Scope Creep

Scope Creep

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            Currently, I am dealing with the perfect example of scope creep within a project. Due to my state standing strong with its push of the common core standards, our district has been changing some of the course objectives and goals. The fine arts are also in the initial stages of changing the content of our course to match the new national core arts standards that was just rolled out a month or so ago. With these two huge initiatives it seemed like the right time to reevaluate each of the classes we teach and the course objectives.

District 186 has six high school art teachers and we have started the process of working together to achieve these new standards and implement them into our classes. What started out strong and seemed most of us were heading in the right direction quickly changed. The art teacher that I working with in my building has been in the district the longest and took it upon herself to change the way we look at each high school. She thinks that we need to start our own Fine arts academy and have a high school geared towards the arts. A lot of this push from her stems around the huge budget cuts our district faces. This year we lost one art teacher and if things do not change financially in our state we may lose more. Her thought that if we have a fine art academy it will make it harder for our district to continue to cut the arts. She has brought school board members in and other content areas to try and make this happen. Another problem is that the art teacher has placed a mentality with the other art teachers of “either your with us or your against us” with the new school.

While I agree, a fine art academy would be huge for our district; it has definitely changed what we first set out to do. It is one thing to change the standards for some classes we teach, but it is another to change the entire culture in which we view our high schools. A project of this size could take years to implement as opposed to a few months with the standards.

Here is why this occurred. First, we do not have any project manager; it’s basically a free-for-all. We have a fine arts coordinator, but her expertise is in music and not visual art, so she tends to stay with the music side of things. As stated, Portny et. al. describes the (2008) “process leads to misunderstanding on the part of the party requesting the change, and before the project manager can undo the dam- age, the organization is committed to extending the scope of the project”(p. 346). This was done when school board members were brought in about the fine art academy without a discussion with the other art teachers and coordinator.

While I believe the idea of a fine art academy is great, I think it will eventually get squashed by board members due to funding. The biggest problem we face is all the time wasted with this and very little has been done with what we initial set out to do. With no true leader, I often times think I work in a modern day Game of Thrones.

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Reference

Portny, Samuel E. Project Management: Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling Projects. John Wiley & Sons, 032007. VitalBook file.

Wk 5 Assignment – Work Smarter, Not Harder.

Wk 5 Assignment – Work Smarter, Not Harder.

            The nice thing about this blog assignment is the simple fact that there are many resources available to save time. Why reinvent the wheel when others have created powerful tools to help with both estimating costs and tracking schedule. Look through some of these resources I hope to utilize the saying, “work smarter, not harder”. Below contains two resources I found to help the project manager estimate cost a and scheduling.

1. Christy Tucker – Instructional Design Blog.

Tucker provides some useful tips and templates to create schedules. These templates are located on Google docs and can be copied and altered to fit anyone’s situation. As opposed to spending the time creating the layout of a schedule, a project manager can use the template and spend more time working on the numbers and not the format. Tucker even explains how to use her template and make a copy of it for anyone to alter the information.

2. Dale Munson – Estimating Instructional Design and Development Time

As we have noticed, this week estimation is critical for the success of the project. According to Scott Price (2005) project managers “milestones are usually missed because of poor definition or lack of proper planning” (para. 1). Switching gears from templates, the above article by Munson focuses on the process the project manager should take. Munson has some excellent information on his experiences as an instructional designer and the ADDIE process. Munson focuses his article on why the development stage of ADDIE takes longer than any other stage. Munson states, “We need therefore to expand our old ways, extending the industry-standard ratios to include the increased number and complexity of significant conditions that affect our effort-hour estimates” (as cited in Price, 2005).

ADDIE

References

Price, S. (2005). Estimating Instructional Design and Development Time. Retrieved from http://www.learncentrix.com/estimating-instructional-design

Tucker, C. (2013). Time Tracking Template for Instructional Design. Retrieved from http://christytucker.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/time-tracking-template-for-instructional-design/

Paper, Rock, Scissors?

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Clear communication is critical in projects of any size. Dr. Troy Achong states, “communication may be bigger than the project” (Laureate Education, n.d.). This week’s blog assignment shows us three different forms of communication, email, voicemail, and face-to-face. It was evident that as we moved from email to face-to-face the effectiveness increased. Does this mean that any information should be communicated face-to-face? Of course not, simple statements or questions could easily use an email to communicate properly. However, in this example, the message displayed some need for important data, which requires face-to-face contact.

