Sunday, May 6, 2012

More Goals

I have two distinct goals that are linked not specifically to this class, but to the work I'm doing as an online adjunct instructor at BYU-Idaho.

The first goal has to do with educational and professional development.

Utah State University is close to offering an online doctorate in technical communication. I recently (2009) finished their masters program, and am considering furthering my education in this arena. The doctorate program requires a teaching component. Because of my family situation, however -- three young kids to raise -- moving to Logan for this venture is problematic. The program directors at Utah State have shown flexibility and forward thinking, however, so I'm going to write a proposal this semester and submit it by the end of the year (sooner if possible), to USU to see if they'd consider a hybrid program in which I take their online doctorate classes and teach not at USU but at BYU-Idaho. This would require some research on similar programs and some coordination between the two universities that I would have to explore.

The second goal has to do with more of the nuts and bolts of the courses I'm teaching. While the information provided by Online Instruction and in the individual courses is helpful, it's scattered and not easy to swim through if a new instructor (such as myself) wants a one-stop shopping spot for information on a new course to be taught. With my wife's help, my goal is by the end of the year to put together two ebooks that I and future FDENG 201 and ENG 106 instructors could use to familiarize ourselves with the course. The ebooks would consist of all course materials, rubrics, articles, syllabus and sample schedule so at a glance an instructor can tell what's going to happen in the course over the semester. The ebook could also be of benefit to the students so they too have a one-stop shop in which to find pertinent information. The nature of online courses implies that we work on the fly, and with the advent of ereaders and tablet computers, having the information in one portable format not necessarily tied to the internet would be helpful.

UPDATE: Second goal is scratched, or at least put off for a while. Radical changes coming to the course next semester. So I offer a substitute goal:

I have had students in the past express interest/beg for more visual aspects to these online courses. I've made it a habit to find TED talks, powerpoint presentations, etc., that tie in with the weekly lessons, but that has happened only sporadically. My goal for 201 this semester, then, is to find some kind of visual accompaniment for each week's lesson and to present it as part of the weekly discussion.

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