Articulate Rise 360 Course: I Love Plants!
Reasoning and Rationale
My project is a course that walks learners through the basics of indoor horticulture while utilizing the e-learning strategies laid out in the Teaching Strategies for Online and Blended Learning class at CU Denver. Through my hypothetical course, participants will learn and be tested on basic indoor horticulture skills to prepare for a life-long love of gardening! Indoor Horticulture 101 is intended to give beginning gardeners a primer on caring for the current top trending houseplants for 2020. Popular houseplants today include cacti, succulents, tropicals, bonsai, and air plants. Millennials have popularized the "plantfluencer" movement on social media. This is said to be a form of self-care deemed necessary for their generally high-stress, low-income lives in very small urban rentals with no yards. Why I think this was a worthwhile endeavor is because I have learned to incorporate online and blended teaching strategies with a popular subject matter, in a form that can be easily circulated online as free and open courseware.
My project was created using Articulate Rise 360 software for online course building. I wanted to utilize this platform to gain experience for real-world industry applications. I designed an outline for the course and decided on my topic through research, and eventually found which plant families and content I wanted to cover. I found my scholarly resources using Google Scholar and searched for the plant families I already had in mind. I am an avid gardener and indoor plant enthusiast so much of my content was knowledge I had prior to this course, and then I fact checked it. There is a page of scholarly references at the end of my course and an additional page with fun resources.
Once the content was established and organized, I set out to fill in the online template. As for the strategy of pacing, I wanted to include brief but meaningful quizzes after each lesson. I also employed the strategy of using a “zero session” to give learners time to warm up to the course. To ensure that the course could be transferred into blended educational settings, I included hands-on activities and prompts to get people gardening in their own lives and classrooms.
My main obstacle for this project was finding inventive ways to interact with students. I searched high and low for a way to include/ embed an interactive chat function into Articulate Rise. To overcome this obstacle, I found and linked to a chat forum for gardeners and assigned the task of posting to the board and taking a screenshot and uploading to a class dropbox. I wanted to give learners the opportunity to give feedback on the course so I’ve included a post-course survey for further formative evaluation. I have also tried to incorporate humor and personality in the course to humanize it.
Another obstacle I faced was choosing appropriate subject matter. I feel that the Introduction to Virtual Learning Methods course I created in Canvas was more appropriate for this class, INTE 5250, but ended up going a different route with the horticulture class. The reason why I decided to go with the Intro to Horticulture class is that it was a 100% original build specifically for this class. The virtual learning methods course build was rejected by another teacher so I recycled much of the material. In hindsight, I should have switched/ inverted the two topics, but now I have more experience in both Canvas and Articulate Rise.
What I have learned through this project is how to employ teaching strategies for online and blended learning. I have included a number of techniques such as flexibility, pacing, frequent feedback and assessment, and a zero-session. If my course wasn’t already conducive to self-paced learning, I would make sure to include course quiet time to allow students even more flexibility. To continue on with this endeavor I will circulate the course using my personal website as a hosting tool, and hopefully create a small online community for plant lovers. I hope to eventually include even more hands-on activities and worksheets to aid in blended learning environments.