Monthly Archives: April 2014

Evaluating Our American Literature Course

American Literature Far and Wide

American Literature Far and Wide

Aleta May

Week 13 Blog

EDET 674 Dr. Lee Graham


Evaluating Our American Literature Course

The process of having our course evaluated was helpful. The most important feedback I received was when Nicole took the time to go over with me exactly what I needed to do to improve the quality of the narrative unit. She incorporated feedback from the math group, while identifying areas she is very knowledgeable about as an experienced online course designer and instructor. Naomi and Jon also communicated ways to help my narrative unit become more cohesive with the overall course design. Tammy’s checklists served as a model for me as I go back through the three major components of the narrative unit.

I read an article about leadership for instructional design. The Design Process Strategy includes “Collaboration with others in the field, as well as with those from other disciplines, adds a dimension of connectedness to practice from which springs inspiration for creating innovative and quality courses” (Ashbaugh, 2013, p. 106). We had this during this semester. I really believe our creative skills and group knowledge would have been reflected in the design process if the Alaska Learning Network (AKLN) had communicated from the beginning more specifically their parameters for creating a course designed for Alaskan students. We had many unanswered questions as to how AKLN would address issues of limited access to free sites we wished to avail students of. For example, one district may have no restrictions on YouTube access, Facebook access, blogging sites, and more, while another district may have many restrictions. How might AKLN address this so that we may employ constructivist activities by knowing ahead of time what we can expect the district to provide for our course? Further, we were highly limited by having an outdated Learning Management System (LMS) that affected our ability to spend more time on creative instructional design as opposed to how to outsmart the LMS. Even motivational immediate grading feedback and appropriate ongoing progress tracking was limited by the LMS.

On of the Quality Matters (QM) standards is Standard 5.2 “Learning activities foster instructor-student, content-student, and if appropriate to the course, student-student interaction.” A blog encourages on-going conversation. Learners discuss the topic at deeper levels, which encourages deeper discussion, just by having the ability upload video clips.

  •             Here is something I found that was referred to in an article about web 2.0 technologies and QM (Pollacia & McCallister, 2009). What a powerful tool it is to course design!       Wikiversity provides learning resources that can support research and projects. Here is a quote I found on Wikiversity when I selected the quotes link, in the category of literature, then in the book To Kill a Mockingbird: “Your father’s right,” she said. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
    • Pt. 1, ch. 10
    • Atticus Finch & Maudie Atkinson

Design Structure Strategy is another link to leadership competency (Ashbaugh, 2013). As a group, we all strove for tasks that involved innovative approaches. Social networking was one standard we could not leave out. The preference was for using a blog, and setting up a Wiki for students to share documents with each other was desired. At the point of instructional course design, we left some of this up to the teacher of record, since it unknown access was an issue; instead, the discussion thread for Blackboard was put into the plans when module designers needed assurance that collaborative discussion would take place. During a big chunk of group instructional planning time at the beginning of the course, we had not been told that some students would not need all of the modules. With this about face, we had to take on a very different design mindset.

With all this said, I am still working on the final touches. The process I am using for the Narrative Module is to go through each section to edit, add, take out, and create a check list for each section. Another final touch will be to allocate point value for each assigned task. Then I will go through each module to go over all the work and effort that has taken place by this team, the team I have gained so much new learning from.


Ashbaugh, M. L. (2013). Expert instructional designer voices: Leadership competencies critical to global practice and quality online learning designs. The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 14(2), pp. 97-118.

Pollacia, L. and McCallister, T. (2009). Using web 2.0 technologies to meet quality matters (QM) requirements. Journal of Information Systems Education, Vol. 20(2).

Wikiversity quotes, retrieved on April 18, 2014:




The Quality Matters Rubric Standards Experience

Blog Post for Week Twelve

April 12, 2014

Aleta May

for EDET 674 with Dr. Lee Graham


The Quality Matters Rubric Standards ExperienceImage

I completed the course overview and introduction, and assessment portions of the evaluation for the math/algebra group. First, it was valuable for me to evaluate a class from the perspective of course design. I learned much about how a group organizes a class by looking over the class on Backboard, but also by listening to some of the process the math group went through to bring the course up to such a high quality level. In some ways it was difficult not to just give each component standard a 3; mainly because I know the amount of thought and effort that went into their course design. Also, though, I have heard the direction they are going in and fully expect that the final course design will be so much more well thought out than most courses students take in face-to-face classes. I do believe a lot goes into an initial plan for designing requirements at state and district levels for high school algebra, however, I believe this group (as well as the English group) has thought through every aspect possible including using learning theory like constructivism as a guide. In fact, the group has put into action the use of technology in a very engaging way.   At one point, I could not find something in the course, that as I found out by listening to the math group today really was there. They took it the way I had hoped—it may be there, but may need to be a little more obvious.

The assessment part of Algebra was a point of a lot of discussion for the group, so I knew well that they had put a lot of thought into how they would handle this important piece of the class; though it had not been completed yet. I was able to provide feedback that could help with their thinking as they planned for completion of this section of the class. Here are two examples:

This is very clear–but I think it will improve as

participation and activity components are built into the

course. As mentioned by the algebra team, it takes much

thought as to how to build discussion and team activities

into an online, distance, algebra course; though it is being

worked on.

This is built into the course by having frequent

assessment opportunities. I realize too, that this will

come forth more as students enter into discussion with

each other–particularly where real life application and

problem solving is involved.

When our group discussed feedback from the math group, one of many things that we realized was that what seemed obvious to the English group was not obvious to the math group. So, looking at each others’ design was not only helpful for learning about how others in the same course design college class would approach design, but it was helpful to see the overlap in how both teams had in applying basic principles we had read and blogged about before jumping into the deep task of applying what we had learned to the design itself.

Feedback from the math group to the English group was very, very helpful! As an English team, we were so impressed with the time and effort the math team had put into really using the Quality Matters rubric and their own knowledge from the course and personal experience to guide us. Their feedback allowed us to prioritize what to focus on next, and perhaps what to set aside until the priorities are accomplished.

I am enjoying putting effort into the creative teaching portion of this course design. One goal I have is to learn to use technology naturally as a teacher, and as a teacher leader. This was one focus in the class—engaging students through multiple modes of learning. I put in audio and print for one narrative. The second narrative has an audio portion that will be added. I was very focused on using Alaska literature in this course as well as Mark Twain and later adding in Edgar Allan Poe. My focus was honed in on engagement (along with locating support for my ideas that could be used freely from internet sources). So, a reminder to me from a group member and from math group feedback was to build in some review to explain the literary elements of a personal narrative graphic organizer I had placed into the plan.

One of my favorite parts of the Quality Matters Rubric is Standard 5 “Learner Interaction and Engagement,” probably because it is the one standard that take so much thought about learner-centered teaching.  5.1 “The learning activities promote the achievement of the stated learning objectives” is to me the portion of course design that the designer needs to come back to often.  This is where the designer is allowed to think wide about the many, many ways to present learning when it directly relates to the objectives.  This rubric is designed to keep the course up to standards, but the spirit of the rubric is to allow for learner-centered across cultures and across learner strengths so that any areas that need to be strengthened can be accomplished through starting with the learner’s background knowledge and experiences and building these.