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Week 5 Blog: Motivation

Infographic Project Update

I was recently accepted as a volunteer participant in a project with Designers for Learning, a non-profit described to me at AECT’s annual convention by founder Jen Maddrell as “the match.com for instructional designers and projects in need.” My interest in the project stems from its objective of “mining and mapping existing open educational resources to the 2013 College and Career Readiness Standards” and “preparing a written report that identifies existing open educational resources that align with the standards for both English language arts and literature, as well as mathematics” (Designers for Learning, 2014, par. 2). My background in directing college programs for at-risk learners as well as ID work in mining and developing open OER courses brings these two passions of mine together in a way I’ve never experience before in my work. Thus, my infographic work for this class certainly feeds needs for the project’s partner, Grace Centers for Hope, and I see the infographic adding another dimension to the text report I’ll be writing for the volunteer project.  I see the final product assisting high school and first-year seminar faculty. I’m excited to apply the working knowledge and products from this class directly to this project as well as my start-up work.

Some of my issues with the infographic project are:

-deciding the interactive element of the infographic is beyond the scope of this project (as well as my resources)

Professor Myers was right in saying it was not clear in my paper and pen example how the interactivity of the infographic will work.  Part of my thinking last week was the software and my capability will drive this, but now that the infographic is actually due in just a few days, and as good practice not to jump too far ahead in my infographic zeal, I’ve decided to create a static non-interactive infographic so I meet the goals of the project first.

I’ve thought more about my idea of interactivity with this infographic and my initial idea was to create links to OER, but this really isn’t what an interactive infographic is all about – those infographics have the user manipulate the data itself, and the goal of this project is informing about OER to make it more adoptable by the viewer.

Now that I’ve thought more about what interactivity really means to my goal, I convinced it would  require the backing of some grant dollars and software developers: picture a DIY to OER adoption where the user creates an OER course via a “choose your own adventure” idea beginning with selecting the subject, course, course outcomes, module outcomes, OER content, OER assessments and then the final click packages the course as common cartridge file compatible with any LMS (yes, I dream big and know this is highly not even possible).  In essence, the faculty builds a blueprint for their course based on backwards design principles.  This idea is NOT going to happen with this infographic project for the idea is not an infographic anyway!  I’ll keep exploring this on my own.

-maintaining the LATCH principles of Category and Alphabetical

Professor Myers mentioned the alphabetical principle of LATCH was not visible in my paper and pen version of my infographic and my intent in the listings of the courses with the OER was alphabetizing, although I didn’t do this in the paper and pen version since it was a working idea.  I have encountered problems with how best to organize the subjects of OER groupings: do I drill down to the “genus species” of the classification system (the course), such as Introduction to Psychology, or do I organize by the “order/family” of course, like Behavioral Science?  I’m still not 100% sure about this yet.  I like the latter given it seems to emulate what a faculty member would encounter in a college catalog and would offer a simpler approach of organizing.  By course title organization, I’m afraid it would be cluttered given some courses might have the title “Introduction to…” and others “Principles of…” – I’d rather not worry about semantics and focus on streamlining.

-merging the two sketch ideas

The first sketch was my initial attempt at organizing my ideas about the infographic.  It allowed the mining theme to be born and explored ways I might have the user interact with the infographic, such as with the wheel.  The second attempt explored the theme, which I think works for this idea, and I like Professor Myers’s idea about creating a pie chart of percentages about the 500+ Creative Common items in existence today.  This addresses my worry about not having enough – or any for that matter – statistical/chart-y information typical of infographics.

I do plan to include the most restrictive to least restrictive CC license graphic pulled from a presentation from Cable Green (2013, sl. 15):

I’ll cull more OER slides and pull some interesting stats into the infographic.  It also offers a way for the viewer to gain insight into the current leaders in the OER field: David Wiley, Cable Green, Kim Thanos, Stephen Downes, David Lippman, James Sousa, Nicole Allen…maybe it would be interesting to develop a chart in a mining cave with these people and their association to the OER world?

-communicating the goals and purpose (and most importantly developing a process in the infographic for mining OER)

I most appreciated Professor Myers’s advice in using text over graphics for the definition and developing my idea of a procedure for mining OER, which is exactly what I was aiming for in my gut, but precisely what I had missed in my planning.  I like the idea of the branching tunnels for the mining.  I thought more about his question: “what is that information and how can it be displayed as visually as possible?”  The information would be the best of existing OER grouped by subject and the visual display would be using CC BY icons from the The Noun Project to represent the different subjects/course materials (plus the graphics would match my mining theme ideas of clean silhouettes) as well as the icons from the OER developer, such as Saylor, Boundless, OpenStax, etc.

