Lessons Learned

Although this is the final “required” blog, I may very likely continue to blog during my adventure, as well as review other classmates’ blogs who write on the topic of distance education.

I have thoroughly enjoyed what I have learned thus far in OMDE 603, Technology of Distance Education.  Although the reading is hard to keep up with initially, as I learn more, I enjoy it more, feel more confident talking about distance education, and thus want to read more. 

I would like to see the required textbooks and supplemental readings updated to include more current reading.  As fast as technology changes, it really dates the concept of the course to have the most recent required reading to be published or written in 2005.  I intentionally included a few of the more current readings in my SECTIONS essay, such as Pullen & Snow (2007) and Guri-Rosenblit (2009).

In WebTycho the basic course shell is set up, but then faculty can alter it in various ways.  This sometimes poses a problem, especially for busy students taking more than one class.  Sometimes assignments are under the tab intended, and other times they are in the conference.  Sometimes required readings are only included in the syllabus, other times they are listed under required readings.  I think instructors should be required to follow a set structure for setting up their WebTycho course. 

In this blog assignment, it was time-consuming to locate the Google document that had the blogger/reviewer grid.  Why couldn’t this information be listed within the conference — easy to find for everyone?

Due dates should be more clearly listed.  For instance, the three assignments were well-written, and had a “last revised: 1/05/11” at the top.  Why couldn’t it have had a very clear DUE DATE: March 7 – Assignment #1, DUE DATE: March 21 – Assignment #2, DUE DATE: April 17 – Assignment #3.

But these are just examples, and are minor in the grand scheme of technology of distance education!

Since beginning my journey in distance education, I can now answer the question: So what can you do with an MDE?  I’m looking at the role of instructional designer, and if I play my cards right, I may be able to land that job when the Master of Science in Marketing Analytics is rolled out in Fall 2012 — first in a f-2-f format, but hopefully it will be so popular that it will be moved to an online format.  If so, it will be virtually the first online course in the Smith School of Business, and I have the opportunity to be at the forefront with what I have learned — and what I will be learning!

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If all else fails, read the directions . . .

As I was getting ready to submit my SECTIONS essay to the professor, thinking it was due TODAY (3/21), I saw that assignment #3 (this blog, with 5+ posts) is due today, and #3 isn’t due until April 17!  So . . . I actually had time (a long time) to submit it to the writing coach for review!

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SECTIONS Model

I’m posting  a blog about the SECTIONS model of distance education.  Described on page 79 of Bates & Poole (2003), is the amended version of the ACTIONS model.  A is for access, C is for costs, T is for teaching and learning, I is for interactivity and user-friendliness, O is for organizational issues, N is for novelty, and S is for speed.  This was first developed by Bates in 1988, and their revision included replacing the A (access) with S for Students – what is known about the students, and E for Ease of use. 

We have an assignment to write an essay about (1) selecting a technology appropriate to an educational program and then (2) demonstrate that I can apply the SECTIONS model.

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F/U on the group wiki definition

Well, my research proved my theory on reaching out to Professor Charles Snow, FORMERLY of George Mason University.  I received an “undeliverable” reply to my e-mail to him.  At least I can accurately refer to him in my group wiki definition!

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Working on the wiki definition

I logged into my group wiki project, because I got a message to check this blog for a comment.  I haven’t yet found the comment!

The other group members haven’t had a chance to contribute yet, so I started on the definition of SIMULTEACHING.  I was able to find a second article by Prof. Mark Pullen by doing a Google search on simulteaching.  I then went to the George Mason University website and searched for both Mark Pullen and Charles Snow.  Prof. Pullen in still on the faculty, but I couldn’t tell whether Professor Snow is there, as his personal web page was rather out of date.  I sent him an e-mail, but I don’t know if I will hear from him or not.

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Group wiki definition project

Sorry to be posting all this on one day . . . I’m not trying to get this ongoing project all completed at once . . . I just have lots of good, but unrelated things to say about  technology in distance education today!

I just checked in with my group 4 wiki group.  Here’s the link to this space in pbworks:  http://omde603.pbworks.com/w/page/36153146/Group-4 

As a group we are defining the term SIMULTEACHING.  This is a term I first read about in Pullen & Snow’s article: Integrating synchronous and asynchronous internet distributed education for maximum effectiveness.  They are both on the faculty at George Mason University, located in northern Virginia, but not too far from the University of Maryland.  I copied a relevant paragraph into the wiki for the group members to read, but also uploaded the paper to the wiki, and posted a link to it.  Every time I try a new task in this class, I’m learning something new!  It’s great!

