Summary Blog

This semester, I learned a lot on the qualitative research process through reading, lecture and practice. The first few weeks really made me comprehend how important qualitative research is in studying an issue. It makes quantitative research stronger from what I understand. You get a different kind of information with this method of research. My past experience in work, university and personal projects have led me to agree that qualitative research is helpful in getting information. We conduct qualitative research inadvertently in our daily lives.

One of the most important things I learned this semester is ethics in research and in the field of education. I read more on the history of ethics in research and how the Institutional Review Board (IRB) came about. I very well understand the importance of ethical practices to research.

Collaboration is another lesson that came with this course. This class made me realize that regardless of my theoretical preference, it is important to branch out and make research with other people. I have also come to understand how pivotal credibility is to research practices. I call credibility the framework of trust.

Finally, this course helped a lot with interviews and semi-structured interviews. I also learned a lot about coding and the importance of coding to data analysis.

Overall, I need to practice more interviews to get better. I am glad to have learned a lot but it will take more practice to keep improving.

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Week 16 – Final Blog Post (Spring 2018)

I have been exposed to so many resources on education and educational technologies. Coming up with a personal theory of online learning prompted critical thinking and research. It exposed me to a lot of relevant literature and learning scenarios. Working on my personal theory of online learning also exposed me the learning theories that back up my previous learning experiences.

My personal theory of online learning, which is about immersion and immersive learning technologies, is closely related to my research interest in virtual reality. Hence, I am developing my knowledge on VR and identifying literature to reference in future studies.

Educational technology reports and journal articles have convinced me that online learning is going to be more interactive. With time, there will be more innovative technologies that will improve the state of interaction and communication in virtual classrooms.

One of the greatest lessons I learned this semester is the importance of accessibility to any learning platform. As an online teacher, I will make sure the learning material is accessible to as many potential students as possible.

Blog 15

Share your study findings and what you have learned so far in this week’s BONUS blog post.

I have learned so much from analyzing research articles for the literature review and reading professional reports on virtual reality in higher education. VR can be implemented in training, education and in other instances. Reading through the research articles gave me an opportunity to witness how the use of VR was studied. The reports did a great job of describing several ways in which VR is being used in the classroom and beyond. In addition, I learned a lot of related terms and associated theories.

For this study, I focused on VR from the instructor’s perspective. I intend to study how students perceive this technology in my future research.

Blog Week 12 – Coding

What was the experience of doing the shared coding of the video as a whole group like?

I have to admit that this assignment not only encouraged me to learn about coding but made me understand the importance of coding to the research. The professor pointed out something that shows how critical proper coding is to research. If the interviewee is sarcastic, excited or showing emotion, good coding practices will make sure it is transcribed. However, it is difficult to judge a monotonous person’s emotion based on their voice alone.

This coding experience has taught me to plan my interview practices properly before executing. Ideally, I would use video recording as well as a notepad when interviewing for research purposes. I would be important to play back the video and see the reaction of the participants among other details. It is important to understand that there is more data collection involved after the actual interview process. Transcribing and analyzing the data would uncover the need to get more information.

Watching other people conduct interviews is very helpful. Practicing with a classmate is a great way to learn by involvement as well. The more observation and practice with interviewing, the sharper the questioning skills.

 

Blog 14 – Immersive and Interactive Environments

This is absolutely my favorite topic to talk about in an academic setting. Reading literature, watching videos, listening to podcasts and making other forms of research have convinced me that immersive and interactive environments have a bright future in teaching and learning. However, there are some challenges that need to be addressed and attended to at the moment.

How accessible is this technology? Besides the fact that it is expensive and complicated to implement, there are other limitations associated with interactive and immersive devices like virtual reality. For example, I have a classmate that has experienced dizziness and motion sickness from using a VR-based game. Would there be a similar effect when used for teaching and learning?

There are several considerations to be taken before implementing immersive and interactive devices. If they would shorten the learning curve or make the delivery of information for convenient, it would be reasonable to implement them. The reason for using them needs to be backed by research.

