Session 7: Project Preparation

Photo Credit: The Rapid e-Learning Blog

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.

Content:
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.

Delivery Schedule:
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).

Student Characteristics:
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

Motivation:
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.

Instructor Preferences:
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).

project prep

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 References:

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.
http://www.mycatholicfaithdelivered.com/home.aspx?pagename=Individual

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

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About Margarita

This is my second year as a graduate student at CSUSB. I have taught in the Riverside Unified School District for eleven years. The Instructional Technology program has been extremely beneficial to my professional development as it has helped me use innovative ways in providing instruction an support to my sixth graders.
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12 Responses to Session 7: Project Preparation

  1. Margarita, I think you are taking on a great project that could be a wonderful asset to the working women/adults in your church. I took a peek at the link you posted as a model. It looks terrific but I would point out that its a professional paid for site and clearly has a professional team designing and maintaining it. Make sure you plan something that is a reasonable workload for your life : ) I say that because I’ve put off creating an online grammar program because I feel like it ought to look like some of the professional sites I’ve seen, and yet I know I don’t have the time or skills to create one. If I could make peace with my own abilities, at least I would finally create a course. Good luck and thanks for the helpful feedback you always give me- I really appreciate your input.

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    • Margarita says:

      Thank you for your encouragement, Christen! I was overwhelmed when I looked at the online study as well. I am participating in a program by Matthew Kelly (the online scripture instructor on the site). It’s a free Lenten program that consists of daily quotes, video, or scripture to reflect on. I like the daily email format and could see myself doing something similar in the Google+ platform. I have a lot of ideas for the content but not a whole lot of output ideas.

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  2. ngl8on says:

    Hi Margarita,

    What a great unique idea for a final project! I know what it is like to have great big ideas, and few hours to accomplish whatever. I wish you the best of luck and think if you start out small and let it grow you will have something great. It may take a couple of years to really completely finish it,

    I found it fascinating to read what you have planned. You seem to have it well organized.

    Good luck
    Nita

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    • Margarita says:

      Hi Nita,
      After viewing your blog tonight, I don’t feel anywhere near done! I am still consulting with various experts to gain some insight as to how this would actually look. Like Christen said above, this could take longer to come to life than the three weeks of school we have left, but developing the outline for our project is a great jump start to something new in our parish!

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      • ngl8on says:

        Hi Margarita,

        You are lucky to have experts to consult with on this project. it will materialize in time. Things tend to fall into place, when they are right.

        I am lucky with my project, in that I am having to take my 2 unit class, and shrink it down. As I was writing this assignment, I kept finding things in it that I would never have time to do in the short class, and had to eliminate them. Now, I have to do a major shift in my thinking too for such a short class. Also, OSHA has a few things that they feel is of major importance that needs to be handled carefully, from past experience, in order to preserve that person’s job, or ability to stay in that field. Students think OHSA will resolve ALL and be there in the end to help them in their future. Not true! This is where the training really gets muddy.

        Good Luck on your great project
        Nita

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  3. Hi Margarita,

    I really like the work you did on this project. My only question would be about how tech-savvy your students are going to be. I have noticed a real range in terms of technical ability by members of different churches I have attended. I think this is a great idea and a good way to promote your church.

    Thanks.
    Kristine

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    • Margarita says:

      Hi Kristine,
      I have been going back and forth with that same question. I remember about five years ago, we had a co-facilitator who was anti-text messaging!! The tech abilities range all over the board. That is why I am emphasizing that this is a voluntary course. I don’t think anyone would volunteer to participate in an online course if they didn’t have the necessary tools. I may need to instruct on how to use Google+, but if they are Facebook users or even Pinterest users, then Google+ will be easy to learn.

      Like

  4. Hi Margarita,
    I think this is a great idea! What better way to reach a larger audience within your church who want to attend courses like these, but have conflicts with family and work obligations. Your church will be on the cutting edge of online learning. They are lucky to have you as their church member. I can’t wait to see the results. It will be interesting.
    Guillermina

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  5. Margarita says:

    Hi Guillermina,
    Thank you for your encouragement as always! I really do have to be careful with this because I don’t want the idea of church community to disappear because of online learning and online community building. After consulting a few parishioners, that seems to be a concern. It kind of reminds me of a time I asked one of my priests, a close family friend, if I could text my confessions to him! I was joking, of course. However, I realize there is a concern of people losing the desire to be physically present in church community because of online faith learning. By creating this elearning course, I am not promoting that going to the actual parish or participating in live events and courses are not necessary, it is just an extension of a larger entity.

    Like

  6. gcaudill says:

    Hi Margarita,
    I think it’s great that you are branching out of your classroom into other parts of your life with this project. After all the “experimenting” we have done with our own students, I think it’s great that you are trying something new, especially since it has the potential to try out tools and formats that you wouldn’t be able to use with your students. Good luck!
    Griselda

    Like

  7. edtechy says:

    Several years ago one of my students worked on a similar project. He experienced a lot of the same things you are discussing here including a mix of support from his church leaders and some fear. I like that you are approaching this as a supplement to traditional instructional methods rather than a replacement. I think that is more appropriate.

    Like

  8. Earl Wilson says:

    Hi Margarita,

    You have selected a unique and interesting course topic and I’m certain that you will be able to successfully apply the necessary technology and instructional techniques to make it happen! Thanks for the link on andragogy, it is very fitting for the type of coursework you intend to teach. The fact that your course is problem-based rather than content orientated makes it a perfect fit for this type of instruction.

    Also, thanks for making me aware of Google Plus. It appears on the surface to be Google’s version of Facebook but with hooks into all the other Google apps that are out there and more. It looks like a pretty cool app.

    Take care,

    Earl

    Like

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