Monthly Archives: June 2013

Oh the places I’ll go…

Getting out of my head

This module has been an unveiling of what I thought this course would originally be, to the endless possibilities of what it can be. I have had preconceived notions about teaching, based on the mass experience that I have with teachers, and education. I find myself defaulting to settings of writing a lesson plan, to deliver content, but not myself. I posted this segment of The Big Bang Theory, because I thought that Amy (Mayim Bialik), was right on in what she said about teachers. Teachers have the responsibility to entertain and engage. Sheldon (Jim Parsons) needs to get out of his own head, set his ego aside and look at what will engage his students. “Education is a performance art,” and online education is no exception. We need to perform through written words, visual effects, exploration of technology, and reaching out and being present for our students. Opening the door to these concepts has flooded me with excitement and enthusiasm to explore a multitude of paths that lead to connecting schools and families around students with autism.

What the readings taught me

At the start of this module I had realized that I did not complete my course outline, so in a panic state I whipped one up and submitted it. While I rushed, I felt that I hit the elements asked for in the assignment description and I was satisfied with the start of my work. I proceeded to the next modules reading, where I read A Series of Unfortunate Online Events. As I proceeded to read the article my face began to flush. By the end of the article my face was on fire with embarrassment and shame. How could I have hit almost every “avoid” recommendation? Am I that bad of a teacher? Some examples of blunders are: I thought that online discussion equaled participation, I did not acknowledge the importance of community, I thought what I did in the classroom would translate online…I could go on, but I won’t. Using this article helped me comb through my original outline and begin to deconstruct the course so I could put it back together in a way that showcases a better picture of who I am, and what my goals are for the learner. This is such an important topic to me (connecting schools and families) and you would have never known that from the original outline. An example of this, was in my module headings. Professor Pickett was screaming through her posts, “who are you, I don’t hear your voice.” She was right. Not only was she pointing out an observation of my outline, but she modeled how voice and presence can be delivered in an online course. Rodgers & Raider-Roth, 2006 define presence as “We define this engagement as ‘presence’—a state of alert awareness, receptivity and connectedness to the mental, emotional and physical workings of both the individual and the group in the context of their learning environments and the ability to respond with a considered and compassionate best next step (Rodgers & Raider-Roth, 2006, pg. 266).” I put my voice in my titles, that reflected more of my personality. Instead of a section titled Emotional Regulation, I titled the module It’s getting hot in here (yes it is a song reference that jumps in my head when a student has a meltdown).

This leads to the second article, Do online students dream of electric teachers? The fear is that online teaching will become more of a money making opportunity for universities, and less of a tailor made educational experience for learners. We know that to be a successful online student we need to be self-regulated learners. That does not mean that professors should neglect the needs of their students. Online presence and the ability to connect professor to student and student to student creates a successful online experience (Pickett, 2008). Scorza write, “Whenever possible I like to adopt a conversational tone in online course materials, even making use of humor, where appropriate (Scorza, 2004, pg. 48).” This activated my connection with professor Pickett and her use of smiley faces at the end of her posts :). I feel connected when I see that face and can sense professors presence.

Where does the journey continue?

Conversations and connections with classmates have really highlighted this module. Maree Michaud-Sacks and Ryan Mulligan have brought in Gagne’s works and tied it into our current online design.  (Gagne, Wagner, Golas, & Keller, 2005), Principles of Instructional Design is a book that I was able to go back to and reference. I was lucky to take a class Systematic Design of Instruction (ETAP 623) with Jianwei Zhang. Professor Zhang’s class is a great course to take before this course. Many of the principles learned in this ETAP 623 are so important in developing our courses. Through the observation of discussions, and participation of discussions I was able to come to a better understanding of who I am and what I want my presence to be on line. Mary Huffman responded to my post on assessments, by grabbing shovel and digging to a new layer in my understanding of how and why I want to assess my students. She left me with a question of “What else can help your students understand if your material?” What is great about this question is it is student focused. It is not how will the instructor know if the students learned, but how will the students know. This shifts my perspective and has inspired my own digging of how I will accomplish this and what tools I will need.

Packed and ready to continue

This module has added many tools to my bag, and I feel ready to encounter the next challenge. The structure of this course, the interaction with peers and professor, have all contributed to my collection of tools I will need to continue this journey. I am excited to see how deep I can go, and oh the places I’ll go!

Heather (4)


  • Scorza, J. A. (2005). Do online students dream of electric teachers? Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 9(2), 45-52.
  • Rodgers, C. R., & Raider‐Roth, M. B. (2006). Presence in teaching. Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, 12(3), 265-287.

