After reviewing my first concept map, I realized that most of my thoughts concerning online courses revolved around what I had to do: the content I had to teach, my professional responsibilities, the expectations of both the institution and the state conveyed through an excess of policies and directives. This was a shocking observation because I often advise other teachers to consider students at the center of their work in the classroom. Clearly, I do not follow my own advice! As such, designing and teaching online courses has previously been a fulfilling but exhausting endeavor. It is difficult to try to please all stakeholders simultaneously. By the end of each semester, I never feel as though I have done enough. There is this persistent, nagging feeling that I should have designed or managed the course better. I end up carrying that feeling through each semester despite making changes and adaptations to the courses for a better design and learning experience. What I have realized throughout this course is that online design becomes more manageable if one considers students and their needs primarily. By adopting students as a central focus, I think all of the other aspects I used to primarily consider will fall into place.
So, when redesigning my concept map, I placed the students at the center. Then I considered their needs as related to the information I learned in class. I also simplified the concept map to include essential elements. The concept map is designed to indicate the process of planning by first considering a student’s profile and then using that information to determine their needs as learners and in relation to the content. I felt as though student characteristics, available resources (both content and tools), the content, and andragogy principles were the central components for designing a course to meet student needs. While presence is an important consideration when developing the course, I felt as though it is something that must be considered beyond the design process into the actual management of the course, which is why it appears towards the left of the planning process. This concept map is still a work in progress, but I at least have a better conceptualization of how to begin planning and developing future online courses.
I am still planning on implementing the Diigo primary source assignment with students in the future. I also want to share the primary source professional development module with my history teachers this year. Both will require a bit more planning and adaptation, but I have done most of the hard work already in class this summer!