Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Technology...The death of me

Well, now that I have retyped all my blog posts to this new site, I think technology has finally gotten the best of me.  But, yet again I will conquer this technology beast yet.  With one more course to go I am determined to win the battle.

 Between blogging, the final paper and all the work in course design I am ready for a short break.  Not to mention in the middle of all the finishing work my computer had to go to the computer hospital for 3 days.  It is having some real problems with its connections.  Hopefully I will have a new laptop for next semester.  I have learned to back up my entire computer.  Well onto my blog topic—course design.

This has been an enlighten course as I look back over the semester.  I have been teaching for many years and just taught as I was taught with tweaks here and there.  As I attended conferences I learned about different learning styles and different ways to teach my nursing students the information.  But, as I proceeded in this class and had to tease out all the pieces of setting up a course in a chart or worksheet format I really learned about course design. 

First there was the student to content issue.  Knowing how my students were going to interact with the content and what content I wanted them to interact with.  I had done this but never really thought about it.  As I read the literature in that lesson I learned some new ideas about student learning and why that interaction is so important.
Then there were the student to student interactions.  This was also an enlightening area of learning.  I had had my students work in groups and teams before because that is part of nursing.  I felt it was important for them to learn to work with others in order to survive on the floor.  Reading
NAVIGATING THE BUMPY ROAD by Richard Felder and Rebecca Brent
I learned that “It's not that SCI (student centered instruction) doesn't work when done correctly-it does, as both the literature and our personal experience in two strikingly different disciplines richly attest. The problem is that while the promised benefits are real, they are neither immediate nor automatic.” This is so true.  When I have students do their presentations or group projects they really learn the content.   They may grumble and complain but they seem to gain that knowledge at a much higher level. 

Dr. Roger Schank stated "The value of the computer is that it allows kids to learn by doing," he said. "People don't learn by being talked at. They learn when they attempt to do something and fail. Learning happens when they try to figure out why."   I always felt this way but now I had someone to support my thoughts.  I was never one to enjoy being the sage on the stage it was just how I was taught to teach.  I was really a rebel in the college with wanting to have students play games to interact with the content.   

With these two concepts in mind I found it hard to keep them separate.  Throughout my design process I would put the student to student in the student to content and vice versa.  Thank goodness between Jan and my peers who were reading my worksheets and giving me feedback I was able to begin to keep them straight.   I think I now know- I think- the way to keep them separate but, I am sure I will need more practice in that area.  I am just glad I know have validation for all the interactive activities I do with my students in the hospital setting, lab, classroom and in the future online courses. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Third course and technology still causes me trouble

Orginal Post:  October 31, 2010

Note:  I have been able to retrive my orginal blogs.  Therefore, I am cutting and pasting this blog into my old blogs.  I have decided technology will either kill me or I will conquer it.  Sorry for the sites that do not open now.
Technology--It is giving me a headache. I have been in and out of my blog many times as a matter of fact for the last 2 classes and the begining of this one. Then I go to enter again and it wouldn't accept my password! Of course the only way to get the password is they email it to you but, my blog in made with my old email address that I have no access to anymore, lovely. So I had to restart my blog because no one knew how to get it going again.  Now that I have digressed from my orginal blog... I shall begin again
In my previous blog I said “you can’t eat and elephant whole or it overwhelms you”.   As we have proceeded through this course we have been building our lesson design piece by piece that statement says it all.  I remember seeing in the first lesson the design process in a graphical format and thought to myself this is really going to be a huge undertaking.  Then as the weeks progressed and we began to build the course it made sense.

Just like building a house, we built the foundation in lesson 2.  We looked at what course we wanted to put on line, who would take the course and the constraints or considerations.  This really was an important part of the course building as in a house if this isn’t well done it can really cause problems—your house falls or your course fails.  The need for all my constraints to be addressed as well as the concerns was really important as I began developing my online class. 

Writing the objectives, developing assessment strategies and breaking down the course into units seemed to fall into place –once I knew what to put where.  In looking at my constraints I could see that many of them were out of my control and I really had to be creative to work within them.  This was true of the many college mandates that accompany an online course, such as the syllabus is approved by accrediting bodies therefore without college or department approval changes cannot be made.  The changing from out dated webct to Moodle for a management system is something I must work with even if I don’t like it and last that there is no money available to purchase the use of wimba or any other enhancement to the course.  But thank goodness for free site$.   

