How do instructional designers balance the competing demands of relationship and team building, pedagogical principles and instructional design processes? How do you integrate the strengths and limitations of your SME (Subject Matter Expert)/instructor with the features and functions of the technologies? In my experience, this balance requires a customized dance to suit the unique characteristics of each project, team, program and course. Yet some projects feel like graceful ballets while others keep me tripping over my feet!
How do you balance these competing demands? Do you sometimes feel that you are compromising your pedagogical values to ensure that good relationships are maintained?
Please contribute your ideas about how you go about doing your instructional design work, and for those of you who aren?t instructional designers, your questions and observations are greatly encouraged as these will definately help to clarify and define the roles in the design process.
Since most of my stuff is internet based ( I teach teachers and in teacher ed. how to design on-line activities/learning environment) I find myself always having to think about technology limitations and usability. My guru about usability is Jakob Nielsen, he has a good website with weekly column : http://www.useit.com/alertbox
His top 10 design mistakes for the web:
His top ten weblogs mistakes:
I mostly to on-line tutorials for my students such as this about flickr:
This about my NKN course (course I teach in spring semister)
I have the last two years been experienting with teaching screencasting (using camtasia or captivate) and microteaching lessons on the Internet (video of presenter+ powerpoint slides + navigation)
Thanks for your contribution and for sharing your work! You are clearly very comfortable with the technologies and a true innovator! Even without knowing the Iclandic language, I can see that your classes are inviting and interactive, and your photographs draw immediate attention and engagement.
As a proficient designer, how do you go about considering your audience and defining your learning outcomes? Could you describe the processes that you use to design your courses?
So Berel, when you wonder, ?where do I start? There are so many choices, and so many modalities and delivery systems (and so many salespeople!) that it's difficult to know where to start?? I?m thinking it?s just fine to keep it simple and basic.
I agreed when Bruce responded with questions, not about techno-tools but about your audience and your learning goals. They were so useful, I hope the group doesn?t mind if I cite them: ?What kind of content are you providing? Who are your students? What kinds of technology DO you want to use? How will the format enhance content delivery? If you are the student taking the course what would you expect? If you, as the student, need the course and dislike technology but have to use it anyway what would you want??
In the "Media Mixes" chapter of "Learning Together Online: Research on Asynchronous Learning Networks" (Hiltz & Goldman, 2005), their synthesis of the research to date supports the idea that student satisfaction in online courses is more related to the quality of interaction than impressive technology.
I'd love to hear more about how others in the group attend to designing generative exchanges within the communities they construct. What are your strategies?
Hi Vivian and Salvor...my name is Diane and I am a instructional designer and faculty member with the Extension Division at the University of Saskatchewan. I have worked as an instructional designer since the early 90s at 2 other universities besides the UofS.
I do like the title of your discussion as it is true for me as well that ID is a dance...it is also a relationship that I find has to be in place as ID for most SMEs is a scary place to be. Although many are sincere teachers they often (at least at the university level) have expertise in their dicipline but not alot of training in how to design their courseware, weither or not it is a face 2 face classroom, blended classroom or totally online. So trust that I am going to work with them to be successful is most important.
I try and balance this by finding out where the person is philosophically with respect to their teaching and students, and work from there...sometimes I do compromise my own instincts on what is possible because they are not there yet, and my job is not to send them running from the room ;-) Often if I have done my job correctly by the time the course is to pilot they are either where I think they might want to be, in an ideal world, or at least open to revisions once they experience the pilot and their first time using the ID process.
Good instructional design takes time and commitment and good instructional designers learn as much from the SMEs as they bring to the discussion...
Well all from me for now...I am looking forward to the discussion...cheers, Diane
Diane, thanks for sharing these ideas!
It sounds like the first step for you is to find out more about your SME and build a relationship, and only after that do you look at design. Is this a mentoring or scafolding type of model?
I often think that instructional design is much less about design per se, and much more about building these trusting collaborative relationships. Most SME's at the university level have little exposure to the processes of course development and yet they are indeed experts in their fields. Perhaps it is this wide difference in expertise (expert in one, novice in the other) that makes ID scary for SME's. As I write this I'm aware that these acronyms are internal to our field and most SME's are unaware of their meaning.
You say, "if I've done my job correctly.... " Could you share more about what this would be? How do you entice an SME to design using ID ideas and processes, or to be open to course revisions?
My name is Barbara Berry and I have recently (2 weeks today in fact!) joined the Educational Support & Innovation Unit (ESI) of Learning and Instructional Development Centre at SFU as a Program Director. As an Adult Educator and Designer, I've been consulting in program planning, evaluation and instructional design in non-profit, public and for-profit environments for over ten years. Recently I designed a transdisciplinary health research training program for graduate students, post docs and clinical researchers. This was my first "dance" with academic SME's.
These opportunities have helped me to clarify my role as a designer as well as the philosophy and frameworks that underpin my work. For instance, as a designer within the workplace context where learners are working adults, I have drawn from performance improvement frameworks, adult learning principles, program planning theory and curriculum design to cobble together "my approach".
To assist with the "dance", I have found that a short conversation over coffee with the SME's, creators, administrators (learners too if they are around) about the intended outcomes, hopes and aspirations of the learning can go a long way towards mapping out a plan that can be supported and achieved.
