Friday, September 26, 2014

POTCert Week 4: The Online Syllabus

This week's material was a great reminder of why I chose the name of my blog. We learn not only from what is new but from revisiting what we think we already know, from what we don't like or don't agree with sometimes even more than from what we like and agree with, we learn observing others, how and why they react to different things and how they learn.

Following are some of the main points that I liked and some that I would change

From Ko and Rossen, chapter 5:

I found it difficult to read this chapter, but revisiting parts of it separately during the last few days helped, and I am not sure if the ebook reader is to blame for how this chapter looks like.
I expected a template that shows the outline of the syllabus highlighting the main sections, each followed by a list of possible components, may be, tagged "must have", "recommended", "nice to have" and "additional". After all the book is meant for teachers new to online teaching, and in any case templates are useful whatever the level of experience. Here's an analogy: if I'm planning a big family dinner and I want to make healthy decisions, I may consult Five Good Groups or Food Groups, but what dishes I decide and how they're presented will depend on many things, but mainly my style, my guests and what I know about them, such as preferences and health, the weather, the availability of ingredients etc. How about we create one together by the end of the course?

I liked the metaphor of Contract, Map, Schedule and I think combined with the subsequent checklist they can be used to start a template.

The two syllabus examples: I would have liked to see the main differences highlighted. Also as a learner I would find it very difficult to locate the information I am looking for in the syllabus the way it is presented in the book (still blaming the ebook reader). I tried here to make the information a bit more visible.

From Rachelle and Pilar's videos:

  • Visuals and graphs to make information easier to find and to create interest
  • Adding useful information within each week that saves students extra clicks to find it outside.
  • Adding hyperlinks
  • On Pilar's course page I notice "Meet Pilar". I like the friendly tone it sets, instead of "meet your instructor"
  • Rachelle's student schedule was sectioned with a colored border that made it easy to see the different weeks.
  • I don't like to scroll up and down trying to find the information I need, instead I prefer to have an index or "content list" hyperlinked to the different sections of the document.
  • When it comes to organizing a week's activities with due dates and points, I prefer a table format as it makes it easier to see information.
Due Dates

HTML : I've learned html at least a couple of times before, but like any language, it needs practice. I am enjoying relearning it and finding immediate use for it (see the video).

Twitter: I've been using twitter on and off for a few years. It can be a great learning tool, connecting with people, ideas, events, it can be used as a discussion tool, in education even in a f2f class and a lot more. But, it can be overwhelming to try and follow everything happening there. There are several desktop and online programs that help with filtering the stream, allowing me to see only what I want to see. So far I've been using tweetDeck as I like the type of control it gives me.

My first Video
I would love to learn more about this Bandicam software so that I can improve the quality of my video and also learn about editing.

I think the best thing about the material this week is that it got me to start experimenting, and in the process I reached a point where I have a clearer idea of where to start.

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