EDUC 6145-3 Week 6 Blog Post

The Christmas Angels Project

As a family, we have always enjoyed to volunteer in community events. We do not have family near so the community and neighbors are our family. Most of the time, we did not have the time to volunteer between work, the kids, the house, the dogs, studies…. Well, we got our chance, I decided to resign my dreamed job and be a housewife/mom. My son had being diagnosed with autism and still at the age of five, he was in diapers and not able to speak a word, only sounds. Eight and half months later, my husband was let go with just a few weeks away from Christmas.

It was perfect, we get to spend “time” doing what we loved, so we volunteered for a project. It was a small community project, Christmas Angels. We were so excited to be able to deliver Christmas gifts to kids of low income household on Christmas Day, that year, including ours. The project team members were divided into three teams: event planning, administration and delivery. The event planning team was in charge of choosing key locations in our community to place Christmas Angels for people to choose a child and purchase a gift for. The event planning team was also in charge of creating and distributing fliers to be publish in small community newspapers and bulletins to reach the people. The administration team was in charge to create paper angels. As paper angels were returned with names and addresses of receivers, the administration team called the people and remind them of dates and location to drop off their gifts. Finally, the delivery team was scheduled to pick up gifts/toys off from assigned locations, wrap and deliver them to respective homes on day before Christmas on behalf of St. Nicholas Claus.

We began with 927 families and a total of total of 2, 306 kids. Our project manager, was experienced in this type of event and the beginning was great. However, our project manager’s daughter surprised him with a family cruise, for the holidays and he left twelve days before Christmas. The project was going well until then. We did not know how it happened but more angels than the ones we created, suddenly appeared in different assigned locations.   We ended with more than 3, 600 kids. In the end, we were lucky to have plenty for all kids. Indeed, we were very close not to be able to deliver for all children, since extra angels appeared just a few days before Christmas.

What could have the project manager or team do, to control the scope of the Christmas Angels project? First, I would have probably create Christmas angels that were not so easy to be copied. Second, I would have placed specific due dates and stop collecting angels at least 10 days before Christmas. Third, gifts and toys would have been delivered at least a week before Christmas, so that the team would have being able to enjoy the day with their families. If more time had been dedicated to strategic planning and divide the project in phases, perhaps the project would have gone more smoothly. Indeed, in this case, the project was still a success. According to Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer, Sutton and Kramer in “Planning Management: planning, scheduling, and controlling projects”, project managers can increase a project’s chance for success by planning and guiding, based on understanding project life cycle phases. It was also stated, that developing a Work Breakdown Structure helps project managers organize all the activities necessary to complete the project. Finally, by project managers using concurrent engineering and interface coordination techniques, project failure can be traced to several basic mistakes. In conclusion, Pitfalls can be identified early on when project managers can respond effectively to situations and redirect project toward success.

Reference:

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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Communicating Effectively

Amazing! I just review the message of “The Art of Effective Communication” which can be found in the following link: http://mym.cdn.laureate-media.com/2dett4d/Walden/EDUC/6145/03/mm/aoc/index.html. The message with the same content of words delivered in an email, a voice mail and face to face. However, my interpretation of the message change as the type of modality used. First, I read the written message in an email. Second, I listen to the same message in a voice message. Third and last, I view the same content of words face to face. It is amazing how the same words can change the meaning of the message depending upon the tone of voice, face expression and just plain paper. Project managers must maintain effective communication among all project team members. It is essential for a project’s success. As a Project Manager, how you communicate with different stakeholders is of equal importance to what we communicate and can influence how our message is interpreted.

After observing, the same communication in three different modalities: as written text, as audio, and as video. As I listen and reviewed each modality, and reflected upon what I interpreted the message to mean. I thought about the content and tone of the message. I recorded my interpretation of the message after receiving it in each modality. Finally, I reflected upon the experience by considering the following:

My interpretation of the message changed from one modality to the next:

In an email the message was plain and simple, please let me know the tentative date you will turn in your report, or might be late to turn in my report. On the other hand, you can also send an email with data only so that I can finish my report, I will appreciated.

In a voice mail, my perception was: “Hey, please let me know when you would you be turn in your report. Hey, if you can, I would truly appreciate if you can send data on a separate email so I can finish my report. By the way, thanks so much, I truly appreciate your help.

