How the Certificate of Adult Education (CAE) program at Red River College (RRC) helped me improved my job as an Instructor.

During my first year of being an Instructor, I remembered coming directly from Industry; sure, I had training experience on software based environments. I didn’t have an idea on how much I needed to learn, to start understanding the learner. During my journey throughout this program, I learned a variety of instructional methods, program planning, course development, course implementation, evaluation, online course delivery, and others.

In this portfolio piece for the CAE program, I decided to provide you with five (5) focus areas, throughout my journey and reflection of the implementation of the different learning during this program.

  • Course Outlines
  • Problem-Based Learning (PBL) – Assignment Implementation
  • Rubrics Implementations
  • Learning Management System (LMS) Implementation

Please click on the tab, to review the different sections for this portfolio piece.

Course OutlinesProblem-Based Learning (PBL)RubricsLearning Management System (LMS) Implementation

When I started teaching back in September 2009, I was lucky enough to have a great content to start teaching the different courses. I had to adjust it to fit my needs, but the curriculum stayed the same. During this year, I didn’t have an idea of what Bloom’s Taxonomy was, how to develop a course outline, even how to work the course outline with the lessons, activities, assessment and also taking into consideration the expectations of the adult learner.

I started the CAE program in September 2010 and I started learning what was Bloom’s and understanding the needs of the adult learner. The adult learner needs a connection with real life situations, to make it relevant to what they are doing.

It was later in the Spring and Summer of 2011, where I took the PBL course as an elective, Instructional Methods and Advance Instructional Methods, where I started to understand all the different elements associated to being and Instructor for adult learners.

I decided to start at the beginning, providing you with two samples for a Course Outline. Here is the comparison on the difference between an earlier Course Outline and a later copy.

Observations Before CAE Course Observations After CAE Course
Course Description and Rationale missing describing properly the course expectations and reasoning. Course Description and Rationale were modified, based on requirements learned during Course Development.
Lacking proper vocabulary on the description of the Learning Outcomes and Elements of Performance. Adjustment of vocabulary used on the description of the Learning Outcomes and Elements of Performance.
Course Outline topical outline was very descriptive. Topical outline is based by module, which related to the LMS (Moodle) system for online delivery.

The learner has been aware and there is more transparency in the course expectations. Each learning outcome is later on distributed in each Module throughout the course.Malena Gonzalez

In the following set of documents, you can see the course development for Visual Communications. In the 2013 Course Outline, the learning outcomes were lacking the proper sentence construction, including the right level of Bloom's and identifying the performance specific to the user.

In the 2016 course outline, identifies the different levels of Bloom's throughout the Learning Outcomes, going from a lower level to a higher level. This will indicate the student progress and the level they need to achieve to pass the course.

The 2017 course outline format has been modified to include academic policies and details pertaining the course expectations. The course outline incorporates the performance specific to the user and maintaining the proper sentence structure. Also, it identifies how the course has been broken, where assignments are due and specific details have been identified for the student success.

While taking the PBL course, I got the opportunity to learn a very compact version of the CAE version, while emphasising the application of real life scenarios or problems, into the teaching methodology. This doesn’t mean not teaching the students anything, the students will learn different areas on their own, it is our job as an Instructor to become a facilitator of the process. Quoting Jan Sullivan – “The role of the facilitator is overseeing the process and guide the learning with strategic activities, lectures, and conversations to fill in the blank spaces that the student is lacking for the process to be successful.”

The different assignments I used were drafted similar to the assignments previously established by the Instructor before me. I never understood the assignment should contain the learning outcomes specified in the Course Outline, so we can evaluate the different learning outcomes on the different assignments.

Observations Before CAE Course Observations After CAE Course
General scope, without being overly descriptive of what is required for the assignment. Scope was modified to include the different learning outcomes for each module and also for module integration, to encourage problem solving and analytics skills in the student.
Assessment expectations described, instead of providing a rubric. Assessment expectations were in some cases described in a general manner, but assessment has a rubric integrated.

Here are photos of the process the students take during their second year at the Interactive Media Arts program. While incorporating the PBL process, we need to understand the position of the Instructor changes to a facilitator role, this means working alongside the students and providing guidance when necessary. Also, feedback or evaluation along the way becomes very important for the project to succeed. The students, at this stage of the game, are getting ready for the "creation" level of Bloom's.

I was introduced to rubrics during the PBL course, I understood how to apply Bloom’s taxonomy for each evaluation level, based on the learning outcomes specified in the course outline. This was an enlightenment as an Instructor, as I got more comfortable in writing rubrics and clearly show the students the expectations for each assignment.

The learner understands the expectations of the rubric and I make a point to mention the rubric when it is necessary to encourage them to develop further skills.

One point that Greg Saville – PBL Instructor – mentioned about rubrics was: “You need to ask yourself ‘what is the achieved look like’, what is your Bloom’s verb.” This is important, as once you identify what achieve looks like, then you can use the superior and exemplary to add collaborative, cooperative, problem-solving, or higher bloom’s skills verbs, to encourage quality material. The students also have room to growth and become a better learner and student in the future.

Observations Before CAE Course Observations After CAE Course
Outlined of the categories. Not use of Bloom's Taxonomy to evaluate the achieved level.
Categories were outline with the according evaluation criteria. Use of the Bloom's Taxonomy verbs, to established a proper achieved level, then pursuing other soft skills or collaboration for further levels.

"The adult learner has a better understanding of the outcomes for the assignment. These have been tied back to the learning outcomes for each module. In the next module, I will talk about the rubric implementation and how it helped me and the student understand the expectations for an achieved vs an exemplary mark."Malena Gonzalez

Throughout my teaching career at Assiniboine Community College (ACC), as I teach front-end development, visual design skills, and because my previous colleague used an online website to provide the material, I have always had a website to provide the student with the different notes for the course.

These years I have evolved the online delivery of my courses, going from a basic HTML website, to a WordPress website and finalizing with Moodle.

Using an online system has helped me save in printing costs but recently with the use of Moodle, it has help me integrate different tools, for example – online rubrics, online course delivery based on module, which indicate the learning outcomes of the course outline.

Students have a view of the content review during class, having the opportunity to review the notes ahead of time, or after hours. The adult learner can clearly review the content if by any reason couldn’t make it to class. Also, this is ready for online implementation, if necessary in future program planning.

Observations Before CAE Course Observations After CAE Course
The content is basic layout, it has a basic order, but it lack the reasoning for grouping content, to apply course implementation techniques. With Moodle, I have the capability to organize the content by module, provide the students with online access and online message system to classmates and instructors. This encourages communication.
Assignments were deliered online, but students could submit their assignemnt online. Students have the capability to submit assignments online, clarifying the evaluation method for the current assignment.
Outline of cateogires to be evaluated, but lacking the presence of a rubric. Assignment clearly states the rubric evaluation. I will evaluate online, provide with written or audio feedback.
Manual gradebook management. Utilizing an excel file to show student progress. Online gradebook management. Students get notified for evaluations and also can see their progress online. There is more transparency and helps create accountability for the student.