Thank you, Professor Myers, for the infographic feedback this week.  It definitely offered more direction in my planning.

Major-project

We did not meet this week about our major project given we submitted the proposal and are waiting feedback.

Self-Study

I pushed onward with the lynda.com and reviewed portions of Creating Infographics with Illustrator to gain some insight into creating custom charts and layers.  I must admit the lynda.com tutorials are great and although I’m thankful my subscription is included in my IU tuition, of course I wish they were openly licensed.

Weekly Readings

It is appropriate the weekly readings focused on motivation this week…I found myself wishing I had more of it juggling this intense week!

Keller and Burkman (1993)

I found the Keller and Burkman reading to be of personal interest given my struggle at this time with my current conundrum in what to do about my children’s preschool.  They are currently attending a Montessori school an hour from our rural home and the commute is taxing on both my kids, my schedule and the family that helps.  I’m considering alternatives for next year, but am torn about the philosophy of education since Montessori schooling is more concerned with students developing their intrinsic motivation to love learning versus academic achievement – not that the latter isn’t important, but the logic is if one loves learning, then academic achievement will follow.  I agree with this philosophy and am not sure how the public and parochial schools (which are my other choices) embrace this philosophy…and my personal experiences with schools as both a substitute, high school teacher, and even in higher ed have focused on the bottom lines: standardized test scores and retention – not developing a love for learning.  Dr. Montessori understood the concept of motivation and its impact on learning – yet it’s interesting to me that although I feel this concept makes sense, but in my teacher prep programs in both undergraduate and graduate levels, the focus on outcomes-based learning was there, but the focus on motivation was limited.  As Keller and Burkman discuss, “The motivation to learn depends largely on the learner’s personality, the nature of the thing or skill to be learned, and the learner’s perceptions of the value and difficulty of learning it” (p. 4).  I am surprised that as much as I have been exposed to the motivation concept in this IST program, it is not yet naturally ingrained in my application-at-work process.  I know I need to develop this more, especially with reference to variation and curiosity (p. 6) and positive outcomes (p. 22).  My consistent approach to developing course materials that make sense to the learner at times approaches a fill-in-the-blank swap out approach of content with the intent to make it easy for the instructor to swap out materials but I fear the result is boring the learner.  This is a fine-line to walk.

Foshay, Silber, and Stelnnicki (2003)

The Cognitive Training Model presented in this reading helped me think more about the field of instructional design beyond the scope of academics.  I think it’s easy to take for granted the base fact that higher ed students are motivated because of an array of reasons beyond instruction: scholarships, GPA, family, friends, coaches, and ultimately being responsible for paying for college may impact a learner’s motivation beyond the scope of the classroom learning environment.  Faculty certainly need to keep attention, WIIFM, and YCDI and the cues and signals for the most important information in their planning process, but I do wonder how many higher ed faculty actually do it.  I remember these courses from my training in the education discipline, but have not seen this in other courses of disciplines I’ve been interested in pursuing, such as Literature and Creative Writing.  These fields seem to focus on the discipline itself and not on how best to teach the discipline – let alone focus on student motivation – to college attendees.  In Beyond the Rhetoric: Improving College Readiness Through a Coherent State Policy published by The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education (2010), there exists a gap between what high schools teach and what colleges expect, and since expectations are not in sync, I would imagine that ways of encouraging motivation are not either.  The model suggestions on p. 29 would benefit higher ed faculty in their planning, and I’m certain my collaborators in the major group project will revisit these elements in our development of the instructional materials. I appreciate how the author’s contrast their work with Gagne’s and find these differences important in the application of the model to IST.

Malone (1981)

I enjoyed the Malone text and thought about how my preschool aged children learn and how my college aged students continue to learn.  The idea of using a game to deliver content is a given, but the idea of using a game to develop intrinsic motivation was only obvious when I read about it.  Equating fun and learning for the preschool child makes sense, but embracing that theory for a college-aged learner – including non-traditional learners and those in the workplace – is compelling.  I’m not sure I’ve ever had anyone in higher ed even talk about this as a motivational tool.  What’s happened? I agree with Malone that an “overpowering factor that has been largely neglected…is the role of motivation in learning” (p. 334) and even more how external reinforcement “destroys the intrinsic motivation a person has to engage in an activity” (p. 335).  This language bothered my teacher-soul for as much as I hate to admit it, the external reinforcement of “a bad grade” is likely what sucks the fun out of learning in the first place.  The use of games by employing a “die and try again” vision makes sense especially when married with the theories of “challenge, fantasy, and curiosity” (p. 335).  I liken my younger days of playing the original Nintendo Legend of Zelda for days on end similar to writing college papers for my undergrad English courses: I loved the challenge, explored the fantasy, and satiated my curiosity to learn and grow more.  This is what learning is and should be about: not fearing a poor grade.  I know there has been much in the last three decades since the Malone text was published about game-based learning and motivation (a Google searched returned 24,900,000 results) but the overall take-away is still relevant.

