Students gain experience 'above and beyond' in MLT's first year
Ana-Paula Correia is a matchmaker.
As program coordinator for the College of Education and Human Ecology’s first completely online graduate program, she teaches and coaches students so they can help others learn with technology more effectively.
The associate professor sees it as her responsibility to find ways students can demonstrate their knowledge.
Four of her students in the Master of Learning Technologies program were paired to opportunities they did not imagine possible when they first started the program.
Tim Nunn, Anna Leach, Natalie Gintert and Cara North – or as they lovingly describe themselves, Team TANC – are a highly motivated bunch making the most of the inaugural year of the program.
Team TANC presented its work on evaluating learning tools at Ohio State’s Innovate conference in May. The members used what they learned in their applied instructional design course to work with an actual client – Ohio State’s College of Nursing – to improve a course in its online Master of Healthcare Innovation. They also submitted proposals to present at next year’s South by Southwest-Education conference.
“This is above and beyond anything I thought I would get out of a class,” North said. “It challenged me on a different level.”
Learning to be an instructional designer
Correia sought out the opportunity for this very reason. “I knew learning design has a lot to offer to healthcare education,” she said.
Team TANC immediately jumped at the chance to work for a real client for their applied instructional design course.
“Partnering with another college on campus was really special,” Gintert said. “This gave us a good example of what it’s like to work with an outside client and what it would be like to be a consultant or instructional designer.”
The students learned about the project requirements from the nursing college’s Chief Innovation Officer Tim Raderstorf, who outlined what he was looking for in a course redesign. The content was set. They took on redesigning its delivery.
After evaluating the content, they settled on five deliverables for the project that would bridge the gap between the medical community and those with different backgrounds enrolled in the Master of Healthcare Innovation program. They would:
- Break the content into manageable chunks
- Add quizzes throughout to test comprehension
- Create companion materials to enhance learning the course materials
- Build a game to test knowledge of a key learning objective
- Redesign the course homepage so students better understand what they are expected to learn, and the work to complete
“It was an instructional designer’s dream to have this great content and a blank canvas to create something innovative,” Nunn said.
‘We were pretty impressed’
Because they were selected to present at Ohio State’s Innovate conference, Gintert, Leach, North and Nunn were all able to take the work they had done together virtually and present it to Raderstorf and the College of Nursing in person.
And their work was well received.
“We were pretty impressed with it,” Raderstorf said. “My recommendation to the faculty is to take everything the students created and implement it for the rest of the courses. They did a fantastic job of evidence-based practice in instructional design.”
More than the end product, the process of building that project went really well for Team TANC. They fed off each other’s professional strengths. They were enthusiastic about working for a client. Simply, they make a great team.
Even though they were nervous and had time constraints, the virtual environment created a symbiotic relationship for Team TANC. That helped them thrive.
“I can’t put a price tag on how valuable this has been for me,” Leach said. “I won’t forget about this.”
Expanding for more outcomes
As the students teamed with Raderstorf to incorporate their work into the Master of Healthcare Innovation program, they also submitted a proposal to speak at the South by Southwest Education conference in March to discuss their experience of working on the project and what it means to be a modern online graduate student.
The community has a voice in what programming is scheduled at the conference. Voting for their panel is going on now until Aug. 25.
Correia and Raderstorf also have a proposal to speak at the same conference about entrepreneurial mindsets and collaboration in higher education.
As the Master of Learning Technologies program readies for its second year, Correia sees new opportunities essential to the program’s future. She is already in talks with potential clients who want to work with students in the coming school year.
“The value of experience cannot be made up by anything else,” Correia said. “Students are eager to have real-world experiences. They want something they can put in their portfolio. They want to do things, to build things.
“When they do, they have all these outcomes that showcase their abilities, showcase their skills and knowledge in learning technologies.”