Over the past two weeks, we have been developing an online unit as a means of practicing the concepts being studied this summer. I chose to create a professional development module on using primary source documents in lieu of a traditional lesson for two reasons. First, I wanted to develop something that I could use with the teachers I coach this year. Using primary sources in the classroom is always a challenging thing to convince teachers to implement if they aren’t already doing so of other own accord. Secondly, I wanted to experiment with the differences between the online structure of a professional development course versus a traditional course (i.e. my history classes). What resulted from this experiment was my constant comparison and reflection between traditional and continuing education (professional development) courses. I had to reconsider the purpose and intended outcomes of each course element when designing this PD course. This depth of thought has undoubtedly helped me to reconsider both the way I develop professional development (traditional and online) as well as my traditional history courses. This was not an outcome I anticipated.
I found trying to manipulate the environment within Moodle to be the most difficult aspect of the assignment. In the past, I have taught in Blackboard (several versions) as well as Canvas. However, Moodle seems to be a bit more complicated to manipulate and adapt. In several instances, I had to search Google and sift through the Moodle documentation to figure out how to do something – this is something I almost never have to do in Blackboard or Canvas. The other thing which was relatively difficult was trying to determine how much work is appropriate. I love sharing lots of resources and ideas which can overwhelm first time online learners or those not well versed in the content. Forcing myself to scale back on the resources being shared and the activities assigned was something I really focused on during this unit.