This is the first day of my capstone class in Instructional Design. The day before I reviewed the requirements on Blackboard, and once again realized that the IDD&E program at Syracuse University is basically Tiffany’s program. This is her 4th class I’m taking, and I already see that it’s going to be an unusual experience.
Since I’ve just finished the semester, I’m still reflecting on how the spring semester went, what classes I liked and did not like. Most importantly—why? Contentwise, all classes were fantastic but the way they were offered was catastrophic. IDE712 was an awful Saturday class which could easily be transferred online, whereas IDE761 would be a better class if taught face-to-face. IDE641 was amazing in terms of group work, yet the quizzes downgraded me a lot, which was upsetting. Finally, IDE632 was a great example of a flipped class model, yet there was so much information to absorb that it feels like it was a long time ago and with somebody else. This is all in a huge contrast to my fall semester, where all classes were extremely engaging. So much so that I think like I studied at two different universities.
Take-Aways from IDE632 and IDE761
The biggest take-aways from IDE632 for me is the problem-based learning. Rob taught by giving theoretical knowledge to read as homework while class time was dedicated to problem solving/ cases, students’ presentations, and invited guests/ former IDD&E alumni. It was social learning theory in action, and it worked—something I would not have imagined in the fall after IDE621.
As for IDE761, the biggest surprise was my engagement with the pre-activities. Who would have thought that sitting, reading, and answering questions would be so interesting and stimulating for my own learning. The discussions, however, were useless. First, the design of the discussions in Blackboard sucked; second, I could see that people reacted only insofar as Tiffany made us do it. Also, the group project cannot be done effectively if (a) people refuse to meet in person, (b) people do not take the group work seriously, (c) there is not periodic controlling and/or regulating coming from the ‘authority-figure’ aka the instructor.
Take-aways from IDE641 and IDE712
IDE641 was very complex and the most traditional as compared to other courses offered in the program. I will never in my life—if I’m an educator—will make close-ended quizzes a 60% part of students’ grades. But I will prompt students to meet regularly if they have a group project, this will help a group develop natural relationships, distribute the amount of work to be done, and help out to those in the group who struggled with a particular assignment. In IDE712, I realized that two papers to write within a semester is too much and too… unnecessary. Problem-based learning is much more engaging than 10-page papers.
Take-aways from IDE621 and IDE631
No course has yet beat the IDE621 and IDE631 so far, in my view. The former was tremendously eye-opening and—surprisingly—practical, while the latter was fantastically scaffolded and it was easy to do the project without the teacher’s help. I think this is what’s important: What a learner can do provided s/he only had instructions? Plus both textbooks (Smith & Ragan + Ormrod) were super useful for me, hence, my overall experience and learning were outstanding.
Having this in mind, I’m starting the IDE737 with the expectation that this course will give me more freedom to do what I want to do.