Rebekah K. Nix, Ph.D.

 

About ED4372    from Dr. Nix's perspective

Learning online

As noted in the Distance Learning FAQs in the UTTC Knowledge Center,

 

Certain people are better suited to distance learning than others. A student who succeeds in distance education is generally: self-motivated and self-disciplined; has the ability to work independently; is comfortable with the written word and the use of e-mail; and will ask for help when needed. Although commuter time is reduced, an online student must have the time to dedicate to coursework. Students in an online classroom should expect to spend as much or more time on their course than in an onsite classroom.

 

The colorful schematic (to the right) illustrates how these course components 'fit' together. You'll find out about the details of the CPR Tool and Final Exam in plenty of time to succeed!

 

Having earned my doctorate via distance, I particularly am sensitive to accessible design and time allocation in online courses. I actually worked through each of the ED4372 lessons to ensure a reasonable load from the standpoint of student, instructor, and administrator. On average, I spent about 45 minutes answering the survey items and exploring the lesson content, 45 minutes reading the textbook chapter, 60 minutes working on the project task (including the discussion), and 30 minutes to prepare for and complete the quiz. That adds up to 3 hours each week which is what everyone would expect for a 3 semester credit hour course.

 

Friendly advice

In keeping with the UTD schedule of 2 class meetings per week as defined in the course schedule section of the Syllabus, I tried to balance the amount of information and interaction within a logical flow. You may access the currently available items by simply clicking on the associated link in the main areas presented on the course Home page. (Note that the 'breadcrumb' trail at the top left is a handy way to jump around the course!) To help keep us all on track, weekly Announcements will pop-up when you 'come' to class; these are archived within the course as well for reference.

 

  1. I suggest that you log in once as early in the Ed Tech 'week' as possible to complete the Lesson. (Submitting your Survey responses will release the remaining content, including the Group discussion forum and textbook Quiz. These items which will remain open and available throughout the semester for your review.

  2. You'll know what you ought to be thinking about to develop your Project. The experiential activity within the Lesson will get your 'creative juices' flowing and the assigned Textbook reading will help with specific ideas for your unique topic. The reading assignments also are noted in the Syllabus for easy reference.

  3. With that background, you will be prepared to log in again later in the Ed Tech 'week' to enter your new comments on the Group discussion forum. Take a few minutes to review additional postings in the Commons area that may guide your coursework as general questions arise and issues are identified. The last thing you need to do for class is to take the weekly Quiz. You'll be able to track your progress as the Quiz grade is entered into the Gradebook immediately!

Naturally, some things will take longer than other things depending on your schedule, mood, ability, and even the weather when internet connection is required! I incorporated the Textbook to offload the majority of pure Lesson content and reformatted the Project descriptions for printing so that you could work away from the computer screen more often than before.

 

As noted in the course Syllabus, the learning outcomes for ED 4372 are aligned to SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) standards and the mission of UT-Dallas' Teacher Development Center:

  1. The student will be able to execute the educational technologies utilized in an asynchronous, online course.

  2. The student will be able to choose tools and resources to improve educational practice within their field.

  3. The student will be able to construct electronic media to support their ideas for enhancing teaching and learning with educational technologies.

Part of my goal is to help you learn how to speak the language of Ed Tech so that you can work effectively and efficiently with the variety of tools and resources, especially people, that are and will be available to you. Given the current trend toward open source items and abundance of reputable shareware, I no longer require you to purchase and use a certain version of any software or a specific type of hardware. Your textbook provides a solid background on the latest and greatest examples. In order to survive professionally these days you need to know how to leverage whatever is available to you in the present moment and/or be able to figure out what you need to get to make the right things happen! A lot of that has to do with simply asking the right questions. That's what we'll practice together in ED 4372.

Getting help

So, that leads into what's expected of you in Ed Tech. If you are having technical difficulties, you need to contact the UTD Help Desk as detailed by the Office of Educational Enhancement at http://www.utdallas.edu/oee. When you do have a question or concern about the course content, the first place to look is through the Announcements and then the Commons discussion area. If you don't see anything that helps in those places, either start a discussion thread in the Commons area or email me directly at rnix@utd.edu if it's an individual issue. I will check the discussion forums on a fairly regular basis, but if you need a relatively immediate response, please let me know! I'm almost always online...

Grading tips

The last thing to go over right now is how your work in Ed Tech will be graded. As stated in more detail in the syllabus, final grades will be based on:

10%    your submission of the class Surveys (complete or incomplete scores),

20%    your participation in the Group discussions (that develop your Project overall),

30%    your achievement on the weekly Quizzes (which cover the textbook readings), and

30%    your performance on the Project tasks (completion of CPR stages) and

10%    Final Exam results.

The Project(s) serve as the main focus of the course really. We'll work toward the end product (Project Final) by evaluating each others' progress at critical milestones (Projects A, B, and C). Clearly, the tasks and reviews are cumulative, building on prior work and evolving with peer review and instructor guidance. Part of learning this techno-jargon is presenting the critical aspects of each stage in a variety of ways. (That's a key quality of effective educators!) The activities and notes provided in the Lessons will help you develop your ideas and design your plan.

Keeping up with the class schedule and staying in touch with your peers (classmates, teachers, supervisors, and friends) and your instructor (me) are two things that YOU CAN DO do to succeed in this 100% online, 100% asynchronous course.

 

I am looking forward to learning with and from you this semester. Welcome to Ed Tech!