Email

The biggest problem with emails is because the reader may not understand how things are phrased. Was that sarcasm? Is he or she mad? What document does the person want? These are all examples on how emails can lead the reader down another path. Dr. Stolovitch states, “ambiguity kills, be precise” (Laureate Education, n.d.). Jane is not specific enough with the report being requested from Mark. The bottom line, email, is a great tool, but we should show caution with when to use it and when not to.

Voicemail

Just by adding an actual voice to the message the listener does not have to question the tone being relayed. Voice takes out the uncertainty to a message. We still end up questioning that report Jane may be requesting, but at least the tone does not derail the information. The other problem with using this form of communication is due to the importance of the information. What if Mark doesn’t check his voicemail frequently? Time may be wasted if he doesn’t know a message exists.

Face-to-face

The face-to-face message was similar to the voicemail, but it contains one important factor. The face-to-face allows Mark to ask questions if he is confused on what report Jane is requesting. It also gives Jane the satisfaction that she knows Mark received the message and is working on getting the information out. One important thing Jane must do is “document oral communication” (Laureate Education, n.d.). Proper documentation of all forms of communication is critical for any project manager.

References

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Communicating with stakeholders [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_4856561_1%26url%3D

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Practitioner voices: Strategies for working with stakeholders  [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_4856561_1%26url%3D

Multimedia Program: “The Art of Effective Communication

Week 2 Blog Post: Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned

          In all honesty, I have not encountered very many projects in my professional career that required me to work with other stakeholders. As an art teacher, I am left alone at times and not required to work with any district assessments or common planning since I am the only teacher to teach the classes I have. It can be frustrating not being able to work with others that teach the same class, but it is also nice to have the freedom to create projects around my student’s needs. Instead, I will look at a personal project that I worked on which revolves around my professional career.

Last year I was commissioned to do a painting from a person who saw some of the prints I donated to a local charity. I usually do not work on commissioned pieces because of time and the demands some people possess. After meeting with the client, we determined that he wanted a very large painting of Michael Jordan showing emotion. I was very excited about this since my last Jordan piece went over so well. After I found an image and altered it using Photoshop I brought it to my client. The client seemed very excited about how I altered the image and was ready to move forward with the painting. The client was very adamant about me sending him weekly progress photos of the painting. I was a little concerned about this since as an artist I felt it was too controlling. I started the painting and it wasn’t a few days into it he sent me some new photos of Jordan to consider. I was dumbfounded by the emails since we already agreed on the image. I quickly sent him what I had completed so far and he seemed happy once again. Another week went by and more photos of Jordan came my way from my client to look at. At this point, I was almost halfway done with the painting and didn’t know what to do. I decided it was best that I meet with him to make sure we were on the same page. After we spoke in person we both seemed better about the painting. A few days later I receive an email about the painting and his thoughts on starting over. It was at this point I lost all motivation and decided to cut ties with the commissioned piece.

There were several lessons I learned from the project. First, I need to make sure the client is 100% certain of the concepts I will create. Possibly adding a contract during this initial meeting will help me gather deadlines and liabilities while the client ensures this is exactly what they want. Second, even though I had heavy communication with the client during the time we worked, it solidified that this communication is paramount in any project. Achong stated “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and I couldn’t agree more (Laureate Education, n.d.). If I did not communicate with the client I may have wasted more time working on a painting that he was ultimately unsure about.

I never would think of looking at scope when being commissioned for a painting. However, this is exactly what I should have done. Scoping the work with a client would allow me to define what the customer wants, consider prerequisites, or in this case, alterations, and the technical requirements. (Laureate Education, n.d.) Overall I learned a great deal about myself in this situation. I made some mistakes, but mistakes are just a way for me to learn what to do if this situation happens again.

 

Below is the painting partially completed. I leave it in my room at school as a reminder of what could happen the next time I agree to take on a commissioned piece. Last week I decided to start working on it again, which sparked the reason for using it as my example.

