In EDTECH 522 there were three aspects of technology that I found to be particularly helpful in my development as an educational technologist. One was evaluating online tools. The exercise provided a systematic method for evaluating the effectiveness of an online tool, which included examining how the tool could satisfy instructor, cognitive, and social presence. I found it to be helpful because it’s an exercise that I will utilize regularly in this field as I will encounter many learning and teaching tools.
Number two was evaluating an online course. The process was similar to evaluating online tools but more in-depth in the number of criteria used for measuring quality and structure of an online course. This is an essential skill that I need in order to make new developments in online education because it will help to understand what online courses currently do and how and where to make improvements.
The third tool that I found to be helpful was Moodle. It was a tool that I was familiar with but from a student’s perspective taking courses in the EDTECH program. In module 4 of this course, I developed a lesson, which allowed me to explore a number of different tools to manage and deliver content. I found the workflow to be intuitive and easy to build content. I even reintroduced myself to HTML and CSS, a topic that I hadn’t touched since EDTECH 502. It was good to refresh memory and learned two new things as a result of the process: creating an inline styles and the rules for making a responsive YouTube video. If you ever want to do exercise for your brain, try some HTML exercises.
In addition to the technology, the principles for how adults learn were central to this course. These principles provided evidence for best ways to advance and accommodate adult learners. The key for an instructional designer is to develop activities that includes these principles. One principle was that adults want learning that’s relevant and useful for their professional goals. Allowing them to direct and control their learning, will satisfy this principle. For example, letting them choose the tools that they want to learn or apply skills in a manner most useful for them. Teachers can also take an active role by asking questions that connects the new knowledge and skills with their professional background and experience.
The skills and knowledge that I learned from this course will be valuable for both my short term and long term goals. My short term future plans will begin as an instructional designer at a designated university somewhere in the south west after graduating this December. I believe that some of the most exciting educational developments occur in this region. This will provide the right environment to further develop my skills in instructional design and course building to reach my long term goal, which is to make exciting developments in online learning. I feel that it’s going to have something to do simulated learning and/or global online experience. Because I don’t have the exact details on how this is going to work it will be essential that I meet other instructors, technologists, and state administrators. Collaboration with other like-minded people is the only way that this plan will materialize. Things that are clear are the topics we covered in this course: teaching skills for online and blended environments, evaluating and using learning tools, activities embedded with learning principles, and a detailed understanding of how courses are developed and the learning experiences that they create.