Capstone Project Abstract

Image courtesy of Stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I am nearing the end of my M.Ed. with only one more course to go! I am so excited!

 

 

As my study comes to a close, you are going to see more posts about my Capstone Project. I hope that it will be a great addition to this blog.

Below is my Capstone Project Abstract. It is not in final form as I have not completed the Project yet but it is coming!

Abstract
Some older adults desire to use the internet, but lack the skills needed to do so. They may have “technology discomfort”, although research has been shown that this population can learn to use the internet if given assistance. A course will be designed for family caregivers of older adults that is web-based (online) as it would be accessible to anyone, even the isolated caregiver. It will be designed to both motivate and empower the caregiver, focusing on benefits, barriers and strategies for facilitating internet adoption by older adults. A panel of experts, made up of instructional designers and family caregivers, will evaluate the course for both its design and effectiveness, using a mixed methods design of interviews and Likert scales. The results will be analyzed and utilized for possible changes to the course to increase its usability and effectiveness. The hoped-for result will be an online course that is accessible to all caregivers that both motivates and empowers caregivers to facilitate internet adoption by the older adult in their care.

Executing, monitoring and controlling the project

This is the last of the two-week summary blogs for EDU627. Next week, I will be completing my course project and you will be able to find it under the “EDU 627 Project Management and Instructional Design” link at the top of the page. Please explore and feel free to leave comments.

These past two weeks, we covered “executing, monitoring and controlling the project”. In contrast to the first five weeks that we spent planning the project, this is about ‘follow-through’ – “project execution requires mobilizing all committed project resources and ensuring that these resources carry out their intended activities” (Cox, 2009, p. 168). In other words, it is making sure everyone is doing their job. We were given access, during this time, to many templates for managing this phase of the project. In week 6, we were asked to identify areas of project management underdevelopment in our own projects and get feedback from our fellow classmates. We also put together the third phase of our final project and identified areas (stakeholder analysis, communication plan and risk analysis for me) that were of most importance to our project’s success. Week 7 focused more on change management and quality control. The Unit 7 lecture (n.d.) made the point that change tends to be resisted and applied Kotter’s (1996) model for change to project management. The unit also looked at quality management and challenged the idea that quality can only be assessed by seeing if the end product is ‘good enough’.

Image courtesy of mrpuen at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of mrpuen at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I found the initial information regarding executing the project to be pretty straight-forward but have to admit that I was a bit overwhelmed with all the templates and areas that needed to be managed and controlled. It was reassuring to realize that not all aspects of the project management apply to my personal and, in the end, it was great to have the templates as resources for future projects as it really does help you to make sure that all aspects of the project are being addressed. As a physical therapist, I found Kotter’s (1996) model very applicable to my wanting to motivate my patients to exercise. I can certainly attest to exercise programs that failed because I did not communicate a vision or remove barriers for my patients. Because of my interest in Kotter’s work, I have included a resource below that develops Kotter’s model in career and business development. I also found the discussion on change management very interesting as it seemed be focusing both on the challenges that come with getting people to change in general (‘getting with the program’) and also with change that occurs within the project as quality is assessed. Quality is also a challenge when you have no standard to compare it to. I personally will need to rely on expert opinion to assess quality throughout my project.

Cox, D. (2009). Project management skills for instructional designers. New York, NY: iUniverse, Inc.

Kotter, J.P. (1996). Leading Change. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Unit 7 Lecture. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.coursematerials.net/edu/edu627/unit7/index.htm

Resource: Kotter’s 8-step Change Model. (n.d.) Mind Tools. Retrieved from http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newPPM_82.htm

Planning the Project and Communication

For the last couple of weeks, we have been getting into the “meat” of the course, covering the important process of planning the project and also the importance of communication.

 Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Our textbook author makes the statement that 40% of a project is about planning for it (Cox, 2009)! Our challenge last week was to work through part of this planning with a specific focus on defining the scope of our project (what it will do and, equally important, what it will not do). This included looking at the time and cost of the project. I found the information from Li and Shearer (2005) helpful because it addresses the issue of timing when transforming an in-class course to an online course, which pertains to the course I teach. Our second project put together a project proposal and a work breakdown schedule for our specific project. This past week, we looked into communication and the important place it has in the success of our project. Cox (2009) names perceptions, values, beliefs, attitudes and noise as the main barriers to communication in a project. In applying this information to our own project, we were required to identify a communication barrier that we anticipate will be an issue and brainstorm with our classmates about possible solutions.

I have to admit that last week’s assignments were difficult for me. I am the type of person that just wants to dive into the content of the project so this idea of taking the time to plan is a bit foreign to me. When I started going through the templates for the project proposal and work breakdown schedule, it was like it was talking in another language. However, I did find it very helpful to consider what aspects of this project are under my control, which aspects are not, and the associated risks and obstacles that can occur. As communication is an important aspect of my profession (Physical Therapy), I found that most of the information in the communication section a review. However, considering communication barriers with respect to my project was very helpful as it made me realize the importance of making sure that certain communication and understanding is taking place to guarantee the success of my project. As a resource, I have included an article that looked at cross-cultural communication where identifying beliefs, perceptions, and values is especially important when trying to communicate.

Cox, D. (2009). Project management skills for instructional designers. New York, NY: iUniverse, Inc.

Li, D., & Shearer, R. (2005). Project management for online course development. Distance Learning, 2(4), 19-23. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eue&AN=507964620&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Resource: Toprak, E., & Genc-Kumtepe, E. (2014). Cross-Cultural Communication and Collaboration: Case of an International e-Learning Project. European Journal Of Open, Distance & E-Learning, 17(1), 134-146. doi:10.2478/eurodl-2014-0009

Moving forward with Project Management and Instructional Design

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In the past two weeks, we have been learning about the similarities/differences between Instructional Design (ID) and Project Management (PM), learning how to set up a Project Charter, identifying a project to work on and its stakeholders and then moving forward into needs and task analysis with the idea of putting together a design document. We read a few papers arguing for the teaching of PM to students of ID. They focused on the added benefits of incorporating PM in that it helps to clearly define the project, manage change, operate in an organized and efficient manner and manages the skills (often seen as ‘soft’) outside of ID (van Rooij, 2010). This past week, we took a close look at needs and task analysis and sequencing and how they are incorporated into the design document. We saw similar terminology between PD and ID as the “gap” of knowledge/skill needs to first be identified and then it needs to be determined if training is the right tool to be used to close that “gap”. This was then made into a needs analysis and broken down into tasks that were identified as primary, main and supporting tasks so that all aspects of the “gap” could be addressed. I have included a resource for some tools for doing task analyses. Developing construct performance measures and learning strategies round out the design document (Cox, 2009).

I think that I, along with many of my classmates, are still in the process of trying to figure out what makes PM important to us as instructional designers, as it is obvious from the literature that not all ID curriculums have courses in PM (van Rooij, 2010). As we go through the process of learning these PM skills and combining the ADDIE process with the PM process, we are seeing overlap in concepts, such as needs/task analysis and sequencing. However, I think we are all starting to glimpse some of the advantages of utilizing PM in our instructional design as it seems to take in the bigger concept of the whole project. One point that seems to be coming out is that, the more complex and diverse the project, the more PM skills are needed in order to direct the collaboration of a diverse group of individuals. For me, personally, this brought up the question of how good a project manager I would be considering I have such a hard time delegating and leading. Maybe I should stick to ID!

Cox, D. (2009). Project management skills for instructional designers. New York, NY: iUniverse.

van Rooij, S. (2011). Instructional design and project management: complementary or divergent? Education Tech Research Dev, 59, 139-158. DOI 10.1007/s11423-010-9176-z

Resource: http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/needsalt.html