I rarely have the luxury of solely wearing the hat of instructional designer. Instead I balance a closet of hats ranging from primary technical trainer to researcher of new products for information systems. A large part of my time is devoted to assisting that larger organization understand the issues of technology adoption from a teaching perspective. So, I do rarely have the ability to facilitate the process as I think an instructional designer should.
When I do have the ability to oversee the design process I pretty much have to depend on student or skilled labor in production and allow myself with to be the quality checkpoint and pedagogical expert to insure that what others are doing are really worth while.
The biggest part of the process that is often left out or forgotten is evaluation of learning outcomes. Sure I can rationalize this by saying this is the faculty's responsibility but, I doubt that this is really true. So, I am looking forward to hearing from my colleagues about how they balance the pressure of this dance and find their balance while spinning on their heads.
I'm part of a small group preparing and designing for an online conference that will hopefully motivate (more) Nordic language educators to work community wise.
I am just now having in front of me a very relevant book by Jenny Preece Online communities - Designing usability, supporting sociability. This is an approach that I agree with; as I consider learning happens as part of our social interaction embedded in our culture and our community relations - with people and with artifacts made by our fellow beings.
This said, I was just looking at some small videos from Salvor's teacher education class, each of them showing different activities, for exampe drum rythms, paper cutting, or an author biography narrated by two young women, obviously nervous in front of the camera but more and more naturally performing. This makes me think of a conversation I had last week with my old friend, a multimedia expert and teacher librarian who used to teach in the folkeskole (age 6 to 16), wwho started to work at a teacher college last year. he told me how amazing it was to get these young and ambitious people to play with the video camera and digital editing; they were having great fun and enjoyed it just as much as the grade three class I once helped him with in a research pilot project we were doing together. They forgot all about stressful demands for getting ready for their many exams, and just enjoyed the flow of pleasant knowledge building.
Ok, they were on location, not online - so the physical choreography would be differenty structured. But in principle, I think I would design acourse on multimedia production that was all online , somehow likewise - encourage them to collaborate, to play with the tools and work towards soemthing they would like to share, still keeping things simple enough to not run into too many challeging obstacles..
all for now, bedtime, and lots of oral bachelor exams in the coming week!
And Salvor, we're looking forward to know in which way you would like to contribute to our Nordic Voice conference, and share some of your insight - perhaps as part of our roving blog reporter teanwork...
I'm glad you've both found the time to share your experiences with us!
Robbie, you mention evaluation of learning outcomes as an important piece of the process. I spoke with Barbara Barry this morning (see her posting above) and she described a project where the central part of the process that lead to eventual success was the fact that she was able to move some of the responsibility for design from herself to the instructors by implementing student evaluations of the course. Once the instructors recieved the feedback, they were open to revision and participated in a re-design process.
The way Barbara described it, she was somewhat sceptical about the process until the student evaluation. Perhaps Barbara could elaborate...?
I'm excited to see that on the first day of this seminar we've already gathered quite a crowd from various parts of the world. It is very encouraging and it's great to meet new people this way.
Now, let me turn to the topic of evaluation of learning outcomes started by Robbie. In reply to Robbie's message, Vivian talked about student evaluations of a course. I just want to clarify which one are we talking about, assessing of what student have learned and to what extent they have achieved the learning objectives of a course, or student's satisfaction of a course and the instruction they received? Obviously these two areas are related and each deserves to be discussed separately or they can be discussed together.
I am geographically planted in New England (Hudson, Massachusetts) and I?m thoroughly enjoying meeting everyone as new voices join in each day...it's a pleasure to be part of an international conversation about my personal passion -- learning and teaching online.
I was drawn in when Robbie pointed out the importance of evaluating learning outcomes and Cindy built on Robbie?s comment, wondering out loud if Robbie meant, assessing of what students have learned and to what extent they have achieved the learning objectives of a course, or student's satisfaction of a course and the instruction they received?
I hope we can focus a bit on how to assess what students have learned and to what extent they have achieved the learning objectives. How do you/we as designers do that?
In a nutshell, the program ( a six year funded project) is intended to develop graduate level health researchers. I was the Coordinator with "design responsibilities" on this project. The first year and initial design was essentially faculty driven and content focused. Despite many discussions with faculty regarding the importance of learner interactivity, active learning etc. the research seminars were essentially lectures of deep content with little opportunity for learner engagement. Also, the use of webct was limited to that of content repository (for a host of reasons).
Students were coming to me stating that the course was not meeting their needs (remember these were PhD's and Post Docs and they were less concerned with content and more concerned with the nuts and bolts of doing health research and learning about cross-disciplinary approaches to conducting health research.
With the support of the Program Advisory Committee (faculty) we hired an external evaluator to conduct 2 focus groups ( one with students and another with the faculty). This was considered part of the formative evaluation plan of this project and not student assessment. The focus groups were extremely successful and the results yielded a shift to a collaborative design model for year two where faculty and students are in teams co-designing the research seminars and co-delivering them as well....a big shift and with positive results so far. Transforming from a faculty-centred approach to a collaborative design with students has reduced the status differentials considerably. Everyone is more engaged, the faculty and students are more like peers learning together.
