For our final project, I have selected option 2: Develop a Course Outline. I am going to use Google Plus as a platform to disseminate course objectives, assignments, and materials using the Organizations feature.
Project Prep Notes
Course Description and rationale:
Although I am a sixth grade teacher in an elementary school setting, prior to entering the masters program in Instructional Technology, I was an active catechist in my parish community. For our catholic parish, I taught first and second year Confirmation students as well as the Rite for Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). This course has helped me broaden my view of how far my skills in instructional design could lead me; therefore, I would like to create an online course for apologetics, which could be used as an extension for the RCIA community. Since these individuals are baptized on Holy Saturday (right before Easter Sunday), I would like to focus on some of the questions they may be faced with as newly baptized and what the bible and tradition says. This course will be designed in a manner that the newly baptized would continue to be engaged in learning about their faith and walking in their faith journey. This will be tricky as with most church communities, the big focus is closeness within the community. I am not aware of any parochial program that utilizes distance or online learning (other than the mandated reporter course I had to take when I worked as Youth Director!). I will face the challenge of designing a course that provides the feel of a faith community, yet is flexible for the working adult.
I would speak to subject matter experts in order to obtain rich course content and to develop relevant questions. Materials will be in the form of a podcast, screencast (using slides), shared photos, slideshows or videocasts.
6 weeks (beginning on Easter Sunday and ending on Pentecost Sunday). I am looking at two possibilities: daily or weekly. I want short, but frequent interactions, but some more in depth reflection sharing as well. Participants will be coming to a consensus to formulate a final response to the question that was posed (either in small groups or a whole group, depending on the size of the whole group).
Adults ages 18 and over who are part of the RCIA community. These individuals are novice bible users, experienced bible users, or somewhere in between. I could also open the course to other individuals who would like to join the course. Students will be comfortable enough with technology to engage in social media frequently.
I had to refresh my memory on andragogy since I have mostly dealt with elementary aged students and hybrid learning. I used the following website as a reference: http://www.instructionaldesign.org/theories/andragogy.html
Adults will learn best if the lessons apply to their own lives. They should also be involved in the planning and material should be problem-based rather than content based. I would like to present this course on the social media platform because RCIA is usually taught in a discussion-type format when it’s F2F. I would present a variety of questions they may be faced with as well as some points of reference. It would be up to the participants to formulate a common final response after conducting their own research on the topics. The big motivation would be at the end of six weeks when the participants are recognized in front of the parish community for having completed this online apologetics course.
My preference for interacting with students would be using multiple means. I don’t mind podcasts or screencasts, but I get more self-conscious when video recording myself for videocasting. However, I am very comfortable with video chatting and would like to integrate that into my program. I would prefer that students interact with a short amount of instructional material, do some reflective thinking, extended research, and participate in reflective discussion each week. I would also need to gain some background information about the learners and what their level of technology knowledge is. If they are enrolling in an online course, I think it safe to assume that they have the basics (email/internet).
The following website is an existing online course delivery system. It is a great place for me to start because it allows me to see an existing example of what I am interested in creating for my own parish.
Since I am looking to design an online faith-based course, I need to revisit some strategies that will maintain a high level of motivation and participation. The course is more user-driven than content driven so we need to have a solid community established. I also needed to consult research that discusses the use of social media and strengthening online communities.
A Student’s Guide to Strengthening an Online Community. (2010). TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 54(5), 69–75. doi:10.1007/s11528-010-0439-7
Fan, W., & Yeung, K. H. (2015). Similarity between community structures of different online social networks and its impact on underlying community detection. Communications in Nonlinear Science and Numerical Simulation, 20(3), 1015–1025. doi:10.1016/j.cnsns.2014.07.002