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American Gothic Literature

Tonya K. Schauwecker Purdue University EDCI- 5690 eLearning Digital Prototype June 16, 2013

Learning Module Access: Introduction: The online American Gothic Literature eLearning module is a six-week long unit that introduces English II students to the common elements, stories, poems, films, and authors of the American Gothic Period in American Literature. Students will complete a variety of tasks to help them develop their reading comprehension, vocabulary acquisition, writing, communication, and collaboration skills. In an effort to sufficiently scaffold students and pique their interest in the subject, the unit is divided by weeks. Week 1 is an introduction to the unit with a short video of The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe and vocabulary acquisition through Week 2 includes a set of videos that explain the common elements of American Gothic Literature so that students have a solid foundation for identification, classification, and discussion of the upcoming literature. In the week 3 module, students read a variety of literature by some of the most famous gothic writers. Week 4 brings American Gothic Literature into the modern era where students watch their choice of selected films in order to evaluate their gothic merits. Finally, in weeks 5 and 6, students will create their own versions of American Gothic Literature through narrative compositions and presentations as their summative evaluation. Overview of Design Process To begin this design process, a close reading of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Blooms Taxonomy helped create the overall objectives. After writing a rough draft of the objectives, I created a chart to ensure all of the objectives could be sufficiently assessed with

appropriate tools and scaffolds. This took quite a bit of reworking and discussion, but the final objectives fit well into the CCSS and the assessments cover all stages of Blooms Taxonomy of Learning Outcomes. I ended up changing some of the objectives because they were more of the nice to know variety instead of the need to know variety, but this allowed me to focus the instruction on the most important parts of the unit and on valuable assessments. After building the objectives and assessments, I began to design the skeleton of the learning module on paper. I drew out a sample page for each week that outlined the objectives, activities, and assessments. This allowed me to transfer the rough draft into the actual website builder without making a haphazard design. With the go-ahead from the paper prototype assignment complete, I began building. Every chance available, I would add new components and ask for feedback. The feedback I received from my colleagues and students helped to make the site visually appealing and engaging overall. Decision Points and Challenges Many of the decisions I made in the creation of this module were based on a challenge that I encountered in the process. I had a lot of ideas for presenting the information, but I did not have enough time, funds, or technological knowhow to complete everything I wanted to do. Thankfully, the content was never an issue, aside from deciding what to include from the very broad and deep genre. Because I have taught this unit before, I just had to figure out how to move the content into an online environment. That is where the decisions and challenges came in.

After looking at a variety of eLearning platforms, including, I decided to use Udutu.coms platform would have been too muc h for me to learn while also making the materials for the course. Because is very user friendly and I am familiar with the user interface, I decided to go ahead and complete the module with is a free personal website creator with unlimited space and options. I was able to incorporate videos, links, a discussion board, a wiki space, and file links with minimal frustration. An added benefit was that the artwork and photographs were all provided through a theme template that allowed me to avoid copyright issues. The final decision, and the biggest issue in creating the module all together, was how to fix issues with PowerPoint and how to record the lecture that went with the PowerPoint slides. Due to compatibility issues, a lack of software and hardware on the computers I had available, and limited funds, I was not able to record the whole PowerPoint lecture in one video. This actually ended up being a better option anyway because it broke the lecture up, giving students break time to process the information in between each video. I also chose to leave out the author information part of the PowerPoint because I felt like I was giving a lot of information instead of allowing students to find information on their own. One of their assignments was to create a group wiki with author information. This allowed them to practice their research skills instead of their listening skills. Future Design For the next eLearning module I create, I will be sure to know how to use all of the technology before I decide to incorporate said technology into my module. I thought all along I was pretty technologically savvy, but I realized I have a lot to learn before I go jumping into a project the