Instructional Design and Project Management

Welcome to my blog for another course for my M.Ed.! This one is called EDU627 and is called “Managing Instruction and Technology”. I will be putting together 4 blogs over the course of the next 8 weeks, discussing and reflecting on what I am learning.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I was not really sure what to expect with this course and so I came to it with some questions. What skills would I be learning? How would they make me a better course designer? After the reading from this week, I am starting to see some answers. Cox, the writer of our textbook, states that an instructional designer “must use the process steps in instructional design with product management methodology” (2009, p. xv). She has developed the “four step combo” which unites the instructional design process (previously discussed in my blog as ADDIE) and project management to produce the best course possible. Haughhey (2011) points out that “project management is about creating an environment and conditions in which a defined goal or objective can be achieved in a controlled manner by a team of people” and that it reduces risk and increases the likelihood of success. The resource (Austin, et. al. 2013) listed at the end of this blog discusses how the principles of project management may benefit higher education.

One of the first thing that is discussed is what makes something a project. According to Cox (2009), it must be temporary (have a beginning and an end), produce a unique product or service, and the details need to be revealed as the project progresses (meaning you do not know everything you need to know at the beginning of the project). This first idea, of it being temporary, seems like it is a challenge to me. As the coordinator of an online course, I have made small changes to the course “here and there” but have seen it as an ongoing project. I can see how this may not be a good thing as the focus tends to wander about many different areas at the same time. However, the idea of a focused project with definite objectives and goals has great appeal and I look forward to the process of applying the methods of project management to the instructional design process.

Cox, D. (2009). Project management skills for instructional designers. New York, New York: iUniverse, Inc.

Haughhey, D. (2011). Introduction to Project Management. ProjectSmart.co.uk. Retrieved from http://www.projectsmart.co.uk/introduction-to-project-management.php

Resource: Austin, C., Browne, W., Haas, B., Kenyatta, E., & Zulueta, S. (2013). Application of Project Management in Higher Education. Journal Of Economic Development, Management, IT, Finance & Marketing, 5(2), 75-99.

Final reflections on EDU625

Welcome to the final blog for EDU625 – “Integrating Learning and Technology”. I have been asked to put together some summary statements about the course and how it has impacted my teaching and learning.

Image courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have not always been sure that the specialization of “Instructional Design and Technology” has been the right choice within my M.Ed. study. As my focus has always been on learning for caregivers, Baby Boomers and older adults, the focus on instructional design was obvious but the integration of technology was a challenge with the population I work with. However, I am happy to report that I do believe this direction has been a wise choice for me and this course has been instrumental in “cementing” that decision.

Image courtesy of Praisaeng at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Praisaeng at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My personal learning philosophy, up to the point of starting this M.Ed., has primarily been defined by my own positive learning experiences. Organizing and presenting information to students in a way that they could understand was my objective in my teacher-centered classroom. Certainly, this objective has been challenged by most, if not all, of the courses in my M.Ed. program. Specific to this EDU625 class, I feared that this class would both frustrate me with its focus on new technology and also have limited value in my classroom. I have what would be described as a “love-hate” relationship with technology – love what I use and am familiar with and hate how “old” if makes me feel when someone mentions something I know nothing about. What I have experienced in this course, in actuality, is that I actually can learn how to use something new and current. So, this class has helped me with some of my own fears in learning something new. It has also introduced me to some technologies that are applicable to my learning situation. This course has also has confirmed again the focus on knowing your audience – my responsibility is not to utilize the latest and greatest technology UNLESS I can see obvious benefit to the objectives of my learning activities.

lessonDartBoardI feel that the key issues of using technology to enhance learning revolve around knowing your audience, knowing your learning objectives, and knowing the technology. If you have a thorough and clear knowledge of all three, then you can make the decision as to whether or not utilizing that technology will enhance learning. Knowledge of your audience will help you design a learning activity that will engage them and address learning that has meaning to that audience. Knowing your learning objectives (and your audience) gives you a starting point and an ending point and directs learning towards that ending point. Finally, knowing the technology makes it possible for you to see applications of that technology that could enhance the learning of the objectives.