At the student recommendation, they have embedded an online journal club two weeks prior to the f2f seminars whereby the team of faculty and students work together to select a key research article; a student leader posts the article and another student leader facilitates the online journal club. Faculty are there to support and enable the learner in critical areas as required. The f2f seminar that follows in two weeks is based on Kolb's learning model where there is content, dialogue and application.....so far it is working well. The students are leading the seminars.
So, evaluation can be very helpful and I personally find this a constructive approach to change if it is done well.
I too am beginning to work with faculty at the Harvard Extension School who want to move their courses totally online. So far the emphasis has been on effectively videotaping their lectures. I?ve been reminded that Harvard professors take their ?performances? very seriously ? it?s at the heart of their teaching practice.
I have found myself thinking like Diane, who says she trys to find out where the person is philosophically with respect to their teaching and students, and work from there...sometimes I do compromise my own instincts on what is possible because they are not there yet, and my job is not to send them running from the room. Indeed. I?ve been worried about how fast my clients will be running from my collaborative learning room as well.
Barbara, your description of your process is fascinating to me. I want to learn more! I wonder if I can be the sort of change agent at Harvard you describe?please everyone, bombard me with suggestions!
Good morning to all.
My name is Bruce Jones and am currently between "gigs". I work (occasionally) as a Staff Development Specialist for a local healthcare provider. In this position, I develop and design topic specific instructional material for healthcare professionals both online and traditional.
How I do, what I do is often a complete surprise. When I try to analyze the components and processes of various offerings -- especially successful ones ? I often find no particular pattern or theory being dominant.
I have found design is mainly dependent on the proposed outcomes (KNOWLEDGE/competency, COMPETENCY/knowledge) of the content.
I am looking forward to hearing the hows and whys of the pros.
At the recent ID conference sponsored by Campus Saskatchewan I was asked several times if I was an instructional designer. The first few times I said "working on it", but by the second day, after discussions with others I began to answer "Yes I am."
I am still new at this, but have already experienced some of the dance. In addition to doing what I think of as actual instructional design (learner analysis, creating prototypes, usability testing, etc.) I've dealt with subject matter experts who clearly don't know what my role is. I've worked around the internal politics of my clients' organizations. I've also tried to educate my clients on what it is instructional designers can do for them and why they need us. In some cases it seems to have actually worked.
Anyway, I'm really looking forward to having discussions about the dance. Thanks for allowing me this opportunity.
However you do it, instructional design is partly about team building. Just like the football coach who bides his time on the side lines. The Instructional Design may never see the playing field of the classroom.
It's lovely to hear from someone who is relatively new to instructional design! Along with several other people in this seminar, you say that you've tried to educate your clients and that "In some cases it seems to have actually worked." Could you describe exactly what you did that worked? I'm thinking that the quality of our dances has to do with the movements and steps that we take - the learner analysis, creating prototypes, etc, yes, but also the interaction, the words and phrases, the timing of our suggestions, the flow of conversation, talking over coffee....
When the client asked us to do additional work for this project there was no suggestion about anyone but the ID team do the work.
Maybe we should think about it this way -- I recently had to have some major construction done to my house because of a broken pipe under the foundation. We decided to have new laminate put down instead of replacing the carpet in our family room. Initially we thought we'd install it ourselves to save money. How hard could it be? In the end, we decided against doing it ourselves. We did however watch a great deal of the installation and were thankful that we paid them to do it right the first time or we would have had to hire them to fix it later.
I think that people need to see the process to really get it. How will they know how well we can dance unless we let watch us?
The construction analogy is apt. For coming up on two decades I've explained what I do like this: Imagine that what happens in a classroom, or a training seminar, or what happens when a learner sits down with a CBT lesson or self-paced tutorial - image that that complex interaction is a building.
I'm an architect.
When you hire an architect to build a building, they don't immediately deliver a truckload of 2x4s and plywood and start nailing. That might be a way to make a great clubhouse. The process would be fun, and it's a great place to spend a lazy summer afternoon, maybe even sleep out in it. Unless it rains, of course.
No, when you engage an architect to design your new building, the first thing they do is ask a bunch of questions. What's the building for? Who will use it? What will people do there? They narrow it down - you're building a house, not a factory or office tower. How big is your family? How old are the kids? Got pets? What hobbies do folks have? Do you like to cook and entertain friends? Those all influence design decisions - do we go with white carpeting, or not? Do we need to plan a shop or sewing room, a semi-industrial kitchen, a library, a game room?
That's all part of the front-end analysis. Who is the audience? What are the overall goals and objectives? What are the delivery logistics?
Then the architect starts drawing circles and lines - blobs for living spaces, arrows for traffic patterns. Shared bathroom for the kids here, master suite for the parents there. A rough sketch of a floor plan develops. You can guesstimate square footage and swag a cost, plus or minus depending on the details.
That's basic content analysis - just how big IS this breadbox, what are the components, how will they interrelate?
Next, the architect vanishes for a week or two and produces draft renderings and preliminary floorplans. Options are on the table - the hottub costs X, the fireplace cost Y. Hardwood versus laminate flooring. Which appliances? How many electrical outlets along this wall?
This is the high-level design document. Which content is in which lesson, taught with what strategies, how much media at what level of production value, how much interaction?
