Each individual member of the team will make a blog post this week discussing their role in the group project and their thoughts on the instructional design process.
1. My Role
I like this graphic of teamwork. To me, it expresses the notion of equal participation in pursuit of a solution. As a member of a team, I have never been afraid to embarrass myself, nor am I afraid to fail. So, it stands to reason that I am usually foolish enough to offer up my services to lead teams, committees, and group projects. It’s just who I am. It’s a trait that often gets me into hot water, but it is also a skill that I believe is valuable to exercise. I function as a manager in my organization, so leadership is an ability I hope to strengthen through frequent and deliberate practice.
In our current team project, I offered to be the primary contact, and stated that I would be present for the synchronous Skype meeting. Since English is a second language for each of the other members of our team, it seemed natural, and when I asked the other team members via email, there were no objections.
I quickly set to creating a Trello board for our project, which you can view here: https://trello.com/b/lVLY08VS/541-team-project
In an effort to create team cohesion, I looked for pictures of each of the team members, and created separate cards for each of us showing our picture. On these individual cards, I then created links to each of our introductory blog posts so that all team members could easily visit the blogs of the other members. I read each of their introductory blog posts again, and left a comment on each.
I then created individual cards for each of this week’s 5 tasks and sent out emails to the team, providing a link to the Trello board, to the Talkshoe link from the synchronous meeting, and I asked for each of their Skype addresses so that we could do a synchronous meeting, per Dr. Newberry’s suggestion. We were able to pull a synchronous meeting together for most of the team, however, while I was able to explain the tasks we needed to accomplish, it became clear that the language barrier was going to prove too significant to allow synchronous brainstorming, or the negotiation of individual roles and responsibilities. So, I took Dr. Newberry’s suggestion of dividing up the 11 steps and asking for participation via email with my set of questions already filled in to provide examples. When the language barrier was more significant, I provided some suggestions for re-phrasing and for additional questions.
If found this link on overcoming language barriers to be helpful in my communication with my team: http://www.culturosity.com/pdfs/10%20Strategies%20for%20Overcoming%20Language%20Barriers.pdf
As I write this, I am expecting to receive the last of the contributions to arrive via email, and will submit the team assignment when that occurs.
2. My Thoughts On the Instructional Design Process
In an attempt to address this part of the post in a creative way, I’m going to express my thoughts as a possible business opportunity that I see, as it relates to a statement that Dr. Newberry made in his podcast this week:
It takes a considerable amount of time to develop content for presentation in an online mode in comparison to delivering a lecture in a face-to-face class. There is a lot of work in the development and testing of that content before it is ever seen by a student. … All of this can be a very time intensive process and time is something that we in higher education tend to value and want to conserve.
Two weeks ago, another of my classes met with Takiya Moore, an instructional designer at CSUSB who believes that CSUSB will not have the predicted 50% of courses be e-learning based by 2019, largely due to the resistance of the faculty to put their classes into an online format, and in light of all of the additional effort it would take, it is not hard to see why.
So, the company “Student ID” (“Student Instructional Design”) places “students” in a traditional face-to-face classroom who are not actually enrolled in the class for a grade. Instead, the “student” is a professional instructional designer, placed in the class to see, hear, and experience the course with their full will bent on creating an online course version of the class, but not on learning the content itself. (Of course, the professor would know this, and so would the other students, but I couldn’t resist the 21 Jump Street reference!) The “Student Instructional Designer” would then meet with the professor to acquire the details on all of the content, reflect on how that material (or alternatives) might translate into an online environment, and bring to bear his or her experience to express how additional online discussions might be utilized and how that would affect the curriculum.
In this way, instructors would not have to take on the additional burdens on their time. The training of an instructional designer who specializes in this activity, and has a vast support network, would allow for the efficient creation of an online course while avoiding common pitfalls. I imagine the same instructional designer taking multiple classes in a given term, so several classes could go through this process concurrently.
What do you think?
3. There’s another question from this week’s podcast that I’d like to answer:
Do you think of the Internet as a means for delivering content and online learning or as a means for fostering communication between individuals engaged in online learning?
As a proponent of the social constructivist approach, I see the Internet as a means by which we can create communities of inquiry. I know that even in just the 4 weeks I have spent in the online classes I am taking, I have learned many insights from the blog posts of others, so I believe it really works. As a vehicle for the delivery of content, its utility is undeniable, but I think the Internet offers a profound opportunity to connect with each other when doing so face-to-face is impractical or impossible.