This week, we had Donald Girouard and Shannon Horne present to our #I4Ed class at BU. Both individuals are the respective consultants for the Instructional Design, and Implementation of Web-based Courses (Manitoba Education Distance Learning).
Their presentation informed the class of courses available online, that could be used in three different ways: Distance Education, Classroom-based, or as a Teacher Resource. The recent iteration of the site our class was introduced to is easy to navigate, and has accessible, approved, course-related, outcome-based content. Apparently, alternate versions were available in other incarnations for the last 10 years or so. I was thrilled to be introduced to this intuitive version.
I’m not sure if anybody else in class realized the importance of this as a resource (mostly because I’m not telepathic). However, I do, based on my experience: I was hired 7 years ago to teach a course that I specialized in. After that first year, I was shuffled over to teach other courses. Not an ideal situation, but conflicted thoughts were easily resolved by acknowledging that a good teacher is student-centered, not subject-centered. That being said, I was not an expert in the content of the subject area I was to teach. To complicate matters, finding resources proved difficult: interpreting past teacher notes (kind of like walking in used shoes without laces), inheriting textbooks that were already nostalgic, and trying to determine outcomes for the course—all in the beginning years of a career. The stress was unbelievable, and the hours spent acquiring knowledge was incomprehensible.
Word of caution: When signing up for the Blackboard access, hit the submit button only once, or else you’ll run the risk of receiving multiple acknowledgements (in a day or so) in your e-mail.
Next year, I hope to teach ELA as a course of choice in a secondary school. I also know that the ELA curriculum is under review. For now, as a teacher about to teach a new subject and knowing that there is a resource such as this available, I can’t help but feel secure about accessing established content. Once the base is established then I can continue to grow as an ELA teacher and eventually pick and choose relevant content to achieve outcomes.