Nearing the Finish Line

For the past three months, I had been posting about reflections regarding my current course in Distance Learning, that of Instructional Media Resources. The term will officially end tonight at midnight and there is relief in knowing that I am very near the finish line.

Truth be told, I had my worries regarding the amount of work that the subject would entail even before term officially opened last May. I once had a colleague who took a similar class on website design and I had seen how complicated his assignments had been. Having little or limited knowledge in working with the different software available now, I had dreaded the subject.

Sure enough, week after week, we had to answer forum questions, submit activities, create eJournal entries, and respond to posts not to mention read through several resources for each module. On top of these requirements, the new school year brought about changes in terms of a modular approach to the subject I teach as part of the K-12 curriculum. This not only meant adjusting to a new load, it also meant paperwork and deadlines.

Saying that I was stressed out would be an understatement. I think the most frustrating part was finding out, at the onset, that the major requirements in class were to be done by group. Being enrolled in an Open University meant that my group mates could be anywhere in the globe and that we won’t be able to set a common time to log on the internet so we could all effectively plan together. I usually map out my week depending on the tasks that I need to work on, both in school and at work. I had dreaded the idea of conducting asynchronous group discussions because it meant the possible disruption of a well-planned personal schedule.

I guess one of the things that I have to learn is to understand that not everyone is wired like me. The one good thing I can say about working in a group though is that of knowing that there are at least five of us who have pending requirements.

In terms of the things that I have learned in the course, I think the one thing that has stuck with me is the way I should design my instructional resources. In the course of my teaching practice, I have come across websites that were developed by teachers specifically for their students. I would also like to make a similar endeavor for my students. The assignment on Multimedia Resource had me seriously considering putting up a website that my students can access offline (as we are discouraged from giving them homework over the internet). Should our policy on internet use change, I hope that I can put up an interactive website for my students which include practice drills and activities that will help stimulate higher order thinking skills.

In the end, I am also hoping that the past three months have also made me a better teacher. I am already applying most of the principles that I have learned in the course when preparing my PowerPoint slides. Now, only time will tell if they are as effective as I hope them to be.

Amalgamation

This week in my Instructional Media Resources class, we learned about multimedia resources.  These resources are an amalgamation of print, audio, and visual resources and hence, provide for a more enriching and interactive learning experience (Lamb, n.d.).

Compared to the other two resources we studied (see Albion and Huang below), the Building Treehouses resource by Lamb (n.d.) was what I found most interesting and most helpful.  For one, it gave a list of the different slides that should make up a slideshow as well as the functional areas that slides have.

Aside from these, it also mentioned different software that can be used to create multimedia resources. One of these was Macromedia Flash Player, which comes as no surprise since most websites incorporate clips in them. It also listed Microsoft PowerPoint which I use to create my visual aids in school.

For a moment, it got me confused because Lamb had also mentioned PowerPoint as a good tool when creating projected visuals (Lamb, 2005).  Then of course, I came to realize that the fact that it is called “multimedia” would mean that it has to be projected somehow in order for it be as interactive as the designer would want it to be.

I have used clips, audio files, and hyperlinks in my PowerPoint presentations before.  Hyperlinks make for nonlinear presentations (that is, they allow users to jump from one topic to another).  However, the way I add hyperlinks in my slides still follow a linear outline (that is, it is part of a sequence).

I guess despite the limitation in interactive-ability, I realized that some of my slides are simple multimedia.  After reading Building Treehouses, I had this idea of creating a website for my students that will connect the slides that I have used in my lectures.  Of course, some of them will have to be revised and improved and some others still need to be designed (especially the interactive slides and student involvement area).

My greatest challenge about putting forth the project together will be to find the time to actually organize them into a cohesive stack (I can go crazy with sorting until I have several subfolders that I again will have to sort!) and the actual construction of a website.  Not to mention that the school has a policy of discouraging teachers from giving assignments through the internet.  Still, it will be a good science fair project that I can ask the students to be involved in.  I think, given their tech-savvy, it will also help them learn more about my subject along the way.

 

References:

Albion, P. (2001). Developing interactive multimedia using a problem-based learning framework. In L. Richardson and J. Lidstone (Eds), Flexible Learning for a Flexible Society, 30-38. Proceedings of ASET-HERDSA 2000 Conference, Toowoomba, Qld. Available at http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.25.7527&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Huang, C. (2005). Designing high-quality interactive multimedia learning modules. In Computerized Medical Imaging and Graphics, 29, 223-233. Available at https://cset.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/files/documents/publications/Huang-Designing%20hih-quality%20interactive%20multimedia%20learning%20modules.pdf

Lamb, A. (2005). Designing and developing resources: Projected materials (Chap 9). In Building treehouses for learning: Technology in today’s classrooms. Available at http://eduscapes.com/treehouses/TL9projected.pdf

Lamb, A. (n.d). Designing and developing resources: multimedia materials (Chap 11). In Building treehouses for learning: Technology in today’s classrooms, 385-438. Available at http://eduscapes.com/treehouses/TN11multimedia.pdf