Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My Plan for a Special Topic

Planning and Learning Outcomes

This post will hopefully outline my plan for my Special Topic, concentrating on the learning outcomes of the paper. This will also become a guide for me for the semester to ensure that I keep on track. I will also consider setting up my own timeline for the semester to ensure that milestones are met.

What do you want to do?
The overall plan is to develop a face to face course into a course that may be taken by students studying at a different institution (that we collaborate with). Although it would be predominately seen as a distance course, I would like it to be more blended learning so that there is interaction between the facilitator and students.

The key reason for choosing this course is that there is the need to offer this paper online for students at another institution (it is a core paper that they must take as part of the Hotel Management major which is only offered at our institution).

By creating an online option this could allow other students to be able to take this course who may not be able to make on-campus classes.

Over the past few years there has been a push for more flexible learning offerings among our programmes.

What are the learning outcomes/project outcomes?
There are two different learning outcomes, obviously my own personal learning and the actual project outcomes.

I would like to explore some different eLearning technology that I have not previously used before. As an institution we have just moved to Moodle (open learning management system) at the start of 2010 (from Blackboard) so I am trying to navigate my way round Moodle, which will be used for this project. I would like to be able to use some videos or quizzes within the project that will assist the learners.

In terms of the project outcomes, it will provide an efficient way of delivering a course to remote students, as well as providing a very comprehensive resource and support for f2f students as well.

Why are they important at this time?
My own personal learning outcomes are important as I know that I have students wanting to take my papers online and I do not want to offer them an inferior product due to location and therefore want to understand the requirements of elearning. Through the project I hope to have a better understanding of the needs and requirements of students studying online (of course I am myself one of these, so through this blog I can also give my own reflections of the process)

Does it require a budget?
I will of course try where possible to not have a budget! Where possible I will look to use software that can be downloaded for free or use existing software that is available through the Polytechnic or resources on Moodle.

Does it require approval and from whom?
My Head of School has given me approval for the project.

What is the underpinning literature and practice that you can draw on?
My research will be underpinned by current literature in elearning such as Mason and Rennie (2006). I will also need to consider the different learning styles of the students and augmented learning (how the student interacts with the technology). I will explore different online materials. The Elearning Guidelines (Milne & Dimock, 2006) will also be a valuable resource for this project.


Mason, R., & Rennie, F. (2006). Elearning: The key concepts. New York: Routledge.
Milne, J., & Dimock, E. (2006). eLearning Guidelines. Guidelines for the support of e-learning in New Zealand Retrieved 8 March, 2009, from http://elg.massey.ac.nz/Guidelines-questions.pdf

Initial thoughts

Stop the procrastination and get on with the brainstorm process for a suitable special topic. My teaching area is Hotel Management as part of an Applied Business degree. As part of collaboration with another New Zealand polytechnic, we have students that can be enrolled onto the papers we offer and study these by distance. My teaching up until July last year as all been face to face (f2f) and therefore have not necessarily thought about some of the challenges of eLearning. I have decided to look at a paper that I am to facilitate next semester as a distance paper. I am currently teaching the paper f2f with students on campus for the first time. This will give me a good idea of the expectations I have with f2f students and then what I will need to accomplish with on online programme.

I had put my initial thoughts about this via the discussion board on Blackboard (the learning management system) that Manukau Institute of Technology use with their students. I think I was being a little too ambitious to start with, so am glad that Oriel let me know this! So that is where my thoughts are at the moment with my project – obviously more detail to come.

I think the key to the special topic is that the project is accomplishable within the semester. I really want to know that I have put in some effort, explored different eLearning options, trial things I have learnt through the course so far as well as being able to know that student learning will benefit from my efforts. Oh, and on a budget!

This blog will serve as a reflective journal throughout the semester, a place to post milestones and my progress. I hope that I will also gain some valuable feedback and comments from anyone that cares to follow what I am writing as well.

Of course there will be challenges along the way, the paper that I have chosen to use is a theoretical paper, but in our f2f situations there is alot of discussion in classes. I need to think about different ways that students can be interactive (this will of course depend on the number of students that might take this course via distance).

A new year, a new focus for my blog!

Another year and I am back to my elearning blog. This time it is going to be used for one of my final papers of the Graduate Certificate in Applied eLearning – Special Topic. The strange thing is, that I am completing a ‘special project” along with the paper Educational Design for eLearning which is often one of the first papers that people take! Oh well nothing like doing things a bit differently.

This blog will support my Special Topic course. I feel that I am a little behind at this stage, hard to believe that it is already week 5 of my own teaching, so I know I am behind with my study.

The learning outcomes for the Special Topic are to identify and negotiate an applied eLearning topic, design the process/plan by which the goals will be achieved, implement the process while modifying as appropriate, present a progress report at agreed stages and produce a report outlining and critiquing the project and outcomes.