Choosing the content is INTEGRAL to creating an online/blended course

When given the course prototype assignment for EC&I 834, my mind initially started racing….which course should I do, should I try more than one, are certain courses too hard and to be avoided…and, most prominently…. OMG where do I start??

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Too many ideas?

Photo Credit: danielfoster437 Flickr via Compfight cc

As I teach in rural Saskatchewan, we are unfortunately not always able to offer students the courses they would like to take in a face-to-face manner. We have come up with unique ways to get around this, primarily with our magnet system. Our magnet system involves schools that are relatively close geographically to each other offering a selection of courses that may not have enough interest in only one school. These are primarily PAA courses, however we offer French, Calculus and Forensic Science in this manner as well. Every second afternoon, students are transported via buses to the appropriate school to take their magnet course, which are blocked in 2-hour time slots, and then are returned to their home school before the end of the school day. Students are required to travel over their lunch hour but, through this programming, we are able to increase their options from 4 courses to 10 courses in my particular magnet grouping.

I teach the Calculus 30 course for my magnet grouping and have had to adapt an academic course into a 2-hour block where (not all) students are not able to stay for extra help if needed. I have had to come up with alternative ways of aiding students, typically this means they email me questions, I work them out, and email an image of the fully worked solution back. This is not the ideal way to receive additional support in mathematics and therefore, I would like to create a space where students are able to interact with each other and with myself to work through their challenges in the course. Calculus is often thought of as the study of change, and so I feel will be a great place for me to start my journey into online and blended learning.

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Photo Credit: CMLorenz16 Flickr via Compfight cc

So, I have selected the course, Calculus 30, and am thinking that a blended learning model, with both face-to-face and online aspects, will be the best for the course content and student needs. Now, I just need to find an appropriate learning management system (LMS). I have read that other classmates (Liz and Kelsie) are looking at using Google Classroom and other GAFE tools which I do not have access to as my division has not yet been ready to jump on board with them. So I am looking for another LMS. I have created a course using Moodle in the past, but am looking to expand my horizons into something new! Amy tweeted asking for suggestions for elementary LMS and I am going to start looking at the suggested Edmodo and Fresh Grade and move from there. Any and all suggestions, with a major bonus if they support math text, are welcomed!

I would like to try a flipped classroom model but am not sure that I would like the entire course/module that I will create to be flipped. Including videos of myself working problems that will be accessible for students working at home who, in the past, may not have had access to someone that could help them when they get stuck may be how I attempt this. If you have done a flipped classroom, what have you found to be the benefits/challenges of the set up?

If there is anyone that is still trying to decide what course they would like to create and would like to share in my passion for Calculus, let me know, I would love to collaborate if someone else is interested in the same topic! I look forward to creating this prototype course and hopefully adapting aspects of it into more of my teaching!

Now to try something new….embedding a GIF…..

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Aaaand I’m out… via Giphy

 

 

WARNING: The following may describe a passionate math-geek. Reader discretion advised.

Hello! Welcome to the blog of an absolutely passionate math-geek of a teacher! This is my journey through EC&I 834 and the world of creating online and blended learning courses.

My name is Kara Taylor and I am a teacher at Kipling School in Kipling, Saskatchewan. I grew up primarily in rural Saskatchewan and am happy to be able to work in a small town although, working in a Pre-K to Grade 12 school, that often means that my course load changes drastically year to year. I primarily teach senior math and history courses but I have taught a variety of other courses including science, accounting, and physical education (to name a few) ranging from grades 5-12. I am also the Career Counsellor for my school so I get to work with students who are choosing their future career pathways and help them to achieve their goals! Within the school I also coach Sr. Boys Volleyball and Track and Field.

I live with my wonderful husband, our fur-baby Isabella (Bella for short) and our slightly spikier-baby Felix. Some of my hobbies include volleyball, reading, hunting, fishing, outdoor adventures, playing cards and board games, and travelling. Travelling is especially important to me as my niece and nephew live in Mildenhall, UK and we do not get to see them very often during the school year so we try to visit during the summer!

My three goals for learning in this class:

  1. Become a better blogger. I have tried blogging in the past and took a course with Alec in my undergrad where I was in the habit of blogging regularly but have been unable to continue this while working as a teacher. I would love to get back into the swing of things and use blogging as a platform for my personal reflections and growth through my teaching career.
  2. Learn about various tools that can be used to create, deliver, and generally house online and/or blended learning courses. In one of my roles in my division, I have helped to develop an online Workplace and Apprenticeship 10 course and our group is now working on the 20-level course. This is being done using Moodle however I feel there are other platforms that may be more conducive to a mathematics course and I am excited to explore and evaluate these tools so that I may be able to bring my knowledge back to our “Moodle team” and make our courses better.
  3. Create a module/course that is appealing to students and that I can build on in the future. Teaching in a rural setting, my school is limited in the options that our students are given in terms of courses offered and I feel that this is where online courses can really benefit our students. I want to become comfortable in creating courses in a variety of disciplines and knowing which tools are better suited to which disciplines as what may work for mathematics may not be a good platform for social studies. I want my module/course to be something that I can grow and develop further to give my students more options and be comfortable with the tools so that I can make online courses for the various different courses that I teach. Most importantly, I want to create something that my students would actually WANT to use and be happy to learn through. I am lucky to have students that will give me honest suggestions about what they like and not like and I look forward to integrating the tools we learn about and what students want to see in an online course into one!

An “about me” post would not truly describe me without some form of math-based video SOOO…. in honour of the fact I will start trigonometry with my Workplace and Apprenticeship 10 course on Friday, one of my favourite videos on the subject can be found here: https://youtu.be/t2uPYYLH4Zo. This group of teachers makes awesome math videos and students enjoy watching them as well!