Leilei IP&T 692 blog

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

More thinking on the moral dilemma

Originally, I thought I didn't understant what Russell means by moral dimensions and ethics issues. I could not tell the difference between the common sense of "moral" and the specific meaning in the paper. After I read the ISPI Codes of Ethics and Standard Summary, I realized that it probably refers more to the responsibility of the designers to the clients and the instructional context in their working process. After the discussion in class, I have more questions on the honesty issue of the designers. Obviously we should try to be honest as much as we can. But in the real situation, troubles or difficulties that are encountered may challenge the honesty. As Sam said in class, the designer might even lose his or her job if they disclose the truth or they refuse to conduct something illegal. Sometimes, it is no use doing what you like, you have to like what you do. I am not saying that honesty is not a good thing, but I just doubt from the real world perspective that does every designer strictly follow the ethical codes in their design or do they sacrifice ethics for the sake of personal benefit or even organizational benefit?

Reflections on Ethical Dilemma

I actually did this reflection before Thanksgiving. But I forgot to post it.

I like the examples given in this paper, which shows me the unsuccessful results of instructional design without appreciate consideration of the users’ accessibility. I think when instructional designer is developing an online course or other products, they should treat it as a face-to-face interaction with students or clients even though they do not actually appears in the PowerPoint slides or the multimedia effects when students are learning. They should consider the facts that “students change the way they see themselves in relation to others and to the world around them. “

One thing I am still frustrated on is that, even after I finished reading the whole paper, I am still not sure what the paper means by “Moral Dimensions”. It is stated in this article that “Our use of the word moral emphasizes neither ethical codes of conduct nor direct teaching of virtues; rather we wish to focus on the ways in which instructional designers conduct and view their work in relation to those who will uses their instructional products. ” Does that mean that, as long as the instructional designers devote themselves to the design, the practice of designing instructional interactions then will become moral dimensional? Does “dimension” mean the amount of consideration the designers take of the students’ needs? We are supposed to read something about “Ethical Dilemma” for this week, but where is the dilemma? Is it rising from the difference between fully or partially commitment to the instructional design? Furthermore, I was wondering how to differentiate what is right and good from what is not using the framework? The paper claimed to use the framework to improve instructional designers’ practice through the so-called “reflexive judgment”, but it didn’t say how to use it through this judgment.

Also, I have a feeling that this paper is kind of using a lofty attitude to see instructional design and encourage instructional designers to work imaginative to avoid seeing themselves as technicians hired to produce a preconceived instructional product. We definitely need imagination and should enjoy the working process. But from our tour in Allen communication or interview with the instructional designer, we know it is repeat work! Needs assessment, usually results the same. (I do know it is very important and necessary from both my software engineering class and this class.)

Finally, a question on the criterion for good instructional design: How do instructional designers know their products are successful? By the students’ performance, by the test scores, by the rating or complains from the students or by the number of students who register the next semester’s online classes? From our tour in the Independent Study Center, we heard that those statistic numbers are not accurate and is confounded with several variables. How to evaluate and improve the design to get a better outcome? Do we have any quantified or precise approaches?

Is instructional design a moral endeavor

I think instructional design is a moral endeavor. Because:

First,the instructional designers have to provide organizations or individuals with the skills, knowledgte, abilities or attitudes necessary to create oppotunities so that they can achieve the desired goals or social effects. The designers have to put their clients' needs in the first place.

Second, the instructional designers have to acquire the knowledge through a systematic approach rather than the way of just going for and doing it so that they can meet the requirement of performance.

Third, the instructional designers will have to consider the evaluation or assessments from the clients. They must take responsibility for the clients. This also means that the designers should interact with their clients, add new values into their produce, update and validate their design practice, keep on improving until the project is done. (I am not sure if the last one is feasible or not thougth).

Finally, I think probably a good collaboration with other designers and the ability to work both independently and in a team spirit is very important for an instructional designer.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Career research links

A resume from a instructional technologist:

The Proper Way to Become an Instructional Technologist (AECT lecture)



Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Reflection on HPT skill sets

The paper groups the basic skills into two categories in terms of "Technical Skills" and "People Skills", where the former refers to the analysis and design skills that the HP technologist should personally have and the latter refers to the interaction skills such as management and communication that takes effect when the HP technologists are working and talking with people.

