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E-Learning and Instructional Support.

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Instructional designers facilitate Moodle course reviews

Fri Sep 17, 2021 at 01:13 PM

Kanako Taku, professor in the Department of Psychology, expected to have a long to-do list after e-Learning and Instructional Support’s (e-LIS) Instructional Designer Jess Tess-Navarro reviewed her online statistics course. However, after meeting with Tess-Navarro, Taku got help reformatting her class, learned about tools she could use to enhance her Moodle course, gained confidence in her ability to use Moodle and, most importantly, she didn’t have to do it alone as Tess-Navarro was there to walk through the process and make change with her. 

Course design is a collaboration

“I’ve been teaching a few classes, but the main class that I normally teach is statistics. Unfortunately, statistics is not the favorite class of psychology students,” said Taku. “I joined OU in 2008 and for 13 years, I only taught statistics in person. When the pandemic started, I kept everything I did in person in my online course. Last fall, I taught the course synchronously online. Forty students would show up online just like they showed up at South Foundation Hall. But this summer, I decided to change it up and teach statistics asynchronously.”

To facilitate the change in her course, Taku consulted with e-Learning and Instructional Support’s instructional design team

“I thought I could just use the materials and format that I had used in person,” said Taku. However, after a colleague reviewed her course, she knew she needed to get expert advice.

“I thought that e-LIS existed to give me advice and I’d have to do all the work. I was so afraid of getting the advice because, what if I had a long list of things I needed to fix and I didn’t know how to do it,” asked Taku. “I contacted Jess (Tess-Navarro) and she reviewed my course and put out doable points one-by-one. Jess said they were the areas that needed improvement. She said, ‘Kana, you don’t have to do everything. We can do it together.’ I was so overwhelmed and I was relieved to hear she could provide help.”

Instructional design reviews available for all courses

Tess-Navarro said Taku signed up for a one-on-one appointment with an instructional designer in e-LIS. Tess-Navarro went through a complete course review with Taku. While course reviews are done for fully-online program courses, she said it’s helpful for all online courses to get a review. 

“We certainly recommend it for all instructors and it’s a service the ID team provides to everyone. The fully online programs remain our priority and after that, it’s a first-come, first serve basis,” said Tess-Navarro. 

Taku and Tess-Navarro set to work making changes to the course syllabus, restructuring it to make it more compatible with online learning. Taku said this included reorganizing the way she posts assignments and objectives so students always know what they need to do. 

“She actually made the entire course better by just talking about the syllabus. She read the syllabus and then organized it. For me, that really helped,” said Taku. 

Course feedback provides instructional design direction

“Jess created a course feedback form. She shared it with me and even posted it in Moodle. The feedback I got from the students was overwhelmingly positive. It was a serious improvement over my previous online classes,” said Taku. One student comment stated Kana’s class was, “the best and most organized Moodle class I have taken.”

Taku said she has received other feedback from students saying her class page was helpful and easy to follow. “After the reformat of the class, I had more questions from the students about the material rather than the format. Because everything is organized so clearly, it helped their learning experience.”

As Taku taught throughout the summer, she was able to check in with Tess-Navarro with questions and concerns. 

“I feel confident in what Jess taught me through the process. I appreciate her giving me some help,” said Taku. She said she learned more about video capture and recording her lectures, providing digitally accessible content and how to make her content clean and effective for the students.

While Taku would prefer to teach in person, she said she has the confidence now to teach a well-designed course online. That is something Tess-Navarro hopes all course review participants feel after the process. She said not only will the instructional designers help review the course and suggest improvements, they can even help make the changes. 

“The ID team is also available to apply the recommended revisions to the Moodle course for the instructor, if they prefer. Again, this is on a first-come first-serve basis if they are not teaching a course in a fully-online program,” said Tess-Navarro. 

Get help from e-LIS Instructional Designers

The instructional designers are currently offering remote assistance. Make a one-on-one appointment for help with one of the supported software tools or meet with one of our Instructional Design staff members to get some tips on how to make your Moodle course more effective.