Bane The People

Me, Myself & Program Planning.

Bane The People

Bane – The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

The past nine weeks have been busy… really busy… and stressful; to say the least. I recently completed my third MALAT course; Program Planning and learned a lot about the process of creating a program plan for adult learners. I used Caffarella and Daffron’s (2013) interactive model as a guide for developing a TML program plan and read Bates and Sangrá’s (2011) Managing Technology in Higher Education as a reference for examining strategies and actions that support the integration of technology into universities and colleges. I ended up creating my own Technology Mediated Learning (TML) program plan for an open source blended certificate called the Open Source Technology (OST) Web & Mobile Development program. As I learned how to integrate TML within an adult learning environment, there were many valuable lessons that I learned such as structuring program goals and learning objectives, systems of power, marketing and critical success factors.

In my mind, one of the biggest things I’ve learned about program planning is that it’s all about the people.

For example, I learned that stakeholders who are either directly or indirectly involved in the development of a program plan can have a positive or negative influence on the program outcomes and experiences of learners, educators and organizations (Beard, 2003; Cervero & Wilson, 1996, 1998, 2006). Everyone involved—from the board of governors to external industry partners—play an important role in providing a quality learning experience and environment that suites the needs of the learner… But, enough about that. I won’t bore you with what I’ve learned academically. However, I’d like to share my perspectives on what I’ve learned about myself over the past nine weeks and insights on what I thought were important takeaways during the course.

Infrastructure is Important.

Baboon on a computer

Baboon on a Computer – Getty Images

I remember the day Moodle went down… it was like reliving the Blackout of 2003. Since our program is centred around education and technology, there is an emphasis placed on the importance of accessibility and infrastructure when it comes to connectivity and the availability of technology to all parties involved in education. To create a successful program for online mediation there has to be a solid foundation of support and technological infrastructure that allows learners to gain access to resources and information at all times regardless of location, time and other external factors. In the digital age, we rely on our devices and trust in the stability of an internet connection to be available at all times. When we lose access to either of these, we seem to lose our senses. During the course, we were scheduled to have an online collaboration meeting and our Learning Management System (LMS) went down. Everyone was scrambling to find a fix and went into a panic because there was a sense of being lost or disconnected from everyone who could help them in their time of need. I started to wonder if something like this happened during the delivery of a synchronous lesson, MOOC or paid webinar/informative session, what would be the impact on the learner, educator and institution? A poor infrastructure could lead to a poor experience for the learner and could have a dramatic affect on their learning outcomes and the goals of the program.

Should I Use SAMR, TPAK, or The SECTIONS Model for My TML Program?

Bieber What Do You Mean

What Do You Mean (Bieber, 2015)

Yup, I was asked this question. I was confused at first as well. I thought the whole point of the course was to create a program plan that integrated technology. I didn’t know I neded to justify a requirement. Defining program planning and identifying the stakeholders for my program was the easiest part of the course. It was almost common sense at some points. Once we got into developing strategies for utilizing Technology Mediated Learning (TML) within our program plans and researching the finer details that would help make our plans successful, the course began to get challenging.

Planning for a TML program should consider the intended audience and incorporate technologies that fit the needs and skill levels of their participants.”
— Cafarella and Daffron, 2013

Understanding your audience is key in creating a solid program plan. Knowing who your intended learner is allows program planners to identify the needs of the learner and identifies what the main objectives and goals for the program should be. Along with knowing who the intended learner of my program was, I had to discover how they would benefit from learning in a TML environment. Where would they go to access internal or external support and what roles would the institutions hierarchy of power play in providing these contextual factors? The contextual factors that are taken into account for TML appropriation within a program are the human element, the organization, and the external factors of the wider environment (Caffarella & Daffron, 2013).

Along with discerning our contextual factors, we also had to discover various approaches for delivering a TML program such as the SAMR model, SECTIONS and TPAK (Puentedura, 2009; Bates & Sangrá, 2011, Koehler & Mishra, 2006). I decided on a method that best suited my program plans goals and outcomes. The model that I gravitated towards the most was the SAMR model by Dr. Ruben Puentedura. I personally liked the model because I was familiar with it. Although, my familiarity was more indirect, I found that I had inherently been applying this model within my own classes over the years. However, there were parts of the SECTIONS model that I incorporated within my program plan.

