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Running Head: MODULES SUMMARY AND REFLECTION

Modules Summary and Reflection


Karin E. Grisham
Texas Tech University

MODULES SUMMARY AND REFLECTION


Abstract
The following paper summarizes distance education in terms of its instructional design,
student perspective, teacher perspective, management of distance education and ethics and
copyright in modules titled six, seven, eight, nine and ten, respectively.
Each module contains two parts. The first part summarizes the module topic and the
second part involves a reflection of the information researched in the summary.

MODULES SUMMARY AND REFLECTION

Modules Summary and Reflection


Module 6 Instructional Design
This module goes through the steps necessary to design and successfully carry out a
distance education course. It includes topics such as what teaching strategies and media should
be used in a distance education course and describes the four models currently used to design
courses using the World Wide Web as well as taking an in-depth look at course management
systems.
Summary
Definition. What is instructional design? Instructional design is the technique used by
an educator to utilize technology in order to successfully instruct students (Simonson, Smaldino,
Albright, & Zvacek, 2012).
Planning for Distance Education. Prior to beginning a distance education course, many
considerations must be taken into account, one of which is to determine who will be taking the
course (Simonson et al., 2012). The instructor should get to know the audience by way of
administering pretests in order to determine the ability, cultural background, ages, and interests
in order to develop goals and objectives for the course that will best meet the needs of the
students (Simonson et al., 2012).
In addition to knowing the learning, the instructor needs to take into account they type of
media that will be used in the course, what teaching strategy will be used, and the type of
technology (Simonson et al., 2012). The media that is selected, whether pre-made or developed
for a specific course, should match the curriculum (Simonson et al., 2012). The teaching
strategy that is chosen should ensure that the learner is actively engaged in the learning process
keeping in mind that lecturing is the least successful strategy (Simonson et al., 2012).

MODULES SUMMARY AND REFLECTION

Technology should be used to enhance instruction and not be so cumbersome that it distracts
from it and a backup plan should be in place when and if the technology selected fails (Simonson
et al., 2012).
Models for Instructional Design. There are four basic models for asynchronous
distance learning courses and they are: linear-designed instruction, branched-designed
instruction, hypercontent-designed instruction, and learner-directed design (Simonson et al.,
2012).
Linear-designed instruction and branched-design instruction are similar in that they both
utilize the Unit-Module-Topic (UMT) approach (Simonson et al., 2012). This approach breaks
down the number of credits offered by a particular course for a given semester into an equal
number of units (Simonson et al., 2012). Each unit corresponds to three to five modules and
each module corresponds to three to five topics with each topic representing an specific outcome
(Simonson et al., 2012). One main differences in the two models is that the branched-design
model has more sophisticated assessments which are better at diagnosing progress and
comprehension of the learner (Simonson et al., 2012). The second main difference is that the
students have the ability to jump ahead or back up based on their level of understanding when
they are working in the branched-design model whereas in the linear-design model all students
must work sequentially along the same path (Simonson et al., 2012).
In the hypercontent-design model, the UMT approach is also utilized; however, instead of
the instructor determining the order or sequence the student should learn the content, the course
is designed in such a way that allows the student to choose what order of topics they would like
to study (Simonson et al., 2012).

MODULES SUMMARY AND REFLECTION

The learner-directed model is similar to the hypercontent design but the learner has even
more freedom to choose the order and the learner actually constructs their own strategy for
learning (Simonson et al., 2012).
Reflection
This particular chapter gave me some wonderful ideas prior to beginning a distance
education course. I have noticed that as a student, the modules are available ahead of time so the
instructor must be ahead of the students and have the course designed well in advance of the
course beginning. I will definitely provide a pretest to the students prior to the start of the course
to get to know the students. I have noticed that in my own distance education courses the
instructor always has a beginning activity that is a way for them to get to know the students
better. I always thought it was for the students to get to know each other, so I have to admit that
I was getting bored with the introductory activity since I already knew everyone in the cohort.
The model that I would choose to use is the linear-designed instruction model simply
because this better fits my personality. I like the organization of the model. I feel if I had the
hypercontent or learner-directed model as a student, it would be a very frustrating class. With
that said, it does depend on the learner as to which of the four methods would be the best to use.
For me, it seems like the linear-design model would be the easiest to develop, especially for a
first time distance educator.
Module 7 Student Perspective
Module seven discusses the student and distance education, specifically the traits and
responsibilities necessary to be a successful student in a distance education course.
Summary

MODULES SUMMARY AND REFLECTION

Successful learners in an asynchronous, online learning environment have different


characteristics that the characteristics of learners in a face-to-face, traditional learning
environment (Ying, Huamao, Ronghuai, Yanhua, & Jingjing, 2008). Distance learners tend to be
more self-directed and highly motivated (Pate & Mille, 2012; Schrum, 1991; Simonson et al.,
2012; Ying et al., 2008). In addition to being self-starters, the successful distance learners have
higher levels of achievement relative to those in a traditional setting as well as assuming a
greater responsibility for their own learning (Kemmer, 2011; Simonson et al., 2012; Ying et al.,
2008).
Reflection
As a student who has taken many online courses throughout the years, I have learned that
in order to be successful I must be willing and able to manage time effectively and set aside time
during the week to keep up with my assignments. This goes along with being self-directed. I
must be able to not only schedule the time for study in my week, but actually sit down and do the
required work without anyone reminding me or forcing me to follow through with my weekly
assignments. Not only is time management a helpful skill, but I have found that I must be
resourceful as well. While reading the assigned text, if I have trouble deciphering what is being
stated, I may not always be able to ask a fellow class member since they may not be online at the
same time I am so I need to be able to search the internet and library articles to help better
understand the material when necessary. Having some technical ability is also an important skill.
Students who are intimidated by technology might have a more difficult time, especially in the
beginning, of their first online course. I have found that while I am not a technical expert, I can
usually follow directions well enough to utilize the required software and programs required for
each course, but I also realize that I can contact tech support with questions.

