Rationale for our technology choices:
Our group chose to use a blog style website with multiple plugins. We chose this because we found it would be easy for students to navigate, having every element of the resource in the same place. We used a WordPress blog on opened.ca because it is a platform we were both familiar with and we knew we would be able to make a full website rather than just an individual page. Using the add-on ‘H5P’ we were able to insert quizzes and matching answers into our lesson. Using the website allow enabled our interactivity by providing a space students and the instructor could communicate with one another through comments. Our lesson plan had a supplementary assignment which gave students a chance to demonstrate their learning and challenged them to use the comment section to reflect on one another’s learning. Overall, we were both pleased with our technology choices because they provided the most interactivity possible in an online learning resource. While there may have been other resources that could have been effective, in the scope of this project learning, and then integrating these was not possible due to the time constraints.
Rationale for our choices in revision:
We were grateful to receive such positive feedback from our peers and took all of their fantastic ideas into consideration when completing our final draft. However, some of the suggestions could not be incorporated because they required technological skills far out of our range of knowledge. We spent time polishing the site, giving it a more professional look. The syllabus, learning outcomes, and assignments have been tweaked based on the suggestions. The learning outcomes are now less “vague” and are more connected to one another. There have been more visuals added that were not integrated fully into the last version. The distribution of marks has been shifted so that the quizzes will have more weight. Overall the majority of the weight was left on the discussion portion.
There were comments about the “Week 1” in our page. We chose to leave this as the title as this is a future goal for us. We would like to add more weeks to this project eventually so that this is a fully comprehensive resource that any student could use. There was feedback suggesting that we break the lesson into parts, so we made sections for Week 1. It now consists of 3 parts. While an adult learner could read through all the material in a sitting easily, a younger reader may want to divide up the workload. By clicking on the Units tab all three lessons are given on one page, but when you hover over the week one category, all three lessons are available as individual pages.
While I think that the quizzes are important, I think that being able to discuss biology is more important. At a basic level all you do is memorize (and that is how we have been taught to learn), but higher level biology is about understanding concepts, with the important terminology and memorization being less important. Our focus is looking for understanding through the ability to write and discuss the concepts. This also allows repetition of the material without rote memorization.
There was a suggestion to weave the information together in the form of a narrative. While this is an interesting idea, it was not one that we were able to consider based on the time constraints. The concept order that we chose was careful to lead the learner through related concepts and show their similarities and differences. Based on the feedback we did add more detailed captions to the galleries that help link the examples to the material.