Learning by Doing

and doing again

August 5, 2013
by annecdeutsch

Total Immersion

It’s amazing how much can get done in a short period of time.  While I can’t say that my class is where I want it to be, it’s much farther along than where I could imagine it being given the time frame.  I keep having to make decisions about what is and is not doable and prioritizing in order to make decisions about how I will spend my time.  I also have to resist the urge to do things because they seem cool or innovative to me. I have to step back and think about what I am capable of, what my students will be capable of, and what will help them and what might distract them in meeting the core objectives of the course.  I should probably be keeping a list of discarded ideas in hopes that someday I will teach this class and will want to incorporate some of these ideas if my experience teaching the class over time indicates that they would be successful.  Here are some ideas I have had but not utilized:

  • Peer to Peer Forums
  • Student produced “how to” videos – I think these could be incorporated on a “value added” basis.  What functionality or strategy did you discover that was not covered in the course videos?  Each student could be required to produce X number of these videos.
  • I just thought of an immediately salvageable idea.  I had planned on making videos at the end of each module based on the questions that were asked and answered in the Peer to Peer Forums.  I still think that a “looking back to move forward” video would be helpful on a module by module basis.  I could give group feedback based on what I am seeing – both the positive and the negative.

Because I have made so many changes I am a bit worried that my course information documents no longer map exactly to the course.   I do need to take a look at them again.  I’m really looking forward to the peer review process.  I’m interested in what my classmates see in my course, and I”m sure that I will learn a few things as I review their courses.  I’ve peeked in on most courses and have been incredibly impressed.  At this point I feel like I’m so immersed in my course that I can’t even see it any more.  It will be great to get other perspectives!



July 31, 2013
by annecdeutsch

Race to the finish

Well, it’s time to sprint to the finish line. Unfortunately I feel like I lost one of my shoes and I have a side stitch.  I have SO much to do and am feeling pretty overwhelmed.  I”m prioritizing to make sure that the most important content gets into the course.  I definitely have to work on instructions and assessment.  I”m not entirely sure why I’m getting hung up here, but I’m really stuck.  Whether or not the instructional videos I had planned on make it into the course is questionable at this point.  I suppose one option would be to have the students create instructional videos using Jing.  I’m just not sure how the timing would work out, but it’s something worth considering as it definitely falls into the active learning category.  I do worry that it’s a bit like dropping students in the middle of the woods with no compass and saying “good luck getting home.”  The question becomes – what could serve as a compass?  I don’t have the answer to that right now.  Having students create instructional videos does feel less scary that following Jim Grooms’s suggestion and having students design their own assignments.  While I love this idea in theory, I don’t think it’s something I would want to do my first time out in both instructional design and online teaching.  I’m actually less concerned with letting the students go wild and more concerned with assessment.  Anyhoo, this is all something to tuck away for later.

Another idea that I have resisted in the past, but I think I might be coming around, is gamification.  I wish that Bryan Alexander had said a little bit more about this topic.  The recent conversation about gaming and education in our discussion forum has been really informative.  I don’t know why I’ve been resistant, particularly since games in my f2f classes have mostly been great successes.  I would have students group into teams and compete and the games ranged from answering questions to solving problems to completing a task.  Not only would these activities lead to higher levels of engagement and enthusiasm, they helped groups of students bond and work together as a team.  Those moments when students with various strengths and weaknesses balanced each other out and worked out a solution as a team were fantastic.

I”m pretty happy with my “refurbished” discussion questions.  I feel like they are at a high enough level, away from the “how to”, to engage students and prompt lively discussions and interactions.  Alex’s interview with Beth Harris was invaluable on this front.  She really helped me elevate my thinking about discussion questions.  I wasn’t surprised to hear that she revisits those questions on a regular basis.  I suspect that if I ever get this course off the ground I’ll always be playing with the discussion questions to encourage the most learning and interaction.

I like thinking about rubrics.  I like learning about rubrics.  I like norming rubrics.  I like looking at other people’s rubrics.  I  don’t like creating rubrics.  This has been surprising to me.  More to the point, it’s a tremendous stumbling block! I need to really simplify my approach to make this manageable.



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