Learning Systems Design and
The work that follows demonstrates the mastery of these competencies. These projects have been developed as class projects.
Conducting Needs Assessment and Evaluations
This is a summation of a needs assessment review done for an University Alumni Group’s communication processes towards their members. The review was part of the requirements for the Needs Assessment for Instructional Design course, ISLT 9474. I was responsible for reviewing the strategic communication practices to determine if appropriate steps have been put into place to ensure the memberships are being communicated effectively. Data gathering methods included interviews, observations and surveys of executive members and current alumni members. The report includes descriptions of the data gathering process, as well as examples of the interview protocol, survey and observation instruments.
As I worked on this project, I thought about the differences between performing an assessment for a group that I am a member of with doing an assessment for a group from the perspective of a nonmember. I realized that the interviewees, etc, were comfortable with my presence and as I knew more about the Alumni Group’s history. So conducting interviews and asking questions was much easier for the organization. I wasn’t an outsider hired by the executive board Working on the assignment, I recognized that sometimes these needs assessments can be viewed as intrusive by some. I tried to make sure that the data gathering methods were as neutral as possible and that the results would represent the truth, while not offending individuals.
The findings indicated no major changes were recommended to be made to their communication methods. I felt that the tools I created to support the evaluation were comprehensive and inclusive of the concerns that initiated this evaluation. The interview protocol and surveys provided a lot of information however upon evaluation of the created assessment, further exploration into how many members open emails from the organization could have added more to the findings. Looking back at this report, I think that an interview and recommendations from an UX expert about the Alumni group’s website might have added more to the report findings.
As part of my course work for ISLT 9455 this report was completed with an assigned classmate. Our self-selected task was to evaluate the University’s online program myLearn as a learning tool. The final project reflects both formative and summative evaluation components. The formative evaluation plan uses subject-matter expert testing, questionnaires, usage tracking, and focus groups. The summative evaluation plan is similar with one exception, the plan uses user testing instead of subject matter experts.
Designing Learning Environments
The modules of the Computer Support for Cooperative Work (CSCW) class built up to the task of designing a prototype for a commercial real estate brokerage marketing department in order to improve the ability to support cooperative work. The assignment allowed us to choose either Sakai or design a new system. After exploring cooperative support tools such as Twiddla and interviewing the marketing team, in which I was also an employee, I decided to improve their marketing projects workflow to develop a prototype interactive job board.
I had to interview the marketing department staff about their systemic problems concerning project workflow. Prior to the interview we did a quick evaluation of their current systems that supported cooperative work and chose a function or two that could be improved. While this is not a full needs assessment, we did conduct analysis of their digital media sharing protocols and uses of Microsoft Outlook. From the results of the interview and our evaluation, we designed a job board to support cooperative work. In order to address some issues such as new job notifications and project tracking, I added the ability to archive chats so the marketing team who, is not a part of the chat could review what was accomplished. In addition, the marketing manager can review the chats as a formative assessment tool to check the marketing team’s project status. The work demonstrates my competency in designing learning environments, including systems for direct instruction, constructivist learning, collaborative work, and performance support, plus developing learning systems applications or components of applications.
I posted the tool for other classmates to evaluate. In addition, I was to evaluate two other classmates on their CSCW proposed designs.
While I did not actually code and build a working piece of software, I used low fidelity prototyping that was designed to mimic what our design was to demonstrate. The prototype underwent design changes once I completed all evaluation activities and submit reports based on the feedback.
This project was executed in two phases. The first phase I worked collaboratively with a classmate assigned by the professor. We had to complete a prospectus, personas, scenario and storyboards for a performance support system for the MU Hospital. The project was to design a support system that was referred to as On Demand Video Assistance Competencies (ODVAC) for their operating rooms. The concept was that this system could be used by nurses and hospital technicians in the operating room for locating, operating, maintaining and cleaning complex surgical equipment.
I was fortunate to have my project partner for the first project phase She was a nurse who had previously worked in surgical centers. We had meetings using our mobile devices and used Google Docs to collaboratively work on the prospectus, personas, scenario and storyboards. We had meetings two to three times a week during the first phase. She was wealth of medical knowledge and provided much of the information for the project prospectus, personas and scenarios. Based on her understanding of medical procedures I was able to design the storyboard and all graphics used in the project. The other classmates gave us positive feedback about our work.
