Philosophy Posted

Hello all,

I posted my philosophy on my site at   I have spent so much time with you all this semester it feels odd to put up the final post and walk away.   I enjoyed getting to know you, learned from each of you, and will look forward to bumping into you in future courses.   So, goodbye for now!


Philosophy + Goodbye

I’ve attached my philosophy assignment at the bottom of this post. I’ve written about a half dozen of these by now and every professor in the School of Education has told me to keep them pretty short, and since we didn’t have a length specified, I tried to do that. I also tried to not retread water, so to speak, and to make sure everything in here was kind of new and pertained specifically to online education since that is, of course, what we’re in. So this is kind of unrelated to the normal philosophies I’ve written.

Also, I guess this is goodbye. Obviously there will still be comments made on people’s posts but this is the last assignment posting for the course, so I’d like to thank everyone for their input and feedback over the course of this semester. I’m not even done going through everyone’s final units yet but that seems a lot less final than “the final post.” I tried to get this assignment done early to make sure I had time to make comments on everything. Your posts are all just so interesting I feel the need to read them all!

I’ll keep this short and say I enjoyed meeting and interacting with all of you, and I’ve learned a lot from everyone’s posts this semester. This is my last ever ONID course (at least for a few years) so I doubt I’ll bump into you all again. Take care!

Goodbye, and I hope you all have a fine winter holiday!


Final Lesson Plan and Defense Paper

This lesson has been through an extensive process this quarter. It started out with an outline of a face-to-face course I teach. This course has never been taught through distance education and distance ed was never in our thought process while designing this course. So at the beginning of the quarter I had a course outline. Many of the assignments and discussions are done in class so they aren’t articulated in the same way as they would in distance education. Also, this course has been taught in the traditional lecture and written assignment format. Going through this process with the course and learning about pedagogy and meaningful assessment this quarter, I will no longer teach this course in that format.

Defense Paper:

The lesson I designed for this course engages students in Lummi history. The overall goal of the lesson is to familiarize students with inherent knowledge that has been passed down through the generations in our community. This knowledge is thousands of years old. And our students have a right to learn this knowledge today. At the time of creation the Creator, X’als gifted these knowledges to our people with the understanding that our people would protect this knowledge. This teaching creates an inherent responsibility to this knowledge and that changes methodology in teaching. Most history courses provide large amounts of information throughout a period in time. This particular course has that same goal but it also comes with this responsibility. Students attending Northwest Indian College are predominantly non-traditional tribal students. But over the recent years, we’ve seen more and more younger students coming straight out of high school. After conducting a visioning process in our community from multiple groups of people and talking with our elders, it was apparent there was something missing in the way our leaders conduct business and make decisions. They were missing that key foundational knowledge about their history and homeland. The history and connection to homeland is essential to understanding why we protect these things. This class will give students that background knowledge and hopefully instill a sense of responsibility to their community.

The lesson described provides students with building blocks that will assist them in their final research project. Throughout this lesson, students will be introduced to inherent rights and how inherent rights are present in all aspects of Coast Salish culture. All of these lessons will contribute to the final research project that will be described in the critical inquiry stage of the assessment process. The course is designed to ensure students begin to see how inherent rights are present throughout the culture and see specific examples. The first unit of this lesson is about Creation. The students will be introduced to inherent rights with a video from a Coast Salish elder. And once they are introduced to inherent rights, they will read a creation story and try to identify inherent rights in the oral history. Each of these units asks the students similar questions. Once they begin their research at the end of the lesson, they will be required to talk with family members about their family history. Through this process students will have the ability to identify inherent rights in their own family history.

