Instructional technology,   in my opinion, is an important, even vital, component of teaching in the 21st century. This page reflects my ongoing study in Dr. Harmon's IT 8150 class. As I learn and develop a better understanding of and competency with online instructional design, I'm sure this page will change, so please visit as often as you like...  Alice



 

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The following responses are a February '07 (updated December '07) snapshot of my interaction with the Internet and e-Learning environments up to this point in time:

Why am I interested in the Internet in training, teaching, and learning?

I am an advocate of using the Internet for training, teaching, and learning -- primarily because I have experienced the benefits of using the Internet for my own advancement in training and learning, though I have yet to use it as part of my academic teaching.


Internet teaching is definitely part of my future plans. I believe that the best delivery methods for education combine a measure of online and in-classroom content and lessons. Additionally, many students feel comfortable using technology, so as a teacher, I feel a need to be ahead of the curve if at all possible. In a recent class survey I conducted, the majority of the college students felt more comfortable using a computer than they did in facing a writing assignment. In order to teach good writing in our digital age, I need to understand the role the Internet plays in today's learning environment.

What experience do I have specifically with the Internet in education?

All of my experience to date comes as a recipient of Internet-based training and teaching. When I was studying for my Microsoft certification in NT 4, I used online training modules to learn how to solve networking problems.


After deciding to focus on an academic career, I took many online classes in the process of earning my AA and BA degrees. Living in a rural area of Mississippi, if I had had to take all of my classes in brick classrooms, I'd probably still be slogging my way through my undergraduate courses! I took multiple courses in Communication, English, Sociology, Biology, Math, History, and Philosophy using the Internet.

What experience do I have in designing and developing web pages?

It's hard to remember when I first began to play around with HTML - I suppose it was within a year or two of its appearance. My husband had a business he wanted to adverstise via the Web, so I found a manual and began work on our own web page; when Front Page came out, I used its built-in features to add a photo gallery to our web site. Many cycles of computer time later, that site (www.postoppers.com) is still active, but it is now maintained by a commercial firm; it was sold when my husband sold his business. I haven't had much to do with the site for over two years.

This page is part of a web site project for my coursework in my Electronic Publishing class with Dr. Gu (GSU, English). I used HTML, EditPlus, Dreamweaver, Front Page, and Netscape Composer over the course of the semester. I like DreamWeaver but have not had much experience with it, so I'm taking one of GSU's online, self-paced training courses for Dreamweaver.

I am also learning to use ULearn for the classes I teach, and I am in the process of setting up a Virtual Office on my personal web site (but it's still under development and its future uncertain).

What are my strengths and experiences with content creation for online learning?

I have no experience with instructional design or assessment; it is the aspect of this class that I'm most interested in learning.

What kinds of help do I need with content creation for online learning?

Having access to tutorials and models will probably give me most of the help I need. For the last six months, I have been accumulating Internet resources, reading books on how to integrate online content, and explored creating WebQuests and other online material to use in my own classes. I usually need expert help for explaining and/or demonstrating more complicated processes.

I would like to learn more about the principles of good instructional design, and how to use Flash, Podcasting, and other multi-media forms in online modules.

What is my current opinion on the use of the Internet in education?

If the Internet does nothing else, it makes distance learning immediate, relevant, and easy, and that is a good thing. It also brings educational and training opportunities to people who might otherwise not be able to obtain them, and used competently, can help businesses manage training efficiently and economically.

I think that, as with most technology, it needs to be understood and used wisely and moderately, and in conjunction with other pedagogical methods. Also, I believe that teaching with an awareness of the "Digital Divide" is crucial if we are to extend opportunities fairly and equitably.

The vast amount of information to which users have access is both a strength and a weakness of the Internet. The diversity aof the information can be a strength, while the ease of posting any and all opinions and mis-truths and mistakes is a weakness. However, this is one reason it is so important for us to be involved with the use of the Internet in education. Only by using it can we help students to use it critically while building awareness of its benefits and its dangers.

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Latest Revision: December, 2007