EdTech 543 Final Reflection

Unfortunately, Social Network Learning is coming to an end. I am always sad when a course comes to an end. I get very wrapped up in them and make new friends that I likely won’t work with again.  543 was a great course for several reasons. First, It was very social. I got to work with and learn from others.  I learned more than I thought I would. Third, the course schedule was great for learning. Being given 2 weeks for each assignment allows you to really indulge in the material and not just rush to get assignments done. Fourth, the course was designed to use the material we were learning about. Dr. Gerstein practiced what she preached and writes about the development of this course here. Finally, I got to use new tools I wouldn’t have and learned some new skills (more on that below).

The infographic below covers the highlights of what I learned. I will go into more detail below it.

543finalreflection

What did I learn?

I learned a lot. I’ll list the main things here:

  • Facebook is more useful for education than I thought. We used a Facebook group for our class to share content and to give feedback to each other.
  • I learned the theory behind communities of practice. COPs are “groups of people who share a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.” They have 3 key components: the domain, the community, the practice.
  • Learned how PLEs and PLNs are different but related.
  • Explored my digital footprint and learned how to manage it.
  • Learned how to maintain a positive online reputation.
  • Curation differs from collecting. Curation adds value and context to resources. It tells a story.
  • Developed better understanding of the roles my devices, services, and tools play in my PLE.
  • Learned how to develop and evaluate social media policies.
  • Most importantly, I learned how to effectively incorporate social media into an educational module.

I also got to use some new tools:

  • Twitter tools:Tweetdeck, #hashtags, chats
  • Curation tools: ScoopIt, Livebinders
  • Facebook groups
  • Piktochart

How will I apply what I learned?

I will be using the skills I learned in this class. The final course project, a mini curricular unit, will be used this upcoming semester in a course I teach. The mini curricular unit incorporated all we learned in this course. In the future, social media (in some fashion) will be incorporated into all the courses I develop. I will be the first educator at my medical school to use social media in a course. I hope to change the mindset of the students, faculty, and administration so that others incorporate it into their teaching. Finally, I will be studying the effect of Twitter as a spaced repetition tool in a course that I teach.

Finally, part of this assignment is to grade my own blog post (75 pts max).  I went back through each module to reflect on what I learned. I covered what was expected in the reflection. Thus, I give myself 75 points.

 

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COPs, PLN, and Connectivism: A Creative Expression

Nonlinguistic representations can facilitate deep learning of a concept. In the 2nd module of EdTech 543, I explored communities of practice, personal learning networks, and connectivism. These are related but different concepts. The graphic below represents a simplified view of how I learn from people and resources. I’ve tried to represent how personal learning networks (PLN), communities of practice (COP) and connectivism relate  to each other.

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Communities of practice are defined as “groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly” (Wenger-Trayner, 2015). They have three important characteristics. There is a shared domain of interest to which the COP is committed and has special competence in. The community shares and learns from each other. The goal is to develop and cultivate a shared practice which results in resources, knowledge, tools, processes, etc. COPs can be sustained or transient depending on their goals.  I am a member of several COPs in diverse domains of interest that have no overlap (my inpatient internal medicine ward team, a prostate cancer screening guideline panel, my classmates in EdTech 543, for example). COPs are indicated by the multicolored groups of people in the above diagram.

Connectivism may or may not be a unique learning theory. Some view it as unique while others consider it a branch of social  constructivism. As learning theories often do, it integrates other principles including those of chaos, network, and complexity and self-organization theories (Siemens, 2004). Knowledge is not contained in any one individual but is distributed across a linked network of  nodes. Each node is a resource or knowledge source. Learning is the “construction and traversing of the network” (Downes, 2007).  What gives this theory some validity to me is the observation of Landauer and Dumais (1997) that people have much more knowledge than appears present in the information to which they have been exposed. We each have small amounts of knowledge that gets amplified when we network. When I first read about connectivism I realized this model really fits patient care well. As physicians, we can never know everything about every disease or have the technical abilities to perform every procedure. So we consult other specialties (the nodes) to provide information. It is the network that cares for the patient.  In the above diagram, connectivism is indicated by the lines between me and the COPs, individuals, and the tools I use for learning (web, video, social media, and print materials). Some of these connections are very strong and I use them a lot (darker lines). Some are weaker and don’t get used as much (lighter or dotted lines). Some connections occur in person (line emanates directly  from me) and some are mediated via technology (lines emanating from devices). Some connections are very close geoprahically and some are long distance. Some connections are indirect and are mediated through a person I am directly connected with. Some of my connections are also connected to others in my network and to some of the COPs I am a member of. Many of my connections are independent of each other.