Then there was the learner issues, this was a really interesting and really gave me food for thought or so to say.  This was an entity that I had not realized was so interesting.  One of the readings in this course for this topic was Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age:  Universal Design for Learning this was an interesting book by Rose and Meyer.  In chapter 2 they talked about brain differences and the research done on learning.  I didn’t know that there were 3 interconnected networks to receive and analyze information the strategic, affective and recognition networks.  As I read this I thought of a person with brain injury or a stroke and why we see different relearning taking place depending on the damage.  The whole processing of information being so unique to each one of us and that is why learning has to be more than when I was in school.  I thought of my son with the learning difference, he is dyslexic audio and visual, but has a verbal score that is gifted when tested.  These chapters we read really had me thinking about the various media that is available in online teaching and how much more a student can learn because of this. 
The use of technology is really growing and growing rapidly.  I can see
more and more happening in the realm on technology.  We use Skype  
and can have conversations in a learning environment with people in  
different parts of the world.  We can watch surgery as it is being perform in the confines of the classroom or in our home via the computer.  Today’s students want the information now, they are very techno savvy. I think of my son who is a college sophomore and realize he was never alive without computers and cell phones. If we are going to be good, no great educators of tomorrow’s society I think we really have to look at the world they live and learn in.
I know for my courses discussions of various types is something that really gets the critical thinking going.  I encourage the use of outside sources not just their text book and try to introduce them to web sites available.  As they challenge me in learning the new technology and learning to teach within it I will also challenge them to perform at their highest.  Who knows what tomorrow learner issues may be?  But, for know my main one is learning within the technology

Eating an Elephant or Online Course Design

Original Post:  September 5, 2010

As I sit here typing and look back over the last 2 semesters and the beginning of this semester I never thought I would learn so much in such a short time. Now as I begin what I anticipate is the longest and most difficult semester yet, I am sure my brain will hurt from all the information going in. After I read the syllabus, orientation, goals, and perused the first couple of learning modules I felt really overwhelmed. Then I remembered what I tell my students when they tell me they are feeling overwhelmed, “you can’t eat an elephant whole”. If you eat an elephant a bite at a time you are able to eat the whole elephant and digest it properly. So, I’ll have to keep reminding myself to take little bites and it will all work out.

Then I began thinking about the first class and how worried I was that I would be able to do well in the course with so little computer knowledge. I remembered in the first class learning about pedagogy and how different yet the same it is for online and face to face. Being a nurse first and an educator second I really had not been taught the in-depth information on curriculum development, good pedagogy, and learning theories. I never realized that there were so many web enhancements I could use in the classroom. My nursing education taught me how to teach my patients but not how to teach students and I have found there to be a big difference. My computer skills have also improved. I could type on the computer but did not have really good computer skills. My sons still laugh at how I did not understand that a mouse didn't have to eat cheese; it was attached to the computer. When I think about it, I have learned so much. I had heard about Blogging but never even seen one and here I am creating one! Now I even have an electronic portfolio! Who would have thought I would know this much about the technology available to me if you had met me only a few semesters ago. I can even enter a Wimba room and present a lecture in a Wimba format. With all this knowledge I now know why my brain hurts.
Learning and doing have really been beneficial to me. I designed and presented my first Wimba session and then facilitated the discussion on that presentation. At first it was very uncomfortable talking to a computer and not seeing faces which was really hard. My peers gave me some great feedback that helped me to make improvements for the next time I had to do a Wimba. Then, we were given an opportunity to do a second session and I did it and felt much better. I still have a hard time listening to a session, let alone presenting and not seeing faces. I am so used to face-to-face classes.