This lesson takes a formative assessment approach. This is process includes three stages that follow a circular process. The first stage is domain knowledge, this stage is built into the curriculum through the PowerPoint, Prezi, videos, and readings presented to students. All of these resources will provide students with the knowledge they need to move to the next stage. The next stage is critical inquiry and this is predominantly student-led. In this stage it is expected that students will take what they’ve learned in these units and apply them to their life. The final product of this unit is a research project that students will present at a community event. The instructor will give the students a description of the research project. And the instructor will give guidance as needed throughout the unit. But this research project is student-led. Students will be expected to research their family history by conducting interviews with family members. The students will also be required to describe inherent rights from their perspective giving examples from the Coast Salish culture. Then students will make a connection to inherent rights and their own family lineage. At the end of the critical inquiry stage students will have a product. And students will be expected to present their research at a community event. But the instructor will not just send them out to the community without working with them on their presentations. The students will first present their research in class to the instructor. The instructor will give them feedback and ask questions prompting further exploration into their research. The students will revise and present again. Once this process is complete the students will present to the community. This presentation cycle is the third stage of the formative assessment process. The faculty will assess student learning by asking if the feedback and questions influenced the student’s behavior. Did the student show a deeper understanding or growth from their first presentation to their second? The instructor will provide narrative feedback to the students with their feedback and the instructor’s observations for both presentations. That way the student can also see his or her own growth and understanding.

Lesson Plan:


ED655 Unit Lesson Plan

Thank you for the feedback everyone. I’ll try to figure out what is going on with my WordPress site. I don’t remember how to get in there to edit. I would like to add this lesson to that site as soon as I’m able to access it.


Emerging Tools

I chose to examine the emerging tools Moodle, Prezi, and VoiceThread. These tools are a great resource for students and instructors.

I started by examining Moodle. I was unsuccessful in downloading the software needed to create a course. So that link will not be in this post.

The first page I reviewed on the webpage was the Course Homepage:

This page gave step-by-step instructions on how to create a course on Moodle. It also had YouTube videos for How to lay out a course, and What is considered a course.

The links are here:

These videos were helpful and started the learning process from the very beginning. As I stated above, in order to create anything on Moodle I needed to download the program and all the necessary software. This process did not work and I ended up at a dead end. But from prior experience with using Moodle I can say it is fairly easy to use. But instructors have to pay attention to the organization of the course. Each heading that describes where to find Assignments, Resources, Discussions, ect. all have to be inserted into the course. I’ve enrolled in courses as a student in Moodle where instructors just dump all the course resources into weeks but there is no instruction or organization to the course.

The next tool I reviewed was Prezi. Creating a prezi presentation only requires the user to have an account. There are options for different types of accounts. There is a free account but there is no security to these accounts. So all work that is created under a free account can be searched and viewed by the public. I created a Prezi presentation from one of my course powerpoints about traditional villages. The PowerPoint was already created and all I had to do was download the slides from powerpoint to Prezi. From there I was able to drag and drop the slides to the Prezi slides. There are presentations that are already created and all the user needs to do is upload their information to these designs. I chose to create my own design. So I found a picture online and uploaded that as the background to my presentation. This process took a few hours. I think it would have taken longer if the Original Territory presentation wasn’t already created. One interesting and user friendly tool that Prezi has the snapping tool. This tool aligns all of the slides to ensure they are all the same size and aligned with each other. It just makes the presentation look nicer. Another user friendly tool is the autosave tool. Once a change is made to the presentation, Prezi autosaves the changes. That way there is no issues with a student’s presentation disappearing. Here is the link to my presentation:

I also reviewed VoiceThread. VoiceThread is another presentation tool that can be used by students or instructors. Again, I used the Original Territory presentation and created a VoiceThread. This program required the user to have an account. This account can be a student account or instructor account. The instructor account is $99/year and will allow for the instructor to have up to 50 students licensed under this account. If the instructor needs additional licenses, they can purchase them. My account is through another course at UAF and I don’t know if I was technically allowed to create a VoiceThread for another course beside that one. So I may delete this presentation after a few days. There are layers to the process of creating a VoiceThread. These layers were not described to me when I created my first VoiceThread for my other class. I had to figure all of this out on my own. So if VoiceThread is used for lower-division students, these layers should be described at some point to the class. The first step is preparing a PowerPoint. This step is pretty self-explanatory and most students already know how to use PowerPoint. The second step is to figure out to some extend what you are going to say about that slide. I usually script my VoiceThreads. Then you upload the PowerPoint to VoiceThread and record a description for each slide. Overall it is fairly easy to use, but I think students need some direction if they are going to be required to use this software. Here is the link to my VoiceThread:

Unit Defense Paper (One Page? How?)