These devices can take the students’ learning beyond the classroom.  They would no longer be bound by traditional learning. If an instructor wants to teach the class on space exploration, a VR software could help with the lecture by immersing the students in the corresponding virtual environment.

Many educational technologists will agree that interactive and immersive environment have great potential in learning and teaching. With time and continuous research, we will find out the best ways to implement these learning environments.

 

Blog 13 – Open Source Tool

I have had limited exposure to open source learning tools. Hence, I have an indifferent experiential opinion of open sources. I used MOODLE in an online class and blended course on two different occasions. In those instances, an open source tool was useful in my learning.

However, I went through research articles and papers to educate myself on open source tools. According to H. Patel and D. Patel (2017), open source tools offer a more cost-effective option. They also explain the benefits of learning management software that is open source based. Some of the features of these LMS include scheduling courses, tracking student progress, discussion forum and more. With open source tools, the financial burden is reduced thus making learning materials more accessible.

While I’m on the subject of accessibility, one of the challenges I would need to address as an open educator is the issue of user-friendliness. The more easily the material can be accessed, the more useful the content is to the learners.

 

Reference:

Patel, H. I., & Patel, D. (2017). Blended learning in higher education using MOODLE open source learning management tool. International Journal of Advanced Research in Computer Science, 8(5)

 

 

Blog – Video in Blended Courses

 

I have been in enough blended courses to understand that the content of the learning video that is used in such a class needs to be tailored to keep the students engaged. Pino-James (2014) reports on how video content should be designed. It is important that the video is created in a way that the content means something to the learners. A study by Fredricks, Blumenfeld and Paris (2004) suggests students are more likely to engage in a learning activity that is worth their time. This research claim reminds me of my previous encounter with video in a blended class. The more interested I was in the content, the more attention I paid to that content.

It wouldn’t hurt to find out what the students are interested in. That way, you could create or find several videos with different content to target as many students are possible.

At this point, I would have to consult a professional with more experience in the decision-making process to create such a video. My level of expertise would not permit me to effectively make one. But if I had to make a guess, I would say an interactive video would be helpful in such a situation.

Using video content in blended courses can be very helpful. It is very important that it is implemented well in order to keep the students attentive and get the message across. Also, it would take research to find out what works well and time to specifically create content that would meet the teaching and learning goals.

 

 

 

 

Reference:

 

Pino-James, N. (2014, December 8). Golden Rules for Engaging Students in Learning Activities (Rep.). Retrieved https://www.edutopia.org/blog/golden-rules-for-engaging-students-nicolas-pino-james

 

Fredricks, J. A., Blumenfeld, P. C., & Paris, A. H. (2004). School engagement: Potential of the concept, state of the evidence. Review of Educational Research, 74(1), 59-109. Retrieved from https://libproxy.library.unt.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/214138084?accountid=7113

 

Blog – Instructional Design

How Did You Learn to Design Online?: What is your personal perspective on the best manner of designing instruction for online teaching and learning? What is your process? Does it match any existing methods? If so, which? How did you learn to design instruction? Does your process for designing instruction match your larger theoretical perspective? Where is it the same? Where does it diverge?

Over the past few months, I have come to realize that instructional design is all around us. It could be the set of instructions showing you how to fuel your car at the petrol station or messages on exercise machines that are designed to limit injury during use. I learned to design online from taking an instructional design course, watching videos on Lynda.com and implementing the knowledge I gained from these courses to create an online class.

From my perspective, it is important to pay attention to the needs of potential students when designing online instructions. The instructional designer should always calculate how much load the learners can cognitively carry.

My process of instructional design involves the ADDIE Model. I have used this model to design a course in the past and I have come to appreciate its effectiveness. The analysis part of this model, for example, helped me gather vital information required to develop the course. My task was to develop a news writing, reporting and editing class (JOUR 3321). Observing the lectures and course material was useful in deciding what resources and additional platform would supplement it. My research led me to choose London School of Journalism and Poynter’s News University to complement the lectures.

