In my design and communications work, my emphasis has been on Integrated Visual Communications. My motto has been Stylish. Streamlined. Simple. <No Complications>.
These continue to be my aims for education / training.
My prior expertise includes tying together communications methods (print and web), concept and production, design and content, and coordination/planning through project handoff/maintenance. It also includes marketing experience and writing/editing skills. This allows me to now design and teach courses in:
- Business technology computing programs and workplace skills;
- Creative design programs and production skills;
- Project management and planning skills;
- Essential short Engish composition and web communication skills; and
- Workplace-related skills courses for worker retraining/updates, I-Best, and high-school (including re-entry) students.
My goal for student learning is to add to a learner’s body of knowledge in the chosen subject with practice and relating the information to experience. While I consider fundamental concepts important in coursework, I aim for students to build problem-solving skills and information-accessing expertise in their assessments so they can think through, scaffold, and practice what they learn.
- For instance, in a sociology concept, we would need to understand what correlation means, look at cases, and students would then need to apply this to real-life examples to differentiate correlation from causation.
- In written communications, students need to learn the underpinnings of writing principles, then apply organization and expression in practice to argue a point, provide a succinct how-to, and/or persuade to action.
- In vocational skills-building, students need to learn a large variety of activities in, for instance, using a spreadsheet or website editing program. The learner has to apply practice to create finished work products like professional reports, spreadsheets, or websites, while looking for additional ways to accomplish evolving task needs, adapt to related applications, and produce high-quality work.
After a course with me, a student should be able to apply real skills and knowledge to problem-solving, and to be able to look for additional resources to build upon their capabilities.
I focus on scaffolding for my teaching methodology. I feel it is important to understand what students’ current knowledge is and where they need to go to achieve practical and usable course outcomes. Between those is a wide range of opportunities to distribute the core curriculum content, build on existing knowledge, add context to construct on top of that, demonstrate resources and methods to help broaden understanding, and prompt students to make the information their own through problem solving.
- For instance, in a history-related construct, after determining what a student knows about a event, it is important to place it in context of the time, culture, and limitations of the event’s timeline. Learners then can coordinate in small groups or use discussion to practice reasoning on how and why the event is relevent historically and to the present.
- In a skills-building course like database design, the students can be brought from a limited comprehesion of why databases are designed, to organizing and using them for relating diverse forms of information and solving business problems using the database contents.
I prefer using tasks, activities, and assignments for assessing student learning. While there is coursework that needs memorization and quizzing for core content principles, students can burn out if there is little real application and use of the principles to understand situations and solve problems.
- For instance, in written communications, it is important to learn the basics of vocabulary, grammar, and spelling, for which quizzing is often used. However, the skills-building comes from actual practice in efficiently analyzing and expressing facts and ideas, persuading with well-articulated arguments, and creating connection by sharing context and relevance.
- In a vocational course like Excel or Photoshop, quizzes on tools and tasks are much less effective in equipping and training students in the skills than is practicing on different kinds of work products and multi-piece projects.