Inhale, exhale.

01 Opus 20 Reflections of Module 1  

Module 1 is coming to a close. The advice that we have been given throughout this module is “breathe.” This has been great advice. There is a lot of information packed into the first module and I am actively learning so much! What I am learning is a lot about who I am as a learner and how I self-regulate my own learning. Self-regulated learning is described as individuals taking control of their learning differences, bridging one’s mental ability to academic skill (Zimmerman, 2000). Through conversations with Mary and Ryan I was able to dig deeper into the question of, “who am I as a learner.” Mary enlightened me to 3 components of self-regulation in online learning. The first component is meta-cognition, the second is the students management and control of learning. Finally the third component(s) are the actual strategies used. Mary citesPintrich & De Groot (1990) for this information. The interaction of these components led me to reflection on how I incorporate these components into what I do as a learner. I relate my processes of organizing physical materials, writing things down on calendars and working along side of rubrics as components of my self-regulation. Ryan and I also engaged on conversations of self-regulated learners from the perspective of teachers. We discussed scaffolding in the context of “Zone of Proximal Development.” Ryan engaged me in a discussion about how we as learners help to teach and facilitate self-regulated learning.    This information and research  has seeded my mind with many thoughts and strategies to help germinate my course. So what has been planted?

The Readings and Media


Did You Know was a great wake up call on how our nation is utilizing technologies, and where each of us fit into the technology scheme. This piece made me reflect on my fluency in technology, and realize how much there is to learn. Technology will Kill demonstrates the shift that society has made in the past decade. This piece really makes you think about where we are headed and what will be replaced next. How will society shift? Social Media Revolution demonstrates how the world is shifting in it’s ability to connect and share information. This is cool stuff, and it is becoming a vital part of our shifting landscape. Technology is not just gadgets, but it is a collection of  tools that influences all aspects of our lives. The possibilities are endless, especially in education.


It is interesting to look at the population of students who are taking online courses. this information informs the instructors of their audience. Over 40% of participants were working full-time and over 50% of the participants were full/part-time students. A majority (over 60%) of participants are females, and the age ranges vary.  Some of the students are directly out of college (20-24) and the age range continues through 70! In addition while a majority of students are from the United States, there is varied representation from around the globe. What this implies about online classes is that they  provide a rich and diverse population of students.

It is important to create an online community to shift the course from a teacher centered course to a student centered course. We want to facilitate our courses and guide content, but let the students dig deep to provide a rich and diverse experience that has meaning to the participants.

The Readings

Ten Ways Online Education Matches or Surpasses Face to Face Learning 

The one thing that I did not realize before entering online courses is how it would impact my writing. If you want to improve your writing skills, then take online courses. You need to establish a credible voice online that is articulate and unbiased. In addition it empowers you to communicate with participants and thoughtfully process and respond to opinions and research presented in the course. This helps to establish an intimate learning community. I feel that you really get to know your classmates and you share resources which enhances and enriches your course materials. While the added benefits of convenience and flexibility are important, the learning outcomes of online courses establishes habits and patterns important to the development of online learners.

Minds on Fire

The impact of social learning has connected us all. Technology has enhanced our ability to share information and have open dialogues about opinions, research and best practice in all fields. We have the ability to open the doors to our global community and foster a democratic society where all voices are heard, and validated. We learn to develop an online presence and connect with our community to grow and shift in our understanding of content and each other. Social media and technologies are shifting our participation as learners from formal students of institutions to informal students of life. Technologies can enhance or participation is societal issues and connecting us all to innovators and problem solvers to enhance and enrich our communities and society as a whole.


What I have walked away from this first module with is a better understanding of developing an online course. While it is important to know your content it is extremely important to understand the learner and to design and adjust your course accordingly. We want our students to walk away from our course with the knowledge, understanding and tools to transition the content of our course to the next level of understanding. In addition we as instructors should continue our learning process. By pulling in the diversity of our learners we should be able to explore variations on our content that are relevant to our learners and push us to unexplored places.




Brown, J. S., & Adler, R. P. (2008). Open education, the long tail, and learning 2.0. Educause review, 43(1), 16-20.

Kassop, M. (2003). Ten ways online education matches, or surpasses, face-to-face learning. The Technology Source, 3.

Pintrich, P. R., & De Groot, E. V. (1990). Motivational and self-regulated learning components of classroom academic performance. Journal of educational psychology, 82(1), 33-40

Zimmerman, B. J. (2002). Becoming a self-regulated learner: An overview.Theory into practice, 41(2), 64-70.