505 – Entry #6

Over the past two weeks we have been engaged in another collaborative assignment which has proven somewhat more difficult than the last. This assignment includes the development of another evaluation based on a senerio that involves making a recommendation to a superintendent about the development of local delivery of online high school credit courses as mandated by the state. The evaluation is to determine potential problems associated with the development of local delivery of these online courses and make recommendations to the superintendent. In finding a direction for this evaluation our group has had some difficulty finding a focus. We have spent considerable time trying to establish the parameters of the evaluation, specifically whether or not we should include a comparison of the potential benefits and drawbacks of online courses at all and whether or not to include a comparison of positive and negative aspects of local versus distributed delivery of the program.

One question we developed: What are the academically established benefits and drawbacks for students enrolled in online courses?

If the state has mandated the requirement should we address whether or not online courses are educationally valuable? My take on this is that if a committee is tasked to find problems with the development of local online courses, one of the issues for teachers (those that will be required to deliver this instruction) will be how is this method better/more efficient for students? Teachers will need convincing that this is a good thing, and we need to be able to tell them why.

Another area of contention is the projected outcome for staff when a mandated online component is required. It is my contention that even though the number of students will remain the same and theoretically there shouldn’t be a reduction in teacher jobs, an online component will require a restructuring of teacher assignments. Some teachers will be unable, or unwilling to adapt. This is a major problem area for me as a member of the evaluation committee.

Our group has arranged to meet tonight on an established Google doc to try and clarify and focus our evaluation…we will see!

In terms of my final evaluation, I have completed my EPD and timeline. After some advise from Dr Perkins I have scaled back the number of over-riding questions in an attempt to reduce the scope of the evaluation. I have interviewed the coordinator of the Challenge program at our school and have developed the surveys for the students, teachers and parents. I will be administering the surveys this week as well as organizing interviews and observations.

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506 – Selection

This weeks image uses concepts from the reading that deal with enhancing selection for the learner. The image I created uses a plain white background and a grey world map, which minimizes distraction to the viewer and forces the eye to the figure; the process of micro-financing. I also used colour to coordinate and combine images in the mind of the reader. I have mentioned in previous posts how it has been interesting finding theory behind designing images that for some people are intuitive. I think before reading this chapter I have unconsciously used this concepts of minimizing distraction and reducing cognitive load in most of my images thus far. I tend to subscribe to the “less is more” school of thought, and usually try to reduce much of my work down to what is truly needed; not just in graphic design, but also in my teaching and writing. In designing instruction I carefully consider each element to make sure it is integral to the overall objects…if in doubt leave it out! This is a difficult concept for early writers who like to throw as much information at a topic as possible in a desperate attempt to cover the topic.

This is my favorite image I have designed in this course so far. Out of all of them, I think this one is the most effective in its simplicity, colour design and message.

References:

For a complete list of references please link to:

http://edtech2.boisestate.edu/barryjanzen/502/figure-ground.html

506-CARP

This weeks assignment was to develop an image for the proposed unit of instruction using the principles of contrast, alignment, repetition, and proximity. I think it is important to stress that these four  elements are great concepts to consider when developing an image for learning, however they do not all necessarily have to be used in every image. As a photography teacher I make it a point to teach my students to be aware and pay attention to design principles, but also to remember that they are only principles and not steadfast rules. Sometimes breaking these guidelines to make an impact-full image or photograph is worth the risk. My image this week was originally built on a black background which, as we all know, is problematic when designing text and graphics for readability. I felt as though it was successful and had impact even though it did not have 100% contrast. Some of the text required effort to make out, but that was part of the appeal of the image to me. Many of my peers commented on the readability issue and so I changed it…reluctantly.