The architect needs to know a lot about the capabilities of different materials, how they perform in use. He doesn't have to be a carpenter or stone-countertop installer. The instructional designer needs to know what Flash can do; she doesn't need to be able to write ActionScript.
The architect may create a 3-D model from foamcore to show what the building will look like. The instructional designer may create a prototype.
With the design decisions made the architect then vanishes for another few weeks and produces the detailed blueprints. Light switch six inches from this corner. Four-inch-wide molding around this door. Center the tile pattern at this point.
The instructional designer here develops the detailed design, or storyboards. The actual on-screen and audio voiceover text is written and edited down to the commas. Visual elements are specified.
Then construction begins - excavation, pouring concrete, erecting walls. Programming, photoshopping, shooting video, editing. Window installation, plumbing electrical, drywall, painting. Linking, meta-tagging, "authoring" - it all comes together.
Finally, the client walkthrough and punchlist. QA testing and debugging.
I find the analogy works pretty well.
The architectural metaphor is great! Reminds me of my own situation and of course the "Money Pit" which leads me to add some additional ideas that I consider when conducting a front end analysis:
- where is the house being built? (where is the learning taking place?)
- how does the new design fit in with the neighbourhood? (for instance does this course fit within in series or is it a one - off?)
- are there zoning bylaws I have to abide by? (platforms and processes)
- gap analysis
- what's the foundation like? (prerequisites)
- what do the learners know already? what can they do? what do they need to know and do?
- resource requirements
- how much money do I have to spend on my new kitchen? and is it worth it? how much will we save if I cook instead of eating out all the time? - thus rationalizing my new kitchen : ). The discussion of resource requirements is a requirement in the private sector and continuing education.
the metaphor is great fun! Barb
Personally I like the analogy. The problem comes in not describing ID to our own but to the public at large.
I love to do online design .... my wife who supported my Masters and listens patiently to theory and practicality ... hates online.
We had this discussion in one of the first courses I took in my Master's program. As we learned about instructional design and what it involves, we were asked to think of analogies for it. Again, everyone had a difference of opinion, but in the end, every analogy had merit. Like Bruce, I think it's up to the individual and his/her function. Someone working in a "problem-solving-program-implementing" role in the corporate world may have a different view of ID than someone like me who designs courses for online delivery. However, we'd probably both share the same common knowledge.
Actually, I experienced such differences while working on my Master's degree. My husband and I took the degree at the same time. He comes from an educational administration background and I come from a special ed/educational psychology background. While we shared common knowledge about instructional design and its foundations, our ideas about how to implement what we know and how to design were sometimes quite different. It made for an interesting four years! <G>
I like the analogy of ID as being a type of dance - sometimes we lead, sometimes we follow, and sometimes we're all on the floor line-dancing together.
I can envision your dancers! "... sometimes we lead, sometimes we follow, and sometimes we're all on the floor line-dancing together." This is exactly the way I see it. Take a look at the "Building Relationships" topic where we're discussing it more at: http://scope.lidc.sfu.ca/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=73
Allow me to point out one important element. As I stated in my prior post, we recently had construction done on our house. A general contractor took care of hiring all of the subcontractors to complete the various jobs. Communication between the general contractor and his subs frankly sucked and as I was living in the house at the time I saw this first hand.
I think that communication between the various players on an ID project must be much better than I witnessed on this construction job. I must have good communication with my client, SME, graphic artist, and anyone else involved. I imagine that this is usually the case as ID projects that are promised within six weeks rarely take three months.
The first time around, though, is the one that I'm remembering as I read this discussion. I was one of the "charter members" of the Virtual High School faculty -- and had about 8 months to write a net course for secondary students. I found the beginning very difficult -- and finally realized it was because I was looking for "a place to stand." I knew where I would stand and how I would deliver a course in f2f environment, but online learning was entirely new to me at that time. And as I wrestled with the whole idea of how to get the first few weeks up and ready for VHS faculty evaluation, I needed to find that sense of place.
So I looked for ways to make that virtual place as real as my real classroom -- so to me, one of the most important values that course designers need to keep in mind is that the virtual place must have verisimilitude. The course must be constructed in such a way that people who click on the links and enter feel that they are in a real place where real people interact and do real work.
I'd be interested to know whether this is a concern for those who are real experts in instructional design -- and what principles guide their work as they construct these virtual environments.
p.s. If you're interested, click on this link to read an article which I wrote for VHS back in '97 in which I explored my own efforts in this direction.
At first I designed everything as though I were standing at the podium then delivered it as I wandered about the room. Every thing was a lecture with little or no interaction ... the "sage on stage."
Needles to say I was not happy with the results or process. I started designing as though I were the student. How do I want to learn this content? I became very learner centric in my design and delivery. Since I teach adults I had to have their input into their learning process. Their own life experience became internalizaton, reflection and validation.
The problem comes in administrative acceptance and understanding. My boss -- the HR director -- has an MBA, is very smart, and is ultra conservative with a learning and education philosophy anchored in the mid 1900s and is very much a behaviorist. She supports the ideology of what Alfie Kohn calls modern office buildings ... Skinner boxes with parking lots.
PS: if you hadn't noticed by now I sumtimes don't spel well when writting infoormally.
Peter: I hope you learn lots! Please share your experiences and ask lots of questions!
