Reflective Essay

My studies at Oklahoma State University have allowed me to apply several concepts that meet the AECT Standard for Professional Education. Below is how I accomplished several indicators of the AECT standards during my time as an adjunct Oklahoma City Community College under the graphic communications branch, as an instructional systems designer as a government contractor, and user experience designer at Microsoft.

Standard 1 – Content Knowledge

At the beginning of my two years as an instructor at Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) I had the daunting task of teaching the consistently evolving field of Web Design. After applying my content knowledge and assessing the prior instructor’s curriculum, I decided he was using a few outdated methods for educational technology utilization. For example only utilizing a small File Transfer Protocol server as the student’s only means to find assignments along with submitting them. During this period of time my course in the Creativity and Innovation in Educational Technology course was teaching me how to think creatively when using educational technology tools. The course helped me evaluate the OCCC Moodle Learning Management System (LMS) and all its varieties of customization to make a supportive learning environment for my students and content. When I could not quite adjust the Moodle environment to my liking, I worked with the department for learning and advancement to customize Moodle to better suit the desired goals of my course. This included separating courses into grade categories. I was able to evaluate individual knowledge gaps in either tests, labs, and assignments. The tests were synchronous with Moodle and students were able to view grades as soon as they were completed. With the streamlined file submission protocols I developed; I visually inspected all of the students assignments by the Sunday due dates each week. By the Monday lecture, every student had up to the minute grades, and I was able to adjust the class lecture if I viewed gaps in concepts from previous lectures. The mentioned Hybrid class formats where all theories I learned in Creativity and Innovation in Educational Technology.

This is an example of the test categorie for my course. With a note to myself on how to display grades to students.

This is an example of the test categories for my course. With a note to myself on how to display grades to students.

Standard 2 – Content Pedagogy

Applying the self-determination theory and various other appropriate pedagogies I learned in Introduction to Instructional Design I focused assignment objectives towards the final project that was a web-site of student’s choosing. To encourage self-agency with my students, I supported their unique graphic design abilities and fostered new technology skills for the World Wide Web. I still placed an emphasis on understanding the core competencies set forth by the Graphics Communication department but allowed intrinsic motivation to be the main driving force within students in deciding what they wanted to create in my class. I set the course goals early in the semester, instructing students that their final project will be a web-site they wish to display to the world and of their choosing. I ensured ethics of the college were also a priority by reviewing project plans written by students for their final project. Establishing guidelines for what is acceptable for the class but also being sensitive to student’s own beliefs. Introduction to Instructional Design taught me the pedagogical approach of assessing my learner’s basic creative needs but training in current web-site technology standards. The results speak for themselves with my student’s examples.

A snapshot of my student's work displayed on my hall-of-fame page for my web-design course.

A snapshot of my student’s work displayed on my hall-of-fame page for my web-design course.

Standard 3 – Learning Environments

Being an early adopter of the Moodle Learning Management System (LMS) was definitely a challenge. However, I wanted to utilize other learning environments that had the strengths of synchronous education, as opposed to the asynchronous environment in Moodle, for my web design course. The course Digital Games and Simulations in the Classroom taught me the benefits of using certain game theories for classroom learning environments. With these gamification concepts in mind, I evaluating several learning environments that offered refreshing course work related to web development technologies. I selected codeacademy.com as the other main learning environment for my students. The code academy environment provides dynamic grading as students input code related to web-development tallying a score similar to a game. This environment also fosters community learning with forums related to each lesson plan. More importantly it provides Gamification of coursework by offering information-right-on-time and badges after completing training modules. Thanks to Digital Games and Simulations in the Classroom I knew this learning environment was the adequate choice for my students and managed their progress over a 3 week period.

An example of a learning module in the codeacademy learning environment.

An example of a learning module in the codeacademy learning environment.

Standard 4 – Professional Knowledge and Skills

I was able to implement several of the core AECT professional knowledge indicators during my time as the instructional System Designer (ISD) for Catapult Technology. During my 2nd year under the federal government contract I developed the first pilot web-based training for the Hazmat branch of PHMSA. In my Instructional Systems Management course I was instructed on how to budget time and stay focused on project deliverables related to online training. I collaborated with several different federal employees and displayed leadership with each significant part of the project timeline. Evaluating each important step the project was delivered successfully to over 90 Hazmat federal employees. Resulting in further funding for training and a new ISD positon in the Hazmat branch of PHMSA.

A single page from the 3 hour total flagship online training course  I developed.

A single page from the 3 hour total flagship online training course I developed.

Standard 5 – Research

The talents I may have in multi-media does not mean I am reliant on such a method in training. As as an ISD and user experience designer for Microsoft I utilized several research theories I studied in Library Networks and Databases. A method I used to improve performance is the concepts I read on HyperMedia Navigation. As one of three employees tasked with educating over 90+ internal employees the luxury of time for multi-media development is scarce. However, thanks to contributions from research on how hypermedia navigation assists in cognitive engagement I was able to develop a robust learning environment for with the technology tools provided. Deploying a SharePoint environment for all the related documentation and utilizing internal hypertext links in Microsoft word, I applied strategies for inquiry so learners could easily find training documentation at their current abilities. This environment also comes deployment of questionnaires, including Likert scales, via e-mail to analyze knowledge gaps with trainees. An example of the SharePoint learning environment I created at Microsoft.

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