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 Further, we were highly limited by having an outdated Learning Management System (LMS) that affected our ability to spend more time on creative instructional design as opposed to how to outsmart the LMS.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: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/To_Kill_a_Mockingbird_%28novel%29#To_Kill_a_Mockingbird_.281960.29




1 thought on “Evaluating Our American Literature Course

  1. Dan May

    Evaluating the Literature Course
    I am so glad you brought up the evaluation process and that it was helpful. We also met twice during the last week to work out details to bring cohesion to our product, the course. We went over the detailed notes from the Language Arts group, assigned tasks in the ‘To Do List,’ and checked over the list to make sure everyone was familiar with their roles and what was left/needed to complete the design. We also met with Lee and Mark. They continue to support our project as we finalize our project.
    I know your group struggled with Blackboard and all of its quirks. There is no ‘one book’ that describes all the procedures of how and where to input and a list of all the things you can’t input. I am hoping the upgrade will solve a lot of the problems the team has gone through and that we will get an opportunity to play with the new version. Jeff talked about it having a lot of bells and whistles to play with … as a boy, I loved playing with bells and got pretty good a whistling!
    You mentioned checklists and that reminded me of the Quality Matters rubric and how useful that one tool can be in helping finalize what is needed, if things are in place, and to find things that are included, but not necessarily helpful so you can trim the unnecessary out. I know Naomi wrote about being relieved over little things that were thought to be necessary, but now realized they are not needed and can be left out.
    I also noticed that your Literature or Reading course has turned into more of a writing class. It is interesting to note that in the last several years our district has taken the two courses Reading and Writing as separate courses and conjoined them into one course called Language Arts. I think it makes sense and hope it catches on elsewhere. I do know that in Special Ed. they are separate and may remain so for a long time, but that most students, but not all, were better readers than writers. Their reading scores were just about always higher than their writing scores. The High School Grade Equivalency Exam (HSGQE), which I is going away and will be replaced by a new one, was broken into the traditional 3 segments of reading, writing, and math. Maybe the new assessment will just be LA and Math.
    I agree with you that this college class has morphed into designing courses for online learning from its original class description, but that it was for the seeming good of all as now we are capable of designing our own online courses for our district, school, class, or for our own personal profit. I know Helen, in our group who will be co-presenting our Algebra course this summer thought about writing a paper on how well it goes, if major design changes were needed, if it was successful in delivery, or if it was useful at all. I thought how good it would be to hear back and get feed back from both courses we built this semester, the Math and LA.
    You wrote a quote from the book, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ that made me wonder how many other things we take for granted … e.g., like as a boy with a bb gun what else is there to shoot at? But, as an adult I wonder about all the little known facts like, maybe I don’t hear so good because I was such a good shot as a little kid and now I am being penalized for killing all those little birds? And what about all those small ants, bugs, and creepy crawly things I stomped on? Oh, Oh! Now you got me worried.
    I liked your inclusion of social networking via Wiki for students to share their documents with each other. Great Idea. I would hope the new Blackboard could have spaces for students to meet and share with each other. Also, you used my very best Mark Twain story and I appreciate the added twist of co-joining them into a walking dialog, something like a shared journal. Very creative.


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