The most challenging and the most valuable part of this course so far has been taking the time to appreciate the processes that I practice, in theory, every day. I have been using backward design for almost eight years, but I have never taken the time to complete the strategy map in full, until now. I have been mindful of accessibility for a long time, but rarely do I prioritize accessibility over my own style preferences, until now. I have been quick to add the things I learn to my teaching practice, sometimes too quick, and this course has been an opportunity to think about what I do and why.
One of the early lessons I took from ONID was the usefulness of domain of one’s own. For a long time, I have favored using posting course material on my website or a stand-alone course website, instead of or alongside the prescribed LMS. When I was teaching developmental math in Alaska (2015-19), this made some sense. The Blackboard LMS that we used was not the easiest for my students to access on mobile devices or with limited bandwidth. Setting up a section of my personal WordPress site to post links and materials made things more accessible for them. When Google sites became easier to use, I started making a Google site for every class I taught. This past semester, teaching developmental math again, I had a Google site alongside Canvas LMS. Now that I can set my Canvas courses to public and organize them efficiently, the Google site has become redundant. Student access issues (even with the low bandwidth here in the rural Upper Peninsula of Michigan) have largely been eliminated. By the end of the semester, I realized that the stand-alone course Google site was redundant and unnecessary. I was using it only because I like it.
I have struggled to engage with this course, in part because of personal issues and in part because the material is so familiar to me. Much of it feels like busywork. Having engaged and reflected, though, I see that the value in this course for me has been in assessing and adjusting my own approaches to instructional design.
The work in this course helped me see that. I had originally planned to make a Google site for my final project, but I found that the reasons I had for choosing a Google site over a Canvas module were lost. A well-built Canvas module offers a platform with built-in accessibility tools along with all of the other benefits of a LMS.