EC&I 832: Final Project Proposal & Rationale

March 24, 2010

Project Proposal:

The project I have elected to do is to create an electronic Moodle orientation course, using (surprise surprise) Moodle as the platform delivery mechanism. So in essence, what I’ve done is create a Moodle based course that explains and demonstrates how to use the various features of Moodle.

Rationale:

I have been instructing online courses that use Moodle as the delivery method for a number of years and to familiarize students when they first begin the course, I have traditionally relied on a mixture of fixed face-to-face orientation sessions (where I would travel to a campus on a given date and time to meet with a group of enrolled students) and over the phone orientations (students would call me at their convenience to do a verbal orientation). Neither one of these methods on their own were completely satisfactory for a number of reasons.

In the face-to-face orientation sessions I was limited to the number of computers available and student attendance at the pre-scheduled session was not always guaranteed to be at a 100% level. During the phone orientation sessions, I was limited to orienting one student at a time, and while this was beneficial in terms of being able to address individual questions, it also took up a significant chunk of my time during the day. (We currently have 189 registered online students. Imagine trying to do all of those initial orientations over the phone at 20 – 30 minutes per session.) It had become obvious to me that an alternative way of orienting students needed to be created.

I decided to create this orientation course to address these needs. A hands-on practical application and practice session of the exact skills learners would need to master “Moodling” practices is, in my opinion, an ideal way to do this. The online orientation session is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and the instructional materials are presented in a number of differing modalities in an effort to suit as broad a spectrum of learning styles as possible. There are video files with audio sound captured using Jing that demonstrate precisely how to accomplish various tasks in the online course environment as well as written documentation with detailed information provided. I hope that the use and inclusion of the various tools I have provided on the orientation course will meet the needs of visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners alike.

I also believe that the online orientation matches up very well with the principles of constructivism and applied learning. Because learners are learning and practicing Moodling skills in the same environment that they will need to  apply them, the context is built-in and transfer of learning is more likely to occur.

Learning Objectives of Participants: It is hoped that by the end of the orientation course learners will:

  • Have become familiar with various features of Moodle (such as how to open, edit, save and upload assignments, participate in an online forum discussion, take an online quiz, utilize the on-site messaging communication system, complete a journal entry, etc.).
  • Practice using the various features of Moodle (not every course will require all of the orientation skills be used).
  • Pass along any questions or concerns to their instructor regarding their learning experience within the Moodle environment.

It should be noted that learners are also offered an opportunity to meet with their online instructor over the phone, through email or the Moodle messaging system or through web conferencing (using Skype) at any point in the process, whether it be to conduct a more personalized and individualized orientation session, or to answer specific course questions. Some learners come to an online class with a high degree of prior knowledge (either about online learning, Moodle or they may possess computer skills that enable them to complete the orientation session with ease) so a personalized orientation session is one of several options available for learners.

Giving learners a high degree of choice in what and how they will learn is a central tenet of adult education principles and it’s one I’ve tried deliberately to incorporate and honour in all of the online courses I have designed for the college.

You are welcome to view the project itself here at this website. You will need to log in using practice.student as the user name and password as the password (all letters in lower case for both the user name and password). I have also created a Student Tools and Download center that all of the online learners are welcome to use, either for completing various assignments in their courses or just for personal interest.

Enjoy and I hope you have fun! Please feel free to offer any critiques/feedback on the project here in the comments section of this blog.

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5 Responses to “EC&I 832: Final Project Proposal & Rationale”

  1. Garnett Gleim said

    Michelle, Moodle has a Skype activity module available that I thought you might find of use. Here is the Moodle link that your techies can take a look at to install: http://moodle.org/mod/data/view.php?d=13&rid=1108

    – G

    • Michelle Clarke said

      Oh very cool! Thanks Garnett! I’ll be sure to pass this along to the IT fellas at the Yorkton campus so they can take a look at it. I use Skype with my students but it’d be neat to see how Moodle has tied the program in already in a module.

  2. Katie Bell said

    Hi Michelle! Love the rationale. I will send you an email so that it will be on our critical friend correspondence as well.

    Katie

  3. […] as well. For example, the inclusion of the orientation Moodle module will ease things quite a bit (see the blog post explaining this project here). Already I’ve had a number of students opt out of a personalized session and they’ve […]

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