Keller, J. M. & Burkman, E. (1993). Motivation principles. In M. Fleming & W. H. Levie (Eds.) Instructional message design: Principles from the behavioral and cognitive sciences. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Educational Technology Press

Foshay, W. R., Silber, K. H., & Stelnnicki, M. B. (2003). A cognitive training model. In Writing training materials that work: How to train anyone to do anything. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Peiffer

Malone, T. W. (1981). Toward a theory of intrinsically motivating instruction. Cognitive Science, 5(4), 333-369. [Read 333-340]

Image credit: Author Cable Green, Source WA K-12 OER (2013) via SlideShare link http://www.slideshare.net/cgreen/wa-k12-oer-2013, License Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

Grad School Blog #2 for R541 Instructional Development and Production – Imagery and Media

The blog is finally getting some much-needed attention. As an undergrad English major, I do miss the cathartic nature of writing…so now that it’s for a class as well as about Instructional Design (instead of bad college poetry). I’ll keep these associated posts focused on: self-study choice of design software, major collaborative project, individual projects, and module readings…with an eye on open, of course!

Self-Study Choice of Software

I invested a remarkable amount of time – and blogged about it – in figuring out how to download and run the open alternative software GIMP, Inkscape, and Scribus. Although I am committed to “open versus proprietary” as much as I’m tech-able, there were several moments of exasperation when I nearly paid for the non-open versions.  My all-nighter I think is to blame for allowing that dastardly flu-virus to beat my immune system this week.

In spite of the frustration and pain, the reward was the self-study in pages upon pages of Google searches, homegrown wikis, YouTube videos, and discussion boards with a huge thanks to Richard Koch’s page for the Ghostwriter download to run Scribus.  Despite knowing it would save me time just to cave and buy, having to understand elements of my iMac and MacBook (and, yes, I could have synced the two, but I wanted to be sure I was succeeding in the downloads and running the programs in a way I not only understood, but could also replicate if needed) was fun.  I gained a greater appreciation for all the programmers, users, even complainers – who share back their knowledge, experience, and passion a la Raymond’s Cathedral and Bazaar.

I already put to use GIMP (the Photoshop open alternative) with last module’s Project 1 Form and Function. I found the self-study with Meet the Gimp Collective Knowledge Wiki phenomenal, especially as knowledge transcended GIMP itself and addressed best practices and tips in the image editing.   My first self-lesson goal was “trimming” photo objects by isolating foreground and background layers with selection tools, my favorite: ‘intelligent scissors.’  My project form choice was ‘blanket’ so when I started photographing the forms, I actually nailed the first to a dark wall for contrast. When I uploaded the unadulterated version to my Flickr account (so I could attribute my work with a Creative Commons license) I hated the way the background detracted from the form.  Then I remembered I had spent all that time researching and installing GIMP, so I figured this project might as well serve as a maiden voyage of sorts.  GIMP made life much easier, not to mention saved many nail holes in my wall (I used the floor for the canvas and didn’t worry about whether it had dog hair on it or not).

Removing the background layer was one simple example I learned using the GIMP wiki as a guide:

WithChair WithouChair

I also found out the GIMP icon is a coyote.

I found the Word template was too limiting for the project and instead decided to use a plain, white background PowerPoint for the final project with an upload to Slideshare.

I’m excited to apply more self-study with GIMP to image editing, especially after looking at what GIMP was capable of doing in the wiki site. I’ve yet to dig too deeply into the other open software alternatives.

Progress on Major Project

Our team used Google Hangout this week to get acquainted, talk logistics and limitations, and think about topics for our major project. We plan to meet again this weekend to finalize our main project idea on a shared Google Doc planning sheet with ideas, timeline, and action items, then divide and conquer the proposal due in the coming week.

