Evidence: Online lesson hosted in VIULearn designed for Adult Fundamental Math (introduction to graphs) (Dec 8, 2014)
OLTD 507 Learning Outcome addressed: Develop an online unit or lesson using cloud tools effectively
Reflection to Support Evidence:
For the final assignment in OLTD 507, I created an introductory graphing lesson aimed towards adult literacy math learners. This lesson was housed in VIULearn, and includes content as html pages in the website as well as activities designed around various cloud tools. Since VIULearn is password protected, I created a screen capture highlighting some of the activities within my lesson.
Prior to creating a lesson, we were introduced to 3 different course design styles; Project based learning, Flipped classroom, and the traditional delivery model. My teaching style and the course I chose to create a lesson for worked best with the traditional delivery model. This model provides a hook, instruction on the concept and then time for the students to demonstrate their learning. The lesson needed to include evidence of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles, and use a minimum of two different cloud tools, discussion, and an assignment with a rubric or assessment criteria. When creating the lesson, I revisited the idea of Backward Design, and determined what it was I wanted my students to be able to understand by the end of the lesson and how they would demonstrate this learning. This helped guide my choices of learning activities and cloud tools for my lesson. While I have been working towards a blended learning environment for my students, after completing this lesson build I realize that I need to re-evaluate some of my lessons to ensure they are easy to follow, support many different learning styles and meet universal accessibility guidelines.
While some content may come prepackaged, many online educators create their own lessons or customize existing ones to suit their own teaching style. Being able to create online units or lessons that include effective use of cloud tools is an important skill for educators. It is always important to create clear, easy to follow lessons but if you are operating in an online environment (without the advantage of face-to-face) it is even more critical. A well-crafted online lesson starts by having a clear idea of what you want your students to know and how they will show you. Knowing this can help guide your choice of cloud tools that will meet your objectives.
Video tour of introduction to graphing unit (adult literacy math) (housed in VIUTube)
Evidence: Tool evaluation form and evaluation of seven cloud tools (Dec 2014)
OLTD 507 Learning Outcome addressed: Identify appropriate use of cloud tools in an online course
Reflection to Support Evidence:
The first major assignment for OLTD 507 was to create a tool to analyze cloud tools in an educational setting. I chose to create my tool using Microsoft Excel, and tried to make it interactive rather than simply a document to read. I then created a walk-through video of my evaluation form using ActivePresenter (a free screen capture cloud tool).
In order to create the evaluation tool, I had to be clear what my criteria would be regarding tool usefulness. After reviewing various tools and participating in discussions with my cohort, I settled on accessibility, usability and privacy as my top three categories. Within each of these categories, I determined what characteristics would make a tool accessible and useful. I found it challenging to narrow down the list to a manageable number. In terms of accessibility and usability, I went back and reviewed Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and based many of my criteria on those principles. I also included a separate section on features of the tool. This section encourages evaluators to consider what type of learning activity the tool may be best suited for. Is it suitable for group learning or better as an individual tool? Can it provide a variety of ways to show what they know? To establish this list of criteria, I considered different ways of learning and how this learning might be reflected through use of a specific tool.
Being able to choose which tool best fits your learning objectives as well as meets your accessibility, usability and privacy criteria is important as an online educator. With the abundance of cloud tools available, it is easy to be distracted by a tool that looks good but doesn’t actually help meet your objectives. Having an evaluation tool can help educators compare tools based on equal criteria and to carefully consider if the tool meets the needs of both the students and the teacher. In my own practice, I would like to use the form I created to evaluate new tools I may wish to use, as well as share the tool and/or the evaluations with my colleagues as they move into teaching blended courses.