Rósa's blog page – Instructional Design

“Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand” –Chinese Proverb–

Category: Uncategorized

The Impact of Open Source – MOOC´s

saylorimagehttp://www.saylor.org/courses/cs101/ – Introduction to Computer Science I

MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course and is generally an online course that is aimed at a large group of participants that access the free course via the Internet.  The courses are structured similar to university courses but it is usually not possible to gain academic credit for attendance in such a course (MOOC List).

When I examined the Saylor.org website I was surprised to find so many quality courses delivered at a University level.  There have been a few years since I was involved in a MOOC course and when I was researching what was out there I was pleasantly surprised and really look forward to explore some of the MOOC’s that are on offer.

I decided on a course that is an Introduction to Computer Science I, as that is a subject that stands close to my heart.  Looking at the structure of the course I found 8 units of instruction and in the end a final examination.  Each unit seems to have been carefully planned and organized and the sequencing of units is in logical order.  What you learned in a previous unit is built upon in the next unit.  Each unit has been carefully broken into smaller modules where each topic has been assigned a time element – the expected time it takes to finish off this topic, helping participants to plan their time ahead.  The total estimated completion time for the course is 94,5 hours that is similar to what is needed to finish a 3-semester credit’s, about 45 hours in “classroom” time and about 45 hours of preparation and assignment work (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012).

This course is a typical example of an asynchronous distance learning that is student led and according to Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek (2012), is the purest form of distance education as it happens at different times and in different places.

The course activities and resources are very diverse and include some instructional videos from the Khan Academy, interactive course material from Java and varioius exercises and assignments.  All the material is open source and freely available on the internet and it looks to me as it has been carefully selected in retrospect to quality and revailance.

I look forward to investigate my selected MOOC in the future although I am familiar to some of the elements in the course there seem to be others that I could do with a refresher course on.

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 2.24.27 AM



MOOC List. (n.d.). What is a MOOC? Retrieved from MOOC List: http://www.mooc-list.com/

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: foundations of distance education. Boston, MA, USA: Pearson.




Collaborative Training Environment

OpenClipart.orgA collaborative training environment does provide versatile framework that is designed to meet the current and future needs for learner-centered environments.  The tools used for instruction and collaboration are i.e. discussion forums, surveys, quizzes, online assignments, wikis, blogs and podcasts to name a few (University of California).  Those tools can be found in various Course Management Systems (CMS) that do embrace Web 2.0 technology and according to Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek (2012) have become de facto standard on how distance education courses are delivered.

This weeks assignment of identifying a solution for a major corporation that needs to develop a training solution for automated staff information system in six regional offices.  As the staff cannot meet at the same time nor location a solution must be developed in order to facilitate training at various times and various locations.  This type of training is called asynchronous distance learning (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012, p. 10).

Web 2.0

What an Instructional Designer must keep in mind is the corporations wish that staff members collaborate with each other during training.  This demand can be met with few Web 2.0 technology tools that are incorporated into most CMS’s that are being used today.  Staff members can create Wiki’s (and load relevant information there, can be either text or/and pictures) within the CMS system and exchange ideas in a discussion forum.  The Instructional Designer create assignments that need to be meet certain criteria and create quizzes that are interactive and self grading.

“Collaboration” is the hallmark of Web 2.0 (Rupesh).  The major changes Web 2.0 brought to the table few years ago do benefit the online learner.  Instead of being only for the selected few to publish on, the web now is for everyone to post to.  People can publish written information in few minutes and distribute the information to the masses through social media at the same time.  Web users are no longer just the spectators, they are now the creators of the Web 2.0 experience that makes collaborative training possible (Rupesh).



Rupesh, K. A. (n.d.). E-Learning 2.0: Learning Redefined. Retrieved from Library Philosophy and Practice: http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/~mbolin/rupesh-kumar.htm

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: foundations of distance education. Boston, MA, USA: Pearson.

