Feedback: An Ongoing Process

This week in our EC&I 834 class, we met in small breakout rooms to share our course prototypes and first modules. It was a great experience reviewing the courses as we all come from different teaching backgrounds and experiences. Thank you to Miranda, Raquel and Devin for the positive feedback in our breakout rooms, as well as advice from Erin and Amanda throughout my course building process. Here are some of the suggestions I received and how I plan to implement the ideas.

First, here is a link to my course: Exploring the Elements of Art: Grade 3 Arts Education Unit. I decide to prepare all of my activities in Seesaw, but my biggest challenge was how to present my course in a simple and easy-to-follow package for educators. One suggestion I received was to change the opening text on my homepage. Originally it looked like this:

To make the course more inviting for educators, I changed “About the Course” to “Welcome!”. I also changed some of the text in the opening paragraph in an effort to sell the course and entice educators to continue exploring the course.

I also struggled with my menu titles and options throughout the process. At first, I did not include a page with the Course Profile (which was originally posted on this blog site), so I added an edited profile to reflect some changes I made to my original post. These include changing the number of lessons and using an Arts Education folder in Seesaw instead of a “landing page” work-around option.

Course Modules? Modules? Lessons? Focus Lessons? Focus Modules?

Word choice can be complicated, and I think this is an area I was really overthinking when setting up my site. Since my course covers the seven elements of art, I thought it would be useful to refer to each element of art as a “focus” for the particular week. Seven (7) focus topics followed by a final project to complete the course. The reason for this word choice is that for some “focus” topics, there would be two Seesaw activities (a practice activity and an assessment activity). Through conversations with classmates, I changed the wording from “Focus Modules” to “Outline” as a menu heading. When you click “Outline“, you are taken to an outline of all the lessons covered in the course (with links to each lesson). In the dropdown menu, I had “Lesson Overview”, which took you to the same “Outline” page. This was confusing for some classmates, so I took the suggestion of removing the redundant menu item. Now, the only pages listed in the dropdown menu will be each lesson listed as “Focus 1:…”, “Focus 2:…”, “Focus 3:…”, etc.

Seesaw Activities

Since my course activities are accessed through Seesaw, it is assumed that an educator will use the course if they use Seesaw. But, for my classmates that do not use Seesaw, I provided links to the YouTube videos and screenshots of the activities so they could have a sense of course. In many cases, educators could adapt the lessons from the screenshots and videos to use the unit without Seesaw, but for the purpose of this class, I will be focusing on creating Seesaw activities and instructional videos.

Each activity is available for teachers to save to their personal Seesaw libraries, and they have the ability to copy and edit the activity if necessary. The feedback about the activities was very positive, especially from classmates who do not use Seesaw with their students. Since I am currently using this unit with my Grade 3 students, I was able to show my breakout room how the activities have actually worked with students and the results so far. I also have the benefit of making adjustments as I go along for future activities (especially with having very clear instructions in a completely asynchronous online environment).

Assessment

I provided clear rubrics within my Seesaw activities, but one suggestion from a classmate was to include a self-assessment piece. I love this idea since I think arts education is a very self-reflective process. I will be including self-assessments within future activities that include assessed art projects.

Try not to overthink it!

Overall, the best advice I received was to step back and not overthink the website! My Seesaw activities make sense, but I struggled with the wording and organization of my website for the purpose of educators who want to use the course. I am still not convinced it 100% user friendly, so I appreciate any other feedback you have about the ease of access and understanding how to use the course.

Until next time,

@Catherine_Ready

6 thoughts on “Feedback: An Ongoing Process

  1. Catherine, I think the most valuable piece that you reflected on was the last paragraph. Don’t sweat the small stuff. You are still in the early stages of your course development, and giving yourself a little bit of credit will go along way. Are there things that you still want or need to do? Of course, there is, but try to go with the flow. When writing my thesis, the best advice that I was given was to write. Don’t stop to do all of the editing and formatting, but just write. Get all of your ideas down, wait a few days and then go back and edit, format, and move things around. Sometimes we get so caught up in the moment that we forget that we’re doing a good job, even when we think we’re lacking somewhere.

    Where do you see yourself going from here in terms of the course? Do you have anything that stands out from the feedback that you want to address going forward?

    Thanks for sharing your triumphs and struggles. I like how real you are when you share your feelings in your posts. Keep up the hard work!

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    1. Thank you for the comment, Kelly! You are so right about taking a step back to let the ideas sink in and settle, then look at it with fresh eyes. Although we only need to complete two lessons for EC&I 834, I really want to create a fully packaged and complete course to use in future years and share with colleagues. When creating my instructional videos about each element of art, I have the same opening credits and music so that I can have a YouTube playlist of all the videos that follow the same format. Instead of saying things like, “Hi Grade 3s!”, I tried to keep the language very open so it could be used for a variety of grades in the future. I know I searched “elements of art grade 3” on YouTube, so I hope I can help other educators out from around the world when this is done!

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  2. I appreciate that so many people in this class seem to be taking the approach that these modules should be made in a way that makes that makes them easy to share and to use by other educators. I like that you’re including the self assessment piece. I have had students sometimes who are either too easy or too hard on themselves, but it sounds like your rubrics are clear so you should be set. I sometimes have self assessment happen prior to students submitting work so that I receive higher quality work to begin with as opposed to students handing in something that does not meet expectations and then giving the student the option to resubmit at a later date.

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Mike! I like the idea of a self-assessment as well for similar reasons – hopefully the quality of work submitted is of higher quality. Or it will at least get students thinking about the expectations. At the end of this course, I hope that I can provide a fully packaged course that could be used with Grade 3 teachers in the future. And in many ways it could be easily adapted for other grades as well!

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  3. You’re course looks great so far! Thank you for sharing what you have in an easy to follow format. This has given me ideas on how I can also share mine. I struggled with how I can share with classmates while using Seesaw. You have made it so easy for everyone to follow along with what you are creating.
    I also struggled with the wording of ‘module’ as it doesn’t really seem to match with the format of Seesaw. I have put all of my lessons into a separate folder for the course.
    Definitely don’t over think it. Overall your course is for your students so as long as it is user friendly for them, you’re good! Good luck as you continue to build your course!

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    1. Thanks for the feedback, Christina! Seesaw is so simple and easy to follow if you are in that world, but for our classmates that do not use it, I wanted to be very clear on the course outline. Hopefully this means that non-Seesaw users might consider adapting the activities from the Seesaw lessons to use with their own students. One bonus is that I am observing my students using this course in real-time, so I am able to make adjustments as we go along. Simple instructions is definitely the biggest takeaway so far!

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