Adventures of a Technology Challenged Online Instructor

A Wake Up Call on Course Design (Week 3)
A Wake Up Call on Course Design (Week 3) avatar

“If you simply post your lectures and syllabus on the Web, you haven’t necessarily created a viable tool for your students”  (Ko & Rossen, 2010, p.52).

This quote from our text hit me like a ton of bricks this week.  I do have more than “just” lectures and a syllabus posted in my online course, but I really had to think about what my goals and objectives for my online students are.  My syllabus is just a pdf file posted in Blackboard, and my lectures are just powerpoint slides posted without any type of narrative.  Are my students really looking at these items posted in their class?  I doubt it.  I have recently started using Wimba Voice for my weekly annoucements and other important tips students need to complete projects instead of everything being so “text based.”  I’d like to eventually see that I progress to video annoucements as well.

The Student Learning Outcomes for both my on-site and online students are as follows:

  • Access, evaluate and use valid information to create and apply behavior change strategies and concepts to enhance health.
  • Differentiate between drug use, abuse, msuse and be able to identfy types for drugs and their potential hazardous effects.
  • Prepare and design an individual program for good nutrition, weight control, and concepts of fitness.

What I’m losing in my online class is the student interaction my on-site class has with regards to social support when developing their behavior change strategies for themselves.  I group my students together in the classroom based on what behavior change they are trying to accomplish for the class (diet, exercise, time management, etc….).   I haven’t done this with my online class and I feel that they are losing out on that support from fellow students.  I could create discussion boards for different behavior change topics and have students interact that way, but I feel like even that may not be enough to draw students into the conversation.

Something else I found interesting was an article from the Illinois Online Network which talks about Instructional Strategies for Online Courses.  You can read the article hereAs metioned before, my students already do a weekly discussion board post and response to a fellow student, but I like the idea of “small group work” as presented in this link.  And this link  really gets into the details of what effective group work looks like.

When looking at the tutorials this week, I think that my current online course looks similar to the screencase of Janeen’s course.  I have weekly folders for my students & all material for that week (lectures, videos, assignments, and discussion) are all located in the same place.  The folders roll out to students as a “Unit” and students can only access the current unit’s material.  There are 4 Units in the course and the chapters for each unit are based on similar health topics.  (For example, Unit 2 in my course is all related to realationships, communication, sexual health, STDs, and pregnancy).  I do find that I like the ease of this set-up and students are not wondering where to go for different activities in the course.

I think I’m starting to understand a bit more on the “why” of course design, and now I need to get working on the “how.”





61 Responses to “A Wake Up Call on Course Design (Week 3)
A Wake Up Call on Course Design (Week 3) avatar

  1. Evalyn Gossett says:

    I agree, I have only two ‘modules’ which have my narrative.
    When I read this from Ko this week – I thought nurses are not really trained to teach like this. Sure we teach a lot of people a lot of things but we never start with the goals and objectives. We have goals and objectives for the patient. For example: The patient will demonstrate proper mixing of Regular and Lente Insulin. We teach the students to make sure they offer the patient goals and objectives in the SMART format. We need to do the same. We don’t teach students or patients with lesson plans. I checked the Xcel list, I am the only NURSE on the list. So I hope I will not be attacked for admitting that we don’t know how to teach anyway. We get a lot done. It was the way we have been taught. I am just being honest.

  2. Helen Crump says:

    I enjoyed reading your post. In my recent experience of being a student, and from observing the experience of my husband who is currently studying in a HE institution [f2f], the LMS or VLE is used by lecturers as nothing more than a virtual ‘pigeon hole’. All the interactivity, collaboration and peer support that I witness happening amongst him and his fellow classmates on Facebook and via SMS is totally absent from anything designed within the course. It’s a pity that this cannot be more effectively harnessed. Therefore, I was compelled to read the article that you suggested about ‘what effective group work looks like’. Along with ideas on how to implement this, I took away from the article that “the key is to design tasks that are truly collaborative, meaning the students will benefit more from doing the activity as a group than doing it alone.” Time well spent following a link. Thanks for your helpful post.

  3. Laura Paciorek says:

    It was great reading your post. I hope you have fun thinking about course design that will achieve the level and type of interaction for which you hope in your online class. I have a lot of fun thinking about how to get students interacting with one another. I hope you have a great time exploring this.

  4. Hi Melissa,
    Just finished reloading an extensive Health Care Aid course into our Moodle LMS. The theory portion is written by a committee to meet government standards and the practical is done in instructor led labs. We’ve done what we can to liven up the content but really, the courses are like endlessly running through loose sand learning one micro-step after another.

    A month before starting the course work I spent almost month in cardiac ICU and recovery and the care I wittnessed was both dynamic, collaborative and fast paced followed by periods of routine. Were I to know nursing only by this course series I would have no clue as to the actual job–especially the team work and communication aspects. Your reference to designing group work activities looks very useful as a way of having the courses come closer to what our students will encounter when they begin their practice. Thanks for the link.

  5. Jaime Oyarzo says:

    I liked your post Melissa.
    It’s like my own reflection when I look to some of my first created courses. For this reason, the chapter on design fits into the course materials created before. The design recommendations become relevant in the light of the previous experiments performed almost empirically.

  6. Drew Wynne says:

    I agree. Simply placing posts and lectures online does not ensure that the students will leave the course with a deep understanding of the material. Additionally, tools like quizzes and peer-to-peer posts ensure that students have an understanding of the material.

  7. Ralene says:

    Hi Melissa – that Ko & Rosen quote that you started with hit me like a ‘ton of bricks’ too! I’ve taken graduate courses online and in some cases that was exactly what I experienced from a student perspective. In those cases, the instructor had simply uploaded lecture notes — and the text went on and on and on. Of course that was a few years ago — and we are all still learning so I realize that wasn’t necessarily indication of a ‘bad’ instructor. But it was a good example of what doesn’t work so well. I appreciate your link to the Faculty Focus article about online group activities — I needed that!! I’ll be following you — I think I have a lot to learn from you. Thanks for your thought-provoking post!

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