Mobile Learning Authoring Tools (EDIT 575) – Summer 2012MobileAppWireframe

Through a blended learning format, this course explored best practices and techniques required to deliver learning content through mobile devices. Students learned different pedagogical approaches to mobile and investigated various mobile platforms and applications in K-12, higher education, business, government and military.  As a final project, students developed a storyboard and created a sample mobile learning design.

My Reflections…This tools course was my first experience as a student participating in a blended learning format and also a first in designing a learning app for a mobile platform.  Since this was a summer course, the readings and assignments were on a fast-paced schedule, but the blended format enabled me to learn more from experienced colleagues especially when we met in class.  I quickly tested multiple wireframe and prototype tools, selected my learning activity topic and applied the best practices for this environment as covered in class.  My final assignment was a presentation and demo of the Balsamiq tool which allowed me to see first-hand  the unique requirements for mLearning.   My app design was for middle school and high school girls interested in STEM careers and education to interact with an app to find local programs, tag items of interest, and share insights with peers and mentors.  With the popularity of mobile apps for this demographic, I believe having easy access to a social and educational tool would be helpful in supporting girls’ interests in STEM.

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Web Accessibility Design (EDIT 526) – Summer 2012


The Web Accessibility course provided instruction on accessible web design using HTML and current authoring tools. Students explored Section 508 web accessibility standards and assistive technologies, and the principles of universal web design.   The final project enabled students to design, develop and test an accessible web site using web authoring tools.

My Reflections…This course was a eye-opening experience for me, as I have managed many website projects for clients in the corporate sector, all of which had limited or no requirements for accessibility.   For my course project, I designed a website for volunteers affiliated with an educational foundation to find and share current, reliable information about programs, events and opportunities to get involved.   To complete the website, I had to work directly with HTML, research Section 508 and W3 accessibility requirements, test my website for accessibility issues with various tools, and upload to my Mason site.   I also learned more about accessibility devices such as screen readers, which helped me get a better understanding of how important accessibility standards are for all web users.  After this course, I have changed my approach with client web application requirements analysis and recommendations for universal web designs.

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Instructional Design (EDIT 705) – Summer 2012

IDD_Doc copyAs an introductory course in instructional design, students explored the principles of learning theories and how they relate to instructional design.  Students compared instructional design models and strategies, and learning technologies.  The course guided students through the five phases of the ADDIE model to experience the components of the instructional design process and to develop outputs from each phase.  The final project included identifying an instructional need and creating an instructional design document and prototype solution.

My Reflections…This course was a comprehensive introduction to the principles, methodologies and practice of Instructional Design.  Even though I had work experience in curriculum development and training for adult learners, this course provided a more in-depth coverage of learner and task analysis, defining clear learning objectives aligned with course goals and assessment of learning transfer, with a focus on supporting the learner and referencing evidence-based research.   For the final project, I developed an IDD for a software training course that included formative and summative evaluations as well as an extended (confirmative) evaluation plan to assess ROI for the company and value to the learners while on the job.

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Instructional Technology Foundations and Theories of Learning (EDIT 704) – Fall 2012

In this course, students explored the pedagogical issues related to the design and development of technology-enabled instruction.  Student learned the principles of learning theories, their impact on knowledge acquisition, and the relationship between learning theory, instructional theory, and the practice of instructional design.

David MerrillCompressed2My Reflections…I found this course to be challenging as far as keeping up with the reading requirements and understanding some of the research findings, principles and frameworks by many of the learning theorists.  The class was predominantly F2F which provided much needed class discussion and review of the more complex material.  Without a formal background in education, I found myself re-reading material and taking notes more frequently as my goal was to ensure I had a strong foundation in learning theories, especially adult learning theories.