In a face-to-face learning session, community is always developed because we see each other on a regular basis. But, in an online setting, we don’t see each other and I did learn some great ways to develop community. I also learned how important community is to online learning. I really do believe having taught face-to-face for many years, that I will be able to utilize what I have learned applying it to online teaching. Then be able to add all the new ideas and concepts I am now learning through this online course and develop a stellar online class for my medical surgical students. As I begin designing my online course, all I have learned will be put to the test. I have the course I want to design but there will be constraints due to the accrediting bodies that oversee us and the inability to change the syllabus in any way. I also see constraints in the online tool my college uses. At this time we are using an outdated WebCT and in a year will be going to Moodle, which I know nothing about. I can only hope Moodle will be an improvement but no one seems to know how the system will work.
With that being said, I also realize that I could develop a course that has some really great student to student and student to content interactions. This will be an improvement over face to face settings. Usually in a Nursing classroom, the instructor puts up a power point and speaks to the slides as they appear. There isn’t always time to do a lot of interaction between the students and content. I think in an online course within a discussion section there can be great learning occurring as students respond to each other and work in small groups on a topic. This will be a great way to see if the students understand the content. In the past I would put my course together by just looking at what the syllabus contained and then developed the lecture using the text book, teaching plan and power points that came with the book. Over the years I began to use other text books and enhanced the power points and now include materials from other sources. Through this course I am beginning to learn how to develop a true teaching plan rather than using basic outlines and objectives and am looking forward to that portion of the course. Learning how to write course objectives and goals, and present the content creatively will especially engage students to learn. This will make them want to learn and not just do it for a grade. I also want to learn the difference between an online and a hybrid course and what truly makes them different. I realize a hybrid course has a face-to-face component where an online course does not. I want to learn the difference between the two course types. In the course I have chosen to design, all the didactic will be online and the clinical portion will be face-to-face. During the clinical settings I will only meet 8 students, while the rest of the students are with other clinical instructors. Therefore, I get to know the other students  in a cyber world only. So I think this course that I will
 be taking should be an interesting and overwhelming 
way to learn all this information. But, I am only going
 to eat my elephant one bite at a time. 

Halfway through—Part 2

Original Post:  Sunday March 14,2010

I can hardly believe we are half way through this class.  Part two has been a very interesting set of lessons.  We began with learning about pedagogical roles and models, benefits of the virtual classroom, and the pedagogy of a web site.  One of the readings was by Dr. E.L. Skip Knox The Pedagogy of Web Site Design.  This reading discussed the various parts of putting together an online web class.  Dr. Knox shared his experience on developing a web site course in humanities.  Having taught for 6 semesters he felt he had enough experience to share what he had learned with others who wish to teach online, I found the article interesting.  I learned about the online lecture being more formal in writing so that there is no misunderstanding in what you want to say. He also talked about the basics --consistanency, clarity, navigability and speed.  The need to keep what you lecture on clear and concise, there is consistanency in the presentation of the information so that the students can easily navigate the site with efficiency.  I also found as I researched this topic -it was my facilitator topic- information on adult learners and how they learn. It was very interesting and since I teach at a community college it was something that I was interested in.  These adult learners want something that is useful to life, they learn best usually by doing and discovery of information.  I know I use my experience as a nurse when I teach my students in theory and in the clinical it is the floor nurses and me that are used to create that community of scholars for them to draw good learning from.  I learned I expect adult learners to be more engaging and sometimes they just seem to sit there and then; I really have to be careful not to just tell them what I want them to know.  I learned from these reading that I need to not probe and prod them to get the discussion started. but to interject questions that will start the discussion.

Another topic in part two was building community.  This is real important in an online community since the students will only have contact online and not face to face.  So it is important that they feel a sense of belonging to the group and not feel like they are learning in isolation.  I learned that I do this in my face to face classes and my enhanced class with a letter I send to my students at the beginning of each class session, in the way I begin the class be making sure the students get to know one another and work on at least one group project.  This social development is very important in nursing since we need to really work as a team in order to help a person reach their optimal health or to have a death with respect and dignity.

Units 7 and 8 I learned about setting up for an online course and how to run an online course.  These were very interesting units.  Some of the information was not new to me but some of it was. What wasn't new reaffirmed my own ideas and thoughts on items like turnaround time for grades, answering e-mails, and discussion questions.  I also had affirmation on what I needed to have set up in the site to have a well managed course i.e., calendar, syllabus, expectations and discussion question.  This was really helpful as I was setting up and enhanced site for this next 8 weeks that begins March 15th. I am sure I will learn allot by the time I finish these next few weeks on online learning even though it is enhanced.

