The pacing of the Civil Engineering Unit will depend on the students. The class as a whole will be on the same project, but the other sections of STEM could be on a different project based on their abilities. Some classes may take longer to work through a Unit than other classes. The course will be evaluated at the end of the semester to add or edit any projects. When meeting with other teachers during training, it will be necessary to discuss which projects they use with their classes as not to repeat through the grade levels and specific Units.
The courses I believe would benefit from an online model in the near future are Business Information Management (another course I teach) and a training course for teachers. The BIM course would be ideal to incorporate a blended learning model to allow students to participate in differentiated instruction. This course is a High-School Credit course but many students begin at different levels and need different media options to work at their own pace to increase their learning. In addition, having a training course for teachers accessible at any time would be an enormous asset. Currently, teachers receive training information through email or in person, which is random and not well organized. It would be better organized online in a folder or module that can contain all of the applicable articles, useful website tools, training information, and other media. Although I have included only two future online courses to implement, I believe that all courses can use an online model to provide limitless opportunities for students and staff to have access to the most suitable learning environment.
I don’t think I would do anything differently when developing the STEM Civil Engineering course. However, I think all courses should be a work in progress. There is always room for improvement, and with technology changing at a rapid pace, the course should progress to keep up with these changes. After every Unit, the projects are evaluated and updated. I do think it will be beneficial that I added the student survey to each unit. This will provide honest student feedback to help provide future courses that students will enjoy and thrive.
One challenge of creating an online course or hybrid course is creating quality assurance. Often in education, the newest technology is discovered by a leader within the district and purchased without little explanation or training for teachers. When this occurs, there is no increase in learning, and at best the teacher will learn on their own time how to utilize the newest technology. In the district I work, I had witnessed this scenario with Smartboards. One day they all appeared, and we had no training or skills on how to use these resources. Which was disappointing, because Smartboards can be an incredible resource. When teachers are developing online courses it is important to spend time planning, training, and creating effective online instruction. To hold the teachers and the online courses accountable, the quality needs to be measured. The process of quality assurance should not be measured through a standardized test but through completion of the course, or grades (Bates, 2015). Quality should be measured on how a student successfully completes a course, however, this method does make the quality subjective. Teachers have different standards of how to grade, and course completion even with given the same rubric in the same course. To counteract this subjectiveness, I believe that teachers need to consistently meet to collaborate to discuss, how they are grading, and how they are evaluating their students. The more teachers are working together for a common goal, the more likely the quality will be consistent and at the appropriate level.
Bates, A.W. (2015) Teaching in a Digital Age: Guidelines for designing teaching and learning. Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/