compare and contrast prison life for the cause of freedom.

Then a 2′ 30″ clip that is a piece of Martin Luther King’s Last Speech: “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop”

YouTube 2’ 37” Martin Luther King’s Last Speech: “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop” (4-3-1968 at the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee. The next day, King was assassinated.

Multiple Technologies for Keeping Students Engaged and Motivated

Aleta May

Initial Blog Post Week 5

for EDTE674 with Dr. Lee Graham

What tools will my group use as we create our online course?  What is our rationale for using these tools?

Our group is working through these pertinent questions now.  I have many ideas for tools to use.  One that I have mentioned is the use of podcasts”an audio file listened to via streaming technology or internet download” (Guertin, 2010, p. 6).  An idea for using podcasts came from this article by Guertin, where the instructor has volunteer students gather in his office to discuss the lecture deeper than the presentation in class (2010).  That sound like a great idea!  Students in our high school literature class could discuss the meaning of a poem or short story the online students will read.  It would be most helpful if we can get our literature teacher either to help me with true interpretation so I am a better discussion leader, or to just find out if he would be willing to lead this.   “The student podcast listeners who are not involved with the recordings still report a greater sense of connection with the class and content” (Guertin, 2010, p. 6).

Originally, my idea was to ask students to read the poem or a section of a reading into a podcast for students to listen to or to read along with.  This idea can still be used.  Online students could still be required to read the content themselves to dig deeply for meaning and then write about their thoughts to a given prompt or paragraph frame.  Having already listened to a reading of the material will assist students in comprehending the text, because they receive the material audibly with prosody (fluency, rhythm, expression).

PowerPoint presentations may be used with an accompanying audio.  Would this be podcast or is there an audio capability already built into PowerPoint?  Presentations like this can be used to present major concepts, and to support vocabulary with mind map pictures/graphic representations, etc.  Separately, it may work to add “Word Talk” as a free add-in that will read documents aloud and even create audio files for listening to again later (Teach Thought Staff, 2013).  Links to YouTube sites or other educational sites provided will build on both vocabulary and background knowledge.

Last night I was reading through Poetry for Young People:  Maya Angelou.  This is a beautifully illustrated book of a selection of her poems that could be used as a lead in to help give students a feel for the times from the perspective of African Americans.  They could make connections to present events or other events known by the student in their personal experiences, by using the pattern of a poem to write their own poem; this is a copy-change activity (Sanacore, 2005).  One way is to video tape myself reading the poem, while with the book held up.  High school students are not too old for this type of picture book reading—and it is brief.

Locating and uploading pictures from the timeframe of the reading will help students gain background knowledge about what things were like in that time and space.  Some pictures like this may be used as a writing prompt:  If you were one of the people standing on the sidewalk watching Martin Luther King, Junior live out his passionate words of advice, to march peacefully, knowing he would be arrested along with other leaders of the cause, how do you think you would feel?  Now pretend you are a teenager standing on that sidewalk with the crowd (with your younger brothers and sisters), considering what if my mom or dad went to jail, purposefully sacrificing themselves to promote freedom for themselves and the future of you and your siblings.  Describe your thoughts about what you would do.  Think about your role at home and school and how these would be affected.  Write about this.  Include facts (efferent) from your reading of … and your emotions (afferent stance).

An example of using freestyle poetry could be posted so that students can use the example to create their own, to capture the emotions of the time and create their own historical picture.  Another writing can have characters can talk to each other where someone from a present day Civil Rights situation can ask the advice of a true character from the past, using captions.  This is a way for students to explore how issues are similar and different over time.  They can read it into a podcast and upload (scan) the project in, as a writing assignment, aligned with the writing piece of the standards in American Literature.

The examples provided cover flexible use “offering content in multiple formats” (McClary, 2014, p. 9).  Students have multiple ways to be successful and to connect to the material.  Course design may need to be a stand alone design, in that there may be no way to ensure that students will take this at the same time as others in order to blog about topics.  Yet, it needs a collaborative feel.  The teacher involvement with the student may be felt if teachers or course designers make brief video clip appearances.


Guertin, L. A. (2010).  Creating and using podcasts across the disciplines. Currents In

      Teaching and Learning 2(2), Spring.

