Scope Creep

During my undergrad marketing class I was a part of a group that was  assigned to a local coffee shop in order to put together a presentation that would offer  marketing material for the coffee shop.  This was a learning lesson, a big one.  We were able to pull it off but it was full of scope creep.

After our initial meeting our group assigned a leader and tasks for the rest of us.  We identified the needs of the client and set up a time table for future meetings to discuss check points.  Unfortunately for us we did not discuss or put together a plan for scope creep.

At our next meeting, only four of our members showed up.  No one had heard from her and she had not answered e-mail or turned in her tasks.  We were forced to assign her task to someone else which meant the rest of us would have to wait since our tasks relied upon hers.  We then received a call from the client saying he would have to reschedule our next meeting and shave some time off of our deadline.  He also told us that he wanted to add an element to our marketing plan.

After our initial panic we decided to add more meetings, reassign some tasks and make sure that each person of the team could handle other tasks if we had another team member fall off. The leader then decided it would be a good idea to meet with the client via internet since he was out of town.  We also had to rework our timeline in order to meet the new deadline and add the new element into the plan.

If I would have been the leader I would have put together a plan in order to combat the issues we ran into.  I would have created a questionnaire for the client and the employees in order to gain insight for my plan.  This way if he was not able to be at a meeting most of my questions would have already been answered.  I would also put together a plan to utilize different forms of communication that way the group and the client could be updated on the timeline, check points etc. without getting together physically.  This would have given us more time to concentrate on our tasks.   I would have put together a risk management plan in order to be able to deal with the scope creep that presented itself.

All of the scope creep that occurred made this assignment very difficult and it seemed like we were cramming information in at such a fast rate that we often seemed lost.  All though we meet our deadline and we were able to provide the marketing material requested, dealing with possible issues ahead of time would have made our job a lot easier.

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Communicating in an Effective Manner

Dr. Stolovitch reminds us that 93% of communication is not with words(Communicating with Stakeholders,2013). This becomes very apparent after watching the video in this weeks resources. The same message was presented in three different manners, voice mail, e-mail and face-to-face. There were major differences in all of these modes of communication.

I put myself in the shoes of the receiver while reading the e-mail. I feel like this was probably the worst way to send this message. This can be a touchy subject, why don’t you have your portion of the work done? That is what I got out of this message. You are going to make me late because you have not completed your portion of the work yet! This is how I felt after reading this e-mail. I think it is because they are just words, words have a tendency to be ambiguous. I could easily read this and think that the sender is insinuating something other than what she is saying. Dr. Stolovitch discusses the fact that communication has a lot to do with spirit and attitude and that is often defined by eyes, body movement, voice, sound and gestures it is hard to determine what the person is actually trying to get across. This makes it easy to get offended and take the message personal.

After listening to the voice mail and comparing it to how the e-mail made me feel I can truly say that the sound of her voice changed the message. In the e-mail I thought that she could easily be angry or upset that my work had not been done yet but the sound of her voice does not initiate those thoughts. It sounds more like she is simply asking me to get her some information.

I watched the message being communicated face-to-face and I was not offended or upset by the message at all. I think it had to do with seeing her and watching her body movements. She never got loud or sounded irritated therefore, I did not see her or her message as a threat.

Timing, tonality, personality have a lot to do with communication( Communicating with stakeholders,2013). This is important to keep in mind when choosing a formal or informal way to communicate. You want the people you work with to know where you are coming from and that you are on the same team trying to accomplish the same goal.

If I had to chose which method displayed the true meaning of this message, I would say face-to-face would be the best one. The receiver would not question the true meaning of the message and it would not be construed by the ambiguity of words.

References: Video: Dr. Stolovitch. Communication with Stakeholders. Retrieved from: 2013.

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Project Post Mortem

Below you will find a post mortem review of one of my past projects.

Brief overview of the project:
During my undergrad studies I worked with a group of students in order to provide some new marketing materials for a local coffee shop. This project proved successful for the most part. We were able to present and provide the items the owner requested and we were even able to offer him a few items that he needed but did not have or utilize. They were basic marketing materials such as, pamphlets, cards, menus etc. One of the major successes of the project was the fact that we were able to put together a promotion sort of like, Wheres Waldo! The customers would take their coffee cup with the store logo and take pictures wherever they were and post them to the store Web site. There was a photo contest and a prize for the winner.