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References

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Defining the scope of an ID project [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_4856561_1&content_id=_18049942_1

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Practitioner voices: Overcoming ‘scope creep’ [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_4856561_1&content_id=_18049942_1

Bittersweet

         The completion of this course brings both joys and sadness. The joy of receiving a well deserved break after such and rigorous course and the sadness of ending something that was truly starting to make my brain fire on all cylinders. Distance education has such a deep meaning to all of us because we as learners felt strongly enough about it that we have enrolled in it and are submersed with it’s meaning. The future of distance education is strong and will continue to show prominent growth. There are several ways we as instructional designers can continue its growth and advocate for its effectiveness. Utilizing theory, connecting the content to the learner, and staying educated on new technologies will help improve the field of distance learning in a positive and meaningful way.
         The future of distance learning will continue to grow because of advancements in technology and more people understanding the value of it. However, technology has allowed corporations and businesses to decrease the cost of services provided. Corporations use technology to lower prices to the consumer but education tuition and rates continue to increase. Wadsworth (2012) states “The overall inflation rate since 1986 increased 115.06%, which is why we pay more than double for everything we buy. On the other hand, during the same time, tuition increased a whopping 498.31%” (Para. 3). These inflated rates must stop or the success of distance education could be impacted. If the rates maintain while the rigor and job placement increases then distance education will blossom.

ImageImage retrieved from http://inflationdata.com/inflation/images/charts/Education/Education_inflation_chart.htm

         There are many ways we can advocate for distance learning. First and foremost, graduates of online programs that are proficient in his or her job will help any scrutiny that distance education faces. Showing the corporations that we are just as knowledgeable as a brick and mortar university is critical. “In a survey done by online institution Excelsior College and Zogby International, 83 percent of executives in the survey say that an online degree is as credible as one earned through a traditional campus-based program” (Zupek, R., 2010). I believe this percent will continue to increase as distance learning continues to grow.
         There are three things that will help me be a positive force in the distance education field. First, understand the different theories or methods and how to incorporate the correct one into the learning objectives. Simonson et al. (2012) states, “theory is important to the study of distance education because it directly impacts the practice of the field” (p. 41) Second, we must connect the content to the learner and create a community. Siemens states, “a community is the clustering of similar areas of interest that allows for interaction, sharing, dialoguing, and thinking together” (as cited in Kop, R., Hill, A., 2008). Third, we must continue to gain knowledge in new technologies within distance education. Together, these three things will help me become proficient in the distance educational field.
         Overall, this course has helped me step closer in joining the field of instructional technology. I think that I have the motivation and desire to continue to learn about new technologies in the field. My experience regarding theory needs improvement, as well as my understanding on how to connect the content to the learner in a more proficient way. In golf terms, I have just hit a great drive in the center of the fairway with a nice approach shot ten feet left of the flag. With a few more classes and some more experience that ten footer for birdie will almost feel like a gimme.

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References

Kop, R., & Hill, A. (2008). Connectivism: Learning theory of the future or vestige of the past?. The International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 9(3). Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/523/1103

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

Wadsworth, G. (2012). Sky Rocketing College Costs. Retrieved from http://inflationdata.com/inflation/inflation_articles/Education_Inflation.asp

Zupek, R. (2010). Employers on online education. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/worklife/03/29/cb.employers.online.education/

 

Converting Distance Learning Format

Prior to this course I would think nothing of converting one of my classes to a distance learning format.  It seems if you have the content available, then it is just a matter of uploading it online.  Boy was I wrong.  In order to successfully convert a class to distance learning a lot of planning and preparation must take place.  Using the scenario provided below I have created a Prezi to bullet some of the key ingredients needed to implement and sustain such a class conversion.

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Scenario

A training manager has been frustrated with the quality of communication among trainees in his face-to-face training sessions and wants to try something new. With his supervisor’s permission, the trainer plans to convert all current training modules to a blended learning format, which would provide trainees and trainers the opportunity to interact with each other and learn the material in both a face-to-face and online environment. In addition, he is considering putting all of his training materials on a server so that the trainees have access to resources and assignments at all times.