Technology!! What an overwhelming topic.  There is so much out there and how do you get through it all and make sure it is appropriate and worthwhile.  This unit really had me in a tail spin. I did find a web site that had standards and guidelines for being an online teacher which I found interesting.  In nursing education we have standards we have to address for our accrediting agencies and so I just felt that the same should be for an online teacher.  I guess I find it difficult to say someone is an online teacher when they have not even taken an online course let alone and any courses work in teaching one.  I have also learned the need to keep up with the technology that is available to online teaching and be knowledgeable in it in order to assist my students in having a successful learning experience.

This whole part 2 has been overwhelming and yet a real learning experience. I have drawn lots of good information that I plan to apply to my enhanced course this 8 weeks and the online course in the Fall.  Now as I begin part 3 I hope to learn more about online teaching.

I am a survivor

Orginal Post:  March 1, 2010

I am a survivor!! I facilitated my first unit and lived to tell about it.  This was quite the experience preparing for the presentation of the material and then loading it into Wimba –the right way.   I was a nervous wreck wanting to make sure my presentation was interesting, informative and a good learning experience for my peers.  I get nervous lecturing to my face to face class but my peers is really nerve wracking. 

I read my material, looked for an interesting topic to present on and then began the presentation.  Putting together the power point was interesting as I was trying to make it interactive and a little humorous.  I always feel that humor in the right place makes learning more fun.  I will share one of my pictures with all of you here.  This is my favorite Inspector Gadget.

had practiced my presentation and felt ready to go, I opened to my class and the Wimba site 15 minutes early, I even had time to have a little conversation before the presentation with my instructor, I was going to be OK.  THEN it all fell apart.  The other students started to arrive and I was ready to begin and my ability to be heard was gone.  The computer froze. I froze. I raced to the desk top and began to open up my class on that computer and realized my power point was on my lap top.  So back to my lab top I ran and shut down and restart. Now I had to reopened the course and get back on Wimba.  I was sure I had been gone for hours and everyone has just left the Wimba room.   My heart was racing, my hands were sweating and I thought I was going to just…. I don’t know.  Then the course came up and everyone was still there, they didn’t leave and I could start my presentation.

Well, what a start to giving your first Wimba facilitation presentation.  I felt that I had interesting information and had presented it in an informative and interesting way.  It just was difficult talking into a computer and not seeing anyone looking back at you.  Then there was what I call “dead space”.  When you ask a question and you are waiting for an answer or ask someone to do something and waiting for them to complete the task.  The part of me that is the formal and demonstrator wanted to jump in and take over but, I had to remember I am the facilitator and that for me is hard.  I tend to just want to do and get it done.  Being a good online teacher I think is being able to let them do some of the teaching their self and not doing it for them.  I really have to work at this part of online teaching. 

My asynchronous part of facilitating I felt went real well.  I was able to respond to each person at least twice and keep the dialog going in a rich learning environment.  This part of facilitating is easier for me than the synchronous portion.  I don’t have the same feelings to want to jump in and take over here I am more apt to allow the students to respond back and forth and just put in food for thought.

I must admit this has been an interesting exercise that I really need more practice in if I am to do this on a regular basis. 

From Sage on the Stage to Facilator on the Web

Orginal Post:  February 7, 2010

Well this has really been an enlightening start to this course.  At least this blog I am doing here in my Illinois home and not at McDonalds or searching for a WiFi connection.  It has been interesting dealing with some of the problems that new technology brings.  I have learned about changing my role from "sage on the stage" to being a fascilator in the web room.  I have been trying some of these changes in my face to face classes and the students seem very surprised that they are suppose to be that much of a participant in the class.

The role changes have really been interesting to read about. Both the role of the student and the role I have as a teacher. I know as a teacher I do many of the things done in a web based class in my face to face classes and have never really known that there were names to these roles.  I really like Scot Headley’s comment to “build bridges and highways and then enjoy the journey”. It is true as a faculty you want to help guide discussions and not destroy the infrastructure the students develop thru discussion. This statement is really interesting as was his article.  I feel that if you set up a good course and be sure and let the students know what you expect of them then they will produce.  Set the bar high and they will reach it.
As I read through all the readings in part one I also realized that when you are facilitating an online class you need to really make sure that the class stays on the time line and set specific due dates.  You also need to be sure and let the students have enough time for them to prepare the content.  Then keep them on tract in their discussion session but, don’t be the leader of the discussion just prompt when needed to keep the discussion going.

