A course on course creation

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Implementation of ePortfolios 101 Instructional Design

In this learning environment, I have been asked to create a learning environment where my learners are tasked with the same: to take a metacognitive view of their learning. This significant work can happen when we invite our learners to make choices, and take ownership of their learning. When we create a space for them to express their unique voice in ways that are authentic to their learning. 

I hope to clarify my vision of creating a significant digital learning environment using the COVA framework in this course on constructing ePortfolios. To align outcomes, activities, and assessment I am using Fink’s 3 column table, focusing first on my goal of educators investigating and constructing an ePortfolio to model its effectiveness in collaboration, reflection on growth, and developing voice. Working cohesively backwards from this goal will allow my learners to make connections with their learning. They will be able to connect the dots in a learner-centered, engaging environment.

​​What is COVA?

CThe freedom to choose (C) their authentic learning opportunity and how to organize, structure and present their learning experiences.
OOwnership (O) over the entire learning process – including selection of authentic projects and their eportfolio tools.
VThe opportunity to find and use their own voice (V) to revise and restructure their work and ideas.
AAuthentic (A) learning opportunities that enable students to make a difference in their own organizations and learning environments.
See the COVA page on this site for more information.
  1. When are lectures appropriate and how can they best be used?

Thomas and Seely Brown posit in A New Culture of Learning that in this digital age where things are constantly changing, our exclusive focus on the explicit dimension is no longer a viable model for education. So while a lecture format might be effective in short 5 or 10 minute mini-lessons, it is not where learning happens. (p.76)

It is important that my course be more than just HOW TO CREATE A DIGITAL FOLDER. I want to remind my learners of the value and excitement of learning itself. And that the construction of an ePortfolio is a vibrant experiential representation of knowledge acquisition. 

  1. What Learning Management System (LMS) or other digital sharing platforms are you planning to use? Why?

I will utilize Canvas LMS as my professional learning platform as that is something our teachers are already familiar with. Canvas provides features such as quiz creation, discussion boards, and screencasting in Studio. Also within Canvas is the opportunity to use multiple external tools such as Google forms/documents, Padlet, YouTube, EdPuzzle, and external URLs like Wakelet and Canva. 

  1. How are you introducing the course and yourself and how are you building the learning community? 

My course is introduced on the “Home” page with language on Why/How/What and goals matching the Instructional Design page on my ePortfolio. In the Discussions / Introduce Yourself page is a personal welcome video to establish Faculty Presence. Our learning community will be built within the “Discussion” pages and assignments. Video posts and video feedback will foster greater social connections and engagement.  

In this “Introduce Yourself” page, learners are encouraged to become familiar with “Studio”, record a short introduction video, and post to this page. I have posted a short “how-to” video for Studio use. 

At the top of “Modules” is another Welcome, with a link to go back to “Introduce Yourself” if it was missed. 

  1. How will you implement the Overview/Introduction/Start Here module or section of your course including videos, documents, and related resources?

The Overview/Introduction/Start Here is presented before the first Module, and on the Home page. It provides the goals and outcomes as well as a tour of the course with a short introduction and contact information. I have also provided buttons to the modules for the course, my contact page, and the course resources. My goal is to create an inviting page that is easy for even first-time Canvas users to navigate.

  1. Is this course student-centered or teacher-led?

This course is student-centered and relies on the learner to provide choice, ownership, and voice for their own authentic learning.

  1. What is the scope or range of the instructor’s role?

The instructor’s role is to be a facilitator and to help advise learners’ choices and decisions; helping them to succeed.

  1. Is the course blended or fully online?

The course at publication is asynchronous, fully online. It could also be used as a tool in a blended learning environment.

  1. What is the ratio or percentage of synchronous to asynchronous collaboration? 

At present, our teachers appreciate the ability to earn professional development hours on their own time, at their own pace. The current design allows for 100% asynchronous collaboration. The framework of the course design can easily be adapted.

  1. How will you implement the first 1-2 Modules of your course including videos, documents, and related resources?

In each module, I have provided a page containing the learning objectives as well as a page with all video and reading choices. These choices are then narrowed in further pages. In this way, learners have an initial broad choice of information, but a more narrowed focus for Discussion and Assignments. 

  1. How is your instructional design approach realized in the modules? 

The activities in each module align to the learning goals outlined in Fink’s 3-column table adhering to constructive learning. Each module is built with the same framework: Objectives/Resources/Discussion 1 & 2/Assignment of adding to ePortfolio. With an Outcomes Based model, the assessment of learning will happen with the submission of Discussion questions and the product of an ePortfolio, as well as a final Survey. 

