Continuing to develop the topic of course design, this week’s POT Cert task was to read in Ko and Rossen the second part of Chapter 3: Course Design and Development and to consider which elements of course design you’d want to build into your course.
The chapter explained that this crucial stage involves ” the actual creation of a syllabus, class schedule, content, exams as well as activities the class will follow” (p.63), and that these activities can be divided up into the following categories
- instructor generated content and presentation
- group-oriented work and student-centred content
It was also re-iterated that course goals and objectives should already be drafted before proceeding with your course assembly.
With regards to my objectives, Jim Julius, commenting on my post last week, advised me to think through the kinds of assessments I might use in order to clarify a deeper set of objectives for my learners. As I’m taking a holistic view of digital literacies within my course, which not only promotes amongst learners critical engagement with the topic but personal reflection on their own digital literacy practices, I’m minded to design my course with a portfolio method of assessment. I like this idea because a portfolio can demonstrate not only knowledge but skills and attitudes too, and it seems to resonate with the “life skills” approach that I’d be happy to take. The key to this method of assessment though appears to be “planning an adequate variety of activities” (p.85) from which the learners can assemble a portfolio of their work.
So now the question is what array of activities will best constructively align with my objectives and this method of assessment? At this stage my answer is fairly generic, ‘any that promotes active learning and learner autonomy’. It’s a work in progress.
However, as the course is aiming to be fully online the element that I’m determined to build in and develop throughout is the sense of authentic learning with ‘real’ people. So I must work hard to develop not just activities for assessment but ways to develop the high degree of familiarity, trust and interaction necessary so that meaningful discussion and effective group work can take place. It is noted that ” group organisation and working procedures take longer to develop in the online environment” (p.77). Thankfully, there are some useful ideas for developing this aspect of course design; namely, a personalised introduction to the course or instructor via audio or video, ice-breaking activities, paired chats, exchange of private email and the availability of a “learners’ lounge” (a discussion area specifically set aside for casual conversation).