Having had the opportunity to take further certifications to learn more about Instructional Design, one of the major courses I have taken – even before I started the Certificate of Adult Education (CAE) program – was the Problem Based Learning Certification (PBL). During the PBL course, we reviewed a lot of the material covered in the different CAE courses. This gave me a good start on how to address teaching in the classroom in more of an organic way, as my background was Industry and not Education. The PBL program gave me an initial structure that I continue developing throughout the different CAE courses.

Here are some of the changes I have done throughout the past six years, to help me enhance the courses I teach, enhance team collaboration and discussion, and adapt curriculum (differentiated instruction) to help student succeed in their area of interest. As the Interactive Media Arts (IMA) program is very broad, as an Instructor, I need to make sure I am flexible to adjust the curriculum to let the student specialize in one area.

While we may continue to use the words smart and stupid, and while IQ tests may persist for certain purposes, the monopoly of those who believe in a single general  intelligence has come to an end. Brain scientists and geneticists are documenting the incredible differentiation of human capacities, computer programmers are creating systems that are intelligent in different ways, and educators are freshly acknowledging that their students have distinctive strengths and weaknesses.Howard Gardner, Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century

I was lucky to be part of the team that research and contributed to create the Interactive Media Arts Program (IMA) at Assiniboine Community College (ACC). I selected Garner’s quote above, as the theory of Multiple Intelligences – which I first learned from the PBL course – made me aware that we all learn in different ways and throughout our life, we will develop different types of learning styles.

Within the first year of the IMA program, I am lucky to teach an introductory course to Visual Communication, which I am providing sample of two different course outlines. The first one was done in 2013 and the second one was done after taking the Course Development course from CAE. In these two examples you will be able to see clear differences in the wording I used and the rationale, based on what the journey of the student should have throughout the course. Also, there are some adjustments on how I manage the different topical outlines or modules.

In this course, you can clearly see that the learner should be able to describe, analyze and critique art works, movies, news or any type of message being communicated visually. As we will be reviewing art through history and art has always been a controversial topic, I take the opportunity to introduce the students to what type of learner they are by doing a quick test. After they have done their test, I asked them to stand-up and place themselves around the classroom based on their top two results. I achieve two different things by doing this, the students can visualize how everyone learns in the classroom and also trigger self-awareness that we are not the same and we all can learn and react different from our surroundings.

Multiple Intelligence
Multiple Intelligence Graphic is placed on the floor of the classroom and students stand around it, based on their learning style.

Learning Styles
Leraning Style Test provided by the Police Society for Problem Based Learning.

Later, I introduce a small activity about deferring judgment (please view Prezi presentation). In this exercise, the students get the opportunity to watch a small clip of the movie Apollo 13, where different individuals are trying to find a solution to bring the astronauts back alive. This activity introduces the concept of Emotional Intelligence (EI), which is very important to have successful team dynamics. After this, the students review different pictures, where they need to write down their first impressions (judgments). In the last couple of pictures (beach slide and rearview mirror) students get the opportunity to see the real meaning behind the beach (Normandy, France), while the rearview mirror demonstrate different perspectives of our first impressions. A discussion and reflection moment is provided for the students to internalize the exercise.

Most of the time students react well and understand the purpose of the different exercises provided in class. I believe it is important that the students can start developing critical and analytical skills, as this is going to help them during their life as a student and as a life-long learner.

As the student progresses throughout the second year, during my courses, the students have the opportunity to pursue opportunities, which could lead them to develop new skills or further skills in one specific area. I have done it as part of the PBL process, you need to be flexible and let the control go and let the students take the initiative on their learning. While taking the Course Implementation course, I learned this is called differentiated instruction. Here are some examples of what differentiated instruction is and the projects created by the students are under the Projects sections of this website.

Most of the time students react well and understand the purpose of the different exercises provided in class. I believe it is important that the students can start developing critical and analytical skills, as this is going to help them during their life as a student and as a life-long learner.

As the student progresses throughout the second year, during my courses, the students have the opportunity to pursue opportunities, which could lead them to develop new skills or further skills in one specific area. I have done it as part of the PBL process, you need to be flexible and let the control go and let the students take the initiative on their learning. While taking the Course Implementation course, I learned this is called differentiated instruction. Here are some examples of what differentiated instruction is and the projects created by the students are under the Projects sections of this website.