Marsha - a question for you... In the VHS project, did you work with instructional designers, and if so, did they do anything in particular that helped you find that sense of place that you describe so eloquently?
Interesting question, Sylvia. No one wore that title, but everyone at Concord Consortium already had a lot of experience in designing and setting up classes. We were all working together in a collaborative online course (The Teachers' Learning Conference) and that course led us so gently through the process that we seldom recognized we were being led. We were provided a software (Lotus Notes' Learning Space) powered, I believe, by Domino (I'm not techie enough to know how to talk about this properly). We had templates to work from, and a general set of standards to work with -- Courses were to be laid out week by week for scheduled asynchronous delivery. The first three weeks were to be dedicated to ice-breakers/community building, etc. Other than that we were all given tremendous freedom to figure it out on our own -- and to help each other construct the framework.
Since then I've worked in many other situations where I have sometimes participated in instructional design, or provided content, etc. In those situations, the roles were much more clearly defined. But in the VHS we were a bunch of people listening to the same music, and figuring out the dance steps as we went along. Later, the TLC (Teachers' Learning Conference) developed a much more consistent kind of leadership for new teachers who were writing courses. But that first year was really magic.
My name is Berel Bell, and I live in Montreal.
I'm not 100% I belong here together with all these ID specialists. But since the intro blurb invited those who are "curious how instructional designers go about their work," and I have this queasy feeling I'm about to become one, I decided to dive in.
I've been in involved in higher education for many years; taught CEGEP (the 2-year college system here in Quebec), designed some courses, and done some non-credit teacher training for the Jewish school system.
I'm now involved in an organization with lecturers spread out throughout the world, with the goal of professional development, particularly in the area of informal active learning. There is one main conference per year, and I've given presentations the last few years. Althought the participants are thrilled, the long-term results are not very satisfying; there's not much that can be done on such an infrequent basis, with little follow-up.
The obvious solution is to do something online. But where do I start? There are so many choices, and so many modalities and delivery systems (and so many salespeople!) that it's difficult to know where to start.
I'm beginning with a small pilot group with a series of online meetings: my speaking on a conference call, with all participants following the Powerpoint presentation on my computer. Quite low-tech; a poor imitation of a seminar with little room for interaction. But our budget is low (to call us non-profit is an exagerration), and we feel we have to start somewhere.
So I will try to absorb some of the wisdom and experience from the seminar, and would of course welcome any advice from anyone with the patience to deal with a neophyte.
" ... our budget is low ..."
You don't have to have the largest budget in the world to utilize the current technologies for education purposes. It is how you utilize and incorporate the technologies you can afford that does the trick.
" ... it's difficult to know where to start."
Look around and see who has what and how they are using it. What kind of content are you providing? Who are your students? What kinds of technology DO you want to use? How will the format enhance content delivery? If you are the student taking the course what would you expect? If you, as the student, need the course and dislike technology but have to use it anyway what would you want?
" ... lecturers spread out throughout the world, ..."
The perfect environment for internet distance learning.
The questions that Bruce asked could lead to many creative outcomes! And Berel, your seminar doesn't sound to me like a poor imitation when you use the phone and an online Powerpoint presentation. Depending on your audience and your learning objectives, these might be the perfect technologies.
This is part of the dance - to balance the budget, learning objectives, available technology and expertise, etc.
As Bruce point out, there are many free or affordable technologies. One instructor I know delivers her lectures over Skype www.skype.com which is free. Also, moodle http://moodle.com, which we are using in this "community" is also free - and interactive as we are seeing!
Do not dispair Berel, there are good solutions - keep looking, keep asking questions!
Thanks for everyone's answers, encouragement and patience with a beginner.
I set up an informal online session with a few colleagues (US, Canada, and Turkey) for this coming Sun nt. I will be using GoToMeeting, which allows me to share my screen (powerpoint, video, etc.), for us to talk together, and for online chat.
One crucial element that I feel is missing is the ability to send out a query (yes-no, multiple choice, etc.) and see everyone's response. Is there something inexpensive that does that?
Thanks for the input.
I just discovered that more than 10 participants puts you in the "Corporate" category, i.e. probably out of our price range. My primary need is to show them my powerpoint as we talk about it. We can get a free telephone conference call, so that's not a problem. Does Moodle (or anything else) enable people to look at the same thing at the same time.
(If such nitty-gritty questions are inappropriate for this forum, please accept my apologies. I cannot resist asking the people who probably have the knowledge to guide me. And although this is a pilot project in its infancy, we do reach over 10,000 students per semester, and whatever inservice training we can offer has a great impact down the line.)
You say you are using MOODLE for this community ... may I ask if this forum was designed using MOODLE? If so can it be set to show new posts and or threaded?
As a design consideration when utilizing forums these are two important components. Forums should also be searchable for key content words.
Where this affects the learning process is in organizing for reflection. You may have read an important key piece of data but can not find it because there is no search function or threading capability.
Another problem of forums threaded or not is "drift" and "shift" in conversation. In a Socratic learning format conversations are NEVER linear and if shift or drift are not accounted for confusion leads to a less than equitable learning experience.
We are doing the DANCE! And I'm having so much fun!!
We are doing instructional design by thinking about our audience, discussing needs with the client, trying to understand the client, giving advice, asking questions...
The Skype square dance - Marsha, you can dial in a third person the same way you dial in a second person. They can dial you or you can dial them.
