Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Finishing an ISWO course

When an ISWO course comes to a close, I have such mixed feelings:
  • Relief that it is over, that it went pretty well and I get part of my life back (time-wise.)

  • Melancholy because it is over... for a few days I find myself with time on my hands and going back to the course site to see if anyone else has posted something... thinking about things I should have shared/suggested... and missing the group and its energy.

  • Excitement that the course and the participants brought and continue to present new opportunities... I now know these folks and count them among my colleagues... I will look forward to seeing them on campus or in an Elluminate session.
I think each time I have facilitated ISWO I have ended up being the Instructional Designer on at least one of the participant's courses. Although we have no actually data/research to prove it, I really think participating in ISWO makes a difference in how instructors structure and facilitate their next courses. For some, they look for ways to use particular tools (wikis, narrated PPTs, video, blogs, polls, etc. Others design ways to put more control in the hands of their students, having them facilitate activities or make Elluminate presentations or perhaps they find ways to make the workload more manageable for their students and for themselves. Almost everyone has a renewed desire to make assignments and expectations clear and new ideas for building community in their online courses.

In at least three cases, I was concerned that I had created a monster! The instructors had a ton of things they wanted to do in the courses and some complex ways they wanted to do them. In all cases, I counseled simplicity, clarity and perhaps a reduced number of activities. I think they all were happy for my suggestions around clarity but most chose to figure out how to manage the number and complexity of activities. I made a point to check in with those instructors at least a couple of times during their courses and although they admitted to being very busy they all sounded like kids with a new pony. The courses were going well and they were having fun. What more could I ask for?

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