Reflections on My First Online Course

tabiat3In today’s education system, it is very common to see that students are sitting at a desk, listening to a teacher’s lecture, and taking notes in preparation for an exam or quiz. However, one size does not fit all students as it has happened to my daughter and many parents like me are looking for alternative ways for their kids’ education. Even though their reasons are varying, their aim is common: Satisfying academic quality and safe learning environment. I consider the online course to be a useful resource to support homeschool student’s learning process.

In my master’s program, I was required to design an online course. Since I had never created an online course before, the first week of the class was chaotic. I was overwhelmed by how much work I was required to do. But the course was managed very efficiently, feedbacks were very pimages-9rompt and clear. The chosen materials were very educative and informative. I truly enjoyed taking this class and I have learned a lot of things throughout the course. I created an online course for my homeschooled daughter that would mainly incorporate the kinds of activity that naturally took place in a classroom environment. I hope my reflections will be helpful to parents who might be questioning whether an online course is suitable for their homeschool student. There are many theories lend themselves to a development of online learning environments. I know four of them are used very widely:

-ADDIE Model
-Bloom’s Taxonomy
-Merrill’s Principles of Instruction
-Gagne’s Nine Events of Instructions.

It is a perfect tool which could be shaped according to the learner’s needs and interests. It allowed me to take ownership of my own plan and strive for progress. I always have seen myself as a facilitator. I have tried to assist my daughter’s learning by providing the wide variety of resources and have given her the freedom to construct knowledge for herself. Now, she can have access to her course anytime, anywhere, and she only needs a computer and internet access to complete her work. Everything is at her fingertips. I think the most important feature of online learning is the time factor that helps her perform better. She can review topic explanations and videos repeatedly till she has the solid understanding of the topic. Basically, if I were to summarize what I have learned I would have understood that:

1-Preparing online course takes more time when compared to teaching in the classroom. The instructor should be clear and meticulous because if instructions are not clear, students may be confused, may lose self-confidence, and may not gain the real objectives.

2-For online instructors it is crucial to breaking down expectations into bite size learning goals and check them regularly how to see how well students mastered those goals.

3-Scaffolding is the key point for learning. In the online course, an instructor should provide extensive support to a student, but gradually remove that support until the learner can apply the concept autonomously.

4-Consistent communication and timely feedback are very important. Prompt feedback can solve many issues from the very beginning.

5-There are many tools that can be used in the online course but are not always necessary. Keeping things simple is very important. The used LMS should be user-friendly and easy to navigate. The chosen tool should work as you expect. I know all parents are busy with the daily whirlwind, however, too many instructions and complex tools can cause misunderstanding for student and parents.images-11

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DESIGNING TWO MORE ONLINE COURSES

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I know there are lots of families trying to figure out how to transition from public school to homeschool. I am sure some of them are feeling overwhelmed and they are not sure if they can really do this. I am planning to design an online course for homeschool parents which will be in training format. I hope this training creates knowledgeable parents and these parents can later work independently without constant help and supervision from others. With this training parents will have chance to see and reflect on what works or does not work for homeschool. My aim is to provide smooth transition believe if online training is taken seriously and done right, every parent could gain the necessary skills. They can learn very effective strategies and participate discussions and collaborate with other parents. They can be ready for the most challenging circumstances. This online course will include five modules. The first module will focus on procedures of homeschooling and eliminating parents’ concerns. I will encourage parents to talk about their feelings and what they believe they will lose because of the change. I will make sure I understand their feedback and adapt my plans based on new information.

Another modules will mainly focus on, determining child’s learning style, choosing the right resources and curriculum, fostering creativity & thinking skills, character building and spiritual growth. I will provide all possible information in both the planning and implementation process. There will be discussion board in order all parents regularly collaborate with each other. Feedback will be provided and documents will be shared. They will gain proficiency by integrating weekly meeting, advice, and reflections throughout the training. In the modules, I will show how to use necessary digital apps and documents that will be used for Homeschool. Collecting weekly data will allow me to measure member’s connection to the process.At the end of each module, homeschool parents will be asked to complete a survey to obtain feedback so that they can have chance improve their knowledge and skills.

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The other online course I am planning to design will be Craft class  for 6th grade homeschool students. It will be five- week length. Every week student will learn the different types of activities. The first week, students will discover how to make creative different projects with wood, glass, fabric, paint, glitter, chipboard, paper and much more. The second week, they will learn folding techniques that will enhance their scrapbooking, card making and even home decor. The third week ,they will learn basic methods of beading and jewelry making to create earrings, necklaces and more. The fourth week ,they will discover how to embroider beautiful outline and decorative stitches while creating seasonal projects for their home. The last week they will understand how to knit and realize a relaxing hobby and I am sure they’ll enjoy for a lifetime. Completing each week’s crafts will give students a great sense of success and pride. Homeschool Students will love spending time with their parents and create something together. With crafts students, will have bilateral coordination, fine motor coordination, self-regulation, self-esteem, and fun. Students will gain knowledge of the concepts of crafts and design. There will be videos and other resources to make each lesson extremely motivating and fun. They will need a lot of stuff like aluminum crochet hook set, scissors, beads, canvas, different size of needles, yarns, fabric, paint, glitter etc.