The only thing that I would have done different would have been to have a more specific responsibility chart. There was always a bit of confusion during meetings and check off points due to the fact that roles were never really that clear. I truly believe that if the coffee shop owner was not in the beginning stages of the business it would not have went as smoothly. I think that our groups lack of communication and clear, concise roles would have shown through if the business owner was more experienced. I would have had a project manager to assign responsibilities and communicate with the rest of the group and stake holders.

Overall, it was successful and the stake holders were satisfied at the end of the project. There was some rework close to the end of the project that could have been avoided by communication between the shop owner and the designers of the group but for the most part we were able to provide him with the needed materials on time and under budget.

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Pre-planning tips for blending your current learning format.

Below you will find a link for a Slideshare that discusses the pre-planning tips for blending your current learning format. There are some pretty big differences when it comes to face-to-face learning and distance learning but adding the two together can be very useful to students and provide more access to learning than normal.

I have put together a slideshow that discusses the new community that will evolve once you blend your courses. How to address that community, how your role as a teacher will change, how to encourage communication and how to enhance your current learning objects. Keep in mind these are tips for the pre-planning stage. This stage is vital to the planning stage and so forth.
Blending your current learning format

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Open Course Website Review

Open Course

I chose to review an African American Studies course -AFAM 162 found at
Yales Open Courses:

Open courses are new to me so when we were asked to review one I
was anxious to find out more about them. Besides the fact that free
education is immeasurable, what makes the open courses different from
those that students pay for? Well, if it is designed correctly there
should not be too much. Instructional design should consider all aspects
when designing for distance learning. The learner, teacher, material,
and technology (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright &Zvacek 2012).

The open courses that I reviewed was somewhat of a linear design.
There was a syllabus with a clearly defined overview of the course,
required books, articles, and films. The grade percentages were defined
and the required test were laid out. There were videos of the lectures
clearly labeled with and overview of each. Each section also listed the
weekly assignments associated with the video lectures. I do not think
that this course was properly designed for distance courses. When
designing a successful distance course it should be looked at and
approached as a system. A group of interconnected components that work
together (Simonson et. al.,2012).

This course used one form of technology besides the computer and
that was video lectures. Although it afforded an html transcript,
audio, and high and low bandwith video, it was still just a basic
lecture video. It did not offer much in the way of print material, Web
2.0 tools and there was not anything included that initiated or
facilitated communication between the students and teacher. It did not
give you access to the actual assignments or test. There were not any
activities included in this course. When looking at Foley’s general
principles to good design, I do not think that this open course applied
any of them. The target audience is hard to define when looking at the
course, the content of the subject matter is diverse but the tools to
get it across are lacking and the outcomes and objectives were not
clearly defined.

If you were just wanting to gather information for personal
knowledge or a research paper this course has a wealth of information.
If you were just wanting to audit the course than this is great. You
can do it at your own pace, there is no charge and you do not have to
worry about homework or test. If you were wanting to test your
knowledge of what you learned then this not the course for you. There
is not anything to hold you accountable for your learning,there is not a
wide variety of tools, for instruction, learning or communication.

I am not sure if all Open Courses are similar to this but I would not suggest
for anything other than an audit course. It is clear that some open courses are not planning for the distance learner at least not those seeking a degree, certificate or grade.

Simonson, Michael., Smaldino,Sharon., Albright, Michael., Zvacek, Susan.
Teaching and Learning at a Distance: Foundations of Distance Learning.
Pearson Education Inc. Boston. 2012.

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Technology Tools for the Museum Scenario

How to see the museum!

Example 2: Interactive Tours

A high school history teacher, located on the west coast of the United States, wants to showcase to her students new exhibits being held at two prominent New York City museums. The teacher wants her students to take a “tour” of the museums and be able to interact with the museum curators, as well as see the art work on display. Afterward, the teacher would like to choose two pieces of artwork from each exhibit and have the students participate in a group critique of the individual work of art. As a novice of distance learning and distance learning technologies, the teacher turned to the school district’s instructional designer for assistance. In the role of the instructional designer, what distance learning technologies would you suggest the teacher use to provide the best learning experience for her students?

I have chosen the above scenario for this weeks assignment. After some research on interactive 2.0 web tools, art 2.0 tools and educational 2.0 tools, I have come to the conclusion that the best distant learning technology for this scenario is a blog.