This unit, which is designed to exist part of the way through an entire year long course covering Alaska Native literature, is designed for low-level high school students in rural Alaska. It is assumed that there will be a small number of students in this unit and they will have been in this course all year long and be familiar with course structures. I envision them as being, most likely, ninth graders with some experience with English but little experience studying Alaska Native stories outside f the context of their own lives or elementary school culture classes. I am not sure how many students would ever enroll in the course but my guess is that the numbers would be fairly low, likely below ten per semester.

Many rural Alaska schools have surprisingly decent libraries, so that is obviously important in this unit. The course is not particularly designed to impart technological skills so there is little in the way of explaining complex tools. I have tried to include multimedia somewhat, as well as student interaction as best I can. I believe the new inclusion of student interaction is executed at a level that best suits.

Student interaction is a foundational element in teaching lower level students (Burke, 2008). It helps them feel more comfortable and it helps them build ideas off of each other, so that even if they’re studying different things they can share an intellectual space with each other and grow ideas together (Lorber and Pierce, 1990). This ideology lies within the realm of constructivist theories, as I hope to position students as active learners rather than passive vessels (Ally, 2008). Students need to be involved in both designing their own educational paths and helping to teach other students, otherwise the entire educational process online can find itself being remarkably similar to 19th century mail-in correspondence courses.

The design of the course has now undergone many revisions and I have now come to a version of the unit that I am happy with. The activities are very loose and based largely on students building their ideas up to a single project. English lends itself very well to a longer brainstorming process than do many subjects, so I feel as though the current structure basically just builds up and up for weeks, which I like. I am picturing these potential ninth graders in rural Alaska as being largely at a level that necessitates long drawn out spiral building processes. The fact of the matter is that the education works best when you start from the end and work your way backwards, so that students can always be building to something (Burke, 2008). The current activities are all designed to force students to engage in activities that should make the final paper and presentation easier to conceptualize. That is the hope, anyway.

The course has three major outcomes, all of which, like I said, should help move students towards the final outcome which is the paper. The first two outcomes are peppered throughout the course; within three weeks students will have met the first two outcomes and absorbed the products of other students also meeting those outcomes. The student interaction in the first three weeks is designed to ensure that if some students are having difficulties meeting those first two outcomes, they can bounce other ideas off of each other. The fourth week’s peer edits are designed to make sure that students have no problems meeting the third and most important unit objective. If the first two build into the third one, and all of the activities are designed to build into each other, I am fairly confident now that the course is designed in such a way that student have to meet all the outcomes.

In short, my goal for this unit is to create a unit that allows students to come in without much background information and follow a path that most interests them. Obviously that puts a kind of unusual responsibility on students, but I am okay with that. That is my intention here; transferring responsibility for course design from the teacher to the students is part of what I am shooting for. I hope the unit proves successful, and I am fairly confident that this unit is designed in such a way that any student who works their way through it will meet my objectives and then some.



Ally, M. (2008). Foundations of educational theory for online learning. In Anderson, T., & Elloumi, F. (Eds.). The theory and practice of online learning (2nd ed.) (pp. 15—44). Athabasca, AB, Canada: Athabasca University.

Burke, J. (2008). The English teacher’s companion: A complete guide to classroom, curriculum, and the profession (3rd ed.). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Lorber, M., & Pierce, W. (1990). Objectives, methods, and evaluation for secondary teaching (3rd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall.

Unit (Completed!)

Here is my unit.

I tried to incorporate feedback as best I could so it’s changed quite a bit! You can navigate through it from the start or through drop-down menus like we do here. I wasn’t able to incorporate everyone’s feedback 100% – especially on that multimedia thing, because that’s really a very large part of the future of the course outside of this unit, but I did try to get everyone’s feedback and was very appreciative of the in-depth comments! There is some multimedia at the end but it’s not a huge part…at the end of the class students will be doing that in big projects.