Developing a Unit’s Curriculum Plan

This post to serve as Weekly Writing #8 (Unit 5 Week 1)

In order to summarize–and reflect in a purpose-driven manner–on my curriculum plan it was essential to spend time doing the reading, writing up notes, drinking tea and thinking.

I had a hard time focusing on how I might respond to the weekly writing prompt. Every time I thought I’d make notes for my submission my mind wandered to items like “how are you going to change your course to engage the student more, to ask the student to reflect, and to see if you can get the students to give each other feedback?”

This weekly writing could take pages and hours to construct, and then edit and pare down. I’m going to try to be more succinct and efficient.

  • I know what I want to introduce as the unit curriculum plan.
  • I know that it will span several modules.
  • After reading and cogitating, I am aware of how pressing it is I redo my assignment descriptions to indicate criteria for success and expectations regarding outcomes/scoring. (See a few example of my assessments by scrolling to the bottom of : and )

I revamped materials created for Instructional Design for my lesson plan. Modifications were driven by lessons learned from five additional semesters online teaching and understanding from materials gathered during this summer’s ONID work. I laid out how to inject a few elements early on in the semester that scaffold into a secondary capstone crossing over Modules 8 and 9 — I am not replacing the student’s final project  worth 10% of the grade. This ‘unit’ serves as a project spanning the course worth the same as the final project.

The reading opened up additional doors for me. I asked questions, as listed above, and  drafted possible solutions as paired below:

  •  Get the students to give each other feedback
    “good teachers find ways to generate feedback from other students and occasionally from an outside expert brought in for that purpose…” (Fink, 2003, p. 85) The emphasis is my own.

    • I use the Blackboard discussion board for some discussions, but I find that students (even though points are assigned to this portion of the assignment) do not give others valuable feedback.
    • I propose to change my use of the discussion board asking the student to submit their assignment via the Discussion thread for that week (meaning that everyone in the class will see their work, not just me) and to point out “one area you would consider ‘nailed it!’ as well as one area where you’d like specific suggestions from your cohort on how you could improve it/solve a problem you encountered/etc. Please be specific.”
    • I could use a Google form with a spreadsheet that is OPEN for them to view/not edit in order to contain the type of response and length as well as pattern what is expected via sample submissions.
  • ask the student to reflect and turn in a polished piece
    I’d like students to go through a series of steps prior to turning in their work. “As part of your process, please use the following checklist prior to turning in your work:

    • Run spellcheck and determine if you need to make any changes and respond accordingly.
    • If your assignment includes multiple parts (html, css, images) please review your work using more than one browser. If your materials are supposed to be on your website, please upload them and review your materials. Make changes/upload missing items and retest.
    • Have a friend, colleague, classmate, etc. review your work and provide suggestions. Determine if you need to make any changes and respond accordingly.
    • Check your work against the criteria given with the assignment. If you feel your work misses a part and you have a reason for it, provide your argument for not performing those steps.

Author’s Notes: I have yet to fully integrate or emphasize the feedback cycle between instructor and participant, but it is modeled within the assignment itself as it is essential the student work with and speak to their client in building their final product.

I’d like to integrate self-reflection on the lessons I am building. I may alter a few other lessons. I’d like to ask the student to consider the following: “Do you know the material? Can you apply the knowledge; IE can you create a product using the material you read and practiced? Can you promote your work? By this I do not mean doing marketing, I mean can you talk to another person about what you’ve done or learned?” It is important both in the work arena and in dealing with clients. I am unsure, however, if I would give it points or score submissions.

Fink, L. D. (2003). Creating significant learning experiences: An integrated approach to designing college courses. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.