Journey through Instructional Design

EDUC6115 Heather Wagner

EIDT6511 Week 7 Assignment – Discussion Questions

Getting to know your classmates

When starting a new class, especially online it can be hard to get to know your classmates.  Students should be able to work collaboratively and share ideas throughout the course.  It is much easier to do this if you know your classmates and understand their expectations as well as the expectations of the course.  By putting these expectations out there each student is fully aware of what is expected of them throughout the course.  Palloff & Pratt say “asking participants to comment on expectations gives the instructor a process check, a means by which to determine whether or not everyone is beginning this journey from approximately the same starting point” (2008, p. 7).

For this weeks discussion please provide a brief introduction of yourself.  The introduction should include name, location, education, current job, and why you are taking this course.  Also, please provide a list of your expectations of this course and what you hope to achieve upon finishing this class.

Please see the the below rubric for grading this discussion.

Discussion Rubric



Palloff, R., & Pratt, K., Promoting Collaborative Learning, Building Online Communities). Copyright 2007 John Wiley & Sons Inc.


Plagiarism Detection and Prevention

Unfortunately no matter the method of delivery Plagiarism is evident in both the traditional and online classroom.  Plagiarism “occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (non common-knowledge) materials without acknowledging its source” (Jocoy, C., & DiBase, D., 2006, p. 2).

Methods to detect plagiarism have drastically changed over the last decade.  Now software is available to help educators with this task.  Two software programs available are EVE (Essay Verification Engine) and  I am most familiar with  Turn it In is an online detection service that “catches web plagiarism and checked sources from students’ bibliographies for plagiarism from articles not available on the web” (Jocoy, C., & DiBiase, D., 2006, p. 5).  Essentially students upload their assignments, discussions, etc to turn it in and the software tells you what percentage, if any, is plagiarized.

One of the bet ways to prevent plagiarism is to make sure your students understand academic integrity and how to apply and practice it in their online classrooms.  Academic integrity is “a basic guiding principle for all academic activity” (Jocoy, C. & DiBase, D., 2006, p. 1).  These principles are to ensure that students do their work on their own and that if they use others work they properly identify it.  Academic integrity requires students to develop a sense of moral reasoning.  I’ve ran into situations at work where students do not understand exactly what Plagiarism is.  As an instructor it is important to educate your students on this as well as ways to prevent it.  Plagiarism isn’t always intentional; some students may not know how to cite references properly in their work.  Adult learners are under a lot of pressure to make good grades and be successful, but in no way does this pressure entitle them to plagiarize work.  Make sure your students understand the concept of academic integrity and make sure they understand exactly what plagiarism is.

Other ways instructors can prevent cheating or plagiarism is to flat out tell students that will be used.  Telling students ahead of time should deter them from purposely going out and using someone else’s work.


Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Jocoy, C., & DiBiase, D. (2006). Plagiarism by adult learners online: A case study in detection and remediation. International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning, 7(1), 1-15.


Impact of Technology and Multimedia

 Technology has a huge impact on online learning.  Technology, in fact, is what allows us to have online learning environments.  It is important, when it comes to technology; to remember is to keep it simple.  Technology allows us to do anything from upload a document and have online discussions to adding videos and games to the online learning environment.  When implementing technology into the online learning environment, three things to keep in mind when implementing technology tools are: “think about the characteristics of these tools, how students use the tools, and what you are hoping to achieve” (Boettcher, J., & Conrad, R., 2010, p. 111). 

 As an online instructor it is important, before implementing any type of technology in the classroom, that you yourself understand it.  You don’t have to be an expert but you do have to know how to explain it and help students if they need assistance with whatever technology you add to your classroom.  As an instructor, you also need to know the technological abilities of your students and how familiar they are with the technology being used.  You don’t want to implement technology that is beyond the learner’s capacity.  Also, make sure the technology you use has a purpose, that it’s relevant to the information you are presenting.  Don’t use technology just to use it, make sure it has a purpose.

 Technology has allowed for more interactivity and engagement in the online classroom environment.  Adding technology to the classroom increases students knowledge of technology itself as well as makes the classroom interactive.  There are so many web 2.0 tools out there the possibilities are endless.  Personally I like the interactive games and teaching tools that are out there for instructors.  I also like the avatars that can be added to the classroom to give instructors more of a visible presence in the online environment.


Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical  pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.


Launching a Successful Online Learning Experience

Using technology in an online classroom is essential.  However you don’t want to overdo it.  As an instructor you want your classroom to be simple yet interactive for the students.  It is imperative to know the technology available to you for this reason.  One of the major technology tools available to instructors is the Course Management System (CMS).  To successfully launch an online learning experience an instructor, at minimum, should know how to upload “text documents, setting up and creating discussion forums, and setting up and using the grade book” (Boettcher, J., & Conrad, R., 2010, p. 57).  Knowing how to use the technology available to you is an integral function of the instructor to provide a successful learning experience.  If you have technology you do not know how to work and can not help students when they need it, you will end up with a lot of frustrated people.  Technology “makes it possible to design almost any learning experience that you have designed for your face-to-face environment” (Boettcher, J., & Conrad, R., 2010, p. 58).  In the online class room, an instructor, should “pick one to three [technology tools] that are best suited for your learning goals and discipline and learn those” (Boettcher, J., & Conrad, R., 2010, p. 58).