Work on Design Projects

My tangle with the flu this week stole precious time in perusing infographics as well as pulling research, but I do plan to spend a nice chunk of the weekend in infographic-land. I’m still excited about doing more to make OER easier to mine and want to develop an interactive infographic…which makes me wonder if the interactive piece disqualifies it from being an infographic?  I’ll flesh out these ideas more with the infographic example and topic assignments TBA in the separate blog post as directed.

Current Readings

My overall interpretation of the Boling PowerPoint made me wish I had registered for more art classes in undergrad.  I thought about how art can be taught, like English, but there is no denying the natural inclination of some individuals’ abilities to creating with value, dominance, and balance in mind.  Thankfully, analyzing visual displays, especially with instructional materials, is not reserved for those with the innate talent and, thus, can be learned.

The Morrison (1994) text harkened to the importance of debating semantics as related to the relationship between media and learning. The gist:

Clark asks “Do media influence learning?” and Kozma asks “Will media influence learning?”

Morrison suggests, “it is not the capabilities of the media that facilitated learning, but the creative development of the instructional strategy which actively engaged the learners” (1994, p. 42).

I liken Morrison’s idea to the art and science of what designers do – the ID pedagogy – for it resonates with my work in supporting faculty to adopt and perhaps even appreciate the importance of sound instructional design.

I expected Hai-Jew’s (2009) procedure in image creation to include essential ADDIE, and it did. It also gave me some ideas for approaching an upcoming project in creating a series of photos depicting economics principles for a Kaleidoscope Open Course Initiative faculty collaborator, especially with respect to the early stages of scope, extant resources, and gap analysis (p. 145). The reading further extended the importance of legal permissions beyond what I already know about licensing into the ethics of imagery from permission of the people and property, to contextual representation, accessibility, and standards. I also found the back end screenshot of a module (p. 161) compelling, although I couldn’t figure out what the Lyra program was from a quick Google search. I plan to add the Alpha and Beta questions (p. 163) to my personal QC toolkit for it synthesized from a design perspective much of what I’ve learned from Quality Matters training.

Sources

Hai-Jew, S. (2009). Procedures for creating quality imagery for e-learning. In Digital imagery and informational graphics in e-learning: Maximizing visual technologies (pp. 142-168). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference

Morrison, G. R. (1994). The media effects question: “Unresolvable” or asking the right question. Educational Technology Research and Development, 42(2), 41-44.

Image 1 Throw Blanket Function Comfort and Image 2 BlanketComfortIntelligentScissor by Ronda Dorsey Neugebauer with a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Project 1 Form and Function

I’m celebrating my open source downloads and GIMP success with the completion of this project!

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”https://www.slideshare.net/RDNeug/r541-project-1-form-and-function&#8221; title=”R541 Project 1 Form and Function” target=”_blank”>R541 Project 1 Form and Function</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/RDNeug&#8221; target=”_blank”>Ronda Neugebauer</a></strong> </div>

Exacerbating “at-risk”: Why lacking access to content and technology widens the achievement gap

Exacerbating “at-risk”: Why lacking access to content and technology widens the achievement gap

To better serve, higher education must understand its students.  As an open enrollment institution, Chadron State College’s mission to “…enrich the quality of life in the region…” includes those most at-risk.  The meaning of “at-risk” is as diverse as the institutions that define it; yet the consequence of not supporting this population for success affects post-secondary the same, which in turn places the institution at-risk as well.  At Chadron, the statistics are the definer: 67% of all students are first generation college attendees, 92% receive financial aid, and 40% are identified as deficient in core subject areas of reading, writing, and/or math.

As CSC’s first Director of Transitional Studies and primary researcher, developer, and instructor of transitional courses, I, like most, based my initial beliefs in how best to serve at-risk students on the traditional developmental education paradigm: “preparing the underprepared” in the subject areas they are most weak.  At Chadron, this is recognized by ACT (or concordant) subset scores below 19 in reading, English/Writing, and math.

I also believed the majority of entering freshmen, Millennial masters of texting and Facebook, were comfortable, adept, and resilient with learning online.  This belief persists since there is little in scope or breadth of assessing student competencies in computer technology-evident, for example, by a lack of a nationally accepted (and fee-based) digital literacy college admissions test-much like those for core subject areas in reading, writing, and math.

As my understanding evolves for the population I serve, I realize the beliefs and assumptions for serving those most at-risk are flawed.  The issue of supporting at-risk students actually hinges on access to content and technology-both of which are critical to higher education success and workplace readiness.

