Below I am highlighting five projects accomplished during the academic year 2015–2016 at Syracuse University (SU). You can find the other artifacts from each of the courses taken in the IDD&E program at SU on the Course description page.

Project 1: Knowledge base on learning theories

learning-theories-for-portfolioCourse and grade received: IDE621 Principles of Instruction and Learning; “A”
Project title: Knowledge Base on Learning and Design Theories
Author: Yuri Pavlov
Context of the project: The Knowledge Base was created to reflect my own understanding of how learning theories–behaviorism, cognitivism, social learning–define learning, how they have commonalities with each other, and how different they are different from each other. This is demonstrated in the Front Page which is a typical branching test (the use of branching tests is informed by behaviorism; hence, I identify with behaviorism). Also, each learning theory gave rise to instructional design theories, which are described on the infographics with examples of how they were used for learning. Each page contains a learning situation described in the terms of a corresponding learning theory (a piece of Spanish 102 instruction at Syracuse University). Finally, all reviews of learning theories end with my personal reflection about them. This project took me 33 hours of work, required the stretch of my WordPress and PowerPoint skills.
IDD&E phases involved: Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation
Reflection and self-assessment: This was one of the most meaningful and hard assignments I’ve ever done because of the technicalities, novelty of concepts, and depth of the assignment. It was also one of the most engaging activities I’ve ever done, because it required that I interacted with the content from a 500-page textbook of Jeanne Ormrod (2012). I learned and solidified my understanding of what learning is in terms of educational psychology (a relatively permanent change in behavior and mental representations due to experience), how learning happens (stimulus-response, input-processing-output, behavior-perception-environment), and what the instructional implications are. This Knowledge Base allowed me to look at education from a totally different perspective–the perspective of a learner and not teacher, which I have never done before. Thus, it is even more important for me as a future instructional designer to always hold a learner in my head and not a teacher. I aim to design learning experiences, not teaching experiences, although my teaching will be greatly informed by the learning theories.

Project 2: German instruction in Belarus

listening-skills-ide631Course and grade received: IDE631 Instructional Design & Development I; “A”
Project title: An Exploration of Modern Translation Education (*.pdf)
Contributors / authors: Yuri Pavlov, Caitlyn John, Alexander Umstead
Context of the project: The purpose of the project was to close the gap between the optimal and current level of conversational German for linguistics students at Belarusian State University. By conducting written interviews with some alumni in the Modern Foreign Languages program (class of 2011) and asking probing questions about their self-evaluations of German compared with the actual grades, our team concluded that the prevailing topic in all interviews was the lack of listening comprehension activities. We analyzed the existing instruction and found strategies to incorporate more regular and purposeful listening activities throughout instruction, introduced the role of a synthesizer for each discussion section. We also speculated the potential benefits of the rewired instruction and storyboarded the entire listening session.
IDD&E phases involved: Analysis, Design, Development (plan), Implementation (plan), Evaluation (plan)
Reflection and self-assessment: Because it was the  first proper Instructional Design (I.D.) project, it taught me the fundamental skill: writing learning objectives and aligning them with the assessment. It was also the first group project in I.D., so we had to organize ourselves: I was a subject matter expert and was responsible for the analysis and design part. I realized how important it was to go back to the existing instruction and either improve on it if it was good or ditch it and create something anew. In the case of the this project, we had to create a new piece of instruction anew, because there was simply no trace of purposeful listening instruction that facilitated listening and speaking. The project also allowed to practice evaluation skills and conduct a cost-benefit analysis. It also was a project management endeavor: Our team had to meet every week in order to stay on schedule and complete the project in 1.5 months. It was a pivotal step then to create a presentation (7 slides) to present our findings before a class in less than 10 minutes. Thus, it also allowed me to practice the skills in abstracting from the project, looking at it from the distance, and taking only the gist to present to a potential client. The biggest take-away here: It may be useful sometimes to begin with the cost-benefit narrative and then explain how specifically those “benefits” will be achieved.