McClary, J. (2014).  Factors in high quality distance learning courses.

Sanacore, J. (2005).  Increasing student participation in the language arts.

     Intervention in School and Clinic, 41(2).

TeachThought Staff (2013).  8 helpful assistive technology tools for your classroom.

Wilson, E. G. (Ed.) and Lagarrigue, J. (Illustrator) (2013).  Poetry for Young People:

Maya Angelou.  New York, NY:  Sterling Children’s Books.

Week 4 Reflection on Institutional Innovations, Online Collaborative Learning

Reflection for Week 4


by Aleta May

for EDTE674 with Dr. Lee Graham


This week I have learned that there are different types of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).  MOOCs fall under the umbrella of Open Educational Resources (OER), and they are a type of informal learning.  Most MOOCS are run by cognitive behavioral pedagogy which is based on teacher direction, with clear and measurable objectives. There are three variants of MOOCs:  First, an xMOOC is student and content interactive, with low cost ways of delivering content (e.g., video, text, and audio).  “If anything, it stands for eXtended. . .to indicate programs that aren’t part of the core offering, but which are in some way extensions. . .MOOC as eXtension of something else” (Downes, 2013).  Second, a sMOOC is a small or social MOOC that is based on constructivism pedagogy that emphasizes discussion, group interactions and team work.  Through these interactions, new knowledge is created (Miyazoe and Anderson, 2013)

Interaction Equivalency Theorem (the EQuiv) framework is a lens for us to look at informal learning, MOOCs.  Formal education is changing.  There is a “transaction taking place between an individual and what, at the time, constitutes his environment. . .” (Miyazoe and Anderson, 2013).  Third, a cMOOC is based on networked connections that are created between students, their teachers, and the content.  Siemens was quoted as saying of connectivism that it has become a “pedagogy for the digital age” (Miyazoe and Anderson, 2013, 10).  Importantly, recognition of two major modes of interaction needs to be understood.  One mode leads to deep and meaningful learning through student-teacher, student-student, and student-student interactions.  These interactions represent the pedagogy of connectivism.  Students may choose to learn in a completely informal MOOC setting, or they may choose to access MOOCs, and other sources online to add strength to the formal education course.

After listening to the superintendent of Kodiak being interviewed by Nicole in the podcast she presented in WordPress, I was impressed with how that school district is using technology to create connections between students in villages and in Kodiak with village students.  They interact about an intensive subject that is related to the standard of one of their classes, then when they see each other in person, there is a connection made that creates a sense of importance in that previously “unknown” village student.  There is self-confidence and efficacy—I can do this and others like me have similar needs or views.  Since I teach in a remote village (not as small as some represented in Nicole’s technology grant efforts), I see many common issues.  One issue is just learning to communicate academically with people at a similar level or with similar academic interests that is not available in smaller settings. 

This leads me to think about how instructional design (ID) can affect the level of success that is in an online class delivery.  I read that teaching opportunities are important, but the primary focus and purpose of these is the creation of learning opportunities (Ashbaugh, 2013).  When I approach helping to design a class, my thoughts need to be focused on linking instruction and theory to ways that support efficient and meaningful learning.  ID is a form of leadership.  Leaders need to think about using technology tools with purpose.  For example, one purpose of a blog in a class is communication with others to begin collaboration toward shared learning.  If students are sharing their learning, they can reach the outcome in a meaningful (real world) way. 

As an ID leader, I need to be willing to imagine change (ideation), envision that change can actually take place and move it forward.  I need to realize that our world, now more than ever, is rapidly changing (Ashbaugh, 2013).  If students are to be engaged in learning, learning needs to have purpose.  Learning effectual when I as an ID reach the affective part of the learner, and not just efferent.  This is a challenge!   I definitely feel this challenge, as being part of a team creating a class I must consider what the student needs in terms of appropriate challenge according to meeting standards, what he/she needs in terms of culture, language, and ability, and what will help to prepare the student for the future.  This quote summarizes the challenge well for me:  “An instructional designer is changed by a continually moving target in a fast-paced, changing world” (Ashbaugh, 2013).  And like Jon said in his post, change involves the mobility of people.  There needs to be strong enough connections with people who are involved in creating online educational sites (and even courses) that what is created can be updated rather than allowed to simply die.

