Archive for March 2013

Effective Communication

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Communication is the key to success. The lack of communication can cause things in life to get very complicated and difficult unnecessarily. This week we had the pleasure of listening to the same message in three different mediums. People can easily misinterpret a message that is sent through the various mediums of communication. The key to successful project management is effective communication-sharing the right messages with the right people in a timely manner (Portny, et al, 2008, p. 357).  When watching the multimedia program "The Art of Effective Communication" my perception or view of the message being sent changed each time it was presented through a different medium. The first message that I viewed was through email.  At a first glance of the email, I thought the email came across as unfriendly, and impatient. I got the sense that she was irritated and border line angry. Email can become impersonal or misunderstood (passioncomputing.com, 2010).  Her email was clear in terms of what she needed, however I think the element of compassion was lacking in this instance.



I then listened to the voicemail. I have to say that when I heard the voicemail it completely changed my perception of her mood when she created the message. The email didn't have any tone so the perception rendered impatient, and unfriendly. The voicemail let me know that she was really just asking for what she needed. Her voice sounded calm and friendly. I would also like to add that she sounded professional. The face to face method is the one that sold me completely. The tone in her voice was calm and collective. Her body language showed that she was calm and the smile at the end of the message was equivalent to the icing on cake.


The face to face method conveyed the message most effectively. While the other two mediums are acceptable forms of business communication, the message is still left up in the air for interpretation. It would be much more helpful to just speak to the person face to face. This way, you can perceive the whole picture in real time. You can pick up on nonverbal cues. With a busy work day normally it is difficult sometimes to even find the time to meet with someone face to face to have personal discussion. However, in the long term, face-to-face communication just might assure that communication is clear and understood (Martin, 2007).  Technology is a blessing and a curse. Two of the mediums still leave room for interpretation. The PM needs to ensure that the messages received  are not misunderstood but are indeed clear and concise. The most efficient thing for the PM to do is to  hold weekly meetings to convey information to the team.


References

Martin, C. (2007). The Importance of Face-to-Face Communication at Work. Retrieved September 20, 2012 from  http://www.cio.com/article/29898/The_Importance_of_Face_to_Face_Communication_at_Wor            k?page=1&taxonomyId=3154

Passioncomputing.com. (2010). Using Email Effectively. Retrieved  September 20, 2012 from http://www.passioncomputing.com.au/Copywriting/Using-email


Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.




Project Management Post Mortem

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Being a secondary high school teacher, I have been involved in several different curriculum writing projects for the county's social studies department. It appears as though many of my classmates have had authentic experiences with the ID process and the use of the ADDIE Model. Though I haven't had the experience of using the ADDIE model, I do believe, however, that I can provide everyone with a clear sense of my role in the curriculum writing process.




Before we actually started working on the curriculum, the first thing we did was meet as a team. During this team meeting it was discovered the various educators from across the county at the secondary level would be working on this project. Our county level supervisor started the meeting with a greeting and established who the team leader would be for the duration of project. The meeting continued by establishing the goal, timeline, and individuals roles for the project. The team leader was in charge of monitoring the overall project, the point of contact for questions and concerns, They were also in charge of the formatting of the curriculum. All work was to be complete and submitted to the team leader.


My role was fairly simple. Each of us were assigned two units. In each we were to design the lesson plans, teaching materials, and students materials. I think the most frustrating portion of the curriculum writing was ensuring that all activities were different from each other and that they placed a heavy emphasis on blooms taxonomy. I would have ideas about a project only find out that another writer has completed a similar or same idea. I think this could have been avoided by creating a project chart that was out in the open so that we could use it as a cross reference to ensure that we didn't start creating a project that has already been complete. Most organizations look at the overall output and don't look into the details if the work is presented as they wanted it (Joshi, 2011). This of course put me back to brainstorming and trying other methods such as project based learning.






The project was successful overall. Despite the minor setbacks that took place we were able to produce a curriculum that would replace the old curriculum and that met both state and national standards.

References
Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Project Management

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Hello Class,

This is my blog for Walden. I have many posts from different classes. Please feel free to scroll through and read. If you would like to comment you can click on the title of the post. It will direct to the comment box. You can also click on the located directly across from the title of the blog. It represents the number of comments made on a particular post. Enjoy!!!!!!!!