Carol

 

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DE at the Univ of Maryland, Smith School

The Marketing Department had their strategic planning meeting today with our dean.  One of our new programs we’re planning for next year is a MS in a unique field of marketing.  The dean asked who else has this program, and the response was no one — just us.  He was pleased with that! 

At the end of the presentation he asked if we’d considered offering this new program in an online format!!  What a shock that was — but a good one, as far as I was concerned!  He said that if we’re the only university offering this program, we could literally have a national pool of candidates, as opposed to a local candidate pool in a F2F class.  Especially because it’s a part-time program, students will continue to work while taking this program. 

The point of this posting is that in the five minute discussion about this possibility, I heard terms such as online learning, asynchronous schedule, technology infrastructure and instructional designer.  Most of these terms would have gone right over my head this time last year.  And I’m in the right place (Coordinator in the Marketing Department), at the right time (a year before the program takes off), with the right connections in the business school to have a whole new career path ahead of me!

However, it’s unlikely that we would roll out the program for the first time in a totally online format.  We would probably develop it in a F2F format, with an eye on how to move it to an asynchronous presentation in a future iteration.

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Technology in DE

I’m continuing to gain momentum and excitement about technology in distance education.  I did very well on my paper comparing synchronous and asynchronous technology in distance education.  I’m working my way through the Bates’ book, Effective Teaching with Technology in Higher Education.  We’ll be writing about the SECTIONS model in assignment 3 as a group, but it was interesting to see how it differed from the ACTIONS model, developed by Bates in 1988 and refined in 1995.  ACTIONS stands for Access, Costs, Teaching and learning, Interactivity and user-friendliness, Organizational issues, Novelty and Speed.  This model was amended to the SECTIONS model, with the difference being: Students, Ease of use and reliability, Costs, Teaching and learning, Interactivity, Organizational issues, Novelty, and Speed.  These models are described on pages 77 – 105 of Bates (2003).

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OMDE 603 – Technology in DE

This is my first post strictly about the course in which I’m enrolled. 

Good Parts

I’ve learned a whole lot of new terms, have gotten outside my technological comfort zone, and hope to utilize my MDE in a year or so.

It’s not nearly as intensive as the first MDE course — OMDE 601 — History and Theory of Distance Education.  Wow!  That was a lot of work, and a lot of reading.

A few of the same people are in this class as were in 601, so it’s nice to see familiar names.

Bad Parts

We had a change of instructor about 3 weeks into the course, which was a little weird.  The first instructor was sort of interactive with the class.  The new instructor seems less interactive, but he probably got this course dropped in his lap without any notice.

We’re about six weeks into the course, and I’ve just finished assignment #1, which is due tomorrow.  So, it doesn’t seem there is a lot of work?  Is that a complaint??

There is a small group exercise that was assigned, and the due date is way, way off, or so it seems.  We’re to find/decide on a term from our reading and define it as a group, and we’re to work on it within a group wiki in PBWorks.  The cummulative glossary contains lots of really interesting terms, but of course, we can’t choose a word that is already on the list, or one that has been selected by another group in this class.  So just yesterday I got confirmation that our group will define the term SIMULTEACHING

HERE’S MY BIGGEST COMPLAINT ABOUT THIS CLASS: As fast as technology changes in our world today, none of the books or articles for required or recommended reading have been published since about 2005 (if then).  That’s six years ago!  A lot of technology changes and improves in six years!  I’ve found on my own numerous books, journal articles and other interesting articles written in 2008, 2009 and even 2010.  I just think the course needs to be updated with more current readings that refer to technologies that exist today, rather than technology that either no longer exists, because it has merged with another company, or has been so improved upon that it is no longer considered state-of-the-art.

Cheers!

Carol Cron

 

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I’m Blogging??

This is a totally new experience for me. Not only have I never written on a blog, I don’t think I’ve actually read a blog.

I’ve started this blog because it is a required assignment in my Masters in Distance Education course – OMDE 603 – Technology in Distance Education.

I’m hoping that once I’m comfortable with this assignment that I’ll continue to blog, and get more and more creative with posts and photos.

The field of distance education is truly fascinating to me, and is so relevant for the future of education. It is offered by University of Maryland University College, who have been leaders in offering distance education for many years.

I need to post at least 5 times to my blog for this assignment, but of course I hope to do more than that and also continue with it. For the next few weeks, I’m going to concentrate on writing relevant posts to my Technology in Distance Education Course. I may add additional pages to post personal thoughts unrelated to my MDE.

Cheers!

Carol

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