Before I began this class, I had some experience in instructional design. I had spent about a year as the primary designer, iteratively creating curriculum for an ESL school in Taiwan. My curriculum was successful and is still in use today. I have always been proud of the structure I designed, because it was both adaptable to different classes and teachers and still targeted to relevant learning goals.
However, the more I read in this course, the more I feel that I knew almost nothing back when I was writing ESL curriculum. I would approach things very differently if I were making ESL curriculum (or any curriculum) now. The readings on learning objectives (Cennamo and Kalk, pp. 54-67), learning assessments (Cennamo and Kalk, pp. 68-84), and learning events (Cennamo and Kalk, pp. 92-115) gave me a sense of how to create curricula in a step-by-step, reproducible way.
In fact, every chapter and major unit that we have covered from unit 3 onward has improved my understanding of a more systematic and focused approach to designing instruction. I guess it is a sign of learning when one can look back on previous good work and feel slightly embarrassed for its deficiencies.
I really enjoyed breaking down the case studies in class with Dr. Richardson and my classmates, after having worked on them. I particularly enjoyed the discussion surrounding case study 3, which I thought was complicated and somewhat ambiguous in its presentation. In my experience, problems are not often simple when they get presented, even if the underlying case may not be so complicated. Thus, it is valuable to work through cases full of ambiguous or extraneous information because they give us a feeling for applying a systematic instructional design approach to what some might call a total mess.
I used my article review reading as an opportunity to
explore a topic I have written only very basic curriculum in: Computer Science.
Of course, with access to the university’s resources, I ended up reading
several articles about teaching computer science, and then choosing one for
more focused reading. It seems obvious to me that computer science is one of
the most important subjects. Meanwhile teaching it to a wide audience is, to
use a common term in computer science, “a highly nontrivial problem.” After
reading the article, I am looking forward to trying an “unplugged” approach to teaching
computational thinking, which promises to offer entry points for some of the
students who do not do well in traditional computer science classes (Aranda and
Aranda, George and Ferguson, Paul, 2018. Unplugged Programming: The Future of Teaching Computational Thinking? Pedagogika, 68(3), 279-292
Carliner, Saul and Driscoll, Margaret. 2019. An Overview of Training and Development: Why Training Matters. Shorewood: Lakewood Media Group.
Cennamo, Katherine and Kalk, Debby 2019. Real World Instructional Design: An Interactive Approach to Designing Learning Experiences. New York: Routledge.