Plagiarism Detection and Prevention

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Introduction
Plagiarism is an ever growing problem in a society that is so technology rich. As an educator I see this on a first hand basis year after year. My students have a hard time understanding that if you are going to write down someone's idea, that you must give them credit for it and cite your source. Homework assignments that may have my students write an essay on the Rise and Fall of Napoleon Bonaparte, sometimes turns into zero for the assignment, referral to the office ,and a phone call home for academic dishonesty because a student copied and paste an entire essay from online.



Software
Plagiarism detection tools are plentiful in today's technological society. They sometimes serve as deterrents to students and helpers to instructors. Some of the plagiarism detection tools are: TurnItIn.com, Viper, PlagerismChecker.com. Doing a search in Google can sometimes do the job as well.

Assessments
I believe that the creation of effective assessments is the best way to ensure academic integrity. The student has no choice but to demonstrate mastery of the knowledge being assessed. Performance assessments in the form of short answer or application based assessments basically makes it impossible to cheat without being caught.

Knowledge is Power
Clear expectations should be established from day one of the class on the policy of academic integrity. Not only should it be explained, it should be an integral component of the syllabus. Something that students can always go back and refer too.  Something worth mentioning to the class is what Palloff, R. & Platt, S. (n.d.) refer to about student's plagiarizes of themselves by taking a previous assignment from another class and turning it for their current class. Develop a mini  lesson on this topic and assess your students. I have done it and it has cut down on the first time and repeat offenders of plagiarism in my classroom.

References
Palloff, R. & Platt, S. (n.d.). Plagarism and cheating. {Video Presentation}.

The Impact of Technology and Multimedia On Online Learning

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Technology has a huge impact on today's global learner. As a secondary educator, I am teaching a technologically rich generation. Toddlers know how to Skype, use I Pads, facebook, and touch screen leap frogs. Technology can keep the learner engage throughout an entire lesson. I teach high school social studies and teacher academy classes at my current teaching assignment. The technology that I chose to talk about is edmodo.com "Edmodo provides a safe and easy way for your class to connect and collaborate, share content, and access homework, grades and school notices. Our goal is to help educators harness the power of social media to customize the classroom for each and every learner" (www.edmodo.com, 2012). Through edmodo my students can collaborate with each other by hosting their own discussions about topics in class. They can form their own study groups. Create documents. notes, power points etc... and store in their backpack which allows them to access their documents from anywhere.



 Before using a site like edmodo, an instructor must first determine how the site is going to be used, the length of times students will have in class, the content that is going to be shared, a due date for the assignment if applicable, can students access the website from home?, know your audience. It would not be a good idea to assign work to a class using edmodo in class with a highly active, talkative students who need a considerable amount of direction. They result may render egregious results. I have used edmodo as venue for students to ask questions about the current content that we are covering in class. Students would post a question on the page. Then the first student who answers the questions correctly along with citing their resources gains a half a point of extra credit towards their lowest score in the grade book. I have also used edmodo as a means for students to collaborate with my other classes using the library function in which students share documents (notes, worksheets, discussion questions) in order to gain new perspectives from their peers. As a result, I have found that my students have become more connected with the subject matter over time, thus increasing their summative assessment scores.



 As I continue to move forward I would like to use the I pad in my classroom as well as a Slate. A Slate allows you to control the computer and Interactive White Board from anywhere in the classroom. Students can write their responses to a worksheet as I call on them anywhere in the classroom. It is simply amazing in regards to the technology that is available for us to use.

References www.edmodo.com

Setting Up A Successful Online Learning Experience

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Creating an online experience for the very first time can be a very an intimidating task. I believe that the intimidation can be controlled by the ID or facilitator. I know when I had to create an online learning environment for another Walden class; I made sure that I understood the CMS that I chose to use. I didn’t try to incorporate all of the features that CMS had available. I stuck to the basics. Secondly I set up clear expectations for my students and provided examples of each expectation when it was available. When the students see this they will have a better understanding of the type of work that you want to have submitted. You want to start the course on the right foot by making your students feel as though the learning environment is safe, nurturing, and comfortable.
 