You be the judge.

references:

Lohr, L. L. (2003). Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual literacy. Prentice Hall Press

“Cloud” image source: http://tinyurl.com/66elr2b (Retrieved October 11, 2011)

505 – Entry #5

Over the last two weeks we have been working in a couple different areas in the course. A  major part of the time was spent on the development of an evaluation quiz in the form of a Google presentation. This was a great way for students to internalize some of the concepts and vocabulary in the world of evaluation, requiring students to find or create images that metaphorically represented the content of each slide. We have also been working on a mock proposal for an evaluation contract individually, and then collaboratively in groups of three. The development of this proposal requires students to consider all elements of a proposal from the introduction to the methods of evaluation to the inclusion of a time line and budget. Through this process learners apply some of the knowledge acquired over the first few weeks of the course in a mock realistic setting. The process of collaborating with peers on a final draft of the proposal has also been valuable as we take the best concepts of all three and find ways to merge them into one. We chose to set up a wiki to house all three proposals and to provide an online space for feedback and comments before drafting a final proposal on a new page on this wiki.

Finally, a major portion of these past two weeks has been the reading assignments on the topic of Problem Analysis. Identifying and analyzing problems is clearly a key element of the job of an evaluator. It is imperative that the evaluator gathers as much information as possible regarding the problem and also be aware of potential problems that may arise during the delivery of a program including the evaluation. It seems to me that a good evaluator needs to be a part time psychologist or at least have the ability to understand the motives and actions of people.

Image Source:http://tinyurl.com/699deh3

Edtech 506 – Design Process

The work this week centered around a design model labelled ACE (Analyze, Create, Evaluate) and included the PAT concept (Principles, Actions, and Tools). I found this material timely in that I was also currently working on an assignment in Edtech 506 that required the development of several images that where metaphorical representations of the concepts described in a series of slides. I was also delivering a unit of instruction in a Language Arts class that required the students to find or create images that represented various elements of a short story. Both of these assignments require students to make visual connections between concepts; a process called synectics (Lohr, 2008) as described in the text as “…a set of strategies used to stimulate and enhance creative thought” (Gordon, 1961). Coming up with the ideas for a graphic for learning is, for me the hardest part and using the strategies outlined in the text offered a great starting point for this weeks assignment in 505 and 506. Using metaphor to increase meaning and impact has always been an approach I have used and encourage my students to use.

“Juliet is the sun” Three words that tells us everything we need to know about Romeo’s feelings toward Juliet.

The ACE model is an instructional design model for developing graphics for learning. When the designer is faced with the task of creating a graphic for learning one must analyze by identifying its instructional function, content classification, and consider the type of approach (artistic or heuristic) (Lohr, 2008) It is in the create phase that the designer generates ideas and works with in the PAT model as described above. After completion the graphic is evaluated by assessing its effectiveness, efficiency and appeal.

I have found that It is through the class discussion forum that the graphic can be evaluated much more effectively than through self assessment or even having a colleague look at it. As an artist it can be difficult to objectively evaluate your own work. One gets too close to their creation to see how it can be improved.

Another connection with this weeks material is the relationship between the ADDIE model of Instructional Design and the ACE model for the development of graphics or even strategies for instruction.  Within the design and development phase of instructional design is where a designer can apply the ACE model.

 

References:

Gordon, W.J.(1961) Synectics. New York: Harper & Row.

Lohr, L. L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual literacy. Prentice Hall Press

 

EdTech 506 – Shapes

This weeks assignment dealt with the development of effective images for learning using simple and complex shapes. I choose to use the persuasive writing element of my unit as the basis for the image. After considering the concept itself, I choose to use a simplistic colour and shape design concept, utilizing a black to white gradient to symbolize the gradual process of persuasion. With three simple elements as the key points in the graphic I also choose to include a hotspot link to a web page containing more detailed information. Not having created a hotspot image since early in Edtech 502, I had to go back and revisit some of the ins and outs of Dreamweaver. These are the types of assignments/projects I really enjoy doing in the edtech program, creating, experimenting and getting feedback on your work from your colleagues.

I’ve found it fascinating to find principles behind how shapes work in the mind of the learner and how these principles can be used to increase the effectiveness of an image. For example, the mind creates perceptual groupings based on simple shapes (Lohr, 2008), therefore a designer can harness this concept in the design of their image. A designer can use shapes to suggest unity, harmony, process, systems, and focus.

 

References:

Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: lessons in visual literacy. Pearson/Merrill/Prentice Hall.