Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Complying with the TEACH Act

I had not heard of the TEACH Act before so I was delighted to read more about it. Below are my reflections about the TEACH Act.

The TEACH Act changed the way materials could be used in distance education courses in these ways:

1. The kind of materials that can be displayed in distance education to entire performances of “nondramatic literature or music” and “reasonable portions” of other works.

2. The requirement of a physical classroom is now gone. This important change now allows students to access digital materials in a course whenever and wherever they have access to a laptop or a PC.

3. The storage of copyrighted materials on a server is now allowed which makes available both synchronous and asynchronous use of copyrighted performances and displays.

4. Digitized versions of analog works can be made that are not available in a digital format.

Instructors of online courses are liable for adherence to the policy.

As an instructor, if I decided to include Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" in my online course and I found a digital copy on the Internet, I would use the digital copy already online because the TEACH Act states that if a digital copy is available, then it should be used by the instructor.

Read about the TEACH Act here:

Copyright Law and Distance Education: Overview of the TEACH Act
by Kenneth D. Crews

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Is There A Need?

When I told one of my colleages that I was thinking about creating a "Digitizing the Writing Workshop" online course, they asked "Is there a need for that type of course in your district?"

That got me to thinking about my course and if there was truly a need for it or if I just wanted to create the course because I am interested in writing. Check out my Needs Assessment here:

Online Course Needs Assessment

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Online Course Syllabus

The syllabus in an online course can serve as a communication tool between the course instructor and the participant. Course expectations and procedures can be communicated in the syllabus, in addition, to information about how to best communicate with the instructor of the course (i.e., email, phone).

Secondly, the syllabus in an online course can also serve as a binding commitment between the course instructor and the participant. It can help answer any questions the participant might have about the course, as well as, inform the participants about the consequences for failing to meet course expectations.

Lastly, the syllabus can serve as a learning guide for the participant taking the online course. Helpful tips about how to succeed in an online course, including, where to access course checklists, advice about where to get help, and how to manage time, are all items that can be included in the syllabus.

Some elements of an online syllabus that needs to be included and stressed upon that differs from that of a syllabus from a traditional face-to-face course include:

1. Course Overview/Navigation – how to navigate through the course and where items can be found

2. Course Participation – posting expectations as well as how attendance point will be gained

3. Technology Requirements – hardware and/or software requirements

4. Specific Course Procedures – how students should proceed each week after completing one module

What other ways do you think an online course syllabus is different?

The syllabus is definitely an important part of any course.

Monday, March 14, 2011

ADDIE Model of Instructional Design

Below is a diagram of the 5 stages of the ADDIE Model of Instructional Design and what each stage means to me.

As part of the “Analyze” phase, I completed a needs assessment and a pre-course survey for the online course I am creating.

I believe the “Analyze” phase of Instructional Design is so important because it lays the groundwork so that I am able to create a quality online course. Being able to analyze the goals I want to achieve, the material I want to teach, and the learner’s abilities will help me plan and sort out the components of my course. Being able to collect this critical information will only help me in this process.

What else could I have done during the “Analyze” phase of instruction in order to better help me think through the course I’m going to create?