Saturday, April 18, 2009

Activity 4: Reflection


BY: NORMIE BINTI SARIP PGC070015 820131-14-5810

The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step – Lao Tzu.

We were told about this fourth activity since the first day, the day we had to read the seven pages of Dr Tee’s class Instructional Strategies for Distance Education pro forma. I was clueless, sincerely, mostly at the part of e-poster, never heard of it before. Considering that this project can be done in team of 2 to 3 persons, again, uneasy feeling arise. Well, I usually work in team with 3 other members, which there are four of us. After asking Dr Tee permission to work in 4, again, tension arises as the expected target result is getting higher. Therefore, to not jeopardizes our own future in this project, we decided to split to 2 group; me and Maryam while Kak Zamiah with Kak Wan Maswati.

The question with whom I will start this project resolved. Now we need to think about the interesting topic. I and Maryam decide to work with something interesting, easy to find material and within our expertise and limitation. For weeks we stuck, couldn’t find the topic we want. I started to observe everything around me, and finally it popped into my head; to overcome the problem regarding wearing hijab (tudung) among female students. My students wear hijab properly during lesson session in the morning but wear none during extracurricular session in the afternoon. I asked them why they did that and their answer really worrying me, so I took advantage by doing this topic to help them understand better why they have to wear hijab. So, I texted Maryam immediately and she agreed.

We started brainstorming the lesson objectives first, as it will guide us to do what after what. We sketched our idea on a paper, and then showed it to Dr Tee for approval. While writing the draft, we were very eager to put everything in our prototype. Everything was there, from the layout to the content. A bit haywire I guess, but after getting the feedback from Dr Tee and classmates, we tried to sort it out accordingly. We agreed to make it simple but informative.
I acted as the subject matter expert, and Maryam focused on the technological part. Lucky for us, both are teaching Islamic Education and facing the same problem. It helps us to write the objectives clearly and we know exactly want we want the content to be. I started surfing the internet for reliable sources and Maryam did the same thing, to get general idea of how our prototype will look like. I visited several distance education websites such as Harvard Business School, U21 Global, Wilmington University Sample Online Course and University of London, and somewhat I came with a conclusion that it is better to use LMS (Learning Management System) or CMS (Content Management System) to conduct an online course. When designing an online course, it is not the layout that important (graphics, font and colour and etc) but the way instructor synchronising the content, the assessment and the interaction between participants are the most crucial factors to consider.

We agreed to use Bergman and Moore the product model to help us producing this project. Why we use this model? We already familiar to it as we just finished our redesigning courseware project for multimedia class. We choose to work with PowerPoint because it was the easiest medium to use, considering the time constraint. As for launching the prototype to the internet, we tried Webs.Com but later we figure out that it is difficult for us to present the content like we want. Maryam wanted to explore the features offered there but cannot afford to do so, again, the time constraint. Alternatively, she print screen our original website and paste it to PowerPoint. That was our foremost strength, to work creatively with obstacles. So she started to produce our prototype by using background from the website. Sharing the same problem with other groups, Kak Wan suggested us to just save as the PowerPoint as web page (she suggested to us and demonstrate the steps on Chun’s prototype, during the first e-poster session).

Now, how far have we gone? We have the topic (Fesyen Bertudung), we listed out the learning objectives, we selected the target audience (secondary school Muslim teenage girls), the ID Model (Bergman and Moore) to guide us step by step, the medium for prototype (PowerPoint) and the medium to host our product on the website (PowerPoint save as web page).

How are we going to present the content? What type of assessment should we do? What type of activities should we include? How many information is enough for our new distance learner? How are we going to interact with our students? The questions keep coming in my head. To design a resourceful and reliable distance learning course is not an easy job; even the topic we choose was not complicated.

Since I surfed the internet, it was approximately 6,770,00 sites on bertudung only! I was cluttered with massive source of information; unsure what is the best and suitable for my audience. I asked Maryam for her opinion and she said that we should stick to the verse from Al-Quran Surah An-Nur verse 31. We worked the content from that verse, start the lesson by introducing the students to that verse. Later we designed activities which require them to understand the needs of that verse then extend it to everyday surrounding and finally wrap it up with activities that need judgemental respond. We tried to present the content as light as possible to attract and motivate our potential participants to go through the course and hopefully, success it with flying colour. We want them to understand the obligation of covering aurat with clear understanding, not just do it for the sake of school’s rules. We wish with this simple course to see the change of behaviour and mindset.

As for the content, I always seek for advices from my senior colleague, to make sure we construct the right lesson. As for the technical and technological part, Maryam did the most jobs. To get better understanding about e-poster, I surf the internet and found examples of it. What I found a bit different from what Dr Tee had told us but I get the general idea. While Maryam focused on our prototype, I started the e-poster. Again we worked hand in hand to make sure what I justify in e-poster are the same with what she compiled in prototype.

I and Maryam tried to communicate constantly via emels, sms and phone calling. We meet three times to speed up our work. The continuous coaching from Dr Tee really helps us to move forward (well, learn from the best I would say) while classmates’ opinions help us to solve several problems (learn with the best) (learning is social). The technological and technical part was our limitation. We imagined a very fancy website but we come out with something common.
As I stated earlier, a long journey starts with a single step. Thus, this project is my first step to understand what is all about distance education (learning in context). The process is not just putting everything in a website but we have to consider everything that we already discussed during presentation and discussion session (learning is reflective). This project helps me to make sense for everything I gain during this semester (learning is active). Without proper planning this project won’t complete. I admit there still many rooms for improvement but we did our best.

Thank you.

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