What have you learned about integrated course design, taxonomies of learning, active learning, or problem-based learning?
I’ve encountered taxonomies before, but I did learn more about the different styles out there and how some focus more on the cognitive and others focus more on the interpersonal. I like studying the taxonomies and being reminded of the different “levels” of learning. I think it’s important to have a mix of activities that target more than one level. Often it’s easy to get stuck in a routine or feel pressed for time and go for very surface-level, basic activities. But this backfires later on in the course when students aren’t prepared for deeper thinking and application of the concepts. In my speech class, we have to go beyond recognition of vocabulary and get to an ability to apply and synthesize, because students will be graded on an actual speech performance. So it’s critical I design a variety of activities that build on each other and set students up for success.
How is the online learning environment working for you? What are the advantages and/or the challenges of taking this class in this format?
I signed up for an online class because I do not have time during the day for a face-to-face class. I work full time at an 8-5 day job and then overtime as an adjunct. Usually, online classes allow me to work on assignments when it’s convenient for me, and I don’t have to worry about anyone else’s schedule. Although some people say it’s a negative that online classes “lack” real time interaction, I honestly prefer it that way given that my plate is already full. So the “challenges” for me come in when we’re asked to meet synchronously or do group projects, and I have to incorporate that into my schedule.
What have you learned about yourself during this unit? Have you discovered anything new about your own learning styles or preferences?
I’m an introvert and I prefer to work alone. I am also not a fan of having my personal thoughts, however academic, online for the world to see. I had to make a trade-off for this class. I really, really want to learn more about online pedagogy from an instructional designer. The cost is posting on a public blog. In a traditional classroom, any less than stellar verbal contributions or awkward exchanges can dissipate into the air and be forgotten in time. Online, I must trade written comments with peers publicly in a digital record that may never be truly erased.
Have you developed any new strategies that help you learn more effectively?
Not necessarily more effectively; perhaps I’d say more modernly or efficiently? I’ve finally given in and forced myself to start reading articles on the computer screen. I really prefer to print things out and go over them like a traditional text. However, in the interest of time and printer ink I know I must get used to reading on a screen. I know from communication research that people read better on screens when it’s a dark background with light letters (like most PowerPoint designs). So PDFs with their white background and black letters really make my eyes cross sometimes. Also, manipulating a cursor to highlight is still not as quick for me as swiping a real highlighter on paper. It will take more practice to make these things more automatic.