Introduction to Instructional Technology Lab, part 2:
I created an eight-lesson course in CourseSites (www.coursesites.com) for the faculty at my school, based on Madalaine Pugliese’s STAGES material. STAGES was designed to help educators of students with significant developmental and language disabilities. I learned about Madalaine Pugliese at a workshop that was sponsored by my school district many years ago. Later, I went to a series of full-day professional development workshops at my school district’s instructional technology center. Simply put, I use STAGES to evaluate where students are functioning in their technology and educational needs and to match them with the proper software. I find the sequence to be extremely helpful because it covers the entire range of students that I teach, from students first learning cause-and-effect (a mouse click makes something happen on the computer screen) through students studying academic subjects. STAGES is not age-dependent; what a student is able to do and what he or she needs to learn are important, not his or her age. STAGES helps me to help all of my students.
I had the misfortune of trying to build a course during a time that the original CourseSites was waning. Many aspects of my course, such as videos and achievement awards (badges), never worked. I spent a large number of hours communicating with technical support, only to have them repeatedly close support tickets without fixing the problems. I discovered along the way that many people had posted complaints dealing with the same problems that I was dealing with. The original CourseSites has been taken down by Blackboard and replaced by a new site at the same URL address.
I chose CourseSites because it generally received good reviews and because that site was worth extra credit (always a nice bonus). As for the positive reviews, I think that they were from before things started breaking down. The more roadblocks I hit, the more I found other frustrated users who were posting their problems to various help boards. At no time did any CourseSites staff member post solutions in the user forums, and I suspect that there were no solutions at that time. I am sure that my whole experience would have been more positive if the many technical issues did not exist.
Eventually, the CourseSites administrators stated publicly that they were aware that problems had developed in their original platform and that the new platform would not have any of those failures. A year after I read that announcement, the new CourseSites was ready for users.
If you want a brief overview of STAGES, click on the picture below for the handout that I keep posted on a wall in my classroom. The CourseSites course that I created was taken down and may not return. It was a lovely course concept with many interactive pages of information, exploration, and projects for individuals and groups. It just never worked the way BlackBoard said it should work. I sincerely wish that their technical support team had been able to fix the glitches.
Pugliese, M. (2016). Stages: A Systematic Framework to Design Learning for Special Needs – Third Edition. Attainment Company Inc.; Newton, MA.
Introduction to Instructional Technology Lab, part 1:
The first part of this course is a paper looking at three Learning Management Systems. Click on the link below to read the paper.
Introduction to Instructional Technology:
Click on the picture of the cover page below this paragraph to access Jeanne Stork’s paper for the Introduction to Instructional Technology course. The field of Instructional Technology is vast and ever-growing, and I am excited to study it in greater depth and to share my studies. This paper combines information I learned from this course with my own experiences. I blended the APA Style (http://www.apastyle.org) that I used in both of my Masters’ degrees with the requirements of Blue Marble University. Now, I proudly present it to you, my readers.
Jeanne Stork’s Additional Projects:
As Blue Marble University projects are completed, I will add them to this website. I am looking forward to further exploring instructional technology and learning new skills to help my students and my colleagues. I received my second master’s degree and second teaching certification as an instructional technology specialist in 2007. The field is constantly changing and expanding; these projects are part of my large bag of tricks for staying current. There were no laptops in schools when I moved to the computer lab, and tablets were not even close to being invented. I wonder what will come next.