Technology













There are a host of Classroom Management Systems available for the ID or Facilitator to use. Additionally the ID or Instructor should chose a CMS based on the need of the class. It is important to understand the types of technology available in the CMS. Some of the basic functions that an ID or Instructor should know how to use of a CMS are:

  • Navigating the CMS 
  • Adding content into the different sections of the CMS 
  • Adding hyperlinks 
  • Accessing the course templates 
  • Uploading documents and media 
  • Discussion Board and Chat 
  • Setting up the grade book
  • Frequently Asked Questions or Help Tab 


Once the ID or Facilitator are comfortable with the basic functions, then the more advanced functions such as adding wiki’s, podcast  and learning objects. These added functions will enhance the learning experience of the students in the class.


Student Expectations



Clear and unambiguous guidelines of what is expected of students and what students should expect form the instructor should be established at the beginning of a course. (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010) That way student know exactly what to expect and there are no surprises. The learning environment that has a high success rate is one that students are clear about the policy and procedures for the course. Sheridan & Kelly (2010) remind us that indicators that were most important to student dealt with making course requirements clear and being responsive students’ needs. The instructor should be available in the beginning of the course to answer student questions and to provide clarity to students about the expectations of the course. I also believe that the instructor should model the types of behavior and work that they want students to submit. The instructor should also reach out to those students who they feel are not participating or seem reluctant to do work.

 A Great Start 





At the beginning of any course it important for students to get started on the right track because it is essential to the success of the course. The instructor should take this time to establish a social, teaching, and cognitive presence in the course. In this instance the beginning dictates the remainder of the course. (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010) remind us that regular and timely interaction of faculty with students is one of the key quality indicators of online courses. In getting cognitive presence we are also remind that cognitively posting is another way to get to know what your students goals are for the course. This posting helps to get to know your students' minds. (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010). The teaching presence is apparent in the overall delivery of the online course. The activities, assessments, resources, speak to the planning of the course. The instructors participation, monitoring of student discussion, and questioning students also speak to the teachers presence.

References
Boettcher, J. A., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Laureate Education, Inc. (n.d.). [Video]. “Launching the Online Learning Experience”. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_2095196_1%26url%3D

Sheridan, K. & Kelly, M.A. (2010). The indicators of instructor presence that are important to students in online courses. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 6(4).

Online Learning Communities

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Untitled Document

 

Dr. Palloff defines a learning community as one in which students and faculty explore content together to construct meaning and knowledge about that content. The online learning environment can impact student learning and satisfaction based on the definition by Dr. Palloff.  In adult learning theories we learn that constructivism states that the “most significant learning occurs when students have the opportunity to “study a topic from multiple perspectives’. (Ormrod, Schunk, & Gredler, 2008, p 185).

In creating an online environment certain elements must be present. Naturally the CMS will ensure that the majority of the elements are present. However, there are also elements that the facilitator must possess and implement in the course. In designing the course itself, there should be learning activities that promote and foster learning.  Pratt and Palloff recommend that, students should be interacting with the content and classmates. This will maximize learners’ acquisition of knowledge and provide opportunities for students to master and apply content in a nurturing environment.

 

Several different things come to mind when considering how to maintain an effective learning community.  It begins with the instructor of the course. The instructor should be comfortable with the technology that is needed to run the class, as well as, having a comforting presence in the online learning community. Building rapport with the students early in the class by responding to post and making personal connections will attribute to student success in the course. Dr. Palloff suggests using humor and personalizing naming conventions to make the course feel warm and inviting. (Laureate Education Inc., n.d.).

We are reminded by Boettcher and Conrad (2010), that online learning has three elements: the learner, the mentor or faculty member, and the knowledge/content. The combinations of these elements can be a driving force that fosters learning or hinders the learning experience.  I have learned that the online learning environment is much like a community learning environment. We each give and take away an experience that helps one another synthesize content.

 

References
Boettcher, J. A., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Laureate Education, Inc. (n.d.). [Video]. “Online Learning Communities”. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_2095196_1%26url%3D

Ormrod, J.E.; Schunk, D. H., & Gredler, M. (2008). Learning theories and instruction. New York: Laureate Education, Inc.