And then the video footage started to surface on Facebook and YouTube.
Wow. HOW in the world would they ever clear the road, I wondered. I knew the stretch intimately, having driven it hundreds of times. I could not imagine where D.O.T. crews would begin with a job so massive.
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As is true with any monumental task, they simply began. Sure, there were engineers involved and lots of safety issues to which they had to attend and plenty of speculation about how long it would take and so on.
But, in a short two weeks' time, they made it through all that snow. It seemed like a miracle.
Working with the ELA Team to build a credit recovery course for AKLN continues...with each of us crossing things off the list each week, and with us, as a team, becoming more and more comfortable working together as we struggle through the task of building a class with specific requirements yet few guidelines. If the Department of Transportation crew responsible for cleaning up the avalanche mess had to first draw a map of the road and then build their own bulldozers and dump trucks, that job would have been a bit more akin to creating the AKLN class. Fortunately for all of us, the foundation built by the readings and research we completed for EDET 674 throughout the semester helped us to understand instructional design, elements of a strong online course, and the various roles and responsibilities of those contributing to a class that will be delivered asynchronously to students across a vast geographic area. We are making our way due to what we had been studying already, but without clear expectations for what AKLN classes should "look like, sound like, and feel like," we have had our struggles.
During our team meetings this week, I pondered the complexity of developing an online course from scratch. With a team. For students we have never met. To be taken in settings vastly different from each other. With unpredictable and unknown levels of on-site academic and tech support. Today we talked about the vicious cycle we are currently in, as we consider adding another layer of support for students and mentors...which adds to the length and complexity of the course design, and the volume of text and documents and videos to create and navigate and update and link. I have pondered how completely different creating a course with a team is, compared to creating a course on my own -- which used to seem so daunting and now, looking back, was a snap. The only one I had to agree with was myself! While more time consuming and challenging (in some ways), collaborative building of a course has opened my eyes to new ways of seeing content, new approaches to addressing standards, and new opportunities to learn from colleagues.
The EDET courses that have been on my weekly list of things-to-do this semester have helped me understand Constructivism in a very practical, hands-on way. As a result of these classes, I know first-hand how much more time-consuming online classes can be, how much more challenging they can be, and how much more I learn from them because I am forced to create my own understandings rather than just memorize and reiterate information from a lecture or instructor-assigned text.
It took two weeks for the D.O.T. crews to clear a path through all that snow. It has taken a semester to build an online course. It will take far more time than those two combined to transform learning in American education. Will it take a miracle? No, just really hard work and a belief that the task is worth doing. It will take time, but I sincerely believe it can be done.
Heick, T. (12 April 2014). The quickly narrowing gap between formal and informal learning. TeachThought. Retrieved from http://www.teachthought.com/learning/narrowing-gap-between-formal-informal-learning/
McCusker, S. (7 April 2014). Teachers' most powerful role? Adding context. MindShift. Retrieved from http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/04/teachers-most-powerful-role-adding-context/
Seed Media. (2014). Valdez Avalance Keystone Canyon 2014. [YouTube video]. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/I4YNelnCOZ4