 

If you have problems watching the Prezi, wordpress does have issues supporting it.  Here is a direct link to the Prezi

http://prezi.com/zabracowtdpl/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

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Image from Ballentine, A., McKenzie N., Wysocki, A., Kepner, K. (n.d.) The Role of Monetary and Non-Monetary Incentives in the Workplace as Influenced by Career Stage.  Retrieved from https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/HR/HR01600.pdf

Digital Typography with MIT

When I look at the concept of Open Courses I am immediately impressed. These schools are offering learners the ability to gain knowledge for free. In some ways it reminds me of projects I do around the house. I am the type of person that would rather learn something new then pay someone to repair it. Over the years, YouTube has been a blessing for my home repair projects. However, after several attempts to locate a course that would fit my needs, I started to become disappointed. Massachusetts Institute of Technology offered the type of course I was looking for with Digital Typography. At a quick glance, it seemed to have everything I needed, syllabus, calendar, assignments, and projects with examples, all downloadable. As I dove further into the curriculum I started to get the feeling of “you get what you pay for”.

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After five weeks I am really starting to think as instructional designer. When reading through these courses, theory kept popping in my mind. These open courses have a lot of characteristics of the Theory of Independent Study by Charles Wedemeyer. Simonson et al. (2012) states, “Wedemeyer set forth a system with 10 characteristics emphasizing learner independence and adoption of technology as a way to implement that independence” (p. 43). Since these courses offer the ability for learners to simply gain knowledge, independence becomes critical.

MITOPENCOURSEWARE

Course – Digital Typography

Instructor – John Maeda

Level – Graduate

Link–  http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/media-arts-and-sciences/mas-962-digital-typography-fall-1997/

The course from MIT does meet some of the guidelines for the “perfect” online course according to Simonson et al. It offers assignments, a textbook, and plenty of student examples based off the ten assignments given. However, I find that it lacks more than it should. Visually, it does not offer any videos or lectures with audio. Also, the syllabus is very weak and only offers limited information about grades, handouts, exams, and late work. Simonson et al. (2012) explains, “the course syllabus is the “glue: that holds the course or the learning experience together” (p. 259). Offering a more detailed explanation of each category will help set the stage for each learner. The course also does not allow any feedback from the instructor. Feedback is critical, especially with younger learners. Morrison, states “Prompt feedback allows students to assess existing knowledge, reflect on what they have learned, what they still need to learn, and receive suggestions for improvement” (as cited in Morrison, D., 2013). This seems to be a common problem found in many free programs. Another issue evolves around the date the class was taught. A course that is 17 years old could have some dated information, especially when it is based around digital typography.

It is honestly hard for me to critique a course that is offering something for free. However, it seems that many of these open courses either offer plenty of visuals but lack assignments and projects or provide the exact opposite. If a learner is looking to gain some knowledge in a particular subject, than open courses could be an option. However, these courses show little, if, the attempt is to create the “perfect” online course.

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References

Maeda, J. (1997). Digital Typography. MIT OpenCourseWare: Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved from http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/media-arts-and-sciences/mas-962-digital-typography-fall-1997/index.htm (April, 5th, 2014)

Morrison, D. (2013). Four Good Reasons Why Students Need Instructor Feedback in Online Courses. Retrieved from http://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/four-good-reasons-why-students-need-instructor-feedback-in-online-courses/

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance:Foundations of distance education. Boston, MA: Pearson

 

 

 

 

Example 2: Interactive Tours

A high school history teacher, located on the west coast of the United States, wants to showcase to her students new exhibits being held at two prominent New York City museums. The teacher wants her students to take a “tour” of the museums and be able to interact with the museum curators, as well as see the art work on display. Afterward, the teacher would like to choose two pieces of artwork from each exhibit and have the students participate in a group critique of the individual work of art. As a novice of distance learning and distance learning technologies, the teacher turned to the school district’s instructional designer for assistance. In the role of the instructional designer, what distance learning technologies would you suggest the teacher use to provide the best learning experience for her students?

 

            Even though I am an art teacher, this can be a real challenge.  There are several things to consider when figuring the correct learning technologies for the arts.  I assume these students will not be physically taking the “tour” from the museums curators.  The first step I would take would be to see if each museum offers any time of virtual tours since many of the larger museums do.   If that is not the case, Google offers one powerful alternative.  Which brings me to my first technology tool. 