SAMR Model Exemplar:

The SAMR model is geared towards helping teachers develop transformational learning with the aid of technology. An example of using the SAMR model would be if a science teacher asks his or her students to write a paper on space exploration.

  • Substitution: Using Google Docs instead of traditional pen and paper methods for writing.
  • Augmentation: Students can use Google Doc’s features to format their document, check spelling errors or use text-to-speech functions to improve legibility and efficiency in writing.
  • Modification: Students can use Google Docs to share, collaborate and receive feedback on their paper from instructors and peers in real-time.
  • Redefinition: Students can post their paper to a blog while sharing their information and making connections through social networks with the aid of various multimedia formats. 

Moodle and Oodles of Posts.

Eddie Murphy Shocked

Eddie Murphy – Shocked

184 unread posts! Within the blink of an eye our discussion boards would blow up. Just when I thought I’d caught up to everyone’s posts and replies, I’d wake up the next morning to an alert saying “72 unread posts.” There was no way I could view all of those posts and it seemed like a daunting task to even start replying. With the majority of my degree program being instructed online, I had to keep up with discussion forums, posts and replies to various topics from my instructors and peers. I have to admit it was pretty stressful trying to keep up. On a brighter note, during the course we were placed in groups to complete various assignments and smaller group discussions. I enjoyed being in a small group environment as it helped me learn at a greater pace and gain interesting perspectives from my peers. I enjoyed being in a group dynamic and the group discussions were engaging and insightful. Plus, I met and worked with some really great people. 🙂

Keep Calm… Don’t Panic, Procrastinate.

Big Bang Theory

Big Bang Theory (2013)

Having to juggle between researching and writing a paper while maintaining group obligations was not an easy task. I did have trouble keeping an even balance between work and school, but I managed to pull through, once again. There were some days that I had to force myself to take a break to keep my sanity. I started this course off with a full plate. I began teaching a full course load again in September, I had freelance projects that needed to be completed, began moving into a new home and also had family obligations to keep. This was definitely not a time that I could afford to procrastinate. However, I did. I took a few days off throughout the middle of the course to synthesize what I was learning. I had to take in how these lessons applied to my work and what it meant to my future goals within education and technology. It seems like the courses are going by so fast and I never really get time to sit back and soak in what I’m learning. I realized that it’s better to set aside small time blocks each day to complete my school work rather than trying to cram everything into one or two days during the weekend.

Work Hard, Play Harder.

Final Essay

Sponge Bob Square Pants – Meme by Mark-Anthony Karam (2015)

There were many days I spent locked up in my room or at a library studying, reading or writing drafts of my final paper. I knew my social life and personal hobbies would take a hit while taking this program but having a balance is what I would prefer. I’ve recently developed a schedule that allows me to get my work done and still maintain some sort of a social life. I started to go for my regular morning jogs, then go to work and come home early enough to get my lesson plans done for the next day. In the evenings, I dedicate my time to my family and then read a chapter or two before going to bed at night. I also reserve a few hours each weekend for completing assignments and take time out for other activities. Being able to maintain a consistent balance between home, work and school is really important to me. Even though it might seem difficult, I don’t think I would be as productive without maintaining that balance.

Strength = Success. Not Weakness.

Now that the course is over, I feel really confident about what I’ve learned and I look forward to applying my knowledge in my role as an instructor and program lead/coordinator. However, not everything went smoothly during the course; I mean, why would it? There were many obstacles, time constraints and mishaps that I encountered and had to overcome. However, that’s what makes this learning experience so valuable for me. After each course, I come away with a greater sense of how far I can push myself beyond my threshold. Overall, I’m very proud of what I’ve accomplished so far in the MALAT program and I can’t wait to begin my next course, LRNT 504 — Instructional Design (iD). Instructional Design is a field that I always wanted to get into and was one of the reasons behind choosing the MALAT program. After a week off in between courses, I’m ready and excited to begin learning all about instructional design and I look forward to the challenges ahead… So, bring it on 504! 💪

Update: I Got an ‘A’ on My Final Paper! 💯

Drake Hotline Bling

Hotline Bling Video (Drake, 2015)

References

Bates, A. W., & Sangrà, A. (2011). Managing technology in higher education: Strategies for transforming teaching and learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Retrieved from https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=K1VUa1q815sC

Caffarella, R.S., & Daffron, S. (2013). Planning programs for adult learners: A practical guide. 3rd ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Retrieved from https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=a9ZtL6aJfvsC

Koehler M. J., Mishra P., & Cain, W. (2013). What Is Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK)?. Journal Of Education, 193(3), 13-19.

Naughton, J. (1984). Chapter 3: An overview of the Checkland methodology. In Soft Systems Analysis: An Introductory Guide (pp. 17-47). Milton Keynes: Open University Press. Reprinted by Athabasca University.

Puentedura, R. R., (2009). Learning, technology, and the SAMR Model: Goals, processes, and practice. Retrieved from http://www.hippasus.com/rrpweblog/learningtechnologySAMRModel.pdf.

SECTIONS (Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology, UBC (n.d.).

Will Social Media Replace Face-to-Face Communication?

I recently came across an interesting video named ‘How Social Media is rewiring Our Brains’ posted on The Business Insider’s Science YouTube channel. The video discusses the impact that social media has on the way our brains function when creating social connections and relationships with others. Dr. Dan Siegel, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine speaks about how social media is actually physically rewiring our brains. After watching the video in its entirety, I started to wonder how social media has changed the way we engage with others in a teaching and learning environment. If social media can condition the mind in a behaviouristic manner, how does this impact a students learning in an online environment? Has social media replaced face-to-face relationships or has it enhanced our human connections? With my sites set on developing online programs and curriculum, this topic has sparked some interesting questions and observations about how online communication may effect the learning environment.

If social media and other asynchronous methods of communication are not giving people more face-to-face time with others, will the new generation of learners possess a more surfaced level of experiencing the world around them?

In my recent experience in an online learning environment I found that there are human factors that are lost in online communication. The premise that social media and asynchronous methods of communicating lack human factors such as eye contact, facial expression, tone of voice, posture, gesture, timing and intensity that humans need to communicate effectively, is something that I would like explore and research. If we rely solely on linear ways of communication, such as text, email and social media, will the effects of this communication cause our students to think and receive information in a linear way as well? Will this form of communication impact the way we build relationships with others and will social media replace face-to-face communication?

social media communication

shoeboxblog.com (2015)

If social media and other asynchronous methods of communication are not giving people more face-to-face time with others, will the new generation of learners possess a more surfaced level of experiencing the world around them? If this is true, I wonder what role social media will play in teaching and learning in an online environment? How will students interact, communicate and interpret information if there is no human factor involved?

What are your thoughts? Do you think social media has replaced face-to-face communication? How do you think social media will impact teaching and learning in an online environment? Feel free to leave a comment below.

 

Program Planning For Technology-Mediated Learning (TML)

Classroom technology

Sheila Loyola (2015). Retrieved 7 September 2015, from http://hidden-glow.tumblr.com/post/6060949204

Recently we began our Program Planning course (LRNT 503) in our Master of Arts in Learning and Technology (MALAT) program at Royal Roads University (RRU). During our unit 1 team discussions, we were asked to discuss various topics surrounding program planning and how it applies to technology-mediated learning (TML). Our group held our discussions through online communication and collaboration tools including Google Hangouts, Google Docs and Blackboard’s Collaborate.

This article reveals my perspectives, thoughts and reflections as they relate to the following topics based on the readings of Bates and Sangra (2011) and Caffarella (2013):

  • Leadership and strategic planning as they relate to program planning within technology-mediated learning (TML).
  • Activities that support the effective integration of TML and
  • Experiences with technology as they may improve learning/teaching quality and or applicable hinderances.  

How does Program Planning apply within a TML?

My present view of program planning is defined as a negotiated activity among people that plan programs, which are influenced by traditions, political relationships and needs and interests of organizations (Wilson & Cervero, 1996, p. 6). Examples of program plans can be adult degree programs in colleges and universities, training programs mandated for all employees of an organization, social action initiatives and national and international professional and trade conferences (Caffarella & Daffron, 2013, p. 60). Stakeholders who are involved and influence program planning can be educators, learners and organizations (Beard, 2003; Cervero & Wilson, 1996, 1998, 2006). Program planning appears to have application in a TML environment by assisting the enhancement of learning objectives with integrating technology based learning.

Program planning is defined as a negotiated activity among people that plan programs, which are influenced by traditions, political relationships and needs and interests of organizations”
— Wilson and Cervero (2013).

I am currently responsible for assisting planning a program for secondary school students who are interested in learning game development. The components of program planning outlined in our unit 1 readings are related to my role as I am required to meet the needs of various stakeholders while considering budget constraints, logistics, scheduling, evaluation, instruction, needs assessment and support. The knowledge-based skills developed by the students in my program would be categorized under computer technology and entertainment, which fall under the service industry according to Drucker (1969).

Leadership and strategic planning as they relate to program planning.

EdTech Funding

Mark-Anthony Karam (2015)

According to Bates and Sangrà, (2011) support and acceptance from institutional leadership are crucial parts to the equation when integrating technology. In most cases, integration of technology within institutions come with a cost, which some stakeholders choose not to afford. I recall a time when I made a case for adopting new software within graphic design labs so that students would become better equipped with employable skills upon graduating. Faculty leads and instructors were on board for the new software to be adopted, however directors, administrators and IT pushed against it due to cost of licensing, support costs and maintenance. The applications had to be scalable and accessible in all labs across the institution in order for the technology to be feasible.

Leadership needs to be the catalyst for effective change by guiding, coaching, mentoring, and developing competencies in using technology for success in a knowledge based society.”
—Mark-Anthony Karam

According to Bates and Sangrà, accessibility to technology for students, faculty, and staff may include establishing access to desktop machines for every faculty and staff member (2011, p. 80). This meant that support for instructors outside of my program would also need to be trained and skilled in the applications, which made it difficult to implement. They would also need access to the software locally and remotely, which made costs even greater. I think this is where leadership would fit into program planning as it relates to TML. Establishing a vision for change by integrating technology into programs can help transform an organization into adopting new technology within institutions. Leadership needs to be the catalyst for effective change by guiding, coaching, mentoring, and developing competencies in using technology for success in a knowledge based society.

Activities that support the effective integration of technology mediated learning (TML).

Sangra (as cited in Bates, Sangra, Albert, 2011) after surveying 16 universities all over the world, suggests the following activities for integrating technology mediated learning:

  • To improve the technology infrastructure ( meaning make sure there is enough bandwidth and wireless access in campus for all the students and staff.
  • To increase access to technology for students, and staff in the format of computer labs, online library access.
  • To improve internet administrative process such as financial systems, human resource management systems.
  • To improve internal and external communication through email, student portal, institutional websites for public relations and contact Alumni.
  • To promote and facilitate research through accessing and sharing large databases and high capacity computation.
  • To expand and improve teaching and learning through
    • Using technology to support classroom teaching
    • Development of blended or fully online learning course/ program
    • Access to digital resources
    • Design and purchase software to support teaching and learning
    • Faculty development and training in the use of technology

My experiences with technology mediate learning (TML) in the workplace.

classroom technology

Buckhalter, D., Buckhalter, D., & profile, V. (2013). Technology Block: Module 6: Blog 3. Technologybloc.blogspot.ca. Retrieved 7 September 2015, from http://technologybloc.blogspot.ca/2013/06/module-6-blog-3.html

I related to many of my group member’s experiences when faced with online/mobile mediation and learning. In my role as a program coordinator, I am faced with developing technology-mediated learning sessions that offer more interactive components than standard uses of technology. Most of my faculty use technology as a communication tool to connect with students and peers while leaving out the interactive component, which is TML. They simply use technology, such as Blackboard, social media and other LMS platforms to send out announcements, emails and course content. However, they don’t seem to use the technology to teach or add substance to learning via online content and distribution. I often receive feedback from students and teachers whom say that they are forced to use these LMS even though they are not supported with methods to improve teaching and learning via the technologies that they are capable of performing.