Competencies were an interesting topic to learn about in the general education area.  Virgil E. Varvel Jr. described a competent individual as “one who effectively and efficiently accomplishes a task in a given context using appropriate knowledge, skills, attitudes, and abilities that have adjusted and developed with time and needs.”  In nursing we have core competencies that we need to meet for the accreditation of our program.  In a nursing program if you aren’t accredited your students are not eligible to sit for the state exam.  Our competencies are given to us by the accrediting body but in the article it refers to competencies from the Illinois State Board of Education.  As I read these competencies they were very similar to the ones we have to meet.  The competencies are divided into administrative role, personal role, technological role pedagogical role and its split into instructional design, delivery and assessment and lastly social roles and abilities.  These are really important to meet in order to be sure you are teaching a good if not exemplary course.  This was really an interesting reading with our accreditation coming up in two years and we are starting to work on placing our NLN competencies in our syllabus this year.

Having our first asynchronous discussion with a student facilitating was really an interesting and good session.  The first student facilitator was really good at presenting the material and keeping an asynchronous discussion going.  Next week is my turn to facilitate the unit and I keep hoping I can present as good a she did.  I’ll write about it in my next blog.  See you then.

Facilitator--I Hope I Can?

Original Post:  Sunday, January 17, 2010

As I begin this first BLOG of the New Year and new course, I have been given a lot to think about. First, let me say it has been an interesting first week. My family and I left for Michigan on Friday evening and felt sure we would be able to get internet access at our home up there. To our surprise it is too far from any signal to successfully connect at our home. I obviously needed Wi-Fi so that I could post my blog and respond to the discussions before Sunday night: and the search began. Thanks to McDonalds they have Wi-Fi.  Lunch in McDonalds and a Wi-Fi for desert what a way to go.   It’s great to be in the rural areas with their beautiful scenery, but they sure do have their drawbacks.  

Regarding my facfilitating and online learning for one week, I am both excited and nervous.  I chose the week for facilitating and really hope I can be a quality facilitator.  The online posrtion of the session doesn't scare me as much as the facilitating.  In the last class I had so many problems with Wimba.  The Wimba tech and I spent almost two hours together trying to get me on ( as you can read in my previous Blog).  I only hope that the computer, Wimba and I get along better this time.    As I read through the What Makes a Successful Online Facilitator?  from the Illinois Online Network, I worry that I will not be able to really do well because number seven states, "they should be experienced and well trained in online learning experience,"  and that I am not.  I am not even sure I know the meat and postatoes for the content I choose Unit 5--Pedagogical Role:  Explores the pedagogical role of instructors and looks at some of the specific teaching strategies that have proven iffective in the online environment.  I chose this section because I really want to learn the teaching strategies that will help me be a good online facilitator and teacher.
I realize, as one of my classmates so simply put it, that there are still the instructor, students, and content to teach: just like in my face to face class room but, I can’t see the faces online. I guess that’s what makes me so uncomfortable. I truly feel there is such great potential for having classes online; otherwise I would not be in this certificate program. My trouble lies in the fact that I am a perfectionist, so learning new thing can sometimes be difficult for me.

I really hope I can live up to the expectations of my peers in my facilitating.

What I learned about teaching

Original Post: Tuesday, December 1,2009

Well, this has been an interesting second half to the online teaching course. So much to learn, so much to process and so much to do but we are done. I feel like my picture, is it the software or the printer driver I still don’t know but I am learning. The amount of information I have been exposed to and processed is really overwhelming when I think about it.

The Seven Principles For Good Practice in Undergraduate Educationby Arthur W. Chickering and Zelda F. Gamson was an interesting article to ready and learn to teach by. Their statement “Apathetic students, illiterate graduates, incompetent teaching, impersonal campuses-so rolls the drum-fire of criticism of higher education. More than two years of reports have spelled out the problems. States have been quick to respond by holding out carrots and beating with sticks. There are neither enough carrots nor enough sticks to improve undergraduate education without the commitment and action of students and faculty members. They are the precious resources on whom the improvement of undergraduate education depends.” is so true. When I stop and look at the students coming to the community college system and the level of math, reading and writing they are testing into it is really scary. As a faculty member this article really hit home and made me realize just how important my role is in our future.

