As I reflect on the last couple of months in the Instructional Design class, I can't help but be overwhelmed (in a good way) by the amount of information I have accrued. Taking this course while teaching my first online class has been monumentally helpful. Not only have I learned about the various concepts from our texts and other materials, but being a student in Dr. Manning's course has helped me understand the significant impact instructors have on their students. Her ability to keep the class fresh and new each week has provided me with a number of things I would like to enhance about my class as I progress.
Some of the biggest ah-ha moments for me have been when I have been able to reflect on how the reading and discussion topics affect my own practice. For instance, beginning the course by looking at the pros and cons of online learning really allowed me to think about what negatives needed to be addressed. It's funny that the biggest negative I wrote about was the lack of real-time interaction between student and instructor, as well as between students because one of the largest take-aways for me from this class is what I have learned from Dr. Manning's teaching style. Her use of videos was one of the first things that really touched me, as it added a unique and personal touch to the online class. Likewise, the synchronous discussions also helped to create a personal touch, and an opportunity to interact with the professor and other students. I have already added one video to my online class, but I know that I will be adding more and pushing myself to constantly make learning meaningful and purpose-driven.
I'm a little embarrassed to admit to this, but since this is a reflection, I need to be honest: I have been horrible about learning objectives as I prepare lessons for my classes. Therefore, the section on learning objectives has been one of the most significant for me. The chapter in our book, "Building the Online Classroom" was one of my favorites because it provided charts that we could fill out to help organize/structure the class. Much like each of Dr. Manning's modules began with the learning guide, I want to be able to emulate that type of organizational structure to ensure that students are focusing on the objectives of each module/lesson. I've been keeping a file on my desktop where I make notes about all of the changes I want to make to my online course, and over winter break, I will be organizing each module by using the "Course Outline" chart provided to us in the book. I'm actually very excited to do this!