Blog Post for Week Twelve
April 12, 2014
for EDET 674 with Dr. Lee Graham
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
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.