It is important to pay attention to learning theories when designing courses. Social learning theory is one of the few that I try to implement in my design. Bandura’s social learning theory proposes that a social environment is crucial to human learning (Bandura, 1986).  With that in mind, I try to incorporate a social component in my instructional design.

 

Reference:

Bandura, A.. (1986). Social foundations of thought and actionA social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

 

Semi-structured Interview Blog

The interviewing example with semi-structured interview questions made a great learning experience. It triggered me to do more research and learn how to be a better interviewer. In their own words, Ravitch and Mittenfelner Carl (2016) define semi-structured interviews involves the researcher orchestrating the interview based on the interview instrument but also allowing the inclusion of follow-up questions. With that in mind, it is important to know how to properly ask these questions. The interviewee needs to be comfortable with you by the time you start asking the questions. Hence, knowing when to start is helpful to the research.

Practice, observing and studying is a great way to learn interview tips. From my experience and reading, it is important to casually engage with the interviewee before the interview to instill trust and comfort.

There were several things I liked about this interview example. The interviewer got Amy’s educational and teaching background early. I feel that was important because of the theme of the interview. I also noticed that the researcher did a great job of making her comfortable. Finally, the questions were structured in a way that Amy and SueAnne were encouraged to give their answers in the form of a discussion.

I would absolutely stay away from yes/no type questions in interviews. The goal of the interview is not to speed things up but to get as much data as needed. In order for the researcher to deeply understand the topic of inquiry, they need a more in-depth interview protocol.

 

Reference:

Ravitch, Sharon M. and Mittenfelner Carl, Nicole. (2016). PERSONAL COPY: Qualitative Research: Bridging the Conceptual, Theoretical, and Methodological. Sage Publications.

Blog Post – Accessibility

I believe accessibility and universal design are very critical to the design of any course. Every instructional design ought to consider the ways that different students would access or view the course. These features affect the ability of students to successfully understand the details of the course.

In online education, ease of access comes into play in many areas. Learners view the material with different devices. Hence, the course content needs to be optimized for desktop, smartphones, tablets and other technologies. You could also have students signing in from several countries around the world. In that case, you would want the course to be accessible in different languages. My classmate and I were testing a course for an in-class assignment when we came across this issue. The course was in Dutch and since we do not understand a word in that language, we need translation to continue the project. The course needs to be made accessible to every targeted learner.

According to an article by Varonis (2015), a great litmus test for the accessibility of a course could look like this:

All learners must be able to access related information, navigate online material and complete the course requirements in order to meet the learning goals.

The more I think of the traditional, blended and online courses I have taken, the more agree with Varonis’ litmus test for accessibility. This is very important in online courses because the students usually navigate the class material themselves. I remember getting an average letter grade in an online course because the course content wasn’t conspicuous enough. There were so many assignments that I didn’t know about. I had to retake the course with another instructor the following semester; I made an excellent grade because the previous accessibility issue wasn’t a problem.

There was so much I learned from my classmate’s presentation and the in-class research on course accessibility. This blog post and the previous classroom activities opened my eyes to the importance of putting accessibility in mind when designing a course. While critiquing an online course earlier this week, we found many issues that would leave the potential learners with so many questions. I have realized to take accessibility into consideration when designing a course.

There are several learning technologies that aren’t very successful because the creators didn’t pay attention to the various type of students that would access it. We had to evaluate an online course that was in Dutch.  Luckily, Canvas had the translation feature to help us navigate the course easily. Sometimes it is easy to ignore the fact that there are students that need subtitles for a video lecture or that some students taking the course around the world don’t speak English.

As professionals in the education field, we need to take these issues into consideration. We ought to involve students as much as possible in the course design process.

 

Reference:

Varonis, E. M. (2015). From barriers to bridges: Approaching accessibility in course design. International Journal of Information and Learning Technology, 32(3), 138-149. doi:10.1108/ijilt-12-2014-0033