Brief description: What is this course about? Where/how will it be taught? Who are the learners?

The course I am working on redesigning is a blend of Information Literacy Skills and Historical Fiction. Students read works of historical fiction, and learn to conduct research by doing activities aligned with the historical fiction pieces. The culminating project allows student to choose their final product, but they must use the inquiry method of research, and it must include conducting historical research and creating their own historical fiction piece (short story, movie, etc) or regular research paper.

This course is designed to be taught completely online for high school juniors and seniors. In the past, there has been a blend of honors and regular students in the course. Although there are no official class meetings, students have access to the teacher in their school building and are encouraged to meet with the teacher.  Because the learners are high school students, and likely have little to no exposure to online learning, careful consideration needs to be made to ensure learners do not become overwhelmed by the technology or the activities. Chunking of information is important to ensure that students do not become glazed over and miss out on important information being delivered. Consideration needs to be given to ensure that chunks of content are broken up by application and practice type activities. It is also important to incorporate a variety of learning activities to address differentiated preference for learning style. A blend of written, audio and video content delivery, coupled with quizzes, discussion, jigsaw activities, individual practice assignments and peer review are important to ensure that students are able to make meaning of content through Absorb, Do and Connect type activities.

There are no prerequisites. It is currently not being taught.

Things that are working well in my course. This can be related to what or how you teach, how students respond, or about the technology. What do you like about teaching this course?

I believe the overall layout of the course works well, building on skills in each module. I believe the historical fiction pieces I have chosen work well. I love when something we read sparks a curiosity in a student, and I love teaching them to think critically about what they are reading. One of my favorite activities when this course has been taught in the past is asking them to fact check the pieces we read to make sure they are historically accurate. I think this lends itself to reminding students to be careful trusting everything they read. The current design of the course (before taking ID) did allow for chunks of information followed by a reinforcement activity. This allowed learners to immediately apply what was taught.

Things that I’d like to change about my course. Again, what drags you down? It could be technology, disinterested students, lack of discussion, etc.

I really want to revamp the course overall to incorporate everything I have learned here at Stout. When I originally built it, I had no formal training in online teaching, and was going solely on what I had seen in courses I had taken. I have been rebuilding little pieces in each course here at Stout, but know it needs an entire overhaul before it is taught again. I definitely want to rework the discussions and their focuses, as well as the previous “dump and quiz” model of assessment I was using for some of the skills. I also want to try to make the activities more meaningful to students in their everyday lives.

The most frustrating or irritating aspect of my course is:

It is currently mostly me spewing information out, and asking them to apply it. I want to work in more socially mediated understanding rather than just “lecturing” the students.

The most time consuming aspect of my course is:
Other than revamping the entire thing, providing feedback to students - but I wouldn’t change this aspect for anything!