First Reading Reflection — J Pratt

This class, along with 8150 (Project Management) is my introduction to the Instructional Design program at GSU and to the field itself. Dr. Richardson’s iCollege section is very well-organized and I have enjoyed the modular nature of our readings, how they form a cohesive unit, supporting each other and the textbooks. This format, with class discussion following a variety of material about the topic, is both fun and I feel like I am assimilating a lot of information smoothly. Since a portion of what I am learning is to create online courses, interacting with a beautiful online class, made by a good designer with strong learning principles, is maybe the deepest case study of all.

Given that the student experience of this type of course is something that I have to think about, I am carefully attending to my own reactions along with anything I garner from my fellow classmates. Already, I am becoming opinionated about clarity and good design in online learning. I also am now keenly aware of the learning curve on the student end of the online learning experience.

So far, I have only spoken about the implicit “reading” of this course. My favorite part of the explicitly assigned content has been the case studies, since I can synthesize the things I am learning with my own prior knowledge and present my solution to the questions in the clearest way I can come up with.

As for the textbooks, they have given me reasonable overview of each section, which has correlated nicely with Dr. Richardson’s weekly clustering of media and assignments. The optional readings have also been very high quality and fit perfectly with the weekly topic.

My second favorite reading was one of the optional ones during the learner characteristics section, which introduced me to the topic of student Cognitive load. This relates very directly to computer science education which is one of my own interests. When teaching a computer language, I have found there are so many skills and tasks involved that students can get overwhelmed by the tools, the specific tasks, or the very concept of a structured computer language, and entirely miss the target learning. After reading that article, in my own time I have used University resources to go down the rabbit hole on reading about strategies for managing students’ cognitive load.

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