Chickering and Gamson listed 7 principles for good undergraduate practice. They are:

1. Encourages contact between students and faculty
2. Develops reciprocity and cooperation among students.
3. Encourages active learning.
4. Gives prompt feedback.
5. Emphasizes time on task.
6. Communicates high expectations.
7. Respects diverse talents and ways of learning.
When I look at this list and read what is meant by each guideline and the suggestions and examples presented I realize how important they are.  Many of these I do all the time but, to see them and read about them makes them all the more important.  I don't feel like I might be able to use them,  but must use them in developing any course online or face to face.  In setting up the shell for you class, syllabi, calendar, general information, and communication section you need to utilize the 7 principles in order for the course to run smooth
and the students to be active  participants in the course.


Original Post:  Sunday, November 22, 2009
How well this cartoon describes these past few months. It has been quite the challenge for me to learn all this computer information, but I have learned so much it's amazing what is available out there in the web world.
We began this course with just learning the very basics of an online course and how it works. I remember as I read the syllabus and we were told to post our picture and a brief information piece on us I thought "oh my I'll never be able to do this." With much frustration and many tries and a loving and patience husband I was able to do it. Then, we did our first blog and I thought I'd never get it done or figure out how to just get to the blogger site, again success!

Then there was much learning about online learning and class development. Teaching styles and learning styles were very interesting. I had an idea of what kind of learner I was but, the teacher really surprised me. I still have trouble realizing that formal authority and personal model are my highest rankings. Learning the learning styles has really helped me improve my face to face teaching and hopefully enhance student learning.
We also had a synchronous session with a guest lecturer. This was the pivotal point in my online learning career. After the frustration I was either going to quit or keep on living in frustration and finish the course? To help you understand this experience let me just tell you I tried for the entire week to get the program to work, emailed Jan and anyone else who would listen, talked to the computer people at work and lastly called the Wimba help line and had a 2 hour chat to be told they would get back to me in 24-72 hours with someone else to see if they could help me I learned the new term "BUFFERING" and found it mean in simple terms system overload. I felt like I had systems overload. But, I knew it just had to better so on I went to the next unit.

I really like the 7 Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education by Chickering and Gamson. I found that they are used in my teaching and didn't know they had a name. I don't feel like I might be able to use them, but must use them in developing any course online or face to face. In setting up the shell for your class, syllabi, calendar, general information, and communication section you need to utilize the 7 principles in order for the course to run smooth and the students to be active participants in the course. Graham, Cagiltay, et al really spelled it out nicely in the article how to utilize this list of lessons learned for faculty to use. I know I will be taking and sharing this information with new faculty just learning to set up their course and teach it for the first time and other faculty too. This lesson as a whole was really great. This information on learning theories and models of instruction were very interesting. As curriculum chair for the nursing program I copies some of these URLs and set them to the committee to read as we begin looking at the syllabi of various courses.
Then there was the topics of student centered instruction. I really struggled with this area especially being a nursing faculty. I am sure my teaching styles had something to do with this hold. I agree there are the leadership courses that could and probably should be student-centered and would really have the student performing that active learning, but there is the hard core courses that you really have to guide the student and I think student -centered would be hard for some content. I am trying to use mot open-ended interactions between the students and myself and encourage the use of student groups for learning. I will be teaching a hybrid course this summer and am anxious to see how it flows and develops.

availability of technology is amazing and the site available to enhance my teaching is really overwhelming. I really had to remind myself that I can't have students looking at all the sites it will overwhelm them as it did me. I know the enhancements really help the students in their learning especially the multimedia sites with audio and animation of the various concepts in nursing. But, I really must sift through the sites and pick the exemplary ones for use and just file the rest for my FYI file.
My last big hurdle for this class was with WIKI, the site that really challenged my frustration level. We used this site in our group project and electronic portfolio. It allowed all of us to compose information and then cut it together in one finished product within sections. At first I thought Wiki would be more computer friendly but, I quickly learned that was to be a fallacy. I watched the video, I read the information, I read the information again and still it continued to have the upper hand on me. But, I was determined to learn to use this wonderful :) piece of technology. In the end our project was completed and looked really great. All the pieced came together and we were proud of our project. It was truly a learning experience.
This whole experience was really a learning curve for me. I had very little computer knowledge and know I have learned some of the lingo and even was able to show my college student my blog and WIKI project. He didn't even know what a WIKI was! Yes! Mom finally knew something on the computer that the techno-generational didn't. It has been quite a trip has taken me to some new placed in the internet world, I can only imagine where the next course will take me.