One of the requirements was to reflect and identify what I believed about adult learners  at the beginning and end of the course.  I was surprised that many of my initial insights aligned with adult learning theories, but also realized how critical it is to take the time to connect with adult learners and design learning activities that supplement their extensive knowledge and experiences.  Another assignment was to research and present to the class the major contributions of a learning theorist.   I was given David Merrill, who was difficult, as his work is extensive, especially in computer-based models such as his well known Component Display Theory (CDT).  One lesson learned from this assignment is to make sure presentations are concise, use limited bullets and finish within the given time limit!  As Merrill believed, instructors must promote efficient, effective and engaging learning experiences, and to be cautious on integrating the latest technology fad.

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Innovations in eLearning (EDIT 611) – Spring 2013

This online course took a deep dive into designing, developing, implementing and evaluating an e-learning environment using instructional design best practices.  Students explored the latest innovations in e-learning technologies and applications, and researched how new approaches to learning can be strategically integrated into education and training environments.

My Reflections…In thinking back on the panel discussions, I enjoyed reading and learning from the teachers in my group who have a great deal of first-hand real-world experience in the different ways students learn and the best feasible practices to address issues in their instruction.  This course also enabled me to refer back to what I learned in the Learning Theories course, such as Bloom’s taxonomy and Cognitive Learning Theory, as well as our Clark & Mayer text, when designing instruction.  For example, a computer simulation may be appropriate for tasks that require higher level analysis or synthesis,  while a meaningful graphic may support recall of a fact.   Instructional Designers need to also consider whether the learning activity requires the integration of technology to support the learning process.  For my group project, we decided to design an eLearning training  module on the basics of first aid for Resident Assistants at GMU.  This project reinforced various skills such as communication, organization, leadership and teamwork, as well as technical and ID skills.

AdobeCaptivatePowerPointFor the Technology Deep Dive assignment, I selected Adobe Captivate to research and create a presentation of its features and alignment to ID principles.  I felt I needed  more time to become proficient with Captivate and to comfortably create an eLearning design.  One area in particular that I want to improve upon is designing interactive simulations so learners can actively engage in their learning.   Lastly, I believe the Clark and Meyer text is an excellent resource and I often refer to it for reminders on effective eLearning designs, especially best practices on the use of multimedia.

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Advanced Instructional Design (EDIT 730)- Spring 2013

Designed as a blended learning course, students and the instructor met face-to-face for high level interactive discussions, collaborative team building and presentations, and also online to supplement in-class sessions.  Students gained the skills to design engaging technology-supported learning environments focused on theory-based design and the principles of constructivism.

Constructivist2My Reflections…This course provided in-depth coverage of learning theories, pedagogical models, instructional strategies and learning technologies.  The matrix assignment was a great way to review the differences between behaviorism, cognitivism and constructivism as a group, as we all contributed insights and examples pertaining to ID.   Another group activity involved comparing two technology supported learning applications based on opposing learning paradigms, objectivist vs constructivist.   This project enabled me to evaluate the software based on learning theory and instructional strategies that highlighted the changing role of the learner and instructor.  I also learned a great deal about problem-based learning from Jonassen’s research and agree with his constructivist views that knowledge building is a social, collaborative process.  I believe ID must continue to look to learning and instructional design theories and instructional design strategies as its foundation, but be open to creative problem solving in contextual-based applications.  For my final project, I designed a constructivist learning application, a Community of Practice, for girls and women to share, learn and create new knowledge about STEM education and careers.  The design is learner-focused, with embedded knowledge throughout the website to explore, multiple opportunities for social connections to share information and exchange ideas.   I really enjoyed EDIT 730 and believe it strengthened my interest in pursuing a PhD.

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Research in Educational Technology (EDIT 590) – Spring 2013

ResearchProposalThis course presented the methods, best practices and applications of educational research in technology.  Students were immersed in reviewing and critiquing technology-based research articles, while identifying and refining their research proposals for the final project. Topics covered included theories and methods of educational research in instructional design and technology including qualitative, quantitative and mixed-method research.   Students identified a research problem and designed a research study to include all the components of an evidence-based research article.  The class engaged in peer evaluations of the final projects to provide further analysis and collaboration on conducting research.