Project 3: Model for improving Translation teaching

modelide632Course and grade received: IDE632 Instructional Design & Development II; “A”
Project title: Revamping a Translation Studies Program (*.pdf)
Author: Yuri Pavlov
Context of the project: The purpose of this project is to provide a model of teaching Translation Studies in this department for students with no prior knowledge in the field of translation or, more broadly, in the field of Linguistics. The context for the model is teaching the Introduction to Translation Studies (Russian to English, a 3-credit core course) in a higher education setting (Belarusian State University) as an additional specialization for students who are already getting a degree in a non-linguistic major (accounting, health care, management, sociology, etc.). The duration of the course is only two semesters, each lasting 17 weeks. Students who come into the program lack any knowledge about Translation Studies and the basic skills that translators need to have when they translate professionally. The current syllabus is taken from the main linguistic university of the country and was only slightly adapted.  However, there is no time to delve into theoretical details and cumbersome terminology in the two-semester program. The expected outcome of this two-semester program is that learners of Translation Studies will be able to translate texts from English into Russian, be able to explain and/or justify their translations, and discuss their performance as translators knowledgeably.
IDD&E phases involved: Analysis, Design, Development (plan), Implementation (plan), Evaluation (plan)
Reflection and self-assessment: The project helped understand why we need a model in Instructional Systems Design (ISD)–it promotes a scientific habit of mind, helps discover new questions, reveals the complex system to be simple (and vice versa). Working on my model helped realize that my actual audience was instructors of Translation Studies and not students, as I initially thought.  My H20 (water molecule) model emphasized the development phase in the IDD&E process (represented by a big circle–the oxygen analogy in the molecule), because for Translation Studies this should be always tailored to each group of students, because each group comes with different levels of knowledge. In fact, I realized that ADDIE is a very flexible model and much more intertwined (not linear) than what we usually see it represented in a 2D mode. The metaphor of water stood for the nurture: Without water, life is impossible. Without goal-oriented instruction, the skills in Translation Studies will not be acquired in the given period of time. Factors such as environment and background knowledge are to be largely accounted for with the use of the new teaching model.

Project 4: Project management plan

pm_ide761Course and grade received: IDE761 Strategies in Educational Project Management; “A”
Project title: Converting Face-to-Face Chemistry Classes to Online (*.pdf)
Contributors / authors: Yuri Pavlov, Mirit Hadar, Melissa Flint-Morgan, Jiaying Tian
Context of the project: In an institution of higher learning, the Chemistry department wants to optimize their chemistry classes and allow more time for students to practice in the labs. Instructional designers have already designed how the new instruction would look like: Most of the presentable content will have to go online. The job of our team was to design a project management plan in order to secure a safe 6-month transition from a face-to-face to online instruction. That included allocating time to transfer materials online, find a team of professionals (such as graphic designers, video experts) and establish communication channels with the Department and University’s administration. Also, we had to provide a training on how to make the most of the new online environment for instructors before the beginning of the new academic year.
IDD&E phases involved: Development, Implementation (plan), Evaluation (plan)
Reflection and self-assessment: This project not only taught to think like a project manager but also act ike one, because our educational project lasted strictly 2 months. It took our team two weeks to establish the roles and agree on them. I learned to create Gannt charts, variance reports, critical paths, organizational charts, and job descriptions. Also, to break down activities into smaller sub-activities that could be performed in one setting. Doing so ensures better control of the time, keep on time, maintain the quality, and stay within the budget. The project took me 40 hours of work and taught to communicate with the team members when there were disagreements as to how to proceed with the project. In the end, I am proud of the project because it is very detailed and, in fact, doable.

Project 5: Improving Spanish instruction at SU

ide737_screenshotCourse and grade received: IDE737 Advanced Instructional Design (Capstone Course); “A”
Project title: Language Instruction: Spanish 201 at Syracuse University (*.pdf)
Author: Yuri Pavlov
Context of the project: I took Spanish 201 at Syracuse University (SU) in the Spring 2016 semester and found out that the way it was taught did not promote learning. Students had homework focused on grammar (online workbook with audio and video materials), classroom was in many ways repetitive of what students had done at home, there was little discussions that facilitated students’ speaking activities, no metacognitive strategies were provided for students to better learn along the way. It fantastically contradicted with how kind and knowledgeable the teacher was. My question was: Why can’t I learn from our class sessions and from the teacher? To reflect on that and find a solution to the problem, I focused my storyboard on the first 2 sessions of the class in January 2016. My purpose was to re-consider and re-imagine a more purposeful way of engaging students with the textbook materials and in-class activities. The storyboard was informed by the strategies of learning new vocabulary and translational activities, as is reflected in the two appendices to the storyboard.
IDD&E phases involved: Analysis, Design, Development (plan), Implementation (plan), Evaluation (plan)
Reflection and self-assessment: This was the deepest and most hands-on project in the IDD&E master’s program at Syracuse University. It required the synthesis of all knowledge that I learned in other classes (ADDIE model) plus the knowledge of project management plus content-specific knowledge. I practiced re-evaluating an existing instruction “as is” and apply instructional design theories to enhance it. I largely drew on Gagné’s Nine Events of Instruction when redesigning the instruction and storyboarding it. I gained insight as to what an ideal language class should be like: It is one that allows students to use resources that are unavailable outside the classroom–that is, other students. The enhanced instruction is more hands-on, more engaging, more demanding that students engage in activities and discussions, allows multiple ways to practice new vocabulary in class as well as at home. The instruction involves lower and higher order thinking. The latter is possible by means of synthesizing activities at the end of the instructional unit.

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