In the second phase, we were required to separate from our group and individually work on creating our own ODVAC prototype. Using Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Fireworks I made a prototype mock-up and presented it in a html website. Next I conducted an usability protocol with a participant that has not been a part of the project. After the user testing was completed and reviewed I revised the design of the prototype.
When all was said and done this was a rewarding process, creating a prototype for ODVAC. Not working with my teammate for phase two was unsettling. It was confusing when I read in the module that we would be working in teams and then no longer working as a team. Nonetheless, it strengthened my resolve to complete the prototype. I feel the prototype I presented in the html pages could be a credible product. My skepticism about the prototype project was dissuaded by the positive feedback from the professor.
Developing Learning Systems
My experience with web design was limited to using Adobe Photoshop and Dreamweaver to develop my online graphic design portfolio. I learned how to layout a website as an image, using technique in Photoshop called slices, then convert them into working sites. I eventually realized my method to web design was not allowing me to get the level of sophistication that I was noticing with many modern websites. I was self taught in coding for html and CSS. My skills were later reinforced after taking the course Intro to Web Development. In this course for Introduction to Digital Media I learned about 3 new media and how to produce them.
The course final project was to create a website to showcase the 3 media projects we made during the semester. I built the site using Notepad++ and Adobe Fireworks, a website was created that showcased and explained the media types from my previous three projects in the course. After the site was published to the server, I conducted a usability test with three different people. After the usability test was done I made revisions to the site based on the findings of the test.
The first assignment for the Intro to Digital Media was to test acquired skills using image editing programs like Photoshop. The requirement of the assignment was to make two banners in JPEG format and a icon GIF image. For the banner images a few effects were to be used. The background image of the banner had to have a zoom effect. The foreground images needed to be cut out of the original and placed on a layer above the background image. A transparency filter also had to be used for one of the foreground images. The GIF icon image needed to have a cutout effect making have only web colors.
The next assignment I produced a voice recording of me in Adobe Premiere using fast sampling and section cutting features. There was a number of sections where I was either breathing heavy or laughing. This allowed me to figure out where to cut the audio faster instead of recording the myself over and over. It was saved as a MP3. I then realized I could perform the same editing technique in Adobe Audition. I was able to cut down a sample of song and use it for a background track. I then mixed it with my vocal recording and reduce the length of the audio to one minute.
The third assignment was to produce a video. I decided to make a fast paced video montage of a trip to Las Vegas with my brother. This video took place in 2013, I feel a disclaimer of the video’s subject matter is warranted because the footage takes place in a Las Vegas gun range. This is no way a commentary of the tragic events that recently happened at the Mandalay Bay hotel. We recorded the footage via iPhone. I used Adobe Audition to use make the soundtrack intro and background. Then I was able to use Adobe Premiere to edit and stitch the footage together. Finally adding the audio and title sequences completed the finished video.
I enjoyed working on these projects and putting them into a website. The greatest strength of formatting this into a html website is the ability to change assignment information without having to return to the the html code. Since taking this class I was eager to use these learned skills. I was able to apply what I learned in the class to my position with the University System and work with other departments that needed content development.
Learning how to create a usability test was the most valuable lesson I took away from the class. Usability testing was helpful to get feedback about my site to make it better and more complete. I asked a group of people to participate in usability testing. They were able to point out a few inconsistencies I had overlooked (text errors, blurry pictures, and broken links). I designed this website for a wide range of ages. I appreciated the viewpoint from different age groups that had tested the website. I continue to use skills that I acquired in this class in my daily work, I feel these concepts have been worth a lot to my professional growth. I have more of an understanding what web developers tackle when designing a website. This class also helped me in future classes in my graduate program, such as Intro to Digital Media and Interaction Design.
With the same client taken from the needs assessment course I created a walk through learning module for Marching Mizzou Alumni Band content management system (CMS). The individual assignments for the rapid development tools scaffolded the skills needed to create an interactive learning system. The topic for the interactive project was determined by the student. I chose this alumni organization as the client because I am a member and wanted something I could share with them. The project demonstrates my ability to create motion, use quizzes and provide feedback to the user as they complete the interactive presentation.