  1. How does each module align to outcomes/goals, activities, and assessment?

Each Module aligns to outcomes listed on my 3-Column table as well as the COVA framework. 

Module 1: Aligns to the Foundational goal of becoming storytellers and collaborators while applying practical aspects of ePortfolio construction. 

Module 2: Aligns to the Human Dimension with its focus on growth mindset and professional learning networks. Learners are also introduced to the COVA concept and invited to make choices in their learning.

Module 3: Aligns to the Application goal by encouraging learners to consider ownership of their ePortfolio, and how ownership contributes to effective learning. 

Module 4: Aligns to Integration and Learning to Learn goals by identifying a “Why” statement, clarifying purpose, and defining voice. 

Module 5: Aligns to Integration, Human Dimensions, and Learning to Learn goals by finalizing ePortfolio to date and self-assessment of learning by reflecting on authenticity of the process.

  1. How will you address the infrastructure, system, and support needs and issues the learner may face?

Each module includes support guides for apps and extensions used. I am available for consultation on all issues.

  1. “Cognitive overload” is discussed in one video. What are your thoughts on addressing this issue?

In creating an online learning environment that is completely asynchronous, “cognitive overload” is prevented. In this course, learners are able to make choices in which videos to watch and when. With choice is agency, and a greater likelihood of course completion. This choice is balanced by the outcomes-based expectation in the construction of an ePortfolio.

  1. How will you use media to support and enhance learning?

Dewey says in Democracy and Education that “Every step from savagery to civilization is dependent upon the invention of media which enlarge the range of purely immediate experience and give it deepened as well as wider meaning.” (p.165)

The media embedded in my course modules will provide deeper and widened meaning, and can help provide extended learning opportunities as well as clarification about each module’s information. My goal is to choose videos that motivate and encourage learners to see knowledge acquisition in a new and exciting way. In MY using media and technology as a tool to do something I otherwise could not, THEY see how they could do the same! The technology itself disappears. 

  1. What standards for professional learning will you need to address as you develop your course?

I have permission from my school district to allow the completion of this course count towards professional development hours. The district has requested access to an end of course survey/form. 

Also adhering to district alt text requirements, all learners have access to Google Read & Write which offers text to speech and speech to text accommodations. 

Dewey, J., (1916). Democracy and education: An introduction to the philosophy of education. New York: Macmillan.

Fink, L.D. (2003) A self-directed guide to designing courses for significant learning. San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass.

Harapnuik, D. (2015, May 8). Creating significant learning environments (CSLE). [Video]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/eZ-c7rz7eT4

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace.

CSLE+COVA and Digital Lineage

I re-read my professor’s COVA book yesterday, about Creating Significant Learning Environments for learners where they have Choice, Ownership, and Voice in an Authentic way.

One part that stood out to me in his writing was the day the brakes locked up on his son’s truck. He was already running behind on a project of his own, so it would have been easier to call a mechanic and get the problem solved. Move on, no risk. But he didn’t do that. He served as a sounding board and a guide, leading his sons through the solution that they provided. 

As I was reading about that authentic learning experience he allowed his sons to have and grow from, I tried to think about how that could work for my 5th graders. 

This morning I was preparing to teach Session 7: Textual Lineage. The title of the prescribed lesson alone was heavy for a 10 year old. 

Maybe because Dr. H’s story was fresh on my mind, I decided to slow down a bit on my lecture. I took some time to let the kids figure out what that title might mean. They came up with “books in your past that mean something to you”.

The assignment dictated that they write a response about their textual lineage.

Instead, I asked them if they would rather tell me about their textual lineage with a slideshow. The answer was a resounding yes! I gave them a few parameters: one book per slide, include an image of the book and a few images that represented something meaningful to you from the book, a quote from the book, and maybe why you picked it. 

I gave almost no instruction on HOW to build a slideshow. But they flew. Maybe this generation intuits toolbar language? It seemed they could find everything. Not only were their fonts varied and colorful, their slides moved and sang and some were even animated. 

They suddenly cared about spelling. They cared about punctuation and capitalization! They were each others audience, they were their own audience, and they didn’t care about a grade. 

The Book became even more meaningful to them because they were creating in a significant learning environment with choice, one where they owned their learning, they used their own voice, and created something completely authentic. They understood their textual lineage and were creating a digital one.

Thibodeaux, T., & Harapnuik, D., Cummings, C. (2018). Choice, Ownership, and Voice through Authentic Learning (pp. 20-22). Creative Commons License.