My Reflections...I remember struggling in this course, and I also recall struggling as an undergrad in my psychology and statistics courses as well.  The textbook, McMillan J. (2011). Educational research: Fundamentals for the consumer, was deceivingly small but every word was important.  I learned a great deal from the book, the course assignments and class discussions.  Reviewing research articles and identifying key components to determine the quality of the articles was a great experience, as most of this was fairly new to me.  Identifying my research topic and moving through the process of writing a research proposal was difficult but rewarding.  I must admit, I wish we had more time to review our proposals with the professor and peers, and continue to refine our work.  One of the major take-aways for me with this course, is how time-consuming and difficult writing a research proposal is, not to mention advancing to actually conducting your research, analyzing and drawing conclusions to hopefully create new knowledge.

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3D Virtual World Learning (EDIT 772)- Summer 2013

VWDesigned as an immersive, 3D learning experience, this course offered a unique exploration of the skills, strategies and features that enable learning in virtual worlds (VW).  Students actively learned VW terminology and concepts, as well as analyzed the benefits and limitations of this learning environment as applied to instructional effectiveness.  Students researched, questioned and critically assessed VW affordances, with the final project encompassing an instructional design plan for a virtual world course.

My Reflections…For one of our assignments for this course, I remember searching for research articles on the learning affordances in virtual worlds and came upon a quote that I believe resonates well with designing learning environments: “Learning demands both the fun of playing with ideas and the hardness of refining and reworking these ideas, and that both complementary parts are needed for learning (Barrett, 2005).”  What I thought was fascinating about 3D immersive worlds such as Second Life, was the potential for creativity, interaction and fun, while participating in a learning activity.  One article described teaching computer programming in Second Life (SL), where it was observed as an effective platform for problem-based learning, with students working through programming problems together with peers and teacher support.   SL also lends itself well to a Community of Practice pedagogical model where social learning and support are essential.   For my final design project, I believe I gained a better understanding of creating or “building” new content as one of the salient features of 3D immersive worlds as well as the significance of personal avatars in communicating, interacting and learning with others.

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Digital Collaboration Applications (EDIT 574) – Summer 2013

AppliedInstructionalDesign_SynchThis web conferencing course provided students with the skills to design and moderate various types of virtual learning events.  Students demonstrate their ability to identify best practices for using social networking, teleconferencing, and collaboration applications, and to integrate these communication technologies into the creation of instructional products for education and training purposes.

My Reflections…With this course, I gained more experience with designing and preparing instructional materials for synchronous teaching using Blackboard Collaborate.  I learned more about effective teaching skills such as personalizing the connections with students, supporting various learning styles and providing frequent opportunities for participant interaction.  One of the most important best practices as the instructor is to facilitate collaboration and learning rather than focusing on disseminating information in a lecture format.  I also am better acquainted with the technology features of Collaborate such as live video/audio, permissions, polling, whiteboard, application sharing, web tour and breakout rooms to help facilitate group learning.  For my final project, I presented a brief Collaborate synchronous session on problem-based learning environments using case studies for instructional designers.

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Instructional Design and Technology Portfolio (EDIT 601) – Fall 2013

In my first Portfolio course, I learned the best practices to plan, design and publish an electronic portfolio to share my academic and professional experiences and future goals in Instructional Design and Technology.  For my design, I selected WordPress for its content management features and focus on sharing information via blogging.

My Reflections…Creating my first ePortfolio was a meaningful process for me, both personally and professionally, as it required looking back on my academic and career accomplishments, reflecting on their outcomes and also looking to the future.   This course provided that extra push I needed to create, publish and share my work, as well as many opportunities to learn from others’  portfolios.

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Analysis & Design of Technology-Based Learning Environments (EDIT 732) – Fall 2013

StoryboardThis course provided a unique insight into UX research and design lifecycle, and provided hands-on experience to identify in-depth requirements to inform our design, including flow models, ideation, sketching, personas, storyboards and prototype testing.  I learned about the user experience design process integrated within the instructional design framework and learning theory.  Working with an exceptional team of colleagues, we completed data collection and contextual analysis for our technology-based interface design prototype.  The course provided real-world opportunities for students to identify and interact with clients, subject matter experts and users, and develop a technology design to enhance user interactions and learning experiences.   Team members participated in leadership roles, developed two medium fidelity prototypes for user testing and presented our findings in a final class presentation.