Another way to create a successful online experience is to communicate clear expectations to your students.  Make sure a syllabus to all students.  The syllabus provides performance goals and course requirements to students.  It also “includes an overview of the course goals, a description of the course content resources, the course schedule, and the assessment plan” (Boettcher, J., & Conrad, R., 2010, p. 68).  It is important that this information is provided to students so they know what is required of them to be successful in the classroom.  Instructors can also use discussions to post reminders about assignments that are due in the announcement section to help keep students on track.  Students and instructors need to have a social presence in their course because “learner satisfaction with their online learning course is directly related to their social or virtual presence of their faculty member” (Boettcher, J., & Conrad, r., 2010, p. 75).   Setting clear and “unambiguous guidelines about what is expected of learners and what they should expect from an instructor make a significant contribution to ensuring understanding and satisfaction in an online course”  (Boettcher, J., & Conrad, R., 2010, p. 55).

These are not the online considerations an instructor should take into account when setting up an online learning experience.  Instructors must make sure to crate a sense of community, “a sense of shared understanding, knowledge of one another, and mutual support, even if values are not shared” (Boettcher, J., & Conrad R, 2010, p. 55).  Instructors must also be patient with themselves and students with developing their online learning skills.  As these skills develop both student and instructor are able to become “more active learners and take more responsibility for what they know and the skills and values they want to develop” (Boettcher, J., & Conrad, R., 2010, p. 55).



Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.




Hi everyone!  Happy 4th!  Looking forward to another great class and following everyone’s blog!


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Online Learning Communities

I believe that learning communities are the foundation of successful learning for online courses.  These communities stimulate “learners to actively participate in the learning situation and thus gain the most knowledge from being a member of an online learning community” (Conrad & Donaldson, 2011, p. 5).  In an online environment it is essential that students are “active knowledge generators who assume responsibility for constructing and managing their own learning experience” (Conrad & Donaldson, 2011, p. 5).  The online learning environment helps to promote learning and satisfaction by creating an engaged community environment that an online student would normally get in a classroom setting.


The essential elements of building online community consist of creating a safe and dynamic environment (Laureate Education, Inc., 2013).  Instructors must create an online community that allows students to speak freely and express themselves, an environment that allows students to build community amongst themselves.  Instructors need to let students know, as a facilitator, how they are going to support their learning process in their online community (Laureate Education, Inc., 2013).  Instructors assist with building an online community by providing an environment for learners to share and discuss ideas freely amongst themselves.  According to Dr. Palloff the three main elements of community building are people, the process, and social presence (Laureate Education, Inc., 2013).


In order for online learning environments to be sustained they need to be constantly supported and facilitated by the instructor to encourage constant student interaction.  Students need to feel like they are part of the learning process, like they have contributed and become a part of the learning environment.  Orientations allow for sustainability to ensure that the student knows how to function in the online environment and how to use the features of the environment.


Online instruction and community building go hand in hand.  With out the community building in the online environment, allowing students to interact and learn from each other there is not effective online instruction.  Effective online instruction comes from learner engagement and the interaction with one another to create a successful learning environment.


Conrad, R., & Donaldson, J. A. (2011). Engaging the online learner: Activities and resources for creative instruction (Updated ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2013). Online Learning Communities. [Narrated by Dr. Rena Palloff & Dr. Keith Pratt] United States

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Scope Creep

Scope creep is “the gradual expansion of project work without forma acceptance or acknowledgement of their associated costs, schedule impacts or other effects” (Turk, 2010, p. 54).  Scope creep is a project managers worst nightmare.  With budgets tight no project manager wants an unplanned expense.  A few reasons scope creep occurs are:  poor initial project requirements, unwillingness of project manager to say no to the client, no forma review and approval process for change, and the mindset that one change won’t make a big change in the grand scheme of things (Turk, 2010).  All these are wrong.

I worked awhile as a project manager for some apartment communities in town doing interior renovations.  The renovations included all new lighting, fixtures, hardware, carpet and vinyl (if needed), installing trim, new appliances, and new paint.  When repainting the apartments we would run into numerous drywall repairs that needed to be performed in order for the unit to look presentable and be fixed correctly.  The issue was the apartment manager would want the renovation budget to pay for these repairs, but it was unclear as to whether the repairs were actually included in the budget.  The budget was so vague nobody knew whether the property or the project manager were to pay for holes in the wall, wall paper removal, etc.  We would have repairs run upwards of $500 which was more than painting an entire apartment.  The stakeholders were contacted and it was decided that any holes etc larger than a size of a quarter were the properties responsibility.  This cleared  up a lot of the ambiguity as to who paid for what.