Berel: sorry, I'm not sure about participants using a "yes, no, multiple choice", but I do know that this SCoPE system has a pole that can be used as such - I'm not sure if it's your best bet.
Bruce: SCoPE is in Moodle, and this forum is in SCoPE. It can be threaded (see the little box at the top middle), and I'm guessing that it can highlight new posts, but I'm not sure how. I have it set to send me each new posting by email, and it can be set to not send emails. Posts are searchable also (see the box at the top right).
I hope this helps answer some of your questions.
Moodle doesn't highlight unread messages like blackboard does. But a useful page is the 'recent activity':
Ther are a number of views on this page: I find 'Since last login' especially helpful!
I'm reading along here while I attend the WCET conference in San Francisco. There's quite a buzz going around the conference hotel. Apparently Charles and Camilla are due to arrive in SF tomorrow, and they may be staying here. I may have more to report later :-)
I just want to respond to the "highlight unread message" comment by Bruce and Paul. In this latest release, Moodle does have a feature to highlight unread message. A couple things need to be turned on for it to function.
1. The forum setting need to be set to read tracking = on, which I've done here.
2. The individual users need to set forum tracking to "yes, highlight new posts for me" Click on your name anywhere in Moodle, then "edit profile".
Here's the information about forum tracking:
Forum Tracking Type
If 'read tracking' for forums is enabled, users can track read and unread messages in forums and discussions. The instructor can choose to force a tracking type on a forum using this setting.
There are three choice for this setting:
- Optional [default]: students can turn tracking on or off for the forum at their discretion.
- On: Tracking is always on.
- Off: Tracking is always off.
I'm glad this was raised and that there is an interest in discussing forum features and participation analysis. I would be really interested in organizing a seminar discussion on this topic. We're in the process of integrating a beta "web annotation" tool here in SCoPE, and also there are opportunties to explore and develop other features to support good online dialogue. Bruce or others, if a discussion like this could support your research projects in some way that would be even better.
Anyway, just thought I'd throw that in here. Noted for follow-up!
"Bruce or others, if a discussion like this could support your research projects in some way that would be even better."
Count me in.
I do not have a current research project but am hoping to be able to establish one when the hospital starts up its forum and chat systems.
Our center serves the 10 colleges in our system, and our role is not in the typical area of working directly with faculty on their course materials, but more at the faculty development, organizational change, and in my area, R&D with new technologies. So the ID people in our center are not doing design of instructional materials, but need the ID background to be more of a leadership role in supporting innovation in teaching.
We've had a few hirings for IDs over the least X years, and the pools have really shifted much towards the technology usage and training areas. It's no surprise given the growth of technology, and not even a bad thing. However, I am less clear if there are neat little boxes that define what an Instructional Designer does versus and Instructional Technologist, as I am not exactly on the ends of that specturm, though much more towards the IT end -- I did a session on this last summer for an EDUCAUSE institute "Living at the Crossroads of ID&IT"
I am not even sure that the standard vision of and Instructional Designer working around a table with an established group of "SMEs", technical specialists, graphics designers happens so much in real life-- with the very short time line of many web-based projects today, things happen, get so developed fast (wow, I can remember projects that took a timeline of a year to produce, where now it seems to get scrunched down to months, days) and the way we work it seems we shuffle around hats a bit more. But I may be incorrect, so I'm curious to hear how things are played out elsewhere.
And the rate of change with an ever increasing explosion of new tools and methods can either be depressingly dizzying or intoxicatingly exciting. We have production tools/methods in use that did not exist much a year ago (e.g. podcasting).
Actually, it sounds like you know quite a few dance steps!!
You point out how the short time lines of so many projects don't allow us to "work around a table" with the development team. This seems unfortunate when so much of quality design, in my experiecne, depends on building trust and respect among team members - which takes time.
You also mention the many hats that instructional designers or instructional technologists wear. This is an interesting point, as I find it more and more difficult to describe what I do.
One little point - Rick's Cafe Canadien spells Canadien with an "e", which is the French way to do it. But the blog is in English.... hmmm.
The forum is too young for an analysis. When I look at a forum for analysis I look for several indicators.
1) number of VIEWERS / number of POSTERS
Many times there is an entity one author calls potential participants instead of lurkers who outnumber participants. In all reality, unless required to participate, less than 5% of potential participants participate.
2) Number of CONTENT POSTS/NON-CONTENT (SOCIAL) POSTS
In one forum I analized there was one person who posted a total of 35% of the posts but they were of the SOCIAL type. "I agree", "Good coment", "That is interesting" , or repeats what has already been said. Content posts add to the general conversation and lead to further discussion.
3) Drift can be hinted at by the number of topic specific replys.
This is difficult to pin down. Take a look at the thread view for this particular discussion so far. What you see is a fairly straight line of topics under the main or first heading. This doesn't always hold true but is an indicator. Down the line there is a greater drift indication as the posters start to repeat and new topics are added -- "I Cannot Dance... by Allen Levine" is the beginning of a possible drift.
4) Shift is seen as a disctinct indentation of the thread.
