Distance Learning Scenario

Hi all!  This week we will be considering the needs and requirements of the learning context presented and which technologies could provide solutions in each situation through an instructional designer perspective.  Would you do anything differently?

Example 2: Interactive Tours

A high school history teacher, located on the west coast of the United States, wants to showcase to her students new exhibits being held at two prominent New York City museums. The teacher wants her students to take a “tour” of the museums and be able to interact with the museum curators, as well as see the art work on display. Afterward, the teacher would like to choose two pieces of artwork from each exhibit and have the students participate in a group critique of the individual work of art. As a novice of distance learning and distance learning technologies, the teacher turned to the school district’s instructional designer for assistance. In the role of the instructional designer, what distance learning technologies would you suggest the teacher use to provide the best learning experience for her students?

The high school students and history teacher might have access to a book that has some art work of a certain time period.  Turning the pages of the book might not interest the students if this is an established routine.  Instead, the teacher wants to grab the students’ interest by presenting the material with an added “coolness” factor.  The teacher wants to include interactivity, so the students can do something other than read the book.  The teacher wants a curator to discuss the art work.  Lastly, the teacher wants an environment where the students can interact in an asynchronous and/or synchronous manner.  Since the example does not have a deadline to complete the project, the instructional designer can consider taking the time to make the learning experience with asynchronous tools, which allows the product to be reproducible for other classes as well at a higher initial cost (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2009).  The initial class production might be costly, but subsequent classes thereafter may use similar resources that lower the cost of production (Moller, Foshay, & Huett, 2008).

Virtual Museum Tour Concept Map

Virtual Museum Tour Concept Map


Live curator for this class, and the option to record the dialogue

After considering some of the tools that the students can utilize the teacher’s needs, I would advise that a flash animated site be developed that includes an interactive click-through and audio or video narration with subtitles.  If a live curator were used via Skype, a webcam, or through a chat room, the material would not be reproducible for other classes to use.  Instead of asking a live curator to speak to the class, the curator could be asked to read a script to make a prerecorded video.  The prerecorded video can be played to other classes.  Lastly, another option is to have the live curator speak to the class and have the session recorded for future use by integrating the snippets of the conversation into a flash animated site.  The last item would meet the teacher’s need of having a live curator speak with the class and also allow for future reproduction.

Interactivity by pictures, a tour, or flash-based

Interactivity is provided when the live curator is speaking to the students.  Students can also be shown pictures with pre-delivered copies from the museum either in physical or digital form.  Preferably, the curator is able to carry around the broadcasting equipment from one area of the museum to the next.  Being shown pictures and having a person walk around with the equipment might not add the “coolness” factor that the teacher was looking for.  I would recommend that the pictures be given ahead of time and placed into a flash click-through format where students are able to read the subtitles and seek the curator for more information on the spot.

Student interaction by discussion boards

Students can be tasked to leave comments on discussion boards.  Discussion boards are flexible tools that can be used to assess the students’ knowledge on the activity (Simonson et al., 2009).  Depending on the volume of material, students can be asked to view a picture and leave a discussion post per picture or on a set of pictures.  The discussion should have rules to follow (e.g. netiquette, grading rubrics, and instructions).  Consequences of plagerism should be placed as part of the rules to follow and some system of detection should be put in place (Simonson et al., 2009).

The two examples on the concept map offer different approaches on providing a virtual tool to experience a virtual museum tour.  Albright-Knox has an awesome Artgame for students at http://kids.albrightknox.org/index.html.  Students are able to view different art work through a flash click-through and are presented with a subtitle for each picture.  The directions are very clear as what to do next.  The only inclusions I would do to this idea for the teacher is to include a discussion board and probably throw in a few video clips of a curator explaining the art work.  What are your thoughts on the Artgame approach?  Would you improve upon it?  What would you do differently?

Another virtual art museum is by The National Gallery of Art-Online Tour and can be viewed at http://www.nga.gov/onlinetours/index.shtm.  This gallery has videos of curators and podcasts for students to view as well as pictures of various art work.  Though, the online tour is nothing more than a standard web page with a picture and wordy content.  What I do like about this site is its ordered navigation links and various categories.  This site could be used in conjunction with a discussion board by having students research topics on this site.  This site would be easier to produce, but it is lacking in its interactivity in terms of drawing in the attention of students.  I would convert the lengthy text into audio for the students to listen to, create picture transitions to along with the audio, put in video from the curator within the presentation, and have a discussion attached to each topic.

Albright-Knox Artgames (2001).  Albirght-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York.  Retrieved from http://kids.albrightknox.org/index.html.

Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 1: Training and development). TechTrends, 52(3), 70–75.

National Gallery of Art-Online Tour (2011).  National Gallery of Art.  Retrieved from http://www.nga.gov/onlinetours/index.shtm.

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2009). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (4th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.


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