Looking through several free open course websites I didn’t find one that I was attracted to until I went back into this week’s resources and found something that drew my attention. The courseware that I personally was interested in was MITOPENCOURSEWARE which is part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm which caught my eye because of my interest in technology and learning more, this seemed to be the best site for me to research. This website was visually pleasing with its easy to read tabs up top showing me my options of where to go which is a plus in design and made my decision easier.
Along with the easy to read tabs there is a scrolling marquee in the center of the screen giving me different pictures of courses, technologies used and other announcements for new and returning students which make it easy to navigate. The site is set up with different courses that you can search by name if there is something specific that you want to learn. Also in the courses tab you have your choice of resources to look at from lectures to online textbooks that can be used for personal learning. As far as planning goes I feel that the course shell was well put together showing that the creators of the website made sure to catch the eye of the visitors to the site and give them a simple way to navigate the information presented. As Dr. George Piskurich said in the video tutorials on the Walden University website resources (2014), the planning stage the designer must involve an easy way for the students to move through the website. The virtual environment can be scary to most because of the uncertainty of web based learning.
Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek (2012) discuss the role that technology can play in creating a student-centered distance learning experience; one that promotes collaboration and control. Throughout the website there are courses listed and PDF files that go with it that outline the learning and what needs to be accomplished. Each course has information on the course itself, the link from the course takes you to the course home page that outlines the course and is mapped out perfectly giving you access to the syllabus, calendar, lecture notes, case studies, and final project information. This is a great overview for someone interested in the course giving anyone wanting to take the course confidence that it will be simple to use for online learning. Each part of the course is carefully mapped out and provides information walking the potential learner through everything they will need to know to complete the course. For example, the course site for Principle of Engineering Practice the site provides all of the course materials, course description and instructor information.
As far as activities that will engage the learner though, throughout the syllabus and the labs there are only course readings and papers to write. This does not excite me and I do not think it will excite the learner. On the front page of the website there is a great advertisement about games being used for learning, but I do not see the use of these games in the courses that I looked through which can be very disappointing to a student looking to take classes.
I find that the lack of technology actually used in this technology course to be miss-leading. These courses are very Learner-Led Asynchronous Courses that put all of the learning on the student and technology is not much of a part of the course besides the place to gather the information. As Dr. Piskurich discussed (2014) that the designer needs to decide if they chose the right technology to use and can it be accessed. Yes, easily accessed, but there seems to be no other technologies needed to take this course.
Kimerling, Lionel. 3.003 Principles of Engineering Practice, Spring 2010. (MIT
OpenCourseWare: Massachusetts Institute of Technology),
http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/materials-science-and engineering/3-003-principles-of-engineering-practice-spring-2010 (Accessed 3 Aug, 2014). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek. (2012). Teaching and learning at a
distance. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Planning and designing online courses [Video file].
Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu