Ramblings. Musings. Required coursework.

Week Eleven: Challenges and Successes Implementing the UbD Unit?

With an online, asynchronous course, it’s a bit difficult to determine how things are going in the first week…particularly given the design format I use. I teach seven, two-week modules in a semester and each module allows for 10 days of content acquisition and demonstration of learning, while the last four days focus on peer interaction and feedback around student demonstration of learning. That said, I do build in formative assessments using Voicethread and Google Forms and I communicate with the students frequently using both the Muddiest Point discussion board and emailed announcements.

I Prepare for Student Work, Customize for Student Engagement, and Plan for Classroom Content, Structures, and Systems that Work Appropriately for Students

Each module in my course contains five basic sections: Introduction, Objectives, Required Materials, Assignments, and Supplemental Resources. The Sound Cloud audio Introduction provides students with both a framework for the module and ensures they understand why it is relevant to both the course and their learning (the “so what” factor). The module-level objectives make clear the desired learning outcomes and are mapped to the course-level Student Learning Outcomes. The Required Materials indicate where a material is required or if there is choice, while the Assignments section provides a list of items that must be completed with their due dates. Finally, the Supplemental Resources section contains all of the materials I deem fall into the “would be nice, but not necessary, to know” category.

For content acquisition in this module, I provided a brief video closed-captioned introducing the Relationship of Learning Objective, Assessments, and Instructional Strategies, a short text-based description of rubrics, and a video on Formative and Summative Assessment. Students are asked to read a few sections in their textbooks and skim two supplemental resources. They are also required to do a resource exploration, selecting two resources relating to their particular interests in assessment; they share these sources, and a brief description, in the Resource Share discussion board. To complete a formative assessment of their understanding, students complete a Check for Understanding on an embedded Google Form. Students draft and submit answers and then are able to see peer responses; at this time, they are asked to reflect on the culmination of their learning and post any questions they still have to the Muddiest Point. Finally, the Assignments section instructs students to create a 3-5 minute audio or video presentation, using the technology tool of their choice, that they will post to Voicethread for peer and instructor comment and review. They will also complete the Stage 2: Desired Results section of their Course Development Plan and have the option to submit it for feedback prior to the final submission in the next module. Students who submit their plan for feedback must provide feedback to their peers who post.

Evidence I Participated in and Contributed to Individual Paths for Learning

At this time, I’ve provided a variety of ways to access resources and choice in content acquisition materials, where possible. I created means for both formative and summative assessment within the module. On Monday, I announced the opening of the module and that the discussion board format would occur in the form of a presentation. I reminded them that they could seek assistance or post questions by using the Muddiest Point. Midway through the week, I let them know that I provided extensive feedback on their initial submission of the Course Development Plan and that I created a discussion board post in the Muddiest Point to address questions they raised and common issues I saw in their submissions.

I Use Data from Observation and/or Surveys to Inform the Unit

Much of my design of this module was informed by student surveys from last semester. I converted the Introductions from text-based sections to audio content. Choice was added in materials and, based on the struggles I saw with defining formative and summative assessment, I created a video that explicitly defined each. I also opted to allow choice in technology for the presentation to differentiate, but also allow students to push their boundaries and comfort levels with technology.

5 Comments

  1. Rachelle White

    Hi Heather, I am excited for your changes you have made to your course. It is full of important and necessary information. Your implementation of more video based communication and choice shows differentiation as we have learned. As being one of your students last semester I can say this with confidence. Best for your future and thank you for being an example to me of flexibility, and willingness to work on the behalf of the student to promote student success.

    • Heather Marie

      Hi Rachelle!
      I think we have to be flexible and willing to work on our courses. Thanks to the great examples of those who taught me, I firmly believe we never have the “perfect” course. With advents in information and technology happening daily and with students’ whose experiences, learning preferences, etc. change each semester, it’s important that we are always open to how we can change, better and improve both ourselves and our courses.
      One of the things I struggle with most, as an Instructional Designer, is encountering the concept of “done.” I don’t think we’re ever done – we never stop learning or growing…or we shouldn’t. Teaching is both a craft and a skill, like any great craft and skill, it requires practice, development, and a willingness to consider new ways of knowing and doing. I think those who think they’ve achieved “done” miss out on that and, in the process, cheat themselves and their students. By never reaching “done,” I continue to learn to my benefit…but also to the benefit of my students.

  2. Heather Marie

    Hi Rachelle!
    I think we have to be flexible and willing to work on our courses. Thanks to the great examples of those who taught me, I firmly believe we never have the “perfect” course. With advents in information and technology happening daily and with students’ whose experiences, learning preferences, etc. change each semester, it’s important that we are always open to how we can change, better and improve both ourselves and our courses.
    One of the things I struggle with most, as an Instructional Designer, is encountering the concept of “done.” I don’t think we’re ever done – we never stop learning or growing…or we shouldn’t. Teaching is both a craft and a skill, like any great craft and skill, it requires practice, development, and a willingness to consider new ways of knowing and doing. I think those who think they’ve achieved “done” miss out on that and, in the process, cheat themselves and their students. By never reaching “done,” I continue to learn to my benefit…but also to the benefit of my students.

    Just my two cents. 😉

  3. Gerald Scarzella

    I can’t imagine how to differentiate with an online course asynchronously. I would feel alone taking the course. But for our class, we have weekly synchronous meetings, so it doesn’t seem so isolated. Sounds like you are doing great and have done these sorts of differentiation before, so it’s “old hat”! Communication is paramount in your course and it’s great you provide opportunities for this throughout, along with opportunities for reflection. I appreciated your comments about my unit. After really reading the text section for what I am teaching, it’s really about detailed explanation and multiple examples with vocabulary terms to know and use in student’s own explanations and responses to problems. But comparing it to a traditional Algebra 1 text, there is quite a bit of reading still! Good luck to you next week. I have to deal with absent students that are returning on Tuesday! They missed the whole week last week.

    • Heather Marie

      I don’t envy you the students who missed a week – I remember those days and it always seems so hard to get them back on track! Online asynchronous has been a new beast to tackle for sure. I love teaching face to face – I thrive on the interaction and seeing them have those “a-ha” moments…but also being able to see and address the confusion in real-time. When I was approached to teach an online course, I asked to be put through several training programs on teaching online and engaging students…the latter is paramount to their success.

      I do my best to build communication in authentic and real ways, and using Voicethread to allow video interactions helps immensely as they are able to see and hear each other. In other units, I’ve used Voicethread to have them share personal stories related to the content (much as you would in a face-to-face environment) to help them make connections with the content to their lives and to each other. Although they’ve mentioned they’d like more students in the course (it’s a small grad class), they seem to be pretty positive about the interactions. That said, I’m always looking for new ways to facilitate their talking beyond the discussion board!

      To your other point, after the first few months, you learn their patterns – who posts first, last, and in-between. If they fall out of pattern, I send a check-up email to see where they are…again, to help with the connection, but also to let them know they have support if needed. We also have a “Muddiest Point” discussion board in the course where they can ask and answer their questions (I answer as well).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2021 Heather Marie

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

css.php