University of California. (n.d.). COLLABORATIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT (CLE). (S. F. University of California, Producer) Retrieved from UCSF Library: https://www.library.ucsf.edu/services/learningtech/cle


Defining Distance Learning

Distance education is a method of education in which the learner is physically separate from the teacher (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012).

For me as an Icelander, distance education has always been a reality.  Rural locations of small towns and farms are a fact and people have had to go a long way to have access to education.  I remember my grandmother talking about how it was when she was growing up.  They would get the teacher to visit their farmhouse during the winter months for a few days at a time and during that time they would get assignments to finish before the teacher would visit again. In a sense maybe not a distance education as we know it today but if we classify it by the words written at the beginning of this post it fits the description as in this case the students were learning separated from the teacher.  But since my grandmother was a little girl, living in rural part of Iceland, almost hundred years have passed.  Now, in 2013, we have a bit more sophisticated ways of distance education with computers and the Internet playing the lead role.

Distance Education

Distance Education seen by Rósa

Technology has evolved over the past decades, pushing distance education from simple correspondence schools to fully fledged universities offering degrees of various levels.  At the same time we evolve as human beings, technology has changed and major advancements and breakthroughs been made in the past 30 years, allowing distance education to become what it is today.

I remember my mother taking an english course with the aid of a cassette tape, long before the computer and the internet became public properties. In 1998 I was enrolled in my first online course with computer giant IBM and in 2007 I experienced my first distance education class at a university.  All very different but aiming at the same goal – to educate.  As distance education has evolved throughout the last 30 years, so has my opinion of it.  Now I find distance education is the answer to all my prayers.  As an adult with a job, family and commitments – the option to go on to university as a full time student is not a possibility – and the answer is distance education.  Now after one year as a Walden student my opinion of distance education has evolved yet again and now I see the possibilities and the freedom that lie in distance education. Now people will be learning on the go. The internet is everywhere and technological advancements continue to happen, making it possible to move distance education into virtual and real-time (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012).


Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: foundations of distance education. Boston, MA, USA: Pearson.

Reflection on Learning Theories

People are constantly learning.  Everyday we are presented with immense amount of information, especially at present date after computers and technology became part of our daily routine.  But people do not always learn in the same manner.  It depends tremendously which age group people belongs to how we behave and process the new things that are presented to us (Ormrod, Schunk, & Gredler, 2009).

What I found most interesting regarding what I learned in this course is the function of the brain and how we process things into working memory or long term memory and how all those different learning theories go about explaining how the brain works regarding to memorizing things in different ways but still with similar learning outcomes (Ormrod, Schunk, & Gredler, 2009).


Picture from Open Clipart Library

This course has deepened my understanding on the main difference between Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism, Connectivism, Social learning theories and how adults go about learning differently than young people and children.  The course has also deepened my knowledge of how I myself learn things and in the process I have placed myself as a Connectivism learner.  In the beginning of the course I saw myself as a Cognitive learner that learned best using visual aid but as the course progressed I had to rethink my own learning process and the results were a bit surprising for me but there is no doubt about it that I am an ideal Connectivism learner.

Learning theories, learning styles, educational technology, and motivation are all connected together and one part cannot exist without other.  We use them as a tool to guide us in the right direction when we plan a syllabus or a course material as instructional designers.  We cannot always tailor for everybody’s need regarding courses and course material but with the knowledge we have gained about learning theories and styles, and with modern technology we can present course material with a variation that in the end most (and hopefully all) students can adapt their learning curve to their personal learning style and intrinsic motivation (Ormrod, Schunk, & Gredler, 2009).

Without a doubt this course will help me tremendously as I pursue my studies, and in the future, a career in Instructional Design.  It will also help me in my present position as a teacher of young adults as I can put most of the material straight to use while preparing syllabuses for spring term and course assignments.  It has made me aware of the differences between different learning theories and learning styles and will without doubt help me in my professional development in the future when I incorporate different material into various courses as an Instructional Designer.


Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York, USA: Pearson.