PPOCCID Class Begins Tonight

I am teaching PPOCCID (Principles and Practices of Online Course Creation and Instructional Design) again beginning this evening. I made the syllabus available for anybody who wants to see / use it (comments and feedback are very welcome!).

ppoccid screenshot

One of the ongoing assignments for my students will be to blog:

Course Blogs

Reflective Practice is a critical aspect of teaching and learning, and a fundamental element of teaching online involves acquiring a comfort with technology to communicate and collaborate.

Online learning is a more networked experience than traditional face-to-face (F2F) learning. Thus, students are required to use a blog for this course. Students may use their own blog (if they have one) or create a new one (Blogger, WordPress.com, or elsewhere). Blog posts should be done at least once a week discussing some learning or a reaction to anything in the course.

Making at least two comments every week on other course attendee blogs is required.

Let me set an example for our first posting!

Online Course Creation–Issues Debrief

My Online Course Design class met for the first time last night, and I think it went somewhat well (though it would probably be best to ask my students their thoughts about this!). I used (and am continuing to experiement with) an online adapted version of Stephen Brookfield’s Critical Incident Questionnaire, so will code the results for next week and try to understand more about their perceptions. More about this additional project later.

Overall, I was happy with how the technology (and my teaching, of course!) worked. While the NYU online course system is brand new (the Epsilen Environment), there are a few items that arose that I need to address to try to understand them a little better. I already emailed our technical people about them, and hopefully they will be able to help me determine how to use them better or otherwise open them as help desk tickets or enhancement requests:

  1. Attendance. I took attendance on paper and could not figure out how to enter this into the system afterward. I wonder if this had to be done in real time?
  2. File / Application Sharing. I was able to upload my PowerPoint slides, though when I shared a Word file (and in fact the entire Word application, I believe) I could not tell I was being shared nor could I determine if my students were still able to hear me. I am not sure if I missed the indicators that these were still happening, but I had to go back to the online course screen several times (3, to be precise) to ask my students if they could still see and hear. On top of all this, it seems this did not get recorded in the course archive, so I do not have any direct way of knowing what the experience was like.
  3. Webcam. I tried to use my webcam, though it cast a greenish / yellowing / ghoulish complexion. True, I do try to stay out of the sun, but I do not look like that! Disatisfied with how my laptop’s webcam looks and how crisp and clear everybody else was, I just ordered a new one (Logitech QuickCam Orbit AF) this morning and will receive it on Friday. As one of my students commented about how a webcam helps to maintain attention during a class, I think I need to pay more attention to having a good one that works well.
  4. Share a Web Link. I had trouble sharing a web link. I believe it opened in another window, though as it did not pop-up and come to the front (such as happens with WebEx), I could not be certain that it happened.
  5. Student Names. Probably one of the strangest open issues (that has already been reported to the vendor) involves seeing the student names in the class. They are not visible as names–only as usernames! Correct–I cannot determine who is present by seeing their names, so have to see the usernames and then look at my printed paper to link them up with their real names. I see this as being a strangely anachronistic issue, one that is problematic for me as class facilitator and problematic for the students as we are now part of a class learning community.

As blogging (either private or public) is a course requirement, I am trying to model something about what I am hoping for my students to do. We will eventually have a discussion about ethics, privacy, public persona, Googleability, etc., though I generally do my best to share my thoughts and experiences via my blog without being overly critical or personally confrontational. Hopefully this will maintain (or even increase!) my credibility as a teaching and learning professional.

Online Course Creation FA08, Here We Go!

I am getting ready for my Principles & Practices of Online Course Creation & Instructional Design (which I call the Online Course Creation course that begins this evening. I have been so focused on getting used to the new technology, that I have had little time for anything else (except watching Heroes last night, of course!).

A few additional minor items to add to my checklist:

  • Determine if and when to use a web cam
  • Have water handy by the computer (but do not spill it, of course)
  • report any bugs or non-working items to technical support (I have been making lots of suggestions and identifying some non-working items)
  • decide how (and if) to post slides–directly in the online course environment as slides, as a PDF, via SlideShare, GoogleDocs, etc.
  • determine when (and if) there will be a break
  • determine how attendance will be taken (without having a TA, that is!)
  • open the slides and other files that will be used
  • close programs (such as Outlook, an RSS reader, Skype, IM software, and anything else that constantly accesses the Internet) that are not needed; all the saved bandwidth will be needed
  • log on to the system and get things up and running before the course begins–better be early and have time to troubleshoot, rather than late and a hectic mess . . .

With that, away I go . . .

Online Course Final Preparation Checklist

My online course, Principles and Practices of Online Course Creation and Instructional Design, begins on Tuesday, and while I have blogged about the course several times in the past few weeks, I am now in the final stretch of preparing to teach it.

