Unit of Instruction, MDDE 604

This artifact is a standalone unit to teach long division to second language adult Arab males who, in general, do not know their multiplication facts and are not allowed using a calculator. (2.5) Teaching long division to people that don't know their multiplication facts is a challenge; it took me years of research and trial and error to find this solution. I actually used this method for teaching long division, but only for one semester, as my long overdue request was accepted and students were finally allowed to use a calculator to assist them. Prior to creating this unit we were required to develop a needs assessment, identify problems or needs, and describe the potential solutions to the problem or need. (2.2) In order to gain broader insight into the potential perceived gap, I interviewed other college staff. (5.9)

I debated about whether or not to add this artifact to my e-portfolio, as I did quite poorly on parts of this assignment and it's rather embarrassing to publicly display this; however, I believe in failing forward, i.e., learning from what goes wrong, and regardless of the poor quality of parts this assignment, I learned a lot. (My mark: Intro 5/5, Body 12/15, Interaction 3/5, Assessment 3/5, Aesthetics 5/5, Essay 4/5 = 32/40)

Not only did I do poorly on parts this assignment, but the professor marking the assignment offered very little constructive feedback. Over the years, this lack of knowing how I could have improved this assignment, coupled with a really low grade, triggered a lot of reflection around why I did so poorly and how I could have improved the assignment. I suppose I could have asked the professor for additional feedback, but it didn't. To be honest, if the professor had offered constructive feedback, then perhaps I wouldn't have thought as much about this assignment as often as I did. I had a lot of time to think about this assignment, as MDDE604 was my third course in my MDE program.

The main focus for improvement, with respect to this project, is the instructional videos. Watching my instructional videos would literally put you to sleep. Mostly, I use a monotone voice and many of the videos are over five minutes long and some over eight minutes. If I found my videos on YouTube, I wouldn't even watch them! I have learned that if I want to maximize learner engagement and time on task then I need to use a conversational tone, as if I am speaking to another person, not alone in my office talking to my computer, which I am actually doing. The first part of the following video demonstrates my lack of conversational tone and you can see that the second video is over eight minutes long. (Please don't watch the whole video, as it is dreadful!) (2.3)

In addition to the lack of conversational tone and conciseness, I made instructional videos rather than designing and creating reusable learning objects. Next time, I make instructional videos; I will reframe my thinking, analyze the learning objectives in greater detail, and try to deconstruct them in order to increase their granularity--meaning take one idea and break it up into smaller chunks. This way, the videos are more succinct and direct for the learners, and they can be reused somewhere else in the course, in another course, or by any other teacher or student. In the following video, I could have separated the concept of long division from the concept of finding multiples, as finding multiples is an objective that is repeated in many other areas of math courses that are not related to long division. (2.7)

Lastly, all of my videos could have been edited to make them shorter. Using simple editing features to de-emphasize, emphasize, or speed up different areas in the videos would have made my videos more engaging. In the following video, I could have sped up certain areas to lessen the wait times. (2.3)

I have not been over critical of my assignment, but rather critically reflective on my work, as I am always interested in learning and improving--failing forward.

Despite my review of my videos for this assignment, I am pleased with the final assessment in this unit, as it aligns with my belief in social constructivism and creating community (2.3). Even though this assessment is more of a supplantive approach (teacher-directed) it is beneficial for the students with which I currently work. Working in VoiceThread provides a space for learners to co-create knowledge together, which could potentially become relevant learning objects that could be used in the course at a later date, in a manner that supports connections between the students and community building. (2.1)


Link to artifact: http://tppma103.wikispaces.com/Long+Division

Related Competencies

2. Instructional Design & Development
2.1 Discuss the implications of personal perspectives and epistemological orientations for the teaching-learning process.
2.2 Apply systems theory and systems analysis techniques to instructional design situations in distance education.
2.3 Describe and apply a range of learning and motivational theories to instructional design situations in distance education.
2.5 Develop instructional products or learning objects in distance education.
2.7 Apply instructional design principles and models in distance education, in your workplace, or in other instructional contexts.

5. Research
5.9 Conduct effective interviews for research purposes.