Module 10

Final Project: Learning Criteria

Fernando Delgadillo

Etec 501

Dr. Baek

March 22, 2015

Assuming I’m an e-learning instructor, my ideal class to teach would be Intro to Cyber Security. I believe it to be an exciting field and I would enjoy introducing college students to this field. I have experienced both quarter and semester systems and my preference is the quarter system. I enjoy the fast pace environment and the way it keeps students active rather than sitting through the same class for five months. It also keeps students’ levels of interest in the class fairly high. I would teach this course as a blended class considering that many college students work full time jobs and it becomes more convenient for them to only have to attend once a week rather than twice. My reason for not teaching fully online is that this field is really technical and it would involve some hands on experience with the guidance of an instructor. Testout and Blackboard along with Blackboard discussion would be implemented in this course as my technology tools. I will keep students updated on their grades along with feedback for their assignments through Blackboard. Testout will be used to deliver content to the students such as videos, online quizzes, and labs. This will make up the online portion of the course. In order to effectively deliver the course content to the students and ensure their success, key criteria need to be valued by the instructor. Criteria that I believe to me most in line with ensuring students’ success in this class will be discussed presently.

Criterion 1: Stating the goals of the course in a clear manner most in line with their interests.

Students’ first impression of the course is probably one of the most important moments in the course especially if enhancing their motivation is a goal of the instructor. The course objectives need to be clear and prevent any confusion to the students. They should have a clear understanding of what exactly is expected of them after the objectives are stated by the instructor.  Students will be required to complete one module per week. Each module will be broken down into sections and the sections will consist of labs, videos, and quizzes that will be due every Sunday night. By the end of the course, they will be required to obtain a security certificate which will take the place of the final. Not only will the objectives be stated clearly but they will also understand the importance of the class and how they will benefit from the successful completion of the course. Doing this will both reduce the chance of any confusion among students along with increasing their levels of motivation.

Undermining the importance of this criterion can lead to students’ loss of interest in the course which will subsequently lead to loss of motivation. Instructors can only do so much. Everything else relies on the effort put forth by students. I have experienced courses where the course objectives were not clear and it led to a disastrous end not only for me but most students enrolled in the course.  This led me to realize the importance of the delivery of clear objectives.   “Without learning objectives it is difficult for students to know what they are supposed to be learning. In a lecture, a teacher can talk extensively about a case, but unless she states explicitly, it can be difficult for the students to know where to direct their attention” (Nic, 2013). Students need to be aware of the significance of the material which will then lead them to put out more effort toward learning.

Criterion 2: Develop an effective strategy for communicating in the course.

As most already know, effective communication is vital in every setting. Instructors should implement learning tools that promote effective communication. As I already stated, Blackboard would be my preference for use in this course. Effective communication can consist of many things. It can be providing feedback to students, explaining material to student in a clear and interesting manner, asking and answering questions etc. “Effective communication includes transforming the boring into the interesting and having good presentation skills” (Silver).  Freddie Silver made an excellent point here. Effective communication can make the difference of teaching an interesting or boring class.

In a way, the first criterion I addressed ties into effective communication. There is a lot involved in effective communication including addressing the goals of the course in a clear manner. It is physically impossible to teach a course without communication. This idea alone shows the importance of using effective communication in a learning environment. Instructors cannot deliver information without communication. Effectively communicating leads to effective delivery of information. Keeping effective communication as a priority in the learning environment will lead to an overall successful class.

Criterion 3: Creating a Community of Inquiry.

Implementing a social environment where students can collaborate and exchange thoughts is an excellent way to enhance students’ learning experience. I would implement this in my Intro to Cyber Security through Blackboard Discussion where students will be presented with research questions on the latest cyber security trends and issues. They will then be required to research these questions individually and present their findings to the class. Students will be encouraged to participate in classroom discussion and comment on other students’ postings.

The idea of this is to enhance students’ learning through learning from other students’ postings. This is beneficial to students in the sense that they are presented with other point of views on the same topic. This encourages students to be more open minded. It is important for students to consider other views rather than being limited to their own. Students can learn so much from each other as I have experienced from ETEC 501. The implementation of a community of inquiry also makes the course far more interesting for students. Students are provided with the opportunity to learn about different backgrounds and how students’ views are shaped by their past experiences.

