For my practicum in the Digital Education Leadership (DEL) program at Seattle Pacific University, I decided to revamp an online course that is used where I currently work, to onboard new student employees. In my current role, I supervise 9-13 student employees who provide phone, walk-in, and email technical support to the broader campus community.
The course I have worked on this quarter was created by my position’s predecessor. I decided that I would apply the course building expertise I developed during my time as Associate Director of Educational Technology & Media (ETM) and general perspectives from working in ETM and as a former student employee in my area, as well as the work I have completed on the ISTE Standards for Coaches as part of the DEL program, to the course.
Before getting started on the course, I made a timeline that would help me determine what steps I would need to do to revamp the course as well as how long each step would take.
I was under the impression, that the course had a lot of content because it was already being used for onboarding, so my plan was made based on the fact that I would only be formatting the course for better organization and alignment of content.
Review current course modules and create module order list
Create a Course Map
Use template to create a course map, this will help with alignment and ensure the formative assessments and activities are active and support the goals of the course
Create course Structure
In Canvas, create the structure necessary for the course
Input course content
Input content and videos into appropriate places, including links to supported resources
Adjust assessments and add new ones as appropriate to support he content
OSCQR or QM Rubric
Review the course to make sure it adheres to online course design standards.
I created this plan based on my experience working with faculty to develop an online data analytics program for one of our colleges. In those interactions, faculty would have content that they would develop or put together for teaching online and I would format the content in the Learning Management System. Fortunately, we had a template that helped trim down some of the time it would take to build a course. Even with those pieces though, it would still take 22-27 hours for me to run through the phases above.
I chose to add an OSCQR or QM Rubric course review not just because they were ensure we were adhering to online course design standards, but because I was most familiar with these rubrics. You can see in some of my blog posts, like On Assessing Diversity, that I take and adapt the OSCQR Rubric to find a way to assess whether or not a course is diverse.
- Technician Responsibilities
- Welcome, Dept Info, Policies, Workflow, etc.
- Technician Resources
- Tools (software and hardware) used at work
- User Account Management
- How we support account issues
- Basic Troubleshooting Procedures
- Typical Day, taking notes, using resources to find answers, etc.
- Application of Training
- Work on example tickets
- Getting Started
- About the HD Manager, Hiring Papwork & Info
- Introduction to Dept. & Responsibilities
- Customer Service & Operations
- Technologies used to support work
- Areas of Support
- Overview of each area (matches topics found on website)
- Basic Troubleshooting
- Methodologies, hand-off procedures, information literacy (finding quality resources)
- Next Steps
- Job shadowing and more
After developing the modules and having an idea of the general structure of the course, I decided to then work on the Course Map and do backwards design using a template that ETM uses. It’s a table, that helps instructors map learning outcomes, assessment methods, learning/practice activities, and content delivery/exploration methods together.
After skimming through the modules and existing content, I came up with the following course objectives, new technicians will be able to:
- Create & resolve tickets, answer phones, and help walk-ins with basic issues.
- Identify issues that should be escalated and move tickets through the escalation process
- Articulate and implement skills that provide excellent customer service
I then created module objectives, so I could ensure the content, activities, and assessments supported the objectives. I used the SMART framework to help create my goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This would also help ensure that new hires were clear on the purpose of the course and feel like the course made sense and supported them on their onboarding journey.
Here are some of my example objectives (not in order):
- By the end of this module, students will know how to complete the paperwork necessary to work on campus and the requirements for maintaining an on-campus position.
- By the end of this module, new hires will be able to identify technician responsibilities and their role in relation so what the IT department does at SPU.
- By the end of this module, technicians will be able to identify key strategies that will help them diagnose and resolve technical issues.
In addition to paying special attention to my learning objectives, I also tried to incorporate other relevant pieces of the DEL program and course design to ensure activities were relevant/authentic, incorporated active learning pedagogies, and allowed students ample opportunities to self-assess via brief quizzes, and gamification by adding badges to the course.
Building the course
Now that I had a plan and a general idea that I thought would work, I started building the course. I borrowed templates & home pages from other courses and imported all of the existing course content into a new Canvas course shell. From there, I renamed modules and reorganized content. This allowed me to do other minor things like create a naming convention for the modules and their contents, and set a module flow. After this, I began working on formatting content and moving pieces to where they needed to go – this also allowed me to work on the accessibility of the course as I went so I did things like organize headers into reading order, add alt text to images, turned on captions for videos and re-aligned content on pages.
While I was building the content, I ran into a realization though that I may not be able to finish the course on time for the following reasons:
- With the rearrangement and alignment of activities, I didn’t have as much course content as I thought I did. New material would need to be written.
- I had changed jobs and wasn’t familiar enough with some of the topics anymore to write them, so I would need to re-learn a lot of content.
- The 10 week quarter is really compressed and I was too ambitious, I really should’ve spread this work across multiple terms.
I’ve completed three of the five modules I planned on using and have started putting together the content I would like to use for the last two, as well as potential practice and assessment options. These last two modules, Areas of Support and Technician Tools are the most difficult and time consuming because new content needs to be created for both.