I have been cultivating my personal learning network for a few years. A PLN is a group of individuals you connect to in order to learn from and with, collaborate with or be inspired by. PLNs are intentional and as such go beyond friendship.  They are usually mediated via social media. I mainly use Twitter, blogs, and various Diigo groups. A PLN differs from a COP because COPs are made up of individuals with a shared domain and are designed to produce a product. PLNs are often composed of people from various domains. For example, my PLN contains educators, instructional designers, EBM experts, clinical experts, medical journals, and philosophers. I use my PLN to learn about lots of things.  PLNs are designed for personal needs while COPs are usually designed for corporate needs (I use corporate as an inclusive term. It could be a corporation or a school or a garden club, for example.). The COPs I’m a member of are designed to accomplish very specific tasks (for example, develop a prostate cancer screening guideline).

How are these related?  PLNs and COPs are tools or ways in which we can work together to learn, create products, and/or improve processes. Connectivism helps explain how and why we connect and learn within PLNs and COPs.

Now it’s your turn. How do you think these concepts are related? Is my diagram a reasonable representation of these concepts? How could I improve it?

References:

Downes, S (2007). Msg. 30, Re: What connectivism is. Connectivism Conference: University of Manitoba.  Message posted to http://ltc.umanitoba.ca/moodle/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=12

Jackson, N. (2015, May 14). Seek, sense, share: Understanding the flow of information through a personal learning network [Web log post]. Retreived from http://www.lifewideeducation.uk/blog/seek-sense-share-understanding-the-flow-of-information-through-a-personal-learning-network

Landauer, T. K., Dumais, S. T. (1997). A solution to plato’s problem: The latent semantic analysis theory of acquisition, induction and representation of knowledge. Retrieved from http://lsa.colorado.edu/papers/plato/plato.annote.html.

Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. Retrieved from: http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm
Wenger, E. and Wenger-Trayner, B.(2015). Introduction to communities of practice: A brief overview of the concept and its uses. Retrieved from: http://wenger-trayner.com/introduction-to-communities-of-practice/.

EDTECH 506 Assignment: White space

Wrist - Arthrocentesis 101- An Online Course for UAB Internal Medicine Residents 2016-03-31 17-12-29

The above page is a screen capture of a blended course I am developing on arthrocentesis. This week we learned about white space. White space is the area between visual elements whether that be text, graphics, or elements within a graphic. Its the background color. It is used to separate elements and to direct the eye to important information. It can be used to clarify information.

Write a justification paper for the activity you select. Describe the following:

  • Your users and the assumptions you make about them (such as age, reading level, and assumed skills). My users are internal medicine residents who have graduated from medical school.
  • Why you think your solution will work; include at least two ideas from the book, including page numbers and your interpretation of the passage used. I use white space to chunk and organize the information (Lohr 2008, p. 272).       Chunking is grouping of information in meaningful or related clusters (Lohr 2008, p. 125). I also use white space to evenly distribute the graphics/pictures in each information cluster.The site is simplistic in design but has symmetry. I wanted to project professionalism since it’s a site to educate medical professionals (Lohr 2008, p. 275). According to Lohr, symmetry can be boring but I think the graphics and color scheme of the template help with that some.
  • What you learned from a “user-test” (have someone look at the image and verbalize their thoughts while looking at the image). I asked 2 faculty to evaluate the page. They felt the spacing was good. Information was broken into meaningful chunks. It was visually appealing.
  • The changes you will make based on user comments (or create a revised image). My colleagues had no suggestions for improvement.

 

EDTECH 506 Assignment: Organization

Week 6 Graphic_ Fluid Analysis-3

Organizing information (or at least helping our learners organize information) is one of the most important roles of a teacher in my opinion. Chunking, using visual cues, and hierarchy are all ways to organize information.

