Because of my internship, I am significantly more confident in my knowledge and skill set in developing courses, content, and instructional design. Not only do I believe that I have given a meaningful contribution to Smithsonian Enterprises, but I also have concrete projects that I can show off and discuss. Within these projects, each was beneficial in developing a practical skill set that will undoubtedly be helpful in my future career.
Companion Classroom Resources for Teaching Historical Inquiry with Objects
The Teaching Historical Inquiry with Objects course developed my soft skills in virtual museum research and instructional design and hard skills in using ADDIE, mindmapping, and course development on a MOOC. ADDIE and mind-mapping were used to develop the inquiries from the questions to the objectives to the objects. The mindmap allowed for us to put ADDIE into a visual which was really helpful for staying on track. MOOC is an interesting platform where not everything is intuitive so it makes me more confident in my ability to figure out and design on a platform.
This course is also my first attempt at working with HTML and it was a lot of trial and error. This was frustrating but helpful as it is something I’ve never worked with (and never needed the patience for) but it was interesting to learn a new skill that I haven’t had the opportunity or necessity to learn before. Ultimately, I really enjoyed thinking about what the user experience would be like and creating this experience myself. With the help of exceptional SME and my mentor, this course was started and developed by me and has been an excellent opportunity in elearning course development.
The Star Trek: Inspiring Culture and Technology has been a great experience in building a self-paced elearning course. For this course, much of the content was built on a different platform. It was our job to transform, build, and develop it on a MOOC for SmithsonianX (Smithsonian’s edX page). We also wanted to update the assessment for the course to make it more interactive for individual students and the community of “Trekkies.” Alison was really interested in my ideas and after a few sessions of bouncing ideas off one another, we combined my idea for a blog and her methods of tying it back to the course discussion boards, to ensure that the assessment would appeal to all audiences. Ultimately, the assessment, titled “Starlog,” would exemplify their developed beliefs and Star Trek Resume for the class and allow for students to use as much creativity and thought as much as they desired.
Aside from assessment creation, the Star Trek course also deeply developed my HTML skills. It was important that we follow the CBS style guide to stay true to the show and its fans. Much of my part in this course was with the visual design. This involved putting in the right code and style for each page and ensuring consistency.
With over 2500 learners registered for the course from all over the world, I am exceptionally proud of this course and hopeful that it will continue to run smoothly after I leave.
The Power and Responsibility: Doing Philosophy with Superheroes was a great experience in working with an SME that was involved throughout the entire process, Dr. Christopher Robichaud, and an instructional designer who is very knowledgable in technology and more than willing to speak with me on how she builds this piece into her design, Karina Lin. Both come from Harvard, as the course is in conjunction with the Harvard Extension School. In this project, I realized how much I enjoyed working with an SME and seeing a course that is instructor-paced. Part of my job is being responsive to students and interacting with students, something that I didn’t really need to do in the other courses and it is a welcomed change of pace to read through adult-learner responses and see their thoughts on big philosophical questions. Currently, the course has over 700 registered participants, also from all over the world, and it is very interesting to see the various responses in real-time.
Because of this internship…
I also learned what can go wrong in a course. For the C3 course, I have learned that it takes A LOT of time to develop a high-quality course. I started this course and in this current moment, we do not have enough content to release it. Because this course relies so heavily on teacher feedback and the teacher’s schedule, as well as museum specialists ,when the government is shutdown, it was difficult to keep developing when we weren’t able to get their feedback. That being said, I still learned the important process of building a prototype course, creating a survey and coordinating a beta-test with teachers and students, revising and continuing the build out from there.
For the Star Trek course, there was an issue with the licensing and contract from the platform it formerly existed on and the course had to be pushed back. This was no one on our team’s “fault” and something we couldn’t control but it likely had an impact on learner engagement for those that registered back in February but ended up needing to wait until April. This is something that we can’t truly know but being on top of all areas of the development and launch is something that I learned is very important.
In the Philosophy and Superheroes course, I was reminded of the failures of technology and how important it is to double check your work. The course was rolled-over from a previous run with the course with minor updates and revisions. Unfortunately, the course did not roll over as it should and more than half of the content was gone or incorrect. Fortunately for me, this gave me more time and experience in designing and developing a course, as well as creating a polishing and QA process for this course.
Overall . . .
My experience with this internship has been invaluable. I’ve been able to work with amazing people, who were very knowledgable on the content and the skills but still very receptive to my ideas and more than willing to work as a team. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Smithsonian Enterprise and feel that I am walking away with a very developed skill set in elearning course development, digital museum work, and instructional design.