Fish Out of Water

Original Post:  Tuesday, October 12, 2009

I now know how a fish out of water feels, taking this online course has really made me realize how little I know about technology and its abilities.
The teaching project was really an eye opener for me. I didn't realize how much was available for faculty to use to produce an online class. Google docs was really great and very helpful. I can see having my students use that in producing group work online for me in a future class. The ability for several of us to type and edit at the same time and be able to also use the chat line for communication was unbelievable. Then when I began searching the web and various sites for different items to use in the teaching project, I was amazed at finding all the really interesting things I could have my students do online.

With that in mind I remembered the article 17 Elements to Good Online Courses and Inside, Outside, Upside and Downside Strategies for Connecting Online and Face-to-Face Instruction in Hybrid Courses. I felt that the class I am presently teaching would not be good as an immersed on line course, but as it is in its present state it could really go online as a hybrid or “Communal web centered” as Idaho State University’s ITRC Guide referred to it. I didn't even know there were so many different levels of online teaching. It was interesting to see how they differed with administrative being no course content to immersive being total course and no face to face teaching. With the information I gained from producing the teaching project and these reading about constructing online/hybrid courses I might try it.
Because my course is one of the first courses these nursing students take I feel using it as a hybrid would be best. The students are scared enough coming into the program, I don't wasn't then to quit before they start. To better benefit the student teaching them the use of computer technology and assist them in general computer use in a hybrid course. I am really getting excited about the possibility of this course next year.

I am beginning to see where it is possible and we the teacher don't have to be always on the stage.


Original Post:  Sunday, October 11, 2009

Well we are 6 weeks in to this online class and I am learning an awful lot about myself and the use of the computer. I thought about starting my blog with Palms 23, but then wondered if that would even help me. I am finally learning who to use the Web CT for the class and add attachments-- sometimes it has been very interesting. The online learning environment has been different. I have always been in a face to face setting for my education and now having to person contact with my teacher or fellow classmates it is really hard for me and my people personality. But, I am learning to have contact through email and be in the chat room.

I was thinking back to my first bolg and how I waqs frustrated by just learning how to use the computer for more than a word processor and email. I remember writing the discussion post on constructivism as a paradigm and how hard it was to just get the posting right. Now I can post in the discussion board without any difficulty. Finding my way to post a new blog to my previous blog was another story. The site wouldn't let me in and I had to redo my password because they said I didn't have a blog site. If that wasn't bad enough, when I got the email to reset the password they said it could take up to 24 hours to reset-- love technology.

