Creating an Online Course for School Counselors

 

For my CEP 820 course at Michigan State University, I was given the opportunity to create an online course. I chose to develop a RAMP Academy for professional school counselors using the CMS, Haiku Learning.

RAMP Academy

There are 12 modules that correspond to the 12 components of the RAMP application. Each module is a place to understand the rubric requirement and share each component for feedback.

I chose to develop the course into 12 modules that corresponded to the 12 components of the RAMP application so that school counselors could focus on each component individually. Each module is set up exactly the same so that school counselors would not be confused each time they started a new module. The course is not set up into the traditional linear learning order, you can go in any order and work through the course on your own timeline. It was imperative that each course was easy to understand and I did this by setting each up in the exact same format.  This was also thoughtfully done as every learner will also be working in their job as a school counselor and I valued their time in my design of the course.

LEARN: I set up the LEARN section based on the American School Counselor Association’s (ASCA) National Model. Each module corresponds to the Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) Rubric component.  I start out with the purpose of the component, guided questions, followed by the readings and a video webinar or powerpoint.

EXPLORE: I set up the EXPLORE section so that learners could look at model RAMP applications that ASCA provides. The RAMP applications have various levels so learners can focus on their level or explore other applications.  They are then asked to evaluate that one component using the rubric they will use when developing their own component.  This will help them to have a critical viewpoint of another application but also practice reviewing as they will need to peer review in the SHARE section.  I hope they will get ideas from the example they choose that will go into the development of their own component.

CREATE: I set up the course CREATE section to correspond with the RAMP application.  I listed exactly what the learner will need to fulfill the RAMP application requirements.  I, also, provide the necessary templates to each component.

SHARE: I set up the course SHARE section so that learners can reflect in a short blog introducing their component through an e-portfolio.  I hope that this will help other learners by sharing so that a domino effect of shared learning occurs. I also asked the learners to Tweet a link to their blog post.  I did this because in one of my CEP courses we were also required to do this.  I had 600 views on one of my posts.  I felt that I produced better work when I knew other colleagues were going to be reading my work.  I also was able to connect with other professional school counselors through my Twitter network.  By sharing we each strive to make our programs the best they can be!

Last, I have learners exchange components with a peer reviewer. Peer reviewing offers (Boltz & Heintz, 2015):

    • An opportunity to see what a colleague has created.
    • An opportunity to engage in a deep conversation with that colleague about his or her application component.
    • An opportunity to provide feedback, but also to receive feedback. For a meaningful and authentic learning experience, to build a connection with another colleague, and to receive valuable feedback from another professional before submitting the final application evaluation.

DISCUSSION BOARD: Each module has a DISCUSSION BOARD on that particular component. This is a place to discuss questions, tips, or concerns.  Anyone enrolled in the course can answer and be a part of the discussion.

BEST PRACTICES: There is also a Padlet for BEST PRACTICES found below the discussion board on every module.  When you would like to share practical examples, personal experiences, or when you have done or found something of which we might all benefit from learners can share with other school counselors on the Padlet.  Learners can provide website links, Pinterest links, videos, or ideas pertaining to that particular module.  I added this because it enhances our program if we all share our best practices!

COMPLETED: At the end of each module, learners will earn badges for their hard work!  I also included a link to a SELF-CARE tip, app, or article. I felt this was important because through this journey sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves and this was an incentive for each completed module. This was created based on the UDL principal 9.1 (2014), “promote expectations and beliefs that optimize motivation”.

FINAL RAMP REVIEW:  After completing all 12 modules I will review the RAMP application and provide feedback.  Then we will set up a Google Hangouts session to discuss the feedback. Hattie and Timperley (2007) recommend that, “the most effective forms of feedback provide cues or reinforcement to learners; are in the form of video, audio, or computer-assisted instructional feedback, and/or relate to goals” (p. 84).

Finally, designing this course was a process and a lot of hard work.  I will continue to learn and modify as learners begin taking the course.  A pitfall I encountered in developing this course was that once I made a change to one module, I had to change the other 11. If I had to do it again, I would work on one module until it was fully completed before adding the other 11 modules.

I hope that this course will help school counselors implement a data-driven, comprehensive school counseling program which will positively influence their profession!

Get started today…….RAMP ACADEMY.

Christina

References

Boltz, E., & Heintz, A. (2015). Chapter 5 Design: Peer Review of Course-in-Progress. Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

Meyer, Rose, and Gordon (2014): Universal Design for Learning: Theory and Practice. Wakefield MA: CAST.

Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The Power of Feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 81–112.

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