Thursday, December 5, 2013

Analyzing Scope Creep

This week we were to post about any personal or professional experience that may have resulted in an expansion of the scope of a project- which is known as scope creep. When I worked as a neuropsychiatric technician at the Naval Hospital in Camp Pendleton, California, the head of my department –Dr. X., wanted to use biofeedback as a treatment option for the military members and their families. There were two other technicians besides myself who were chosen to be on the biofeedback team.

I was tasked with finding and comparing biofeedback systems that came with what Dr. X wanted and yet stay within budget. I had narrowed the systems down to the three that were within the price range and that met the requirements that Dr.  X had requested.  When we sat down to finally pick a system, Dr. X wanted to know if perhaps we could get more programs and maybe even an extra system at a discounted price.

Though I didn’t show it on the outside I became very frustrated. In the prior meetings I thought we had decided on what we needed for the program and that was that. Dr. X and I discussed this issue and he was adamant in what he wanted. This is one of the most common forms of scope creep: when a stakeholder or team member decides to include deliverables that weren’t originally planned as part of the project. It is impossible to avoid scope creep, but it can be controlled to a certain extent. Portney, Mantel, Shafer, Sutton, & Kramer (2008) suggest:  

·        Include a change control system in every project plan.
·        Insist that every project change is introduced by a change order that includes a description of the agreed-upon change together with any resulting changes in the plan, processes, budget, schedule, or deliverables.
·        Require changes be approved in writing by the client as well as by a representative of senior management.
·        Amend and update all project plans and schedules to reflect the change after the change order has been approved.
As for the biofeedback machines, I got the extras that Dr. X wanted and only went slightly over budget. In the end everything worked out, we got the biofeedback machines, and the other technicians and I even got week and a half of training on the new systems in San Francisco.

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.



Thursday, November 14, 2013

Communicating Effectively

This week we were to view a multimedia program entitled The Art of Effective Communication (“the art of,"). The program presents a message that is given in three ways: by email, by voicemail, and face-to-face. Then we were to post our interpretation of each mode of communication.

Email- while reading the email I felt as if the sender was pressuring the receiver to send the information that she wanted as soon as possible. I also felt that the sender was being a littler sarcastic due to her referring to how busy the receiver has been lately. I perceived that the success or failure of her making her deadline is totally dependent on the receiver.
Voicemail- this was much better. The sender is speaker in an easy tone and normal rate. She doesn’t sound as if is having a meltdown. I can hear her sincerity in regards to bothering the receiver because he has been so busy. But, she is also letting the receiver know in a calm manner that she needs the report.
Face-to-face- this mode of communication is the best of the three. The sender is being tactful and professional communication her needs to the receiver. The receiver is able to see the sender and interact. The receiver is able to pick up on the sender’s body language and facial expression. If I were the receiver I would get the report to her immediately.
I am wary of communicating important information via email. You just don’t know how the person on the other end is going to perceive it. At least with a voicemail the receiver can get a sense of how the sender is feeling regarding the subject. Professor Stolovitch (n.d.) indicated that effective communication is influenced by:
·         Spirit and attitude
·         Tonality and body language
·         Timing
·         The personality of the recipient
As noted in our resources this week, when communicating with a project team it is best to talk to them face-to-face. That way nothing can be taken out of context and there is a clear understanding of what is needed.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (n.d.). Project management and instructional design. [Video Podcast]. Retrieved from

The art of effective communication [Web]. Retrieved from


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Learning From a Project “Post Mortem”

For this week’s assignment we were to recall and post a project, either personal or professional, that did not work out successfully. I chose to discuss a personal project: my paternal family reunion. Every year we have a family reunion in the summer. At the first meeting everything appears to go well. The venue is picked out, the date is set, and the menu is made. But the closer it got to the reunion date, things seem to unravel. Most of the people waited until the last minute to pay their dues, some people didn’t like the colors of the t-shirts, some people didn’t agree with the food, and some of the relatives just were negative during the whole process.