In a face to face scenario and due to the tone of voice and face, my perception was the following: I need you to send me an eta on when you will be submitting your report. Due to you being late, I might be late too. At least sent the data in a separate email so I can attempt to submit my report on time.

  • The factors that influenced how I perceived the message are the tone of voice. It truly made a big difference between the voice message and the face to face message.
  • In my opinion, among the three forms of communication, the best form that conveyed the true meaning and intent of the message was the voice message.
  • The implications I learned from this exercise for communicating effectively with members of a project team is that

According to Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer, Sutton and Kramer in “Project Management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects”, the ability to communicate well both orally and in writing is a critical skill for project managers. Planning project communications up-front enables project managers to choose the appropriate type of communication for sharing the information to stakeholders in a clear and concise manner.

References:

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Project management concerns: Communication strategies and organizational culture [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). The Art of Effective Communication [Multimedia file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

The JSW Post Mortem_

At the end of a project it is important for the project manager and team members to conduct a post mortem. A project post Mortem consists of reviewing errors committed in the project and developing a list of the lessons learned from mistakes. In this blog post, we will be discussing briefly, a few observations made in the JSW project post mortem. The purpose of the JSW (job search workshop) project was to provide job searching related tools and resources for community/attendees that were looking for a job. The JSW project was carefully planned by the team members and project managers. I was assigned as one of the project managers. Most JSW project team members, are professionals in the human resources field.
At the end of the workshop, I distributed a list of questions for all team members and project managers. The list of questions consisted on processes or activities, which contributed to the JSW workshop’s success and/or failure. A week after the workshop, we met to celebrate the workshop success and to review the workshop survey results or “Lessons Learned”. To conclude the celebration along with the post mortem we reviewed the following:
• What processes, or activities did we include in the project that contributed to the JSW success?
The number one activity that made the JSW project to be a success was to have employers present during the workshop hiring for those participants who were ready with a professional resume on hand.
• What processes or activities did we include in the project that might have made the JSW project more successful?
We underestimated the number of people ready to look for a job with a resume on hand. Even though, we had a workshop registration process in place. Being a community event, we overlook the participants that showed up without registering. Only workshop registered participants, were able to interview during the workshop. We had fifty six attendees that were not able to interview, due to lack of interviewers and job offers. Indeed, attendees’ positive feedback and number of participants confirms that The JSW Project was a success. However, I strongly believe that a more complete community feasibility study would have assisted to a more successful JSW project.

Resources:
Greer, M. (2010). The project management minimalist: Just enough PM to rock your projects! (Laureate custom ed.). Baltimore: Laureate Education, Inc.

Converting to Distance Learning Format

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Dr. Lewis is a training manager with many years of experience. However, Dr. Lewis has been frustrated with the quality of communication among trainees in his face to face trainings, these past few months. Dr. Lewis would like to try part of the training to be online. With his supervisor’s permission, Dr. Lewis is looking to convert all his trainings from face to face training to a distant blended format for trainees and trainer to be able to communicate more effectively. Dr. Lewis is also considering to put all his training material so that students have access to resources and assignments at all times.

Dr. Lewis studied that according to Lorenzetti, J (2011), in her article The Benefits of Blended Learning Explained, blended learning assist institutions with the following:

  • Improves training facilitation and utilization
  • Can help fill under-enrolled courses and training programs
  • Help meet trainees/learners expectations and build learners skills
  • Offers learners and facilitators flexibility and convenience
  • Helps reduce training/educational cost
  • Allows more flexibility for learners and facilitator in relation to scheduling
  • Give learners access to new resources

After considering these benefits among many, Dr. Lewis continue to research looking at several resources concerning blended learning. Among resources found, his favorite was a journal of continuing higher education, Korr, Derwin, Greene, and Sokoloff (2012), in transitioning an Adult-Serving University to a Blended Learning Model, explain in detail, the implementation and transition from face-to-face to blended learning for GGC (Georgia Gwynnett College). A resource with great ideas, some of which Dr. Lewis included in his pre-planning strategies. Able to work with one of the training department best instructional designer, he reviewed the pre-planning strategies to be consider before converting his program. They both worked on the following pre-planning strategies:

  • Survey learners to get to know trainees
  • Lewis completed an online course on blended learning experience in which he specialized and train in blended learning theory and pedagogy as well as basic Blackboard skills
  • Training Department hired a new staff member to assist with technology support for the online part of the blended training course who worked with Dr. Lewis and the instructional designer in the planning stage
  • The trainer department developer would create the distant learning part of the instruction on the company website
  • The trainer department developer, along with the instructional designer, the support technician and Dr. Lewis would work together to develop a tutorial to instruct learners, on how to use the distant learning side of the instruction
  • Work with instructional designer on delivery methods that support the objectives of the training program
  • Lewis, instructional designer and one of the trainees worked hand on hand in the planning process of the transition to address trainees’ needs
  • Lewis, as a subject matter expert along with one of the top trainees and the instructional designers, work together on essential goals to enhance learners’ performance outcomes in blended training courses
  • Strategy to creatively manage time out of class room as well as in classroom

They began planning what components will be facilitated online and what will be facilitated face-to-face. Dr. Lewis again considered the journal of continuing higher education by Korr, Derwin, Greene, and Sokoloff (2012), in Transitioning an Adult-Serving University to a Blended Learning Model, discussion concerning success factors in distance learning programs. He decided to enhance in his distant learning program from his original training program assignments, activities and supporting lesson tools. Dr. Lewis with the assistance of the trainee consider which activities are more effectively accomplished online. He also enhance an online component to assist students on the topic of the lessons trainees had more difficulty with. Dr. Lewis also consider the use gamification for some of the distant learning activities to enhance learner’s distant learning experience. Build online groups and tools for trainees to communicate among them and with trainer to work on assignments and projects.

While reviewing the Strategies for Enhancing Student Interactivity in an Online Environment, by Durrington, Vance, Berryhill and Swafford (2006), Dr. Lewis understood his role as a face-to-face trainer, changes in a distant learning environment trainer. He would have to be more mobile and flexible to answer trainees’ questions and manage his time more effectively out of training class and during training class. Although students cannot hear the intonation of an instructor’s voice or benefit from body language, emoticons or abbreviations can be used to provide clues, prevent misunderstanding, enhance engagement, and communicate humor.

Dr. Lewis also understood, as a trainer, he would need to encourage trainees to communicate online. Dr. Lewis would utilize Durrington, Vance, Berryhill and Swafford (2006), the following suggestions to encourage trainees to communicate online.

  • Provide students with instructions, deadlines, clear expectation of the course
  • Promote an open, respectful and supportive online environment
  • Timeliness in responding to trainees’ questions to contribute to a learning environment that encourages interactivity
  • Address student with respect at all times
  • Utilize gamification when creating assignments and activities
  • Ask trainees questions directly related to their online postings
  • Respond to trainees posting to demonstrate their comments are valued and encourages them to participate
  • Encourage peer discussions and group assignments

After, the completion of the online distant part of the training class, Dr. Lewis felt he had made the right decision. A small group of trainees was called to begin an Alpha and Beta test of the final blended format training, in which the final modifications were made.

References:

Korr, J., Derwin, E. B., Greene, K., & Sokoloff, W. (2012). Transitioning an Adult-Serving University to a Blended Learning Model. Journal Of Continuing Higher Education, 60(1), 2-11.

Lorenzetti, J. (2011), Faculty Focus: The Benefits of Blended Learning Explained. Retrieved from: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/distance-learning/the-benefits-of-blended-learning-explained/

Durrington, V., Berryhill, A. & Swafford, J (2006). Strategies for Enhancing Student Interactivity in an Online Environment. Retrieved from: http://www.redorbit.com/news/technology/433631/strategies_for_enhancing_student_interactivity_in_an_online_environment/

The Impact of Open Source

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“Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets.” – Leonardo Da Vinci

This blog post has been intended to comply with week 5 assignment for EDUC 6135 Walden University Instructional Design and Technology Distant Learning Class. A current trend in distance learning is the use of Open Course websites. Open Course offerings allow anyone to take quality courses entirely for free. The incentive for taking these courses is not college credit, but rather to simply acquire knowledge or engage in a unique learning experience.
Stanford University offers a collection of lectures to form one class call Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders. Of course, I do believe the lectures were pre-planned before being facilitated to learners. On the other hand, I do not believe they were designed for distance learning. Most of the classes are being offered as podcast for learners interested in the course. Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders open course is a collection of entrepreneurial leaders’ lectures. The course does not have assignments or quizzes.