As a project manager, I would have made the budget more specific.  Rather than lumping the repairs and painting all into one category, I would have given them separate budget lines and allotted an amount for painting and then a separate amount for repairs.  Working in a predominately college community the apartments had a lot of wear and tear and repairs should have been allotted in the beginning.  Also, the scope of work should have been specific as to what repairs were covered.


Turk, W. (2010). Scope Creek Horror.  Defense AT&L, 39(2), 53-55.


Effective Communication

Communication is key to any successful relationship whether its professional or personal.  Time after time, in the workplace, I hear “there was a breakdown in communication”.  Communication is “sharing the right messages with the right people, in a timely fashion” (Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer, Sutton, & Kramer, 2008, p. 357).  There are so many different methods of communication that sometimes it is hard to determine the best method of communication for a particular situation.  I do know, that “perception is reality” when it comes to communication.  Our tone, punctuation, facial expressions, etc all help deliver the message to the recipient.  We must be careful in delivery so the recipient does not take the message the wrong way.

This week we reviewed “The Art of Effective Communication”.  In this video the same message was delivered 3 different ways; email, voicemail, and face to face.  The first communication was an email from Jane to Mark asking for the report to be sent over to her as soon as possible.  The first thing I noticed is that the email seemed to be in Bold font giving a sense of urgency.  The other thing I felt was that it seemed to be somewhat accusatory that it’s Marks fault she is behind on her report because he hasn’t gotten it to her sooner.  With email, depending on the mood that either person is in, the recipient or the sender, the email can be interpreted many different ways.  I’m not sure email is the best way to communicate regarding something that has such a tight schedule.  In this situation I probably would have tried to speak with the person and then followed up with an email for documentation purposes.

The second delivery of the message was voice mail.  In the voice mail, Jane still communicated her sense of urgency but it seemed a little less accusatory.  In the voice message Jane acknowledges that Mark could be in a meeting all day yet she does still need the report.  She addresses the fact he is more than likely working so that is the hold up on her getting the report.  The problem with this I think is what if Mark doesn’t check his messages when he’s done with his meeting? Voice mail could also be used as a follow-up method to either a face to face conversation or an email.

The third delivery method, in my opinion, is the best.  The face to face method alleviates any possible misinterpretation of meaning.  Also Jane needs the report right away so speaking with someone face to face ensures she gets her point across and more than likely gets an answer immediately.

As project managers it is important for us to be able to communicate effectively both written and orally. (Portny, et. al, 2008).  We also must determine the best method of communication for the situation at hand.  As project managers, “planning project communications up front, enables project managers to choose the appropriate type of communication for sharing different messages” (Porty, et. al, 2008, p. 357).


Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2010). The art of effective communication [Video]. Available from

Portny, S.E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project Management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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Project Management – Post Mortem

The project that comes to mind that was not successful was our school changing from 12 week to 6 week classes.  We are on the quarter system and were offering 12 week classes.  The President of our division felt it would be better to move to two 6 week classes a quarter, so the student was taking one class at a time (like we do at Walden).  The idea was that retention rates would improve with students taking only one class at a time allowing them to focus only on that material.

With any project it is important to remember “considering past experiences  helps to ensure reality, while involving people in the development helps to encourage their belief in and commitment to achieving it” (Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer, Sutton, & Kramer, 2008, p. 79).  One of the biggest down falls of this project is that it just did not have the support of the team.  Upper management believed in it but those at lower levels did not, as well as our corporate office did not support it.

During the perform phase of the project one of the main steps is to keep everyone informed.  (Portny, et. al, 2008).  This never happened during the project.  Those of us involved in the implementation were not kept abreast of feedback from students, or any of the data of the results of the implementation.  No one knew how the implementation was progressing or whether changes needed to be made.

Another big factor was that for some reason was never considered was that our ground campuses offer 12 week classes they did not do 6 week classes.  Implementing this change caused a lot of lost revenue for our division as we could not get ground campuses to enroll their student in 6 week classes.

From my standpoint, I never saw that there was a specific project manager.  It seemed like there wasn’t a clear definition of who was in charge, too many Chiefs not enough Indians.  I believe if the roles were broken up more than they were and communication was improved the project could have gotten more supporters.  I think the project could have been successful if there was a clearer role definition of those involved.  Also, at that time we were changing book publishers (with a lot of books on back order) if the project was delayed another 6 months so that the we could have gotten settled in with our new publishing company it would have been more successful.  Change is good for companies but only when its effective, too much change at once causes chaos and frustration for those involved.  And the one major downfall was not considering our ground campuses, our own customers of online education.  Switching to 6 week classes without their support and losing their income was a huge mistake all around.  The final result, after almost a year an a half, our school went back to offering solely 12 week classes.


Portny, S.E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project Management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


New Class EDUC6145

Hi everyone!

Looking forward to another great class and learning about project management with you all!