I am designing a blended course on arthrocentesis. The graphic describes the types of fluid that can be obtained from a joint and its diagnostic characteristics. I created the image using Google Drawings. The cells are labelled for reuse from Wikimedia.

Write a justification paper for the activity you select. Describe the following:

  • Your users and the assumptions you make about them (such as age, reading level, and assumed skills). My users are internal medicine residents who have graduated from medical school. They would recognize the cells in the graphic and understand all the terms.
  • Why you think your solution will work; include at least two ideas from the book, including page numbers and your interpretation of the passage used. I use chunking to help organize the information. Chunking is grouping of information in meaningful or related clusters (Lohr 2008, p. 125). Shape (the circles) facilitates chunking and comparison of the types of fluid (Lohr 2008, p. 252). Each circle is a chunk of information that is related. I also limited the amount of information (5 pieces) in each chunk so as not to overload working memory. I don’t have a lot of white space between my chunks but the circle outlines help delineate the chunked information (Lohr 2008, p. 126). I depict hierarchy (as you go left to right the diagnoses get worse) in this image in 2 ways: increasing WBC from left to right and darkening of syringes from left to right. Also using the horizontal makes the most important information standout (Lohr 2008, p.128).
  • What you learned from a “user-test” (have someone look at the image and verbalize their thoughts while looking at the image). I asked 4 learners to evaluate the image. I asked for their overall gestalt about what the image was depicting and then specifically about what each of the circles was depicting. I also asked them what stood out in the graphic (ie what drew their vision).

Learners understood that the graphic was depicting the possible types of joint fluid and what the testing of the fluid would reveal. They said they noticed the circles in the middle of the graphic mainly.

  • The changes you will make based on user comments (or create a revised image). Learners had no suggestions for improvement.

 

EDTECH 506 Assignment: Color

Gout3

This week we studied the uses and effect of color in designing a learning graphic.  The graphic above helps learners differentiate two types of crystals found in joint fluid which are commonly confused with each other. I used this graphic previously but have altered the color scheme some. Color plays an important role in this graphic. I created the image using Google Drawings.

Write a justification paper for the activity you select. Describe the following:

  • Your users and the assumptions you make about them (such as age, reading level, and assumed skills). My users are internal medicine residents who have graduated from medical school. They know all the terms used in the graphic.
  • Why you think your solution will work; include at least two ideas from the book, including page numbers and your interpretation of the passage used. Color plays an important role in this graphic. According to the textbook color has 4 instructional functions: labeling, identifying quantity and measurement, representing reality, and aesthetics. (Lohr 2008, p. 265). I use color to represent reality. The colors of the crystals approximate the true colors of the crystals. The purple circles approximate the background as seen in a polarized microscope. I also use color to label or differentiate information. I chose different colors for the text describing each of the crystal types to help learners remember the differences between the crystals. While the colors of the text aren’t exactly the same as the color of the crystals but they are representative of the color. I think the color of the text makes this information stand out thus helping selection (Lohr 2008, p. 267). I decided in this iteration to make the labels (Gout and pseudogout) the same color as the text hoping to tie it together better.
  • What you learned from a “user-test” (have someone look at the image and verbalize their thoughts while looking at the image). I asked several learners to evaluate the image. I asked them specifically about the color scheme of the text describing the crystals.

They commented that they liked the color scheme. They felt it would help remember the information better than if the text had been in black. They also felt that using black font color was fine for the words “Gout or Pseudogout?”.

  • The changes you will make based on user comments (or create a revised image). I changed the font color for the words “Gout or Pseudogout” to match the color of the text describing the crystals.

 

EDTECH 506 Assignment: Selection

Selection is the “cognitive process of attending to particular visual and auditory stimuli” (Lohr 2008, p. 100). We select things we want to remember from other stimuli and then we organize it into a mental model and integrate it into long term memory. One of the jobs of the instructional designer is to help learners to select what is important. We can help our learners select by using contrast, alignment, repetition, and proximity (CARP). We use tools like type, color, shape, design, and space to accomplish CARP. I helped you pay attention to “selection” by having it contrast with the surrounding text by making it blue (color) and bold (type). These same principles can be used in graphics.