next time. I also learned that one cannot simply take information from a face-to-face classroom and move that information online. While the content may be the same, there are many delivery factors to consider like engagement, ensuring instructions and rubrics are detailed enough, making sure lecture information is complete. I realized students would have to wait for answers after asking a question, so I tried to anticipate questions and make sure the information they would need was provided ahead of time. I really want to learn how to use Udutu.coms learning platform. From what I could tell, it was user friendly, but very time consuming. I was not able to spend the time needed to learn the software, but plan to for future designing. Evaluation For the final evaluation, I had two students and two educators work through the site. While they did not complete the assessments, they were able to access all of the components without an issue. I asked multiple times for negative feedback or criticism, but no one wanted to forward any, despite my assurances that I needed constructive criticism. The majority of the comments were that the site was very visually appealing. They liked how the theme of gothic literature matched the theme of the site. Another positive comment was on the lecture recordings. One reviewer (a current student) said that she could actually see me walking around the classroom, talking with my hands, and explaining each of the notes. Reviewers also felt that the materials and assessments were difficult without being overwhelming. One reviewer (also a current student) commented that the readings were too much for one week. I decided not to change the amount of readings because I already felt there was not enough reading of actual gothic stories in the six-week course. I wanted to add more

readings, at least one story per week, but with the layout of the module, the objectives and the assessments, it just did not work out that way. I would definitely add more stories for future uses of this module if I were to use it in a classroom. Overall Learning Experience While I was frustrated and overwhelmed with certain aspects not working the way I wanted them to, I was more than pleased with this experience. I feel like I have the skills to develop online learning environments that are engaging and educational. If I were given the opportunity to create and deliver online learning courses as a career, I would definitely feel comfortable with my abilities. Over the summer, I plan to convert more units into eLearning modules. This will be especially valuable to absent students. Having access to classroom content will help them stay connected and moving forward in their education. I just hope I will have an administration open to allowing eLearning coursework count as in-building classwork. At this point, I can see how all of the courses work together and the skills I learned in earlier classes were invaluable to me in creating this module. I truly look forward to my future classes and the practicum. Suggestions Instructional designers who create eLearning environments need to be very familiar with some important aspects of instructional design before they even start to move online. Without knowing Blooms Taxonomy, designers will create simple-minded and disjointed units with no direction. Knowing Blooms levels of learning will help them develop objectives and assessments that align with the course goals.

Designers also need to pay attention to their learners. Not everyone loves every subject. Having a passion for the content does not always mean the designer or educator will engage learners. Designers should come at a project with the mindset that learners will hate the subject and they need to show them how to love it. This will force designers to create engaging and motivating lessons. Further, designers need to choose their technology very early in the design process. Choosing the method of delivery before actually knowing how to use that method only creates frustration and wastes time. Designers should stick with what they know at first, then learn new technology when time allows. Designers should also be open and welcoming to constructive criticism. Seeking out help from people is the best way to create effective learning modules, even if the feedback received is not from a subject matter expert. People know what they like and what they do not like. If someone feels an eLearning site is not visually appealing, even without knowing about Hortons design rules, the designer should welcome the criticism and make adjustments as needed. Finally, designers should learn time management skills! I really did not struggle with this issue, but I know others did. I would encourage anyone who needs to design a module or take any courses on learning design, to look at the deadlines on the very first day. They should know when everything is due and create a calendar with a timeline that breaks down each task. They should plan for life events and should not procrastinate so they do not have to panic at the end.

Merrills Five Star Instructional Design Rating

Type of Instruction:
Stage PROBLEM Is the courseware presented in the context of real world problems? Criteria Does the courseware show learners the task they will be able to do or the problem they will be able to solve as a result of completing a module or course? Explanation

Yes the unit objectives are clearly listed on the home page of the website and at the top of each weeks page. The activities require students to practice skills that will reach beyond Gothic Literature, and Are students engaged at the problem or task level not just the each week of the unit builds operation or action levels? upon the previous week so that students receive Does the courseware involve a sufficient scaffolding progression of problems rather throughout the unit.
than a single problem?

RATING FOR PROBLEM STAGE: Gold The problems and solutions are clearly defined and outlined with rubrics to gage objective performance based on the Common Core State Standards and varying levels of Blooms Taxonomy. ACTIVATION Does the courseware attempt to activate relevant prior knowledge or experience? Does the courseware direct learners to recall, relate, describe, or apply knowledge from relevant past experience that can be used as a foundation for new knowledge?

