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Sample 6 Demonstrating Professional Development and Lifelong Learning

“Intro to Multimedia Communications” Course Products

Description: For the class “Educational Services in Library and Information Organizations” which I re-dubbed “Learning Theory and Informational Design” I designed my own course products in a learning contract with Dr. Solomon. Since I am interested in the field of instructional design and possibly teaching, the course products I designed were all related to the creation of an undergraduate class I would like to teach someday that I am calling “Intro to Multimedia Communications.” I created a syllabus, designed an assessment plan, and fleshed out one week’s worth of course material which I posted in a Blackboard ‘sandbox’ site that I requested be created for the purpose.

Access to the Blackboard Sandbox Site Is Restricted But Available Upon Request

Collected Reflections Document (Please Examine Blackboard Sandbox Site First)

Analysis: I learned so much during every phase of this project. In developing and submitting the syllabus early in the semester, I realized how much a syllabus and course schedule can change once you actually develop all the course content for it and have a better sense of how long each topic will take. In developing my week’s worth of course materials, I deliberately chose the module out of the syllabus that I felt the least comfortable with, even a little ignorant on. So in writing an affective/emotional goal of "students will feel like obtaining permission is a real option – not anxious about it or feeling like it's 'too hard'" I was setting out to convert myself, shape my own feelings positively so I could genuinely pass along a fearless attitude to my students. In designing the assessment plan, I really took to heart the principle of formative assessment, integrating the elements of assessment into the learning process with activities like opening the midweek class with questions to “take the pulse” on student understanding, rather than creating a standalone assessment activity. Since each element of the project was submitted first as a draft and then again at the end of the semester, I revised each piece in light of the others, taking into account my professor’s feedback and my own more developed perspective as I learned more about learning theory and informational design.

I think the biggest weakness of this project was unreasonable expectations of how much work an undergraduate would be willing and able to put into a single class in a given week. The number of concepts I hope for them to absorb, the volume of readings, having them write two permission letters as homework...In fleshing out this course for actual teaching I think I’ll either need to streamline what I hope to cover in the week and cut down the workload, or allot more time to get through the material.

Reflection: This project was possibly the most scary and exciting of my MLIS career. I had the chance to create something to learn exactly what I wanted to learn, to develop just the skills I wanted for my future career. This meant also that I was intentionally exploring the content topic I was most frightened of, AND that there was truly no-one out there to say whether my work was “good enough” but me. I think this happens a lot to professionals in the kind of autonomous position I seek. There may be no right answers or right way for me to cling to. I have quite often found myself and will probably continue to find myself in situations where I am the one forging ahead for the first time, having some sense of what other people have done in other contexts, but still being the one to first articulate what is “best” in this context, at this time. The only way to do that well is to look at it as a very iterative, agile process in which I do my research, start with my best stab, and continually re-evaluate and improve upon it based on how it is received, how it “flies” in the real world. This humility and continual re-examining is, for me, the foundation of lifelong learning.