I feel that the project could have been organized better from the beginning. It seemed that everyone was trying to tell everyone else how to handle their assigned responsibilities. I think that if the members of the reunion planning committee had used the RASCI model, the process would have went a lot smoother.
Benefits of using RASCI (Kosmala, 2009):
·         Determines ownership of a particular project or task

·         Promotes teamwork by clarifying roles and responsibilities

·         Improves communication by getting the right groups involved

·         Increases efficiency by eliminating duplication of effort

·         Reduces misunderstanding between and across employees and key stakeholder groups

·         Improves decision-making by ensuring the correct people are involved

·         Provides the foundation for future alignment around a given project or initiative
Hopefully next year’s reunion will be more organized.

Komala,M. (2009). The canoe group: Project management: 6 steps to creating a successful rasci chart. Retrieved from


Sunday, October 27, 2013


     Many people have preconceptions regarding distance learning. Some people think that distance learning is inferior to the traditional learning environment that is done in a physical classroom. Some people feel that are getting their money’s worth by having face-to-face conversations with an instructor and classmates. As noted in the study by Schmidt & Gallegos (2001), interaction with classmates and instructors is an important issue to some learners considering an online environment. Will preconceptions change?
     I think that preconceptions will change. As more and more people become more comfortable with technology I feel that distance education will become more of an option when it comes to education. Siemens (n.d.) noted that distance education will be impacted by:
  • New communication technology
  • Contribution by experts around the world
  • Increased use of multimedia, games, and simulations
     I also feel that distance education will become more appealing since many people are so busy in their work and personal lives, pursuing a degree or a certification for work would be much easier in the comfort of their own home. There are also many things to be considered in today’s distance education arena such as diversity, multiculturality and globalization (Germain-Rutherford & Kerr, 2008).
     To be a positive force for continuous improvement in the field of distance education, I will always strive to present work that is sound and reliable. I must develop my courses with the appropriate learning theory or theories so that the design of the instruction is effective for the learner. When planning and designing a course I will use a systemic process such as ADDIE to ensure my course is effective and the learning objectives achievable.
Germain-Rutherford, A., & Kerr, B. (2008). An inclusive approach to online learning environments:   Models and resources. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education TOJDE, 9(2). Retrieved from
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance:  Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Distance Learning Format

     This week we were to consider a scenario where a training manager wants to convert all of his face-to-face training sessions to a blended learning format. With this scenario in mind we were to formulate a best practices guide and a checklist. The guide and checklist are below.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Impact of Open Source

For this week’s assignment we were to choose a course from an Open Course website. Open Course websites allow learners to take quality online courses entirely for free. The Open Course website that I chose was Open Culture and the course I chose was Video Games and Learning which is presented by two instructors from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. The URL for the course is: .

Here is the introductory video for the course:

This course stresses that video games can be powerful vehicles for learning.The class workload is 4-6 hrs/week and it is 6 weeks long. The course is targeted for undergraduates, but there is no prerequisite for completing the course. The course has a syllabus which appears to be thorough and appropriate for the course.

Each week video lectures, readings, and one or more assignments, and discussions in the forums. The instructors note that the learners can choose to focus on what interests them. This appears to based on Wedemeyer's Theory of Independent study which is that the essence of education is the independence of the student (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012). Wedemeyer's new guidelines for instruction appear to go hand and hand with the format of this course as seen in the presentation below:

Besides needing the internet, some of the assignments also allow the learner to play games of his or her choice so learners must have access to a computer, console, or portable gaming system. The learner's past experiences with the course content is also valuable to this course. "Newbies" are expected to challenge the instructors and fellow students with any questions or discussion points they may have. The "Experts" are expected to contribute to the dialog and expound on the benefits of games for learning.

In relation to our learning resources this week the course designers appeared to follow the recommendations that was discussed by our class this week. The designers provided a syllabus to go by. Readings and various multimedia was used. Did the designers of the course implement course activities to maximize active learing? Yes, learners are able to use the video games of their choice to see how they are important to educational process. Learners are encouraged to participate in discussion.

Most importantly this course empasizes the fact that the 21st-century learner requires educational oppotunities not bound by time or place, yet allow interaction with the instructor and peers (Beldarrain, 2006).


