Technology Enhanced Education Fund: Weeks 1 & 2

Course Site

Following the design process framework, the first two weeks of  Fund courses covered the topics of “Student Centered Design” and “Setting Goals”. In the first week, the participants had a chance to look at their students and courses from a different perspective by identifying their students’ personas, digging out their needs, and mapping out the learning journey. In the second week, we moved one step forward and had the participants begin to set effective goals based on the course quality analysis rubric and Bloom’s Taxonomy. As the outcome of the learning, all the participants completed their first assignment--a video recording of their student personas.1.png

The Fund team members work together to build the online course modules and we have weekly meetings to discuss the course material, design, and the delivery strategies. Participating in the course design and edit process is valuable because it enables me to relate the theories I learned in the Cognitive Science class to the real setting practice.

Design Sessions

Another important part of the Fund is having one-on-one design meetings with the participants twice a week. So far we are still at the research phase where we spend a lot of time sorting information and pinpointing the challenges to work on.

The topics covered in each design meeting vary a lot and are highly tailored to achieve the weekly goals. The two projects I was assigned to are the Clinical Residency Program in Orthopedic Physical Therapy and the History of Television; as you can imagine, the project goals, stakeholders, workflows, pain points, and bottlenecks are actually quite different for each project. In the Physical Therapy project, we are tackling issues on process level to solve the communication and data access problem in the field of clinical practice and evaluation, whereas in the other project we focus on how to rebuild the Television History curriculum by leveraging the new media and building a chronology of the broadcasting history to allow the students’ historical perspective and research ability to be shown. The other three projects also put forward different challenges--while some of them are seeking a better solution for students’ placement in the field, some of them are exploring the new technologies to optimize the existing courses.

Reflection

1. The most exciting part to me is the opportunity of collaboratively working with the faculty and administrative members to brainstorm together and map out the workflow and timeline step by step until a bigger and clearer picture unfolds in front of us. Quite often the final solution is different from the original idea shown in the proposal, so the research phase is a crucial stage in the whole project. This where faculty and designers sit down together and figure out where we are right now and where we want to go before diving into the design phase to solve the problem of “how can we get there”.

 

2. Information visualization is the “golden tool” for instructional designers. It could be a  concept map, a flowchart, a user journey map, or even a timeline. It’s an effective way to organize the scattered and messy information and a good start to pinpoint the problems, especially when dealing with a procedural or process issue. Besides, by externalizing his/her ideas, a person can communicate with other people more efficiently so that all the parties will be on the same page and can build new ideas on it.

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Big Ed Tech Takeaways

Putting the class online is not a panacea. While MOOC and E-learning are gaining the momentum, as instructional designers we need to keep our head clear and make the judgement smartly. More often than not, the essence of the education always lies in every discussion that happens in a real classroom, or a large amount of reading and writing practice after school. The role of technology should always be a facilitator in education rather than a substitution. For instance, in the project of Redesigning the Broadcasting History class, we found that the online class might not be the best way to build the learning experience, considering the composition of this history class and its learning goals. However, we can still enhance some particular components of learning experience with the aid of new media.

Think about the affordance and the constraints of different media (Reference Reading: Teaching in a Digital Age). As NYU Classes might be a good platform to organize and deliver the learning content, it still has its constraints. There are plenty of digital software available, but considering our training goals, budget, time limitation, and number of people involved, how to make the simple but effective choice is always a thing worth considering.

Personal Growth

(1)Think professional, work professional.

It’s always good to document the meeting notes and any new ideas in time. It’s also always good to follow up after meetings and reconfirm important things, as well as being courteous, giving advice based on my expertise, and not hesitating to ask if there are any questions.

(2) Learn to empathise.

Being able to empathise with other people is not only a critical skill for designers to learn about the users, but also an ability to be better connected with other people. Learning to leave my own assumptions behind makes me a better observer and listener.

-Yiwen Claire Wang, NYU Steinhardt Digital Media Design for Learning