If you were to draw a line connecting the first letter of thread line the sharper the angle the better the posibility of a shift. A shift is when the topic has changed to such an extent it deserves its own thread. Looking at the thread for this topic -- so far -- there is only one possible shift at the offering by Robbie Morse on 11/01 @ 1035. If I were looking for a shift this is where I would start. Again the forum is too young for accurate analysis.
Where does all this fall into the design paradigm? If you are going to utilize a forum as a part of the learning experience you have to have a means for determining effecacy. I talked to one teacher who gave a grade based on number of posts because she had no other metric. When I talked her through the process she found her highest grade had been given to an "air head" social poster not to the one who contributed less but contributed content. In a business related forum that was about to be cancelled due to so few participants. I talked the administrator into investigating a bit further and determine how many actually read the posts. They kept the forum with a bit of content restructuring.
Will discuss chats later.
I didn't count postings, as the teacher did in Bruce's example. Instead I counted what I called collaborative events that were linked replies-to-replies that reached a thread depth of four or more.
For those courses that were particularly successful at fostering collaborative dialogue, I used Harasim?s collaborative categories to analyze the discourse within the events; idea generating, idea linking and convergence. Of course, this was a research project, not a regular grading practice. However, one of my findings was that instructors who explicitly taught learners how to collaborate online to construct meaning/understanding/knowledge were successful. I think Scope offers an excellent example of this kind of explicit teaching in the ?Ask good questions? information box on the left-hand side of our reply fields.
I?ve attached a short paper I recently presented at E-Learn on my study. It has some additional examples from VHS. I would love to know what strategies other designers build into their courses. Has anyone used or experienced other ?explicit teaching? strategies that support the kind of shift Bruce is describing ? that I would call deepening the dialogue?
However, one of my findings was that instructors who explicitly taught learners how to collaborate online to construct meaning/understanding/knowledge were successful.
Good point. It agrees with my own study. Pedagogy really counts. If instructors are involved and they actively demonstrate the kind of participation they'd like to see happening, students will likely follow and engage.
I recently learned a study by Heather Kanuka, a Canadian Research Chair in distance learning at Athabasca University. The title of her study is The Influence of Instructional Methods on the Quality of Online Discussion. In this study, she compared five different instructional methods used in online discussion with a sample size of 1014 messages. These methods include
- Nominal Group Technique
- Invited Expert
- Reflective Deliberation
She also stated that her finding confirms studies had been done in the past. However, I feel such unfortunate results do not have to repeated. My past experience of participating online discussion at the Global Educators Network showed that when moderator took the leadership role and using proper moderating techniques, a discussion could be very engaging. Also the nature of the participants themselves also counts. When there is a group of motivated learners, good things will likely to happen. But even motivated learners need to be maintained in a good spirit through the dedication and intentional cultivation of an intellectual environment from the teachers.
More recently, in Learning Together Online: Research on Asynchronous Learning Networks (Hiltz & Goldman 2005), she collaborates with Raquel Benbunan-Fich and Starr Roxanne Hiltz on a chapter that also includes these categories. It's called The Online Interaction Learning Model: An Integrated Theoretical Framework for Learning Networks. I have found them both useful for thinking about analyzing patterns in threaded, asynchronous dialogue.
In a masters thesis on collaboration by Maria C. Velez (Rutgers, 2004) three conclusions were reached.
- Good facilitation is essential.
- Appropriate platform structure is essential.
- Communication is a function of 1 & 2.
Idea generation ... can be individually produced.
Idea linking ... Individuals with like interests communicating.
Intellectual convergence ... group of individuals with a common goal.
This forum is a collection of individuals with like interests that will hopefully leave this forum with a common goal of applying lessons learned to their next design project. Is this collaboration?
By adding intellectual productivity through the publishing of a paper -- internal or external -- then collaboration will have occured. When designing a forum into a course there needs to be a distinction between an intellectual conversation and a collaborative effort.
The first week of this seminar has been a great learning experience for me both in what I've learned about instructional design and my experience of facilitating online. I'm especially glad to be meeting all of you and hearing your experiences - sharing references and examples of your work has been truely amazing! Several people have participated who are new to instructional design or are not instructional designers - please keep asking questions and sharing - we can all learn from each other and your perspectives are important.
I've seen three main themes arising from the discussion and you'll see a new discussion open for each theme. In my first post within each, I've summarize some of your ideas and pointed to possible further inquiry and I'm hoping that this will allow deeper discussion in these particular areas. The themes are:
- Evaluation and Instructional Design
- Designing Generative Exchanges
- Building Relationships
A housekeeping item...there was a bit of confusing about the date that this seminar ends. I will keep this seminar open for a total of three weeks, ending on November 20.
Hello everyone. I know a couple of people from "other movies" and met a few more in Vancouver at the community meeting.
I'm sitting in the Toronto airport en route to Victoria from Atlanta, and thought I'd finally browse a few posts. This post is a potpourri of thoughts.
My "instructional design" work has mostly been in government, and more recently in a university. I read some posts about the scope and boundaries of ID work; I blur the lines a lot. In my university work, many of you might label me as the SME, but I worked primarily with technical persons to edit elements of a platform, and then also worked with a range of people to form external partnerships related to technology and/or their work with learning.
I read some frustration around SMEs with more expertise in their domains than in learning. I also facilitate instructional skills workshops and wonder if they (adapted for online) might be a neutral way of expanding horizons. You might also enjoy an old Harvard business school book "Education for Judgement" about the challenges and rewards of shifting from a lecture approach.