Yes - This online unit is an extension of the previous Romanticism unit. Because American Gothic Literature is a sub-genre of Romanticism, students will be able to recall their previously learned Does the courseware provide information and apply it to relevant experience that can be used as a foundation for the new this unit. Additionally, knowledge? thinking and writing about literature, narrative writing, If learners already know some of and class discussions are the content are they given an opportunity to demonstrate their skills that students have used throughout the school year previously acquired knowledge and will continue to use or skill. throughout their education.




RATING FOR ACTIVATION STAGE: Gold while this course limits the amount of question and answer sessions available when compared to face-to-face classrooms, the module provides ample opportunity for group discussion and links to email the instructor are provided in multiple places throughout the site if a student has further questions. DEMONSTRATION Are the demonstrations (examples) consistent with the content being taught? Are the demonstrations (examples) consistent with the content being taught? Examples and non-examples for concepts? Demonstrations for procedures? Visualizations for processes? Modeling for behavior? Are at least some of the following learner guidance techniques employed? Learners are directed to relevant information? Multiple representations are used for the demonstrations? Multiple demonstrations are explicitly compared? Is media relevant to the content and used to enhance learning? RATING FOR DEMONSTRATION STAGE: Gold students will be able to use previous inclass discussions as a model for online literature discussions and group work.

Yes While I do not have models for the wiki or forum posts because this is the first time Ive done the unit online, I do feel the reading examples, additional resources, and videos help learners enhance their knowledge and literacy skills. Additionally, students in the face-to-face classroom practice literature discussion and will be able to transfer that knowledge to the discussion boards and wiki spaces.

Stage APPLICATION Are the application (practice) and the posttest consistent with the stated or implied objectives?

Criteria Are the application (practice) and the posttest consistent with the stated or implied objectives? Information-about practice requires learners to recall or recognize information. Parts-of practice requires the learners to locate, name, and/or describe each part. Kinds-of practice requires learners to identify new examples of each kind. How-to practice requires learners to do the procedure. What-happens practice requires learners to predict a consequence of a process given conditions, or to find faulted conditions given an unexpected consequence. Does the courseware require learners to use new knowledge or skill to solve a varied sequence of problems and do learners receive corrective feedback on their performance? In most application or practice activities, are learners able to access context sensitive help or guidance when having difficulty with the instructional materials? Is this coaching gradually diminished as the instruction progresses?


Yes Every objective lines up with every activity and assessment and each component works together to create a relevant and stimulating learning environment. Students will be able to see what they have learned and will be able to discuss and write about their new knowledge in this unit and in future classes that address American Gothic Literature.

RATING FOR APPLICATION STAGE: Gold - activities each week will progressively become more difficult with more application of problem solving skills.

Stage INTEGRATION Does the courseware provide techniques that encourage learners to integrate (transfer) the new knowledge or skill into their everyday life?

Criteria Does the courseware provide an opportunity for learners to publicly demonstrate their new knowledge or skill?


Does the courseware provide an opportunity for learners to reflect-on, discuss, and defend their new knowledge or skill? Does the courseware provide an opportunity for learners to create, invent, or explore new and personal ways to use their new knowledge or skill?

Yes this course is designed to create online discussion and academic debate about the literature. Students must be able to make assertions and give clear evidence from texts in order to prove their assertions. This course provides many opportunities for students to state a claim and provide evidence, as they will have to do in their lives outside of school. Additionally, the final project requires students to creatively publish a gothic-style narrative and present the narrative to the class. All students will then evaluate other narratives in order to further their discussion and evaluation skills.


Horton, W. (2012). E-Learning by Design. San Fancisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

Mager, R. F. (1997). Preparing Instructional Objectives. Atlanta, GA: CEP Press. Merrill, M. D. (2001, April 27). 5 Star Instructional Design Rating. Utah State University. Merrill, M. D. (2002). First Principles of Instruction. Educational Technology Research and Development , 50 (3), 43-59. Oregon State University . (2004). OSU extended campus: Course development: Instructional design -The Taxonomy Table. Retrieved June 3, 2013 from