Criterion 4: Enhance students’ learning experience through course design.

The structure of the course plays a significant role in bettering the learning environment. This involves the implementation of different learning technology, providing a clear user interface for students, making vital information accessible to students and the list goes on. It is also important to keep in mind that having a larger variety of technology tools in the course causes confusion for students. Keeping the course content straight forward and creating ease of access is ideal for most students. Making the course content as interesting as possible is also important.

Course design is an important task due to the impact it has on students’ learning experience. This is why there are instructional designers that apply their entire focus on only this. It is difficult to concentrate on learning when the environment students are surrounded in consists of objects not in line with learning. Students need to be surrounded in an environment that promotes learning. This will encourage them in obtaining their goals and will help increase their levels of focus.

Criterion 5: Encourage constructive criticism in the learning environment.

Criticism is essential in developing students’ skills. The idea is to critique their work for the purpose of helping them improve. The more constructive criticism applied to students work the more beneficial it becomes for students. Using more sources for constructive criticism also increases effectiveness. Blackboard is an excellent technology to use for the delivery of constructive criticism. When students are involved in the critiquing process, students are more likely to apply more effort at the initial stage of the assignment.

Without the presence of constructive criticism, it will be likely for students to believe that there is no need for improvement in their work. This is not the idea we want to promote in a learning environment. There is always room to improve so students need to be constantly provided with methods to improve. Instructors need to value the importance of constructive criticism in order for the outcome of the course to result in the enhancement of students’ skills and overall knowledge.

When instructing a course, it is vital to realize the importance of different learning criteria. As I already went over, Intro to Cyber Security would be my ideal course to teach. In order to effectively teach this course I presented several criteria I valued as most important to apply in my teaching strategy. Identifying these key criteria is the first step to being a successful instructor. These criteria should be in line with both the instructor’s and students’ goals. I would describe these criteria as strategies that assist instructors and students with meeting their goals.

References

Nick. (2013). Why learning objectives are so important. https://learnandteachstatistics.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/objectives/

Silver, F. Why is it important for teachers to have good communication skills? http://work.chron.com/important-teachers-good-communication-skills-10512.html

Summarize this week’s discussions. Use this template to structure your production:

Did you fulfill the requirement to make your first post no later than Wednesday in the discussion? yes

Did you fulfill the requirement to post at least three times in each discussion topic between Monday and Friday? no

Did you fulfill the requirement to post the answers to the prompts in your blog no later than Sunday? yes

Did you fulfill the requirement to reply at least two classmates’ blogs on Saturday/Sunday? I haven’t yet

Quote your best post(s) from the week and explain why you feel these are the best.

“It is important to make students in an e-learning  environment a part of a community of inquiry where they can exchange their ideas and work on assignments as a team. Students learn a lot while collaborating with classmates. Everyone is unique with their own ideas and it becomes beneficial to students when they get the opportunity to see other perspectives.”

Here i explained the importance of a community of inquiry and how it enhances students’ learning experience.

Quote several of the best posts from other students. Explain why you chose the ones you present.

“Your comment about social presence is a crucial element to successful eLearning programs. I do have a question: how do you measure it? And are there any best practices that are in use?”

Victor Barocas

Although I didn’t have the chance to respond to his questions on time, I would like to point out that his questions encouraged me to think more deeply about the idea of social presence. I believe social presence can only be measure through the implementation of a standard benchmark that will be used universally. Social presence can then be compared to the benchmark and help both instructors and instructor designers decide on whether or not they are doing a good job implementing and presenting it. I would have to say popular practices today are creating a sense of belonging through a community of inquiry along with encouraging collaboration.

What did you learn in the discussion this week that will be useful to you or that changes the way you view something?

This week i was encouraged to think critically about what criteria I value in an e-learning environment. I went back a reviewed the information I was presented earlier in the quarter and used it to shape my thoughts on how to successfully instruct a class.

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