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Community of Inquiry: Online Learning Tools

This module grabbed my interest as it explored the elements that form a community of inquiry, those being cognitive presence, social presence and instructor presence in an online setting.

Garrison, Anderson, and Archer (2001) describes cognitive presence as “the extent to which the participants in any particular configuration of a community of inquiry are able to construct meaning through sustained communication.”

In my opinion, cognitive presence results from the various interactions that go beyond surface learning. This occurs if critical thinking is required and thus instructors should provide activities that lead to such.

I view social presence as providing a safe environment for cognitive presence to occur. In a safe environment, divergent views are encouraged amongst learners.

Both cognitive presence and social presence need the ever-important instructor. Therefore, instructor presence is critical as a facilitator of cognitive and social presence not only by providing the tools and activities that encourage social and cognitive presence but by the various instructor-learner interactions.

Since this course is focused on online learning, instructors will be well-served if there is harmony in the elements of the community of inquiry their course.

Many tools were presented by colleagues that can be used to enhance these elements to varying degrees.

I was quite attracted by the uniqueness of the presentations on Virtual Worlds especially Second Life.

From the View-Master to the Oculus Rift, virtual reality seems to be an innovative strategy to be used in education. When coupled with virtual worlds, learners may no longer need to imagine things but may be immersed in virtual environments that can provide experiences that otherwise would not be possible.

As technology changes, so too would our expectations of their affordances. If we were to cast our minds back to when Personal Computers became popular, maybe a basic text editor like Notepad and a floppy diskette could have been regarded as tools to allow for collaboration amongst learners thereby enhancing cognitive presence. At present such a tool would not even be mentioned to enhance any element in a community of inquiry. This should remind us that technological devices are merely tools to facilitate the underlying pedagogy.

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ID Job Description

Synthesis of Job Description

Job Description

Instructional Designer

Job Location: KMS Future Leaders School, United States Virgin Islands

Job Summary:

The Instructional Designer (ID) has primary responsibility for a key element of our educational offerings. The ID will be responsible for conceptualizing, developing and maintaining online curriculum for a K-12 project-based learning program. The position will author project-based learning material in the STEM curriculum for K-12 students. The ID is responsible for identifying and evaluating existing and upcoming technological tools to deliver STEM content as part of the KMS Future Learners programs. The individual will help formulate and will implement the School’s ongoing eLearning strategy including a conversion of existing text-based material to HTML5 online material

This position is fully responsible for planning and executing all aspects of curriculum – a critical component of KMS future Leaders integrated educational programs. Effective communication and close collaboration with Teachers and Teaching Assistants is essential.

The overarching goal is to facilitate learners in acquiring knowledge, skills and competencies in an effective and appealing manner.

Requirements

  • Proven working experience in instructional design
  • Excellent knowledge of learning theories and instructional design models (for example, ADDIE, Kirkpatrick)
  • Lesson and curriculum planning skills
  • HTML5 programming knowledge
  • Solid knowledge of course development software and at least one Learning Management System (preferably Moodle or Desire2Learn)
  • Visual design skills (Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Illustrator) and ability to storyboard
  • Ability to communicate effectively using instructional text, audio scripts/video scripts
  • BS or MA degree in instructional design, educational technology or similar field

Responsibilities

  • Create engaging learning activities and compelling course content that enhances retention and transfer
  • Work with subject matter experts and identify target audience’s training needs
  • State instructional end goals and create content that matches them
  • Visualize instructional graphics, the user interface and the finished product
  • Conduct instructional research and analysis on learners and contexts
  • Apply tested instructional design theories, practice and methods
  • Provide exercises and activities that enhance the learning process
  • Create supporting material/media (audio, video, simulations, role plays, games etc)
  • Decide on the criteria used to judge learner’s performance and develop assessment instruments
  • Maintain project documentation

Desirable skills and knowledge

  • Experience in curriculum design and development for elearning, classroom and web conferencing modalities
  • Experience in authoring tools such as Captivate or Storyline
  • Experience using video-editing software (e.g. Camtasia, Adobe Premiere Pro)
  • Experience in storyboarding and scripting
  • Base knowledge of the STEM education initiative
  • Demonstrated ability to quickly grasp technology and technical concepts
  • Strong teamwork and leadership skills
  • Experience in use of graphics and associated editing software (for example Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks)
  • Track record showing responsibility for full body of work – from idea generation to development
  • Ability to manage multiple priorities and deliver on-time results
  • Knowledge of Makerspaces

Summary/Reflection

  1. How do the roles of teachers and instructional designers differ?
  2. In what ways do the responsibilities of teachers and instructional designers overlap?

The roles of Teachers and Instructional Designers differ based on the environment, audience (learners) and models that are used.

The typical role of the Teacher will impart knowledge to learners and evaluation/assessment is usually for grades whereas the role of Instructional designers is closely connected and usually based on improving performance that results in increased employee efficiency for a business to increase profitability.

Having taught in a K-12 setting, my role was mainly to impart knowledge based on the District/State standards and students were required to learn the material to pass an examination. For example, I taught Set Theory in Mathematics and when asked by a student why they should learn about Set Theory, I replied that it assisted with problem solving skills and can be used to prove certain theories.

If an instructional designer is asked a question such as this, they will almost always be a specific reason linked to the organizations’s targets and correlated to profitability.

However, the responsibilities of Teachers and Instructional Designers overlap because they both facilitate learning using content in a particular context and taking into consideration the ability of learners. So, as a Teacher, having selected my objectives from the State standards, I developed the content and used various technological tools to aid in the delivery of the content.

A browse of the responsibilities of Instructional Designers will reveal that they also develop content independently or by working closely with Subject Matter Experts and the use of technological tools to deliver the content is seemingly a standard in the ID field.

 

Links to specific jobs browsed

Job Posting 1: Instructional Designer/Developer.

URL: http://goo.gl/QXGmb6

This job posting was interesting because it provides a real-world example of the diversity of skills that may be required in the ID field as stated by Larson & Lockee. The multiplicity of skills and experience desired by the company along with travel requirements reveal how fast-paced and interesting an ID job can be.

 

Job Posting 2: Instructional Designer

URL: http://goo.gl/NDnixK

This job posting was interesting to me because it was in the Oil refining – Petroleum industry which shows that instructional designers are not just used in formal educational settings such as schools and other traditional learning institutions. The summary of this posting also states the ID models that the applicant should follow stating that the applicant must “utilize best practices, for example, ADDIE model, Kirkpatrick” which are known ID design process standards.

 

Job Posting 3: Instructional Designer

URL: http://goo.gl/hFra95

This job posting was interesting because it highlights the dynamic nature of the ID field. The job description of this posting states: “Our team is never happy with the status quo – we believe that everything can be made better and we need a teammate that can help us continue to innovate.” This sentence stood out like a mantra that good Instructional Designers must adopt.

Welcome!

Welome All,

This website was created to provide a knowledge-sharing space for matters related to educational technology.

Don’t be afraid to join in the discussions as we seek to enhance our instructional approaches with the use of technological tools.

I can’t wait to hear from you. Be bold and Comment…