I dabbled with the idea of using Slideshare, Facebook and even Powerpoint. I think all of these would have been OK, but my issue with them was were they considered educational tools, and would they be organized enough for formal learning? Powerpoint possibly, but would the teacher be able to encompass other technologies if needed? My answer was no so I chose a blog instead. I refered back to Otto Peters theory of Industrialization of Teaching. For this scenario, the effectiveness of this teaching process depends on planning, and organization (Simonson, Smaldino,Albright & Zvacek,2012). It would be easy to post pictures of the exhibits but if interaction with the curator, participation within the group and autonomy are important then it will take some planning on the teachers part.

A blog will offer many great features for the teacher and student to be successful:

  • Video uploads
  • Picture uploads
  • Slideshows
  • Polls
  • Text
  • Discussion boards
  • Timely reactions and feedback
  • Team blogging (which allows a group of multiple bloggers to add to one single blog)

The use of a blog will allow the teacher to create an environment that can be viewed as a well-organized system(Simonson et. al.,2012).

Example of a harmonious, organized system for the museum scenario:

The teacher can create a slide show and upload it to the blog so that the students are able to take a virtual tour through the museum. The text portion of the blog can consist of an overview, history of the museum and current exhibits. She can post her lesson plan, create a discussion board and feedback section. On the discussion board she can make an initial post describing the importance to the class interaction and how to interact with the curator. She can also create a discussion area for the curator in order to interact with the students by using the timely reactions. Students can use feedback and discussions boards to post threads in order to critique their two pieces of work. They may also be able to utilize some technology to make their critiques more interesting if the teacher wishes. The teacher could also utilize a video made by the curator giving an overview of the exhibits and offering answers to typical questions and outside sources to use when doing a comparison.

After looking online I have found a couple of sites that are great examples of blogs utilizing technologies in order to teach,train and educate. This blog is in transition but I have included it because of its longevity and ability to connect classroom and community. You can see she uploads her wiki, seminars, trainings, workshops and much more in order to offer a well-developed learning atmosphere. this is a great example of an educational blog that utilizes other forms of technology within its context. It would be a great resource for other teachers, parents and students.

The use of a blog seemed to fit the scenario best. As the instructional designer I would advise the teacher to utilize it and all of its features. I think she would get the most bang for her buck considering blogs are free. They are easily accessible, navigated and chalked full of features in order to incorporate other forms of technology.


Ms. Cassidy’s Classroom Blog. Retrieved from 7/2013.

Simonson, Michael., Smaldino,Sharon., Albright, Michael., Zvacek, Susan. Teaching and Learning at a Distance: Foundations of Distance Learning. Pearson Education Inc. Boston. 2012.

White, Nancy. Full Circle Associates. Retrieved,7/2013.

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It is hard to pinpoint exactly why distance learning is constantly changing. I think it depends on a number of things. For me it was the evolution of resources and my ever changing lifestyle.

Before going to school I figured that distance learning was taking online classes. I decided to take a distance learning course along with my traditional courses thinking it would give me less classroom time and time to do it at my own pace. I figured I would log on, listen and report back. Was I wrong, I was given a set of VHS tapes, a schedule of required classroom dates and test dates. I was not online at all. This is when I realized that there were other options to distance learning. There have been distance learning options since the 1800’s. I began tp recall as a child reading magazines that offered distance mail classes, and television courses. I just failed to associate them with distance learning.

After this weeks resource it is clear that I failed to associate several options with distance learning. Not only mail, but television and radio also. While studying the resources it became apparent that the history of distance education came about due to technology and peoples needs. When people did not have sufficient modes of transportation, the ability to leave the home, the financial ability to attend a brick and mortar school there needed to be other options available. This held true with me along with the necessity to be able to go to school, work and take care of a family.

My New definition of distance learning, learning tools which include the use of a multitude of technologies available a mass audience. From television to internet learning has come a long way for the student, the teacher and developer.

The Future

I am not sure what it will hold but I do know that distance learning will continue to grow and change. Not only can you learn but you can also teach and develop in the field of distance learning and I only see that becoming more accesible. I believe that there will be advances that will lend itself to the field on all ends making distance learning a lot more popular and reputable.


Distance Learning Timeline Continuum. Retrieved from, 2013

Simonson, M. Distance Education:The Next Generation. Retrieved from, 2013.

Here is a link to my mind map : Distance Learning


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