The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) course has been designed to provide students with an understanding of what Engineering entails and foster student’s critical thinking skills to complete projects. To accomplish these two goals the approach to this course has been using a constructivism theory with the combination of experiential learning. It is significant for students to be provided opportunities to apply the concepts learned through real-life scenarios. The online course created focused primarily on the Agile Design, which allows a few designers to on-going plan the course based on how the students are progressing and designated feedback (Bates, 2015). This design provides students with tools to seek out resources on their own to then apply and evaluate this information to solve real-world problems. The online Civil Engineering course has been created to include foundational information of physics and math, and some examples of prior student’s projects, but the big picture is for students to search out these answers on their own. The STEM course is not providing students with cookie-cutter answers, but building on how to problem solve. The projects remain ever changing and evolving as the students grow and diversify.
Understanding by Design & 3-Column Table
Designing a course to provide an effective environment for students to thrive in an online course is an arduous task. To develop a broader direction of goals, activities and assessments I began the course design using Fink’s Learning Outcomes 3-Column Table. The questions provided me with guidance to develop goals for the Civil Engineering section in the STEM course. The broader structure allowed for a more general overview of what students should learn and accomplish. Then to sharpen the details of the Civil Engineering Unit, I used the Understanding by Design model or UbD developed by Wiggins and McTighe’s. UbD’s template was effective when designing smaller parts within the Unit, providing structure and specifics. This allowed reflection on what specific vocabulary would be necessary, specific concepts, and how to facilitate the information. I used this template to combine all the parts of the Civil Engineering Unit to create a complete cohesive course.
Significance of Online Learning
Providing online courses are necessary to meet the needs of diverse 21st-century student and current educational environment (Bates, 2015). We should not be teaching the same way as hundreds of years ago, with access to advancements in technology. Instead of depending on long lectures, online courses can be used to interact and engage with students. Teachers can embed shortened lectures retaining student’s attention and providing more time to work with students individually or providing direct feedback. Online courses also lend interaction between peers through discussion and collaboration. Using technology effectively can provide an environment where students can work at their own pace and receive academic personalization that can not be provided in a traditional classroom.
Through this course I have realized how utilizing technology effectively through online courses, significantly positively affects students. Courses online can allow students access to technology anywhere and at any time. Students do not have to rely on a teacher to learn new concepts or information. Having an online course will allow my courses to have flexibility and personalization. The courses will enable me to work with a small group or individual while other students are still learning at their own pace. I have launched my online course and have witnessed how empowering this environment has been for students. I have been able to take a facilitator role, while students navigate through assignments, discussions, videos, and resources at their own pace. I believe that providing online courses will assist in improving students learning and bridging gaps.
This 10-week course teaches how to set pedagogical components, establish teaching presence, design an learning community, and deliver content.
Bates, A.W. (2015) Teaching in a Digital Age: Guidelines for designing teaching and learning (Chapters 11-12). Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/ Fink, L.D. (2003) A Self-Directed Guide to Designing Courses for Significant Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Wiggins, G. P., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design. Alexandria, VA: Association for supervision and curriculum development.