Based on that generalized experience I have a question. It seems to me that the intent of any course shapes the -- dare I say ontology and epistemologies -- behind the course. So, for example, the course I designed about communities of practice fits beautifully with Susanne's comment: "... consider learning happens as part of our social interaction embedded in our culture and our community relations..." However, other courses I have designed/taught are about facts and best practices and are structured and assessed very differently. How do you, as IDs, manage the tension behind a drive for consistency in everything from structure to look-and-feel with the inherent differences in the nature of knowledge and ways of knowing in different fields?
You pose a great question: "How do you, as IDs, manage the tension behind a drive for consistency in everything from structure to look-and-feel with the inherent differences in the nature of knowledge and ways of knowing in different fields?"
I like to see consistency in structure or look and feel in so far as it benefits the learner and the learning process. However, I think It's important to ask ourselves what the motivation is for this consistency. Open, honest and curious dialogue among the SME, the ID, and other team members is a central part of managing the tension you describe and I would support the idea that it is the tension itself that spurs on the creative elements of the learning design.
Perhaps it is this very tension, this opportunity to understand different ways of knowing, that can result in excellent learning environments and processes?
I really like the construction metaphor described by Corrie Bergeron introduced a little earlier in the discussion, but I want to extend the metaphor of the dance. My question is: Wouldn't it be wonderful if IDs had real influence on the form, location, duration, dance hall and, above all, music?
Let's focus on the music, and I'll argue that IDs often find themselves assigned to dances where the music cannot be changed. Someone else has decided the melody, the harmony, the beat, the rhythm and the volume. The ID can do no more than teach the SMEs to perform steps that match the music. The length of the music has been pre-set and the players are being paid union rates to follow the score.
In my many years of involvement in educational endeavours, I have had to perform many dances without being able to influence the choice of music. I would suggest all IDs have. I'd be interested in discussing strategies for empowering IDs so that they can effect all aspects of the dance.
Very Interesting...and here's a twist...
What strategies do IDs employee when it is the SME who has the music thrust upon him/her by a department head who says, "Thou shalt put your course online!"
I find it much easier to come to a compromise with SMEs who have taken the initiative to put their courses online than it is to compromise with an SME who has been told "You will do this". The SMEs forced into the dance are uncomfortable, resentful, and reluctant. It is much more difficult to forge the dance partnership in such a situation.
What strategies do IDs employee to help the SME who was driven to the dance by his/her parents and told to have a good time?
The music metaphor brings back an old memory of a situation 8 years ago. We had an opportunity to work with a group of faculty at one of our colleges and try and build a technology component to their efforts in teaching with storytelling. This group was pretty technology reluctant, but open to trying something new. I went in with my support mode, and said, "Tell me what you've like to do, anything, dream it, and I will try to find a way for the technology to support that." But they countered back with, "We do not know what technology can do, can you tell us what is possible, and we will provide the content".
We did this technology two step dance that went in circles and got us no where. Then I asked them for some examples of classroom activities that worked well that might be aided by being able to add multi media or be enhanced by sharing online. That changed everything, as they had a handfull of ideas that they were already doing. We discarded things that would simply replicate what is done w/o technology, and ended up on a creative writing exercise one of them had developed based on Joseph Cambell's Hero's Journey. More than 8 years later, it still thrives and more than 20,000 individuals around the world have participated in it:
That was a great dance, after all.
Well, Alan, when you become independently wealthy, remember your friends!
But in the meantime, spare a thought to the many IDs who have no control over the choice of music, and can't afford to pull the plug. Yes, being subversive is one approach we've all used. However, I'm always wondering why we so often have to resort to begging, pleading, deception and manipulation, in order to achieve best practices. Why are IDs routinely viewed as service people, not informed, experienced educators who have much to contribute?
Thank goodness! Ending now would obviously be too soon! :-)
The wiki can be edited and re-edited, so you don't need to worry about format or perfection before you post. Just type and click save and if you don't like what you see, do it again. You can even erase it if you change your mind.
The Dance seminar has come to a close. Thanks to everyone who participated over the past three weeks. I've learned a great deal from each of you and I value the links to the rich resources that you've shared. I haven't have time to go over all of the resources, so I've made a note to go back and file them into my personal library.
The seminar discussion will be archived and will remain available for anyone to view. Also, feel free to share your most inspiring insights on the dance wiki at: http://scope.lidc.sfu.ca/mod/wiki/view.php?id=169
Finally, the next SCoPE seminar about the WebCT/Blackboard merger starts today at: http://scope.lidc.sfu.ca/mod/forum/view.php?f=48. I expect it will be a lively discussion!
Our Greatest Insights Wiki is beginning to take shape and will remain open for editing. It's always interesting to see how group editing tools like wikis are used, and we will no doubt experiment more with how to best integrate it into them into our SCoPE seminar discussions. Suggestions appreciated!
There is so much to go back to in the Dance of the Instructional Designer seminar, including questions that deserve more attention. Of course as a community coordinator I always see those lingering questions as opportunities for future seminars!
Some of you have done an allemande right over to the next seminar, WebCT & Blackboard Merger: Implications and Moving Forward. I hope to see you all again soon!