I am designing a blended course on arthrocentesis (inserting a needle into a joint to either remove fluid or inject medication). The graphic demonstrates two bony landmarks that guide the location of insertion of the needle for arthrocentesis of the shoulder joint. This graphic will be used in the “Shoulder” section of the course. I created the image using Google Drawings.

Write a justification paper for the activity you select. Describe the following:

  • Your users and the assumptions you make about them (such as age, reading level, and assumed skills). My users are internal medicine residents who have graduated from medical school. They know the terms used in the graphic.
  • Why you think your solution will work; include at least two ideas from the book, including page numbers and your interpretation of the passage used. Initially I was going to use drawings of the shoulder to demonstrate the anatomy and landmarks but as noted in our text “in areas such as medical education and engineering, realistic images are considered more effective” (Lohr 2008, p. 101). Also, my learners are advanced and familiar with shoulder anatomy. As such, their visual cognitive processing will not be overloaded by the realistic image as might a novice’s visual processing. While this is not an elaborate graphic I think the use of a bright, contrasting color (blue) to outline the bony landmarks serves the role of selection (Lohr 2008, p. 108). I also made the text in a different color than the bony outline to serve the role of contrast. In this image the landmarks are the figure and the rest of the image is the ground.

In the second image, I use a black circle to note the point of needle insertion. The use of shape (circle) guides the learner and the black color contrasts with the skin and blue outlines of the bony landmarks. I removed the labels of the landmarks so that the focus becomes the point of insertion and not the labels. In this image I wanted the circle to be the figure and the shoulder with the landmarks to be the ground.

  • What you learned from a “user-test” (have someone look at the image and verbalize their thoughts while looking at the image). I asked 2 faculty to evaluate the image. They thought the images easily demonstrated the anatomic landmarks and where to insert the needle. They didn’t feel the syringe gave enough information about the intricacies of the angles and directions of needle insertion. I use the syringe with an arrow just to convey the idea that the black circle is where you stick the needle.
  • The changes you will make based on user comments (or create a revised image). I didn’t make any changes.

 

EDTECH 506 Assignment: CARP

Week 7 Graphic_ Gout-3

CARP stands for contrast, alignment, repetition and proximity. These actions are used in a graphic to help learners select, organize, and integrate information.

I am designing a blended course on arthrocentesis (inserting a needle into a joint to either remove fluid or inject medication). The graphic I designed how to differentiate two types of crystals that can be found in joint fluid which are commonly confused with each other. Again, the circles (I chose circles because when you look in a microscope the visual field is circular) indicate what would be seen under a microscope. I chose the purple color because the background in a polarized microscope is purple. This graphic will be used in the “Basic Principles” section of the course. I created the image using Google Drawings.

Write a justification paper for the activity you select. Describe the following:

  • Your users and the assumptions you make about them (such as age, reading level, and assumed skills). My users are internal medicine residents who have graduated from medical school. They know all the terms used in the graphic.
  • Why you think your solution will work; include at least two ideas from the book, including page numbers and your interpretation of the passage used. I use shape to facilitate comparison of the types of fluid (Lohr 2008, p. 252). I use a sans serif font (trebuchet) to improve legibility of the title of the graphic and the text inside the circles. I am more concerned with legibility than readability as there are only short bursts of text instead of long passages of text (Lohr 2008, p. 227). I use repetition of the circles to tie this graphic to the one I made last week as they will be located on the same web page. I wanted to create a sense of unity (Lohr 2008, p. 203). I also use repetition in the design (same lay out of each half and same reminder at the bottom of the page). I also tried to use repetition of an important letter (N and P) in each half of the graphic to help the learner remember the most important characteristics. I use color to approximate the color of the crystals and the color is used for all text of each of the crystal types. All “body” text is left aligned and horizontally aligned across the graphic (Lohr 2008, p. 201).
  • What you learned from a “user-test” (have someone look at the image and verbalize their thoughts while looking at the image). I asked 2 faculty to evaluate the image. I asked for their overall gestalt about what the image was depicting and then specifically about the color scheme and scripting of the text. They commented that they liked the color scheme and scripted reminders at the bottom.
  • The changes you will make based on user comments (or create a revised image). I didn’t make any changes.