In my one hour, front-line role each week in the advising center, I am often asked a common question with an elusive answer: “When will I get my financial aid?”  This year the advising staff taught me the date of aid disbursement is largely dependant on the processing time associated with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Typically, the student endures days or weeks of wait through each step of the FAFSA depending on how prepared the student is in their response. After filing the online application, signing the Master Promissory Note, and completing Entrance Counseling, the student hopes their FAFSA is not 1 out of 3 randomly selected for verification, which requires even more time in completing the Verification Worksheet and supplying the institution with copies of additional documentation.  Remarkably, the majority of students receive their financial aid around the time the semester begins, i.e., they likely have access to funds for purchasing textbooks for Day One of class.  For the rest, the wait lingers on into-and sometimes through-the second week of class or beyond.  The awareness of financial aid wait time is important because it offers an answer to a question I realize I had not asked myself in the last year: “Why aren’t my students buying the textbook?”  My assumption that all students had access to their financial aid and access to funds for purchasing the textbook by Day One was wrong.

In Fall 2011, I replaced the traditional textbooks I required my students to buy with open educational resources (OER), which are high-quality and peer-reviewed digital materials freely available and openly licensed.  The impact of utilizing OER was profound for two reasons: 1) because my students were prepared for class from Day One; and, for this reason, 2) I began teaching at Day One.  I am ashamed to admit that before using OER I purposely neglected content instruction because I knew most students would not have their textbook-and this was acceptable.  In a 16-week course, this teaching practice can be mitigated in the following weeks, but in a condensed 8-week course (where one week covers the equivalent of two weeks of content), it is unacceptable and a waste of time.

For first generation college attendees relying on financial aid, many of whom without an understanding of correctly filing the FAFSA or its imperative link to much-needed aid disbursement, waiting for aid affects their access to content.  Furthermore, for at-risk students already deficient in core subject areas, lacking the textbook on Day One might not impact whether or not they will succeed, but entering into week two, week three, or deciding, “I can get by without the text,” statistically decreases their chances of passing the course altogether.  What is worse is this “get by” behavior sets a pattern likely to be repeated in their other courses and into the semesters to come.  In this environment the student becomes even more academically at-risk.

Access is also the reason students have not had opportunities to develop the technological skills needed for success in college and the workplace.  The “K16 tech environment” of computer labs comprised of tethered desktop PCs loaded with Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, and tight administrative reins on what students can and cannot do-a form of “technology censorship” if you will-is creating a greater divide for at-risk students to cross and, ultimately, survive college.

Although most of my students are proficient in surfing the Web via the “big blue E,” creating a presentation in PowerPoint, and composing papers in Microsoft Word, they are also alarmingly deficient in essential digital literacy skills.  Most do not know or have experience with the range of today’s devices, operating systems, Web browsers, applications, and file extensions-elements most in higher education assume students know before they enter college.

About half of my students “BYOD” (Bring Your Own Device) to class, often the gift received after graduating from high school, but their K12 technology experience has prevented them from establishing a framework of fundamental computer knowledge needed to sustain their device.  IT administrators in K12 unknowingly have created an entire generation of dependents not only unable to exist in a non-Microsoft world, but also incapable of articulating their needs when troubleshooting.  The common response I hear from the at-risk student not experiencing success online is: “I’m just not good with computers.”

The proprietary software market and administrative IT stronghold (which makes perfect business sense from a purchasing and management perspective) prevents students from experiencing and thriving in the myriad of free software alternatives, but also in the unrecognized teachable moments-which is the essence and foundation needed for succeeding in learning online.  The effect is astounding: at-risk students do not feel capable, confident, or resilient with the computer technology they need for online learning.

As higher education budgets tighten and issues focusing on the quality, effectiveness, and sustainability of post-secondary programming surface, there is increasing pressure on faculty to deliver online content, reduce completion time, and improve completion rates.  Moreover, opportunities supporting high-quality and instructionally-sound online learning narrows as less resources are available to assist faculty in the transition from face-to-face to online.  High-impact teaching and learning in a face-to-face classroom is not easily replicated online when faculty do not have an awareness of or know how to apply best-practices in instructional design, online communication, and academic technology support for their students.  Likewise, creative and innovative online teaching is just as time-consuming to nurture as it is in face-to-face teaching.  Faculty work hard at being good but they must also have the support to succeed whether online or in the traditional classroom.

In essence, the achievement gap is widening for at-risk students’ in college not just because of deficiencies in subject area(s), but also due to accessing the tools they are most dependent upon for success: the textbook and the computer.