After much crying (LOL) and praying, they sent my ability to get in to my blog, what a relief. So here I am again trying to learn about technology at its finest. A wise computer person once said to me, “the computer is only as smart as the person putting the information into it." that person was my son at 10 years old. I really love children, :)
One of the assignments we did was learning styles; I was somewhat familiar with this because of the courses and conferences I attended as a nursing faculty. I really wasn't that surprised. I am an active, sensing, visual learner, but can go both sequential and global in my learning. I always knew I had to be doing something in order to learn it, which is probably why I am in the profession I am. I had never takes a learning style survey myself but had heard of Felder's breakdown on the different styles. What I was interested in was the Multiple Intelligences by Gardner. This was a really interesting way to look at how people especially children learn, and how maybe as educators we could educate them better by focusing on their learning style which wasn't the conventional breakdown. I know as a faculty in the nursing program I am much more cognisant of the various teaching methods I am using to try a touch all learning styles.
What I was really surprised at was my teaching style survey results, I never thought of myself as being formal authority and personal model as the top two teaching styles for me. The article by Felder and Soloman really pin pointed me as a teacher. As I said in my discussion, when I looked at how I taught and became really aware of my teaching styles I taught like my teachers taught me with some "fun stuff" put in. I am using power point where as my faculty taught strictly lecture format, but I still lecture and when I look at our syllabi they are pretty straight forward and rigid so we can meet the outcome objectives set by the accrediting bodies. I also realized my teaching styles changes as to the location of my teaching. If I am in the clinical setting I am really formal authority and personal model, but if I am in the classroom I can use more of the facilitator, personal model and expert. So, in knowing this I am aware of my need to sometimes calm down the formal authority and maybe step up the personal model and facilitator to assist the students in learning the content better.
We did a group project in this first part of the course and I was introduced to google it was really a great tool for posting and writing a document as a group. The only problem was that I thought I had posted it properly to my online class assignment and found about after being gone for an entire day the day after the assignment was due I had posted it somewhere else. I will learn--help! but in doing this group project it took me to places in the web area I didn't know existed. I found there are lots of ideas and creative ways to teach the Declaration of Independence. I also, learned that it isn't that bad to work as a group on the web. My group learned to really use the chat room I just tend to want to have it work as fast as you could carry on a conversation in real life. I had to keep reminding myself I need to wait for the person to read my response before they can respond this can be frustrating for my personality. It was a really great experience putting the learning piece together.
As I end these first six weeks of this course I realize I have learned a lot, but have so much more to learn about online teaching. I keep reminding myself of Mr. Norman Coombs when he said "Suddenly there's this whole new world that I can seize and I guess part of what I'm interested in doing is trying to show other handicapped people and non-handicapped people what a person can do in spite of a handicap. It makes me wish I were 30 years younger, when I think of all the opportunities that are starting to unfold." I am a computer handicapped person and after reading about him I know with patience and perseverance I can do it.

My perceptions on online learning and teaching

Originally Posted:  Sunday, September 13, 2009

Well, I now understand what my students mean when they say their brains hurt after class. My brain is really hurting—it’s on overload. This is really a computer intensive course and I will know about my computer by the time I finish this course of that I am sure. I have never taken an online course and I’m learning very quickly that there is a lot of reading, going to various links, and being dropped by the online provider while I am reading or thinking.

I have never taken or taught an online course so this is my first attempt with this type of teaching and learning paradigm. The readings have been interesting and very thought provoking. I really liked the article “Campfires in Cyberspace: Primordial Metaphors for Learning in the 21st Century” by David D Thornburg, PhD. What a creative way to describe learning as storytelling and sitting around the campfire and listening to the story then, going to the watering hole to discuss it and other information that the participant felt were important and lastly the cave to ponder and think about what we learned, how we will use it and what it really means to us. He then went on to use cyber space and online teaching and online information to show how that teaching and learning metaphor continues into the computer age. I know my students when I first began teaching 15 years ago hardly had any computer knowledge, now they come to class with their computer and take notes, their books are on the computer and more and more courses are being taught online. It is really interesting to see this technology grow but, I feel like a cave man in the sense I am so non-computer savvy. I always felt that online teaching was so impersonal but again the lecture on “High teach and High Tech” by McMahon and Davidson showed that the course can really have a personal piece by what you say and how you set up the course. They also show that there must be a lot of interaction between the students and the faculty. I liked their E-word list and the suggestion to use images in your course and not just typed words to make it interesting. We have developed a Sims Lab (simulation lab) at the college and it has really been a wonderful experience for both the students and faculty. We have mannequins that are adult, toddler , infant, and pregnant female. By computer we can make them do all kinds of things: different heart rhythms, respirations, lung sounds, even deliver a baby and so much more. This has really opened my eyes to what computers can do and thinking about what I could do to enhance teaching online and in the classroom.
I really hope to learn a lot about online teaching during this course. I would like after completion of the certificate program to design one of the nursing courses I teach to go online. I would also like to possibly hybrid some of my courses that the college will not allow to go online completely. 
But, I really need to learn a lot more about online design and
curriculum.  I kew I knew I didn't understand the workings of the
computer but, I really didn't realize how much it can do.  I also now understand the course is only as good technincally as the person developing it and the faculty teaching it.  As well as, a student taking an online course there wil be frustration but, I will learn to work with the computer.