During this week’s blog post, I believe I got Jon to think about how long it takes to develop an online course.  I agreed with him that the initial investment is heavy when he responded to me.  But I think that since he emphasizes time spent with his family, and how meeting online is sometimes more effective use of his than driving to Anchorage, I got him to think about why it is okay to invest time into a course initially.  Also, I wanted him to see, when I responded back to him, that with so many changes in peoples lives, they may find themselves spending inordinate amounts of time “starting again” after a move or transfer.

When I wrote to Naomi, I think I helped her to think about the skill level of those she is collaborating with to co-construct a course.  I think Tammy and I connected over how Alaska State Mentor Projects will need to mentor teachers faced with designing and/or teaching online or through a Polycom.  I was able to pull out for her how the information she presented about blended learning is vital to consider for rural Alaska schools, and that it could become the norm as it has already in the video clip she posted.



Ashbaugh, M. L. (2013).  Personal leadership in practice:  A critical

            approach to instructional design innovation work.  TechTrends


Downes, S. (2013).

Miyazoe, T. & Anderson, T. (2013).  Interaction equivalency in an oer,

            moocs and informal learning era.  Journal of interactive media in

            education.  JIME

Community of Practice and OCL Institutional Innovations

Aleta May

Initial Blog Post for Week 4

EDET674 Dr. Lee Graham

Essential Question:  What lessons might we take from successful (and unsuccessful) OCL Institutional Innovations and from the concept of Community of Practice (CoP)?

I have personal and mostly positive experience with a Community of Practice group of people that was both face-to-face, and computer operated.  Since the time frame was around 2001 through 2003, I was not familiar with social connectivism if it existed at that time.  However, there was a newsletter posted online (and we received one in the mail).  There were poems to read, and I could offer to post something that went through a local representative.  There were sections of people according to how many years had passed since their particular loss had occurred.  The group still exists, and I am thinking the potential to make connections and safely meet online through a particular website link is such an improvement!  Driving to a city to make connections with a large group that fluctuates in participation and has diverse needs, well it suits the needs in some situations.  But they now have “virtual chapters” through an Online Support Community (live chats).  It is a reputable and organized support group.  If you are curious, here is the link:  As stated in the text on p. 142, people in this group has developed “a body of common knowledge, practice and approaches;” (Harasim, 2012) such as, making social connections and discussing that though there are many ways of grieving, there are others who have similar mechanisms.

The problem noted in Harasim, p. 138, with teaching online that stands out to me is that there is more effort to teach online than face-to-face.  Elsewhere in the reading, teachers were designing their own courses for college.  Although that sounds very exciting, it also sounds time consuming.  Though it is a given that teachers invest much more time than the hours they are paid to teach, this is still an area, that in my estimation, needs to be addressed.  Because when I am home in Oregon, time invested into my grandchildren is essential as well.  In other words, other areas of life are robbed when excess time is spent on developing courses.  One solution I particularly like is faculty training and support.  The learning teams as a key pedagogy of University of Phoenix Online (UPXO) courses are a prime example that solutions can be found and built in to a system.  The UPXO plan includes training teachers for four weeks, then sending them to teach with a mentor.  The UPXO actually invested in teachers who were highly trained in their field, and attracted more students this way.  Of course the simulated virtual business environments for a variety of career study opportunities were a draw to the university as well.  But respect for the teachers’ time can equate with a successful school of learning.

Open Educational Resources (OER) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are places for informal learning; yet, they too, need pedagogical design.  The Interaction Equivalency Theorem (EQuiv) is a framework that helps course developers for open online environments analyze interaction designs.  Interaction management has three primary types under the category of student-centered learning:  “learner-content, learner-instructor and learner-learner” (Miyazoe, 2013).  Learner engagement and motivation is most effectively gained when there is more than one of these types of learning configurations.  According to Stephen Downes, one of the creators of MOOCs, an xMOOC  is “MOOC as eXtension of something else” (Downes, 2013).  These are extensions of a core MOOC offering, yet not necessarily a part of it.  I think this is a great way to personalize such a massive open online course.  Though xMOOCs are behavioristic in theory by having a teacher, packets of research articles, etc., sMOOCs offer social constructivist ways of learning.