The greatest personal challenges that I have to technology and learning continue to revolve around my own sense of incompetency and being “out of date” and the challenge of knowing what is best for my audience. I have gained much confidence during this course in my abilities but I still feel like I have only touched the “tip of the iceberg” of what is out there. What we were able to experiment with during the course definitely opened my eyes but also showed me how much more I have to learn, as well as how aggressive I need to be in learning it if I want it to be useful to me. I also continue to be challenged by the audience I have chosen to work with – caregivers, Baby Boomers and older adults. It is well-researched that these populations are less accepting of newer technologies (Xie, Watkins, Golbeck, & Huang, 2012). I also will need to consider training them on the activity as part of my instruction if I feel that the technology may be unfamiliar to them (Thiele & Mai, 2014).old-people-360x240

As far as my own personal plan for advancing my integration of learning and technology, I feel that I need to commit to learning about available technologies on a regular basis. I have to be honest that it is the only way that I can learn them and become familiar enough with them to use them in my teaching. If I am committed to making the best learning activity possible, I need to be willing to consider technologies that could enhance that learning and engage my students more fully in learning. I look forward to continuing this journey.

 

Thiele, A., & Mai, J. (2014). The student-centered classroom of the 21st century: Integrating Web 2.0 applications and other technology to actively engage students Journal of Physical Therapy Education, 28, 80-95.

Xie, B., Watkins, I., Golbeck, J., & Huang, M. (2012). Understanding and Changing Older Adults’ Perceptions and Learning of Social Media. Educational Gerontology, 38(4), 282-296. doi: 10.1080/03601277.2010.544580

 

So what new things are coming?

The topic of this week was emerging technologies. This is when we try to take a glimpse into the future and predict the impact that these technologies might have on our classroom. This was an exciting chapter as so much of it was new and interesting. Our mission was again to explore the technology and see for ourselves both the benefits and challenges that might occur as these technologies make their way into our classrooms. The EDU 625 Unit 8 Presentation (2014) made the point that some of these technologies make it less critical to remember information and open up the possibility of focusing on higher, critical thinking skills.

Image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwarootat FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwarootat FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I first explored the information about Google Glasses or “glass”. It was so interesting to see that some places are already banning them (IBTimes TV, 2013) even before they had come out. I actually thought that Brin’s (2013) reasoning about the advantages of Glass over cell phones was good: display that allows eye contact, hands free, and ears free, not to mention a more normal body posture. However, a recent article (Prigg, 2014) reported that Glass is still controversial and is getting a makeover before its launch in 2015. I also was intrigued by the advances technology has made in medicine described in the Kraft (2011) video, especially the area of wearable monitoring as this would have many applications to the elderly population.

There were other technologies that were also intriguing. Overall, it was very interesting to see what might be part of the future of education. In our discussion, we looked at how it might affect our class if someone came in wearing some of this new technology. Would it add to learning or take away from it? I think this will continue to be a challenge in education. It seems to be our responsibility as educators to familiarize ourselves with this emerging technology, utilize it if we feel it would benefit our learning activities, but also acknowledge the challenges it might present in our classroom. Perhaps anticipating these issues will make them not so difficult to handle when they do appear.

New technologies will continue to be developed and should be encouraged, especially if their focus is to benefit education. Personally, I do not see much application for me as an educator of caregivers and Baby Boomers as these generations are usually not the first ones to “jump on” new technology. An exception to this was the advances in wearable monitors, which I do feel will help greatly in the care of the elderly. I have even read of the possibility of a SmartHome someday where activity and safety could be monitored continuously.

Brin, S. (2013). Why Google Glass? . Ted. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/sergey_brin_why_google_glass

EDU 625 Unit 8 Presentation. (2014). Retrieved from https://post.blackboard.com/bbcswebdav/pid-2228750-dt-content-rid-20995595_1/xid-20995595_1

IBTimes. (2013). Google glass already banned in many places ahead of release . Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsQe4GIi7AQ

Kraft, D. (2011). Medicine’s future? There’s an app for that . Ted. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_kraft_medicine_s_future

Prigg, M. (Dec 1, 2014). Google Glass to get a makeover: New version of controversial eyewear using Intel chips set to go on sale next year. Mailonline. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2856654/Google-Glass-makeover-New-version-controversial-eyewear-using-Intel-chips-set-sale-year.html