Master’s update

When I last posted I was waiting for results for JOT2Task 2 (Planning of Instruction) — passed on the first try! Hooray!

I hit my first snag with JPT2 (Instructional Design Production). This was really difficult content for me. I have long known I am not a good beginner teacher of pretty much anything, and now I know the reasons why — I can not do a job analysis to save my life. I simply lack the ability to break steps down into the super tiny sub-skills. I don’t think that way. I’m a macro-level thinker. My husband, on the other hand, is exactly the opposite. He is only about the details. Has no idea why he’s doing a thing, just that he’s doing it. He has no intention of completing a task or fitting it in to a bigger plan. He just tinkers. And tinkers. And is a super human guru in the things he focuses on. Since this material is all about breaking down a task into steps, it hurt my brain. You’ve all seen the super-detailed make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich process example, right? Imagine hours and hours of that. I was dying inside.

I also made a mistake and didn’t use the pomodoro technique while studying this stuff. It was pride, I admit. I thought I’d blow through the material like I had the other stuff. Nope. It was challenging. I worked much of Monday and just ended up frustrated.

By the time Tuesday rolled around I had thought about what I messed up, and I was ready to buckle down again. I read for a few hours using pomodoros, but I was getting bogged down again. I decided to stop studying and look at the Task or the course. Basically you write performance objectives and three lesson plans that equal 8-10 hours of instruction, and then you get a peer to evaluate it. I decided to just start in on the work and see what I could knock out.

It felt a little like cheating because I was only about halfway through the readings when I decided to quit, but it worked out much better for me. Once I started writing and looking up concepts and looking at examples I was able to see through to what I needed to do. At each step I was able to self correct and figure out how to handle the analyses. By about 6:15pm, I figured my paper was good enough to send off to a friend who is a teacher, so I did. She evaluated it the next day, I made the changes she suggested, and I submitted the paper for assessment about 2:00pm that afternoon as I recall.

I just got the results back, and I was competent in all areas except that I messed up writing one of my performance objectives. I ended up rewriting them all and resubmitted it about 40 minutes after I got the results back. I guess I’ll know if it worked in a few days. I suppose I spent about 10-12 hours on this class. I think a real teacher would have blown through this super easily, but it was a struggle for me.

So I realize ten hours isn’t that long, but I mean it was difficult, brain-hurting study, like banging your head against a wall. It was easier for me to get the concepts down by doing the work than by reading about it, which isn’t usually the case for me. Anyway, I’m glad it’s over.

Meanwhile, I emailed my instructor and asked her to add more courses to my degree plan. JPT2 is the last course in the first “semester” of this program, and I was ready to move on. She moved just one class into my plan, which was kind of irritating. I started TDT1 Thursday.

For TDT1 (Technology Design Portfolio), you build a website and show that you can edit photos and save files in common formats. I was hoping to find information about the effectiveness of multimedia, etc, and I think that there probably is lots of information, but the course is another bad one. Basically all it is is webpages with links to stuff like how to edit a video on YouTube. I looked at it for about 20 minutes and decided to just ignore it all and start on the tasks.

I emailed the course instructor to find out if I could use a website I already have or if I had to make a new one, and he said it was okay to use my existing site. Perfect! I wrote a couple of essays, exported my webpages to PDF, and did a super super super dumb task where I had to create and edit 9 images and then detail all the steps I took to make the images. It happens that I’ve been doing digital graphics since I was a teenager, and I’ve been using Photoshop since 1996. So, yeah. That was irritating but easy. Irritating because all of the steps I wrote exist on other places. My writing down the steps doesn’t indicate competency or proficiency — it just means I can follow a tutorial. It was straight up busy work. I knocked out the first two tasks easily on Thursday, and I updated WordPress and its plugins on the websites.

Today, after I did my Meals on Wheels deliveries, I did Task 3, which is an essay that calls for a description of multimedia concept mapping, which I could not find mentioned anywhere in the course material descriptions. It happens that I had already described mind-mapping in my Task 1 essay since that’s how I actually do design websites, so I dropped in the words storyboard and timeline and map into my essay and called it good. If they don’t like it I’ll just rewrite it. But I think I did communicate “Yes, I am competent,” with what I wrote.

You also have to make a multimedia presentation for this Task, and I was really excited about it! I spent several hours Thursday night and this morning evaluating different packages for making so-called explainer or whiteboard videos. I ended up settling on Raw Shorts, which turned out to be providential. Raw Shorts has tons of pictures related to Mormonism that it pulls down (legally) from Flickr and Wkipedia Comkons. None of the other things I looked at would have included that. I was excited to try out a whiteboard program, but what I did is okay for now. I am pretty sure that I could make a pretty decent whiteboard video after all the tutorials and reviews I watched, and I definitely know more about the tools and pricing. This was a fun task after the busy work of Task 2.

For Task 4 you basically just pull all your content together and also demonstrate some ability with common digital formats. For some people, submitting a database and spreadsheet and presentation may have been difficult, but I have all of that done already, and it all actually relates to my website even though the task said that was unnecessary. I made a container page to hold the links for all the required documents and pages, and using the task outline as a template, I created sub pages for all the necessary content, even though the essays have not yet passed (I think they won’t — I didn’t include a title page because there was no template with the course, and I thought it didn’t need on. Oops.). I wrapped that up around 6pm even though I took a couple of breaks to run Sydney from and to school for the football game.

So that was easy. I think it took me around 7 hours to complete everything for TDT1, which time was mainly spent writing papers. Now I’m just waiting to get the next courses moved up to my degree plan so I can keep moving along. The next course seems to be more paper-writing. The material seems to be about protecting sensitive information in the classroom. I’ll start that either tomorrow or next week.

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About Jenny Smith

I'm Jenny Smith. I keep up with three cars, two kids, one husband, and I live on 300+ acres of rolling farmland in Northern Virginia where we look after an elderly relative. I like tomatoes, all things Star Trek, watercolor, and reading. I spend most days in the garden fighting deer and groundhogs as I pursue a graduate degree. I'm trying to be like Jesus -- emphasis on the trying.
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