K-12 courses have already began to be used as part of curriculum.  For example, in high school, a course was offered that was for advanced placement (AP) computer science called Amplify MOOC.  An example of a class called Exploring Engineering, allowed students to learn about concepts and processes of engineering.  What a great way to connect students to career learning opportunities (Ferdig, R., 2014)!  Real professionals to talk to!


Downes, S. (2013a). What the ‘x’ in ‘xMOOC’ stands for . Retrieved from

Ferdig, R. E. (2014).  What’s Next:  2014  Preparing for k-12 moocs

Harasim, L. (2012).  Learning theory and online technologies.  New York, NY:  Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Miyazoe, T. (2013).  Interaction equivalency in an oer, moocs and informal learning era.  Journal of Interactive Media in Education;


Week 3 Reflecting on How Connectivism is Expressed Through MOOCs

Reflection for Week 3


by Aleta May

for EDTE674 with Dr. Lee Graham


The most important point that networking on the internet creates in my mind is the point George Siemens made from his experience with blogs in 2000:  He was “able to connect with like-minded educators . . . eager to explore . . . but not finding enough colleagues within their institution to advance the discussion” (McAuley, Stewart, Siemens, & Cormier, 2010, p. 32).  No longer do I need to feel alone in my forward thinking, my educational hopes and dreams, nor trapped by limited understanding of how to fulfill these, because of nay-sayers who proclaim ‘if it were going to happen, it would have happened before you came along with that idea; there must be something wrong with it.’  Indeed, I was one of the first parents in my Oregon community to see education beyond a dichotomy of homeschooling or public/private schooling.  Our family viewed education much broader.  I went to the community college with my ideas, and they said ‘why not!’  So there we were, learning sign-language together; so there they were, learning how to paint using watercolors with people of like interests and of a variety of ages and walks of life!  Was not George Siemens and those he collaborated with able to step outside the box and create a new way to look at communication and learning?

As I look at the pedagogical model for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), I think of how the common core standards are a mirror image for the way of teaching.  Particularly, learner control, autonomy, and self-organizing within social groups to share and build knowledge.  Even the technology tools listed; “blogs, concept maps, videos, images, and podcasts”; are ways for students to think, reflect, share, about concepts through a viewpoint beyond themselves.  There is also a sense of responsibility when others depend on me to add my part; as well as a sense of self-efficacy.  As a learner, I need to believe that what I have to offer is valuable to others and that I am able to share my knowledge through discussion, demonstration, analogies expressed through art, poetic expression, and endless other means. 

Another reflection that stayed with me is that lifelong learning is more important than it has ever been.  After all, that is why I went back to college (and continue on), for a better understanding of educational technology.  Since this opens another area of endless learning, I am happy to know that one day, I can join MOOCs without cost to keep myself up to date in the areas of instruction (reading instruction in particular) and the way to weave technology into scaffolded learning.  There is so much overlap in that reading comprehension depends on discussion, written expression, and visual/auditory expression as in visual literacy; while technology is the open door to make that expression accessible, distributed to learners from a variety of cultures, economic situations, and abilities. 

Specifically, I like that through MOOCs, what I need can be learned within a blended group of people from a variety of disciplines that have some node of interest that can be blended and re-framed to meet the needs of individual members of the study group (McAuley, Stewart, Siemens, & Cormier, 2010, p. 48).  Networks are formed based on the same information, but that information is coded into each person’s network differently.  Information is contextualized.  This is where meaning is developed.  Meaning is added on to the knowledge source (Siemens, 2005).  I liken this to how people bring to a discussion their own schema (background knowledge), and while taking in new knowledge, figure which schema to attach that to, and for new or expanded perspective.

When Jonathan responded to me, I was reminded that a limitation of communicating asynchronously, is lack of the chance to immediately repair misunderstandings in communication, and the missing piece that helps me to sense a break in discourse.  In fact, discourse between people in different places, of different backgrounds culturally, different ages and walks of life, is very limited in face-to-face situations; much more so when communicating on the screen.


McAuley, A., Stewart, B., Siemens, G., & Cormier, D. (2010).  The mooc

 model for digital practice.  University of Prince Edward Island.   

Siemens, G. (2005).  Connectivism:  Learning as network-creation.