The course is based on a collection of lectures from leaders who have been invited to give a lecture to Stanford Technology Venture Programs students during face to face instruction.
One of my favorite lectures was Build Your Personal Charisma by Olivia Fox. Olivia Fox wrote a book on how to build your charisma. Her lecture was interesting and very well organized. She began her lecture with a Marilyn Monroe story and continue to provide interesting stories during her lecture. The lecture began with story and ended with inspirational positive statements for learners, just to learn how to build charisma and change their everyday lives. I noticed many of the courses presented on iTunes from Stanford University were design the same way.

They offer a collection of lectures, however not assignments or quizzes. Also many of them offering only podcasts not videos. There were a few with assignments and quizzes. However, the courses sessions ranged from 15 to 48 depending on the course length. For this purpose of this assignment, to complete a course effectively a week is not enough time.

I was not able to complete one of those. While most of the course classes were created as podcasts, I was able to complete one of the videos of the course called How Ideas Take Flight. The course was facilitated and designed by Stanford University Instructor Jennifer Aaker. Professor Aaker stated the reason to build momentum for ideas to take flight are happiness, meaning and stories. According to Aaker, happiness is a single contrast. Happiness is based on current circumstances and interest of the person at the present time. It changes as people grow older. Professor Aaker, explained how technology is being created to keep us engage and connected. However, it is actually doing the contrary. The lecture was long and I lost interest with time not able to finish the lecture. In reference to How Ideas Take Flight, I was truly happy to be in a distant learning class, versus a face to face class not being able to quit the class. The class was long and it seemed not very well organized, very distracting. The instructor makes a big difference when instructing the class, in this case, as a learner, I lost interest. How Ideas Take Flight is perfect for a face to face environment but it would not be effective for a distant learning class.

On the other hand, Yale University open course PHIL 181: Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature, was designed according to Simonson, Smaldino and Zvacek (2015), in their text book Teaching and Learning at a Distance. Yale open courses facilitates learners with a menu. The menu has the following parts: Syllabus, Sessions, Survey, Buy Books. As it is explained in Teaching and Learning at a Distance explains syllabus is the most important communication tool for the instructor to communicate with students at a distance. PHIL 181 syllabus advises, the description of the course, the professor name and specialization. It also provides the required resources needed to complete the course. Most important, the syllabus advised the requirements for students to meet. It also includes assignments and tests expectations as well as grading score percentage calculations based on student participation, two midterms test scores, essays and final exam.

For the purpose of this week assignment, I found to complete an entire open learning course, you would definitely need more than one week. I found a list of open courses, I completed in 2007, 2008 which took from one month to two months depending on the length of the course. Based on EDUC 6135 week resources, I compared Stanford iTunes courses versus Yale open courses. Yale open courses are designed following the recommendations made by Simonson, Smaldino and Zvacek in Teaching and Learning at a Distance. Yale open courses, self-led asynchronous instruction which provide a syllabus, facilitate active learning practices included on assignment, lectures and tests, use instructional materials during class sessions.

References:
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Technologies, the internet, and distance education. In Teaching and learning at a distance (6th ed., pp. 77-124). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
Szabo Gendler, Tamar (2011). Open Yale courses. Retrieved from: http://oyc.yale.edu/philosophy/phil-181
Stanford University Technology Venture Programs, Center for Professional Development (2010). Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Seminar. Retrieved from: https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=414065759#ls=1

An Interactive Distance Learning Technology to Create a Virtual NYC Museums Pass

New York Museums’ Virtual Pass

A Teacher’s Passion Transfers into Students Love for Learning!

Admiration is simply one of many words we can express with gratitude, for teachers with a passion to create, in order to efficiently transter the information to his/her students.  A teacher asked: What would be the best resource for students to virtually visit two of New York best museums. My answer would probably be  Adobe Captivate 8.  Indeed, with Adobe Captivate 8 you can create a amazing interactive learning tool that would enrich the learners education. With Adobe Captivate 8 teachers can add their favorite photos of exhibitions on both museums learning tool.  After each section, using Captivate already integrated games and quizes, teachers can determine how much information was transfered by collecting quizes and games results.

After virtually visiting both museums, by visiting the links added on this blog, students can be divided in groups of five.  Each group would critique a work of art.  For students to be able to interact with museum curators, an Adobe Connect communication would have to be set up for video teleconferencing with the museum.  Both museums, the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as the Natural Museum of Art are rich in history, art and resources that kids would love to learn about

Jacqueline A. Solano

EDUC 6135  Week 3 Application

NYC Natural Museum of ArtExihibit 1metropolitan-museum-of-art-754843_1280