Beldarrain, Y. (2006). Distance education trends: Integrating new technologies to foster student interaction and collaboration. Distance Education, 27(2), 139–153. Retrieved from

Deutscher. J. (2012). Wedemeyers’s new guidelines for instruction [Video File].  Retrieved from

Steinkuehler,C.& Squire,K. (2013). University of wisconson-madison: video games and learning. Retrieved from

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Week 3: Selecting Distance Learning Technologies

For this week's blog assignment I chose Example 1: Collaborative Training Environment. In this example I (as the instructional designer) was tasked with implementing a training workshop for the six regional offices of a major corporation. Unfortunately, the staff is located throughout all the different offices and cannot meet at the same time or in the same location. The staff members need to be able to share information in the form of screen captures, documents and also participated in ongoing collaboration.

The distance learning technology that I felt would be most appropriate for this project was some type of discussion technology. Nabble was discussed in our resources for this week. Nabble allows asynchronous and synchronous threaded conversations- discussions in which the postings are related to a specific topic. Users can also add media to their posting (n.d.).

These are basically continuous online discussions forums. Northern Arizona University has used discussion forums for its students since the 90's (Markel, 2001). IBM also uses online communities of coworkers in virtual classrooms where they take part in discussions or tasks facilitated by an expert in the area (Koller, Harvey, & Magnotta, 2008). This type of distance learning technology will allow the staff in the example to be active participants in discussions, exchange information and ideas, and encourage collaboration.


Koller, V., Harvey, S., & Magnotta, M. (2008). Technology-based learning strategies. Social Policy Research Associates Inc., Retrieved from

Markel, S. L. (2001).Technology and education online discussion forums: It's in the response. Online Journal of distance Learning Administration. Summer 2001 - Volume IV, Number 2:1/31/02. Retrieved from

The technology of distance education. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Sunday, September 8, 2013



For this week's assignment we were to give our own definition of distance learning. My first experience with distance learning was in the late 1980's, it was a correspondence course. I would do my coursework, mail in the completed lessons and my grades would be mailed back to me. Times have certainly changed. While working on my Bachelor's degree I went the traditional route- a classroom. Now I am getting my Master’s degree through the online courses at Walden University.

My previous definition of distance learning was pretty simple. I defined it as learning that is achieved from a distance through telecommunications. But after reading and viewing this week's resources I have come to find out that the definition of distance learning is much more in-depth than my definition. Distance learning can mean so things to so many people.

Distance learning has been defined as an institutionally based, formal education where the learning group is separated, and where interactive telecommunications systems are used to connect learners, resources, and instructors (Simonson, Albright & Zvacek, 2012). This definition basically encompasses what distance learning is composed of. But the definition can be broken down even more. There are four components of distance learning. The components are:  it is institutionally based, there is separation of teacher and student, there is interactive telecommunications, and finally there is the concept of connecting learners, resources, and instructors (Simonson, 2012, et al).

My revised definition of distance learning is: formal education achieved by geographically separated learners via various modes of telecommunications. Today the internet is the most common form of telecommunication regarding distance education. Most classroom communities are now online, students and instructors can email each other, and face to face contact with a fellow student or instructor is readily available through Skype.

To most people distance learning is commonly related to the educational system. In our readings for this week, distance learning was discussed in the areas of industry and training. In my present job, online training is used to get re-certified in various areas pertaining to our job. We do the training at our workstation, which is convenient.

Although distance learning is becoming more and popular Simonson (n.d.) states that it will not replace traditional schools, but that it will become incorporated into most learning environments. Some people prefer the traditional classroom rather than distance learning. As noted by respondents in a study conducted by Schmidt & Gallegos (2001), classmate interaction is important. The sharing of ideas helps in the understanding of the course material. I believe that distance education will continue to be relevant option for learners, but I don’t think it will ever replace the traditional classroom.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (n.d.). Distance education: the next generation. [Video Podcast]. Retrieved from
Schmidt, E., & Gallegos, A. (2001). Distance learning: Issues and concerns of distance learners. Journal of Industrial Technology, 17(3).
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.