My Final Reflection on the Online Course Management Course

PHEW! The semester is over! And I am graduating!

This course was quite difficult. Creating and developing an online course from scratch is much more difficult than I thought. There are so many components that go into creating an online course– much more than I realized. I have gained an appreciation for my online professors.

At first, I thought that I will never use the online course I am creating. I thought, “Why am I working so hard to develop an online course that I will never use? 6th graders will never need an online course!” Since developing the course further, I have shared my project with colleagues and superiors. All have said that they would like to see my course and that I should show administrators who interview me because schools are always looking for new ways to teach materials.

Overall, I have learned so much! I am surprised at how far I have come through this course to develop an online learning site. I have had many personal battles this semester as well as a busy schedule, but I survived and made it through! I am thankful to this course for teaching me how to develop and online course, because knowing how to do this may just get me a job!

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My Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy is based on classroom management. With sound classroom management, I can help all students whether it is with assignments or their personal lives.

I believe that consistency is key with all classroom management, especially discipline. This establishment of rules is essential. I need the students to understand the rules because if there are no rules, there will be sheer chaos in my classroom which is unacceptable. The students will come to accept these rules because I will strictly enforce them. Appropriate punishments will be given to those who do not follow the rules, and I will not deviate. It will be hard to not be the “bad guy” or “strict teacher” but after a few years of teaching, I believe that the students will talk and understand that I am tough, but I just want them to learn. As a current student, I know that students talk about teachers all of the time and discuss their teaching and level of “harshness” or the equivalent. The students will quickly learn to respect me and love the environment that I will create.

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The Frustrations of Technology

Right now I am working on a pretty unreliable laptop. I have lost pages of a large document, and had to rewrite parts of papers multiple times. It also lags while I type, which can be really frustrating.

Due to these issues, I started to think about my online courses. Being either the instructor or the student, there are many issues that can arise with online learning. For instructors, grades may not be able to be posted, documents may not upload properly, and you may not be able to see your students’ work formatted correctly. For students, you may have a hard time viewing videos, uploading a document, printing assignments, and downloading content.

For instructors and students, they both need to be understanding with technical issues that may arise. The legitimacy of these complications may be hard to verify since online learning occurs without physical presence. Compromising and being understanding is key when dealing with the frustrations of technology.

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Cookie Rubric Creation

Uh goodness.

Imagine trying to create a rubric to grade a cookie. Seems easy right? As long as it’s yummy, it gets an A+! No, not so simple.

OK so now you have to come up with categories: shape, texture, taste, chocolate chips. Sounds easy still. But what if you like a perfectly round cookie .5 inches high, where other people enjoy a misshaped cookie that is flat. How many are “too many” chocolate chips? Crispy versus soft?

This activity showed me how rubrics are truly subjective. One person’s favorite cookie might be different that another person’s favorite cookie. Our group tried our best to come up with a rubric to satisfy everyone’s version of a favorite cookie, and it was very difficult. I learned that rubrics need many details to ensure that all students are on the same page with an assignment and there is no room for error.

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Reflection on the MOOC Debate

A few weeks ago, my peers and I interacted on a debate about MOOCs. I was placed on the Pro-MOOC team, even though I truly am undecided about them. Through the debate, we talked about similar topics multiple times. We discussed the impact of MOOCs on high-ed, whether MOOCs can be beneficial, and if MOOCs suffer for large enrollment rates and no-to-low costs.

I believed both the Pro and Against groups came to the agreement that MOOCs can be beneficial for those wanting to enrich themselves on a topic and grow for their own personal gain. We agreed that MOOCs will not replace higher-ed. We disagreed about the large enrollment’s impact on students. We argued that the large enrollment does not hinder students because most are there for their own enrichment and move on. The Against side argued that high enrollment rates hinder the learning process because students cannot interact and personal connections with the professors are lacking.

Overall, I enjoyed the debate even though I did not have much opportunity to participate based on the questions chosen. It was interesting to see both sides of the debate and the research to back it up. My favorite part of the debate was the ending when we just got to talk in an unstructured way. I also enjoyed that both sides ended up coming to the same conclusion that they were happy with.

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Thoughts on Accessibility

It is hard to design a lesson that works for all disabilities, especially for an online-only course. For an in-person class, a teacher can accommodate for students will disabilities by proving them with handouts and individualized instruction. Students who participate in online learning can have varied disabilities, and providing them with technology accommodations, like closed captioning, text-to-speech, and other features, can be difficult to find a component online that contains all of the possible accommodations if do not create it yourself.

I have taken two American Sign Language courses. I not only learning the language, but I also learned Deaf History and accommodations that can be made for the deaf. For an online course, typically the only accommodation that the deaf need are closed captioning. After these courses, I am very sensitive to the issues the disabled face with day-to-day activities, like going to school.

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Learning Management System Options

The two learning management systems that I explored were Weebly and Schoology. There are pros and cons of both systems:

Weebly:

Pros: You can be creative and design your website.

Cons: You have to create each aspect of your website from scratch. More of a website than a learning management system.
Schoology:

Pros: There is a simple design for easy input of materials.

Cons: There is no room for creativity.

Based on the pros and cons of each learning management system, I chose to work with Schoology for its simple design. I am creating my lesson for 6th grade students and I did not want a website that would distract them or make it difficult for them to find the materials.

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