MODULES SUMMARY AND REFLECTION

Module 8 Teacher Perspective


The module on teacher perspectives addresses issues about what instructional methods
could be utilized as well as technology considerations. This module also discusses how to
manage a distance education course, the types of support and visualization material available in
addition to how to access the learner.
Summary
In a traditional, face-to-face classroom teachers generally take on the role of delivers of
content, but in a distance education environment teachers need to develop a student-centered
approach to learning (Simonson et al., 2012). In order for students to be successful, instructors
need to be prepared well in advance of the start of the course by developing a course schedule,
preparing a syllabus, organizing instruction, and creating a learning community (Simonson et al.,
2012).
Developing a syllabus as well as other documents such as handouts, interactive study
guides and learning materials are a major component of student success in an online course
(Simonson et al., 2012).
The institution can help the instructor be more prepared by creating guidelines for
instruction in distance education courses and to provide training (Higgins & Harreveld, 2013;
Simonson et al., 2012). Professional development should not be limited to a one-time situation,
but should be on-going and reoccurring in order to be successful (Higgins & Harreveld, 2013).
Reflection
As a student in a distance education course, I heavily rely on the syllabus to guide my
semester and develop a timeline. With technology today, it is very easy to schedule due dates for
major projects and assignments in a phone or other electronic device. The syllabus provides me

MODULES SUMMARY AND REFLECTION

not only with a course calendar, but the information I need in order to be successful and contact
information for my instructor.
The aesthetics of the design is also a factor that helps me with organization of content
within a module located in a course management system. Some course management systems are
better at aesthetics than others. As a student, I have become familiar with the layout of
Blackboard, but as a teacher I have to use Moodle. Moodle, in my opinion, does not allow the
content to be displayed in a way that is as easy to sort through as Blackboard.
Module 9 Management of Distance Education
Module nine explains how to implement a distance education program within your school
from the ground up. This includes information such as the people who would need to be
involved in the development of the program as well as policy that should be written, changed or
modified to include distance education. Teacher preparation is also a valid concern and
receiving adequate training to develop and implement a distance education course is discussed in
this module as well.
Summary
A teacher or a school may want to start up a distance education program, but there is
more to getting a successful program off the groups than just offering the courses. A plan should
be in place that identifies what population, if there is one, is served by the program as well as
recruitment methods, financial support, and means for delivery (Martin, Moskal, & Foshee,
1997; Simonson, 2005; Simonson et al., 2012). Not only does there need to be a market for a
distance education program, there must be adequate technology available to support it (Martin et
al., 1997; Simonson et al., 2012).

MODULES SUMMARY AND REFLECTION

There must be enough staff to support the different type of learner that would be enrolled
in online courses such as technical support personnel (Simonson et al., 2012). With more
computer use required by this type of student, they will need people to help them with their
technical issues when the arise (Simonson et al., 2012).
Faculty as well as students should be prepared through prior training opportunities so that
all parties directly involved in the instruction are able to help make the program a success
(Simonson et al., 2012). In addition, a distance education policy should be developed by the
administration in conjunction with the faculty involved that addresses issues such as: academic,
fiscal, geographic, governance, labor-management, legal and student support services (Martin et
al., 1997; Simonson et al., 2012).
Reflection
As a teacher who would like to expand the current skills I have, I would like to one day,
in the near future, teach a distance education course. I feel that it is important that any distance
education instructor be properly trained in designing and implementing a course online and I
would hope that my administration would see the amount of time put into developing the course
is time well spent. I think that while the students may not realize the difference between a
properly trained instructors versus one who has no training in online instruction, the institution
should certainly advertise the fact that their staff is trained to offer students the best online
experience available. The more the students are aware that professional development should be
a requirement for teaching an online course, it will become part of the norm to have qualified
instructors.
Module 10 Ethics and Copyright
Fair use and copyright essentials is discussed in depth in this section.

MODULES SUMMARY AND REFLECTION

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Summary
What is copyright? Copyright is a right granted by a statue to the author, composer or
originator or a literary, musical, or artistic production (Thomas, 1992). Two conditions must be
met before a work is eligible for copyright protection: applies to works of authorship
representing the tangible expression of ideas, requiring originality and some degree of creativity
and the work must be fixed in a tangible medium of expression (Simonson et al., 2012).
Fair Use is for educators and is the most important limitation on copyrights and it allows
others the use of copyrighted materials in a reasonable manner without requiring consent
(Thomas, 1992). There are four factors to consider when determining fair use and they are:
the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is on a commercial nature or is
for nonprofit educational purposes, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount and
substantially of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole, and the effect of
the use upon the potential market for or vale of the copyrighted work (Simonson et al., 2012;
Thomas, 1992).
Reflection
This section was quite eye-opening for me as an instructor. I have never been formally
trained on the use of copyrighted material nor did I know what was considered copyrighted
material. I feel that this is a potential problem that schools who are training students to be
teachers should include in their curriculum.
I was misinformed and misled on quite a few of the rules and regulations involving
copyrighted material and I am sure that the people who were giving me the information were not
misinforming on purpose, but just did not know the law. This is definitely a course that should
be provided and required for all pre-service teachers.

MODULES SUMMARY AND REFLECTION

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References
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