from Dr. Nix's perspective
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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:
The student will be able to execute the
educational technologies utilized in an asynchronous, online course.
The student will be able to choose tools
and resources to improve educational practice within their field.
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.
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 [email protected] 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...
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:
your submission of the class Surveys (complete or incomplete
your participation in the Group discussions (that develop your
your achievement on the weekly Quizzes (which cover the
textbook readings), and
your performance on the Project tasks (completion of CPR
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.
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%
I am looking forward to
learning with and from you this semester. Welcome to