My Technology-Based Learning Environments course mates and I have taken the opportunity to peer-review the first quarter of our Canvas course development. We have been asked to reflect on the feedback from our peers as well as compare expected timelines in the professional world to what we are doing as students.
First, let me say that my peer-reviewer is AMAZING! She has provided me with such positive feedback on what I have done well that I know I am on the right track with the next developmental phases. I have reciprocated the feedback because she too is doing a fantastic job. I have to admit that I am utilizing some of her ideas in my development. I know this is not direct feedback from her, but in a way, it is still feedback. For example, we have both developed a front page in which we welcome our students, but she added a nice graphic and links to some of the videos Canvas offers to help new users learn how to use the various aspects of Canvas such as setting up a profile and communicating with other course participants. I also decided to add a graphic appropriate to my course and plan to add a Canvas orientation page later in my development. In my course, I provided links to information specific to the course which is important but not necessary to completing the course – a background information page, a goals and objectives page, and a direct link to the modules. As a result, my peer added these to her course as well. Although not meant to be feedback, the replication is just as positive and constructive, letting me know I am making good design decisions. My peer also reminded me to make sure I consistently address the same audience; I had neglected to revise a couple of sections which I had copied and pasted from the design document to the course. My design document was directed toward stakeholders and supervisors while the same information in Canvas is directed to the student. This valuable feedback reminds me to continue to review how I am wording directions in future development. If we as the instructor are speaking to our students, then we need to write the information in a similar fashion. But perhaps the best feedback is the professional behavior of my peer-reviewer. Even her criticism is constructive and positive which makes me want to continue to impress her.
Now allow me to present my thoughts on the difference in timelines between developing instruction in the professional world and as a student. Because the course is spread over 16 weeks over which we will develop one course, this is not nearly as authentic as the typical 3-week timeline we would experience as professionals. However, there are other major differences involved here. For example, my peers and I are developing the course for a 3-hour graduate class. It is assumed that we all have full-time jobs and are taking graduate courses on the side, or that we are going to school full-time and taking multiple graduate courses. It is difficult to understand how many projects a professional instructional designer is handling at once, but if we are performing the job full-time, certainly we would be spending much more time in course-development than we would in a class. Another major difference is the number of people involved in professional course-development. At this point, my course only has three people involved: my professor, my peer-reviewer, and myself. In the professional world, the instructional designer would have clients, supervisors, subject-area experts, technical experts, and possibly even other instructional designers working on the same course. I believe the involvement of more people could both help and hinder timelines. Consider that each time the client or supervisor suggests or requires a change, the designer will need time to revise work which has already been developed. Having experts and other designers working on the same project would, in contrast, speed up the process.