I get to know the instructor of this course when she came to the East West Center as a participant of the civic education short course in the winter 2012. The instructor is a full time professor in the Faculty of Civic Education, University of Malang. Her specialization is in law education and civic engagement. For the fall 2013 (“Semester Gazal” which is the term used in Indonesia), the instructor was appointed to teach a coursed named The Insight of Social Sciences (Wawasan Ilmu Sosial). The main purpose of this course is to enhance students’ civic engagement and voluntary services in their local community. The course is a mandatory of the university and teach in all faculties (in the US we refer as department) at the same term by several instructors in different sections using the same syllabus which we redesigned prior to the implementation. However, the blended course section is applied only in the Faculty of Civic Education as a pilot project. The instructors taught 4 classes with approximately 40 students in a class. In the implementation, the instructor was supported by a senior student as a teaching assistant and the university information technology staff as a technology support. The pilot project is also achieved the university general funding for research and development and supported by the leadership in the university.
My primary role in this course is as an instructional designer and also content experts who worked with the instructor to redesign the course syllabus, contents, and suggest the organization of the website. I read through the initial syllabus of the course and provided suggestions to replace outdated contents and regrouping the theme. The instructor and I had synchronous meetings twice a week through either Skype calls or WizIQ virtual room. Moreover, we exchanged message using Facebook massagers regularly. In the discussion, I guide the instructor to analyze the need of learners and synchronizing the needs with the vision and mission of the university. The syllabus and course organization were then presented in a general meeting to the Dean and faculty members who teach the course in other sections. Suggestions from the Dean and other faculties were then incorporated in the final syllabus and the course organization.
At the first meeting of the class, the instructor conducted a survey to collect learners’ opinion about the benefit of the website and the blended course. The course was then delivered by combining the face-to-face meeting with the use of course website designed using WordPress, and Facebook group. The website is primarily used for content management, lesson planning and mapping, and occasional postings by learners and the instructor. Facebook group was used for the course discussion and delivered the course announcement. In the ongoing process, students and content experts were voluntary requested to evaluate the site, Facebook group, and the classroom instructions. At the end of the course, students were requested to fill out the post survey. Both students and instructors admitted that they mostly experiences positive learning experiences from the blended course. The instructor mentioned in her report that she is not merely learning from teaching and designing the course, but also learning from the students postings and portfolio.
Personally, I feel fortunate to be able to apply my learning as a doctoral student in the field of educational technology to the design of course in my home country. This application, further, confirmed that distance is not a constraint anymore for a collaborative project. In addition, with the proper use, simple technology can benefit the connection of educator and learner from different country. Advancement in educational technology enables their citizens to continue serving their country while they are staying abroad. Audiences who attend this presentation will take home a message about the potential of technology as a bridge to exchange knowledge and experience across nation and across the continent.
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