My Reflections…Our team worked well together from the initial selection of our project focus to tackling many of the UX research and design processes that were required to build our medium-fidelity prototype.   Some of the important outcomes of this course for me was collaborative teamwork and the critical need to work directly and frequently with a client and SMEs to ensure an informed, user centered design.

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Design & Implementation of Technology-Based Learning Environments (EDIT 752) – Spring 2014

As one of the final courses in the IDT program,  the objectives encompassed the application of UX and ID methodologies by developing a Research Management Plan, implementing cycles of rapid evaluation methods for our prototype, and making revisions based on user feedback and team assessment.  Our team revised the prototype from a Windows-based app to an iPad platform and completed multiple rounds of usability testing with our study participants.  Using our knowledge of UX Research techniques, we collected qualitative and quantitative data, analyzed our results and presented our findings during a virtual meeting with our professor, in a final report and class presentation.Round2Prototype

My Reflections…Excellent opportunity to work with a professional group of colleagues, supporting each other in the process and learning real-world applications of UX research and design.   Our current prototype is a culmination of following UX methods for data collection and analysis, creative design, feedback from colleagues and our professors, excellent SMEs, great study participants and overall wonderful client!

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eLearning Design Applications: Articulate (EDIT 575) – Spring 2014

ArticulateLearningDesignIn this course, I am learning more about Articulate Studio 13 as a tool for designing presentations and developing eLearning courses aligned with ISD best practices.  The course explores Presenter, Engage and Quizmaker, with individual and also team-based projects to support application of e-Learning best practices using this tool.

My Reflections…Working with my team, we are developing a online training module for supervisors interested in learning how to deliver feedback effectively to their direct reports.  One of the important aspects of this project is the level of support each team member brings to the design and how well we work together to achieve a successful outcome.  We are actively solving software problems, managing the project schedule and pulling together our creative Instructional Design ideas for an engaging, interactive learning module.

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Advanced Instructional Design & Technology Portfolio (EDIT 701) – Spring 2014

The second or Advanced Portfolio course, requires students to reevaluate and further demonstrate their understanding of ID principles and competencies achieved throughout their graduate program.  The process of updating the initial portfolio helps the student to refine their goals, assess their accomplishments and reflect on their experiences in the IDT field.  I plan to continue to update my current ePortfolio, adding additional reflections for my current courses, my contributions to team projects and revising or adding new insights into my conceptual IDT framework page.

My Reflections...This course enabled me to take the time to look back at my first portfolio and to critically assess my growth professionally as well as in the IDT graduate program.  One aspect in particular that required more analysis time and reflection was assessing my specific contributions to IDT projects and how they are linked to IDT competencies.  I hope to continue to refine my reflections as a life-long learner in this field as well as the many related fields.

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eLearning Design Applications: Mobile Learning Tools: Independent Study (EDIT 575) – Spring 2014

Educational_Program_Technology_Design_2For this course, I completed a research report on the analysis, design and implementation of an educational conference and student mentoring program for a Foundation, in partnership with George Mason University’s Game Design Program.  The learning design included the development of a mobile app and conference website to support the student attendees.

My Reflections…As a pilot project for the Foundation to expand mentoring programs  to college women interested in STEM-related fields, I believe it was a successful event with many lessons learned.  The process to develop a conference event to engage and inform student attendees was a  challenging and meaningful experience.   As the program lead, I worked with an exceptionally creative student team from GMU and with colleagues from the ID & IT fields.   Many professional women from Women in Technology, STEM for Her Foundation and other companies and organizations supported the event with their time, expertise and leadership.  In developing this research report and in particular, gathering reflections on lessons learned and analyzing my survey results, I hope to provide informed data that will improve the program design for potential future conferences and workshops.


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