Google Art Project   Image

Google has teamed up with several museums to create one massive online library that is very interactive.  This web tool not only gives students access to thousands of pieces of artwork, but also allows students to share with friends.  “Once you’ve discovered a special piece or collection, you can easily share your finds with friends across your social networks” (Google, 2013).  Below is a teaser trailer on YouTube provided by Google on how the website works. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZdCByYeNRU

I wasn’t able to find real examples of this project used in distance learning.  I found a lot of information on how it “could be” used in distance learning.  Below is a link on instructions on how to navigate through the project.  This would be very useful to provide students, given the detailed instructions.  In the article Matthews also explains “By signing in to a Google account, users may create a collection of their own paintings, include comments, and share it with friends”  (Matthews, G.)

http://www.lessonpaths.com/learn/i/virtual-field-trips/how-to-use-google-art-project-to-visit-museums-around-the-world-artpromotivate

TodaysMeet  Image

Another tool I would introduce to the history teacher is Todaysmeet.  The teacher can setup a Todaysmeet and allow access to the curator.  The curator could then direct students to pieces of artwork located within Google Art Project and have discussions about each piece.  Each group would then be able to create their own Todaysmeet and critique the pieces each selected.  Communication is an important part of distance learning.  Simonson (2012) states, “effective instructional messages are designed according to the situation, experiences, and competencies of the learners” (p. 90)

Several articles gave praise towards the simplicity of todaysmeet.  This short article explains, “While I have seen a number of note taking and response gathering tools, this one was new to me and I was impressed at its simplicity and usefulness” (Minnesota Literacy Council, 2013)

http://mnliteracy.org/blogs/2013/09/20295

References

Google. (2013) Google Art Project: About.  Retrieved from www.google.com/culturalinstitute/about/

Matthews, G. (n.d.) How to use Google Art Project to visit museums around the world.  Retrieved from http://www.lessonpaths.com/learn/i/virtual-field-trips/how-to-use-google-art-project-to-visit-museums-around-the-world-artpromotivate

Minnesota Literacy Council. (2013)  TodaysMeet on Opening Day.  Retrieved from http://mnliteracy.org/blogs/2013/09/20295

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

Distance Learning: Two sides to the coin

Distance Learning: Two sides to the coin

             Dr. Michael Simonson states “technologies, instructional media and communication technologies are used to link the resources between the teacher and learning” (Laureate Education, n.d.).  This statement by Dr. Simonson is the critical part in why I think distance learning is always changing and going to continue to change.  Advancements in technology will continue this change as we see web interfaces grow and multimedia gain momentum.  Today, I checked the weather, made a Skype call to my dad in Arizona and my boys and I watched Wreck it Ralph for the hundredth time all from our smart TV.  This is an example of something that was not possible or proficient five years ago.  Imagine what the next five years hold.

My personal definition of distance learning prior to starting this class was exactly what I have been doing for the last year here at Walden.  Participating in discussions, writing assignments, and posting information on my blog sums up my definition of distance learning.  However, after week one, this mindset has changed a bit.  I really understood the distance-learning portion but did not put much thought into the distance-teaching portion.  Pretty pathetic that this thought process before this course comes from a teacher and I didn’t think about the distance teaching part.  Dr. Simonson spoke about two heads of a coin (distance learning & distance teaching) all connected through technology. (Laureate Education, n.d.)  This is a great way to define distance education, and it is one that I will refer to each week as I proceed with this course.

I also did not put much merit in what we do at Springfield High with distance learning.  One of my classmates mentioned that some of the things we do are more along the lines of self taught lessons.  (Which I agree)  However, there are several teachers that are incorporating videos of the lessons being taught onto our servers for students at home to view and keep up with the course load while out of school.  Now that I see the impact this can make on a student, I will try to incorporate this more into my online lessons.

I see distance learning continuing to grow as technology advances and bandwidth becomes more available in all households.  I also see contacting instructors and student introductions through online video as not just an option but also a requirement as we see this technology become more apparent in TV’s, smartphones and even game systems.  I think this would add a new dimension of getting to know the instructor and our classmates.  It would also help me put a face to the name as we continue this journey during the next seven weeks.

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Mindmap

Reference

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.) Distance Education: The Next Generation. [Video Podcast].  Retrieved from: https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_4775279_1%26url%3D

Anyone Anyone Anyone

I felt I needed to add this video to give everyone a laugh after a long week!