My New Course Design … Come on In

So I’ve been writing about designing a course in the open over the last few weeks … well, I have actually been designing a new residentcourse that I hope to next Fall. I didn’t do it in a wiki, but did use Drupal 5 to post the initial design. It isn’t 100% complete, but the schedule is well rounded and there are a handful of solid assignments that are both new and from the IST 110 days. I would love to get your feedback on the whole thing … it is over at the Course Design Site. I did a quick podcast today explaining a little of the philosophy behind the whole thing, so that is available to listen to as well. I am still trying to figure out the login and account stuff in Drupal 5, so that may be a little flaky for the moment — I am basically terrified of spam and have it locked down until I have some time in the next few days to really work with that.

The real idea is to expose the course in this format for the community to comment on and help shape … I will then use the same site to teach the course from, give students blogs there, and continue to build on this foundation over time. If you have ideas, thoughts, or anything else just leave a comment here, or there. Thanks!

2 thoughts on “My New Course Design … Come on In

  1. Some first impressions…

    * Great concept — making students part of the process (i.e., actively creating knowledge instead of passively receiving it) is perfect for a 400-level course.
    * Looking through my ID lens, I didn’t see any lesson-level or course-level learning objectives. These would seem to be a nice addition to each lesson, particularly since they would help students frame where they are going with each of the activities.
    * What program in the College of Ed will ths course sit in? In other words, who will end up taking it?
    * Just to be clear, does the Drupal site support a residence course? Or will the course be entirely online (i.e., this site is it)? I’m trying to figure out how you will deliver the “lecture” portion of each lesson (although I did notice that Lesson 12 hints that it will be a F2F course.)
    * Have you given any thought to throwing in a lesson on LMS or CMS technologies? Although not Web 2.0 technologies per se, anyone who aspires to working in the wider learning technology arena in the corporate, higher ed, K-12, etc sectors (i.e., the students in this course) will have to be minimally conversant in LMS and CMS fundamentals. That topic might be a nice compliment to the current course content.
    * Again, looking through my ID lens, I might suggest a slight reordering of the content. My rationale here is that many of the students that take this course will be somewhat overwhelmed by at least parts of the course content or at least the way the technologies are systematically examined. (Living in the Web 2.0 world, I think it is easy to *over*estimate how comfortable/familiar the average student is with these technologies.) So, back to structuring the content, I would bring the Wiki lesson up to Week 3 and bump everything else back a week. Then, I would emphasize the Google Docs and Zoho Writer services more explicitly, making some kind of collaboratively written paper the main deliverable for the lesson. Again, from an ID perspective, that would give students something familiar (writing a paper) to hang their new learning (web-based collaborative writing services) on to. From there, you would have established a good foundation for them to expand out to tagging, syndication, audio/video, etc.
    * Lastly, I might rethink the course title. Personally, I think it’s great, but again, I am someone that lives in that world professionally. If I think of 18-22 year old students in the College of Ed, it is easy to imagine them reading right past that title in the course catalog. Although the current title does summarize the course well, how about something that might not sound quite so daunting to a College of Ed undergrad. (Again, these aren’t College of IST or College of Business students.) For example, how about something like “Learning Technologies for the Digital Age” or “Leveraging Web 2.0 for Learning” or “Emerging Web Services and the Evolution of Learning Spaces” or “Web-Based Learning Tools: The Next Generation”? (Again, I know these sound a little hokey or dumbed down, but they might have broader appeal, especially during the initial offerings of the course.)

    To sum up, this looks like a great course, and I really give you credit for “walking the walk.” It’s one thing to explore and conjecture about the impact of these new tools/ideas on education, but this course looks like a great implementation of them. I look forward to seeing the course evolve.

  2. Tom … thanks much for the feedback. I will probably take your advice on most of your points. A couple of things:

    1. This is a resident course … there will be some hybrid activities, but it is a face to face experience.
    2. I am hoping for more grad students than undergrad and I am still working those details out.
    3. I am not 100% sure where it will sit in the CoE, but it will be a special topics course.
    4. The title is near and dear to me, but I think one of the options you provided might help clarify things.
    5. Lesson objectives are designed for a handful of the weeks, but at this point they live only in my slides that the lectures will come from. My hope is that over the next semester I can create additional pages of content that will support each week in the schedule … I want to go that way so I can use each component as a linkable piece of microcontent.

    Again, thanks much for your honesty and encouragement! I am looking forward to teaching it and getting more feedback.

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