I created a simple checklist I have been using to track items that need to get done in the next few days before the course begins, and thought that perhaps it may help others preparing to teach online (or others who read this may have some suggestions I missed!).

  • Revise the course website (in the Epsilen platform) to make sure all items are filled out.
  • Take the syllabus which is in Word format and put it in the online course format. This is not necessary, but may help us navigate through it more speedily.
  • Update my bio on the website. I know this was there . . . where did it go?!?!
  • Try to figure out why I can only see from the student’s view, and not the instructor’s view.
  • Email the students again to welcome them. I welcomed them already, as well as sent them some Announcements. No response from them and no log ons to the new system. Will have to email our tech support again to try to learn more about what sorts of log on and navigation instructions they should get before class begins.
  • Finish my PowerPoint lesson slides and discussion questions.
  • Tweak the online communication / platform slide to help navigate students in the first class who get lost with the new technology. Include the help desk contact information here as well!
  • Set up the online grade book.
  • Review the readings for the first and second class.
  • Prepare some specific slides to explain the final project.
  • Post a response to the class forum “Tell us about yourself” question to model it for the students.
  • Prepare to have my computer on and all materials out and accessible prior to the class on Tuesday at 6:30.
  • Get additional treats for my dogs so I have something to give them if they start barking (in the background) while I am teaching.
  • Practice using the online synchronous system a little more (how to share slides, use the white board, etc.). I already did this, but one last practice may help. Anybody out there in the blogosphere want to try this with me on Sunday night EST?
  • Review online class recording features.
  • Review setting student rights for the online classroom space for discussions, cameras, etc.

This is my list thus far. What am I missing?

Book Selection for “Online Course Creation and Instructional Design” Class

I have finally selected the texts for my Principles and Practices of Online Course Creation and Instructional Design course that begins in another month. They are:

  1. Anderson, T. (Ed.). (2008). The theory and practice of online learning (2nd ed.). Edmonton: Athabasca University Press.
    The book is available printed or free via download at
    http://www.aupress.ca/books/Terry_Anderson.php
  2. Harper, D. G. (Ed.). (2008). Education for a digital world: Advice, guidelines, and effective practice from around the globe. Vancouver: Commonwealth of Learning & BCcampus.
    This book is available free via download at http://www.col.org/colweb/site/pid/5312

I reviewed countless printed and physically published works, and all of them lacked something or another. I found the Anderson text via searching online, and the second one was referred to me from one of the authors, Sylvia Currie.

Let the teaching and learning adventure begin!

theory-and-practice-of-online-learning1Education for a Digital World

Principles and Practices of Online Course Creation and Instructional Design

It is confirmed that I will be teaching an online class in the Fall at New York University: Principles and Practices of Online Course Creation and Instructional Design.

The course description:

Designed as an introduction for faculty, trainers, and other instructors, this course prepares you to develop and teach online courses. Topics include the application of learning theory to online instruction, online course content development, and strategies for effective online curriculum planning and delivery. Learn how to define the characteristics and needs of adult distance learners; effective ways to meet these needs through online instruction; and the differences between online courses and traditional courses with respect to class participation, interaction, course materials, and instructor involvement. Reinforce your skills with the design and delivery of an instructional unit.

While the course is online, we are requiring a synchronous weekly attendance for it, though I am planning to record the sessions. The dates for the live sessions are 9/23, 9/30, 10/7, 10/14, 10/21, 10/28, 11/4, 11/11, 11/18, and 11/25. The time will be from 6:30 PM 8:00 PM EST.

I am excited to be using the new Epsilen platform, that NYU SCPS just purchased and is planning to use for their expanded online offerings.

I have been speaking with colleagues all over the Web about this class, and am interested in any and all suggestions and words of wisdom for this (as well as resource suggestions!).

Project Management for Training Class Begins Tonight

nyuscps.jpgI am teaching a new class that begins tonight, Project Management for Training.

How many times has somebody in the training and development, or workplace learning and performance fields (not to mention human resource development, industrial / organizational psychology, organizational development, etc.) been told to develop a class in this or that without being equipped for managing the process itself? This is what this course is focused upon, project management of the training development and delivery function. Think about it — trainers and designers and developers and project managers are all skills and jobs in their own right, but in the learning function, they are often combined without recognizing all that is really involved. 

The description:

Whether you’re conducting a single training session for a small audience or multiple sessions for a large group, a training program–like a project in any other discipline–must have an effective plan to guide and track progress. This class provides you with a planning process and teaches you techniques to prepare and deliver training projects consistently and effectively. Focusing on logistics, rationale, scope, timescales, risk management, and budget, you acquire the skills to communicate with the training project’s stakeholders to ensure optimum performance.  

I am looking forward to working with my learners over the next six weeks. BTW, I wish I would have had this course when I started in the field (and I am not saying this just because I am teaching it!).