Worldwide, more people have mobile phones than personal computers”
— Bates & Sangra

Teaching through technology is a difficult task to coordinate. Especially when some schools and their students don’t have external access to the technology used in the classroom, whether it be physical access, network access or financial access. “Worldwide, more people have mobile phones than personal computers” (Bates & Sangra, 2011), which makes it easy to assume that mobile learning is the way of the future. Open communication platforms, such as Skype, Google+, Facebook etc… make it relatively easy to engage with students and faculty. On the other hand, we assume that every student has a mobile data plan which gives them access at all times and or are on a network that is stable and reliable enough to maintain a similar learning experience as the classroom.

I find deciding on the choice of technology to mediate learning through institutions needs to be considered, especially when it comes to licensed technology such as Moodle, Collaborate and Adobe Connect to name a few. Open source technologies such as social media are great for students because they come into the learning environment having some familiarity with the technology. Thus, making learning and communication more fluid. The cost of learning these technologies are relatively low compared to the time and cost factors of learning a LMS. Bates and Sangra, (2011) discuss social media as being a great source for informal learning and contributes to the knowledge economy, however it seems to have no place in the academic learning. This might be true due to the security, privacy and copyright issues that open source technologies are susceptible.

Summary

I am constantly trying to answer a series of questions as they relate to learning and technology in the classroom. How do we manage all these technologies and decide on which is the best solution for a given subject? Can technology improve the quality of learning or does it only enhance the learning experience? Should we invest more in supporting and developing our teachers so that learning is improved? Will our choice of technology reflect our pedagogical approach to teaching? Will we decide on technologies that are cost-effective even though they are inadequate just to suit the needs of the institution? How do we ensure that teachers can facilitate the learning of these technologies and have adequate support? There are so many factors to deal with when it comes to integrating technology mediated learning within an academic institution. I look forward to navigating my way through these obstacles and finding solutions for these questions during the program planning course and hope to put my research into practice.

References

Bates, A. W. , & Sangrà, A. (2011). Managing technology in higher education: Strategies for transforming teaching and learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Beard, V. A. (2003). Learning radical planning: The power of collective action. Planning Theory, 2 (1), 13–35. doi: 10.1177/1473095203002001004

Caffarella, R.S., & Daffron, S. (2013). Planning programs for adult learners: A practical guide. 3rd ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Cervero, R. M., & Wilson, A. L. (1996). Learning from practice: Learning to see what matters in program planning. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education , (69), 91–99. doi: 10.1002/ace.36719966911

Cervero, R. M., & Wilson, A. L. (1998). Working the planning table: The political practice of adult education. Studies in Continuing Education, 20 (1), 5–21.

Cervero, R. M., & Wilson, A. L. (2006). Working the planning table: Negotiating democratically for adult, continuing, and workplace education . San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Sangrà, A. (2003). La integració de les TIC a la universitat: Una aproximació estratègica. Unpublished manuscript, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain.

citation-apa-meme

Cite This For Me: APA Style Citation Plugin

citation-apa-meme

Don’t let APA get in the way (Berry, 2015).

Today I discovered Cite This Form Me; a Chrome plugin that quickly references websites in APA, MLA, and Chicago style formats, including formatting citations for journals, websites and books. The plugin allows you to save an entire bibliography, as well as share, download and embed in-text citations into your APA style documents with ease. The plugin can also check for plagiarized content and comes with a free downloadable Word plugin that can send your citations directly into your Word documents. This is a great tool for keeping track of your academic citations. You can also use the plugin to keep track of any useful references that you intend on logging for future works, such as thesis or research papers.

Try  to cite all your references in APA style format! #RRUMALAT

References

Quickmeme.com,. N.p., 2015. Web. 28 July 2015.

Berry, S., July 2015 , LRNT 501, Royal Roads University. Victoria, BC.