Guess Speakers on TalkShoe

First of all, I had a six pm class on Tuesday so I was not able to attend the live talk with our guess speakers. However, the technology allowed me to be a part of that conversation because it was recorded and I was able to know what was said, which was great. This was actually my second event where I was a part of such an event, the other being our first TalkShoe talk. I did not really know what to expect but I was excited to find out but I was left with a sour note at the end.

It was good to find out about the study abroad program. Throughout my Undergrad and my Graduate course, I was had this feeling of wanting to go somewhere like Spain, Chile, Mexico, etc. Some where I knew the language because I knew that I would have a much easier time adjusting and comprehending the material. It was surprising and good news to hear that Mexico is cheaper than other places and that is definitely something that I want to look into because I want to go into rural areas in Mexico and teach the community there English. Things in life have prevented me from exploring that but this has started my wheels moving towards that direction again.

It was good to hear from our guess speaker Dr. Jim in regards to online courses. It is good to put a face on someone that has been such a huge supporter in this type of learning environment. I was surprised that there is not a lot of enrollment for online course because I would assume that teachers would want to further their education and take course either face-to-face or online. It is bad to assume but I know that I took the opportunity for online classes for many reasons and one being wanting to further my education.

Through the online discussion with our guess speaker, there was a mention of testing out of course work. That is something that I would not want to do because I get more out of a class than I have when I have tested out of other classes. In my opinion, I do not want to take the “easy” way out but rather do face-to-face classes or online classes to get into the course at hand. However, I would understand testing out for some course in things like accounting but under the general education course load not for any major either through the undergraduate or graduate course work.

The following question was also brought up: What does an online course at cal state look like? I have been using blackboard since 2005 when I first started my undergraduate work at Cal Poly Pomona. An online class usually has quizzes, modules, assignments, discussion board, group work, and many other features. However, this course has actually been a little different. All the classes that I have had prior to this class have always had everything on the blackboard site. This is the first class where clicking the content option opens up a different window and then selecting a particular week gives you the assignments. I have to be honest, it took me a while to figure that out simply because professors have always had everything on there and there was no need to make any other moves.

Finally, what left me with a sour note was towards the end when the topic of younger cal state students not being as ready to do online courses. I am twenty-six years of age, I do not considered myself in the young category or older category, just in the middle and I found myself becoming upset over that comment. Specifically what triggered me was the shorter attention span because an assumption was made that because they are young, they write/type as though they are texting. Twitter was brought up, I am proud to say I do not have a Twitter account or any other thing that is going around. And yet I have a short attention span, but not because I am “young” but because of the medical situations that I have been going through which have made my ADD even worse, by the way. Having ADD is not something that anyone can easily conquer however, I put a lot of time and effort into this online classes. I believe that I can do it and if I happen to write something short and in “texting mode” one day, it may be because I have other issues that are affecting my attention. But I make sure if it is something academic, that I read it up to three times before getting the send button.

Excuse me, but I may still be a bit bias. I loved the speakers and found the discussion very interesting and educational. Do not take offense with my comments. 


Focus Questions for Chapter 1 and 4 (Waterhouse, S. A. The power of eLearning) and CMS/LMS Investigation

Focus Questions for Chapter 1 and 4 (Waterhouse, S. A. The power of eLearning) and CMS/LMS Investigation
1. Central to our investigation of eLearning Technologies and Methods is gaining an understanding of Learning Management Systems (LMS) sometimes also called Course Management System (CMS) software. Chapter 1 of our text discusses the functionality of typical LMS/CMS, identifying four major categories. What are those categories?

As discussed in chapter 1 of our text, the four major categories in the functionality of the typical LMS/CMS are:
1. Distribution of course information and web access,
2. Electronic communications,
3. Interaction with content and web access,
4. And online testing and grading.

2. Use the Internet to find three different course management systems. Provide the name, a URL and a brief discussion of what you can find out about the similarities and differences between the three that you find.

Three different course management systems that I found on the internet were:
1. Accord LMS
a. This program addressed more of being able to sell things and connect it through the site. Social networking was also a big part that played in to this website as well as reports and their delivery methods being addressed.
2. Moodle
a. It seemed more teacher friendly in my eyes. It was just easy to understand and follow directions because there wasn’t so much going on that it becomes overwhelming. I saw that you were able to see the forums and download documents and that information was not hiding elsewhere, it was just front and center.
3. And MIT Course Management System
a. It was well laid out and had everything in sight such as calendar, course, communication devices and very easy to navigate.

3. If you were going to create an online class right now, what LMS/CMS software would you use? Explain what you know about your system’s functionality in each of the four areas identified by the book. (If you don’t have access to LMS/CMS software just use Blackboard for your discussion in this area.)

I have always enjoyed blackboard because I have used it for my B.A. program, my Bilingual Credential program, and my Masters program. If I were going to create an online class right now I think I would use a system like blackboard, initially because of my familiarity to it. There are four areas of functionality that were identified in our book and they are:
1. Distribution of course information and web access,
a. This is present through announcements regarding the course, the syllabus, notes that professors may want us to have, and course documents that are needed for homework, important information, and quiz reviews.
2. Electronic communications,
a. This is present through the discussion board as well as having access to email/communicate with our peers through different avenues.
3. Interaction with content and web access,
a. This is present through the web based resources.
4. And online testing and grading.
a. This is present on blackboard because there are tabs for both the grade book and posting or taking tests/final exams.

4. Chapter 1 of our text identifies six steps for getting started with eLearning. Discuss each step and use each step as a springboard for discussing what you want to do with eLearning either now or in the future.

The six steps for getting started are:
1. Step one: ask yourself why,
a. What I would do with eLearning with this step would be to really consider how this can be a useful tool to incorporate in my future class.
2. Step two: make a commitment,
a. I think this is the biggest step because I have to be committed to what I want to do and not just rush into a new way of doing things just because others are doing them. I have to be committed to the system and the online way of doing things.
3. Step three: develop a new vision for your course and how you teach,
a. The good thing about being a new upcoming teacher is that I do not have ways of doing or conducting a class yet. This is good because I get to incorporate a new vision on how I teach. I can use things that were never used when I was in school, things that the students of today enjoy best.
4. Step four: determine the resources available to you,
a. Of course, this too is important. I cannot over extend myself and want to plan such great things to do in my class and then end up having to scale it back because I end up not having the resources. It is better to start off on the right track and add things if more resources come in.
5. Step five: acquire new technology skills and develop new instructional methods,
a. This course is actually a new acquired technology skill. Some of the sites and materials we are using, I have never used before in my life. Some of the students that I volunteer with most likely know more about blogs than I do.
6. And Step six: plan.
a. Planning and teaching should go hand in hand. Whether it is an online course or a face-to-face course, it needs to have a clear plan in place so that you are not rushed when teaching. With more experience comes an efficient way of running the class whether it is one year from now or beyond.

5. Chapter 4 of our text discusses the functionality of specific LMS/CMS tools in terms of being for one-way communication, two-way communication or for organization. Explain the key differences between one-way and two-way communication and identify the tools your LMS/CMS provides for each type of communication.

One-way communication pertains to:
a. Announcements and documents created using the LMS,
b. Files created using other software,
c. Grade books,
d. Email,
e. Calendars,
f. Homepages,
g. And External links.
h. Blackboard is very good for one-way communication because it contains all of these categories. I have used and seen these my whole college career and I enjoy having access to these types of LMS.
Two-way communication pertains to:
a. Discussions,
b. Whiteboards,
c. Online tests,
d. And Private storage space.
e. These are all provided for under blackboard with the exception of the private storage space and the whiteboards. Either I have never seen them before, have never used them, or I just do not know how to access them. There are discussions that take place as well as online tests.
Organizational tools pertain to:
a. Granting special privileges,
b. And Organizing course resources.
c. The way that I see granting special privileges for blackboard is getting access to the class and materials. I know when I have added late to a class, I cannot see what they have done until the professor grants me access to the class, meaning I am registered or have obtain permission to be in the class. The organizing course resources is something that I do not have access to because I am a student but I am assuming that as the professor you are able to organizing quizzes, course material, etc. based on the week we are in. The professor organizing everything can have the option of having all 10 week material up or go week by week.

6. Consider how a CMS/LMS supports the three types of interaction (Student-Content, Student-Instructor, Student-Student) that were discussed in the first session 1 presentation. Specifically, list all of the tools or features that your CMS (as discussed in question 3 above) offers. Then identify each type of interaction that each tool would support. Finally, explain what you know about the strengths and weaknesses of each tool to support the type of interaction you identify for it.

My CMS would offer:
One-way communication:
i. Announcements and documents created using the LMS,
j. Files created using other software,
k. Grade books,
l. Email,
m. Calendars,
n. Homepages,
o. And External links.
p. Blackboard is very good for one-way communication because it contains all of these categories. I have used and seen these my whole college career and I enjoy having access to these types of CMS. These would work great with the student-content section and the student-instructor. However, the weakness would be that it does not quite work with student-student communication and I do not think I want to know that someone is doing better than I am on a project that I worked so hard on.
Two-way communication:
f. Discussions,
g. And Online tests.
h. There are discussions that take place as well as online tests. Discussions work great with all three categories of communication, which are the student-content, student-student, and student-instructor. The weakness is that the online test is only you and the content. The professor later grades your test but you cannot really ask for help from your professor during the test. I know I have had questions about questions that are not really clear but unfortunately I am unable to ask the professor for clarification.
Organizational tools pertain to:
d. Granting special privileges,
e. And Organizing course resources.
f. These two are present under blackboard and some professors are great at making everything easy to find and understand. These two categories fall great under the student-content and the student-instructor because the instructor gives you the access you need to get to something.

A little about me…..

My name is Amy. I am 26 years old and have been married for eight wonderful years.  No kids, usually the first thing people think of whenever they find out how many years I have been married.  2012-2013 year has been a tough one for my husband and I but I knew that my passion for education was what needed to drive me to get out of the black hole and strive for success again.  A huge part of that was on behalf of my husband, he was and is my rock and deserves a mention :).
On July 15th, 2012 and January 24th, 2013 my husband and I lost but of our children inside of my Fallopian tubes. With the lost of our two children I lost my Fallopian tubes. For a woman that was something difficult to have to hear when all along they were tell me I was a health individual.

I think that as we go through it a bit more I will be able to really explain what was the cause of such sorrow in our lives. There is so much more to a story than anyone thinks. But this class has made me feel like I am in a safe place and I can start to open up because others may have gone through the same things.

I use to love face to face classes in comparison to online classes but again my health and my sanity would not allow me to be in large crowds. I am still a bit on edge since my brief leave of absence from CSUSB but I thought it was time to come back.  Right now, I prefer online classes but I am trying to ease in back to face to face classes.  Those out there that have suffered anxiety or a great lost in life may agree with my hesitation but fear not everyone, I am trying to get past this large hurdle life threw me.

I have to be honest. I have not had anything online since MySpace was the big thing. I have no Facebook, twitter, etc. So I am a little challenged in that area of technology. I am a big texting person as well as email.  This is also my first blog :/ so I am VERY nervous.  Bare with me everyone!