For the technical skill part, when the technologist deals with a case, it is like he has to cut the complicated, twisted situation into small, simple pieces of factors, (The sub-factors may be parallel or hierarchical), then analyze each of these, and explain the comined relations between the sub-factors as well.

One interesting thing I found here is that the paper talked about "HP technologists should be able to explain a variety of implementation alternatives, each potentially differeing in cost, speed of implementation and overal performance improvement impact. All alternatives, however, should be powerful enough to solve the performance deficiency." I didn't realize that they have to find a few alternatives to solve the problem before I read this. I had thought that they only need to find an optimal way, whatever it is maximum likelihood, parsimoney or something else, only one best fit model to settle the problem. My understanding here is: Is it that the HP technologist proposes several feasible solutions, weigh the strength and weakness of each, and pick up the most suitable one according to some particular rule, standard or their previous experience? It seems to me that it is more pratical that they focus on only one solutio, keep on adjusting this one by adding some parameters, changing some variables, etc., rather than developing a couple of alternatives and compare different alternatives to get the best one. If the first one doesn't fit, then they can turn to another one. I guess I also doubt that in the real world, the possibility and feasibility to work out a lot of alternatives, all have the attributes of "cost-saving, effective, speed-up the implementation".

Furthermore, for the "People Skills" part, I learn that a good personal character is very important for a HP technologist. Like it says in the paper, "the HP technologist must become a person with whom others want to do business". Even though what the paper mean by people skill are mainly on management and communication interpersonal skills, it seems to me that these skills are more of an art than a science. Given two HP technologists with pretty similar analyzing and designing skills, usually it is the truth that the clients would prefer a nice looking, polite, humorous technologist who are good at communication and experts in management. Those "soft" skills help the technologists to build trust with the clients, know better what the clients think and want, convey their design ideas more clearly and effectively to the customers and identify the problem more efficiently.

For the future skills for HP technologists, I think one important qualification is the ability to locate the useful resources that they need to solve the problem. This is an information century. Tons of informations are available on line. If they can effectively grab the information they want out of less useful resources with this powerful "library", they would benefit a lot, saving time and energy, using other HP technologists' work for references, etc. I was also thinking that maybe in future, the position of HP technologists will become more interdisciplinary because they need to have a large knowledge base to solve a wide range of performance problems and also because the Human Performance technology doesn't primarily focus on creating new theories and consequently they will borrow more from other theories and disciplines.

Prof. Orgs


Monday, November 08, 2004

Class Notes on Children Learning

memory retain:


Learn to

Know To

participation in group study, corresponds to real context,

Design Experiment:

Field guide to design experiment

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Reflection on Computer-based Technologies

This article talks about how and what computer-based technologies change children’s learning. Computer-based technologies can be powerful tools to enhance learning if employed in a correct and effective way. They change the way we learn, provide varied visualized approaches to simulate the real world. Just as it described in the article, computer-based technologies can not only help children “learn things better”, but can also help them “learn better things”. The point lies behind the technologies is that it is no so simple to utilize the technologies even though they can lead to improvements in learning.

I think at least three problems will arise when using computer-based technologies:
First: in the past, the instructors spent most of their time in preparing the contents of the class. But now, they have to spend part of the total preparing time to deal with the computer, such as making the slides, getting to know how to use some software, coding to produce vivid effects, and etc. Some instructors may focus too much on the form of the class so that they do not pay enough attention to the contents, which may result in a lower quality in class. Furthermore, it is often the case that the instructors are late or forget to update their slides or correct the errors which may mislead the students in class. It is common in CS dept that many slides that are still used today were made 1992. Finally, I found that some instructors are too dependent on the computer-based technologies that they are really lazy to do any hand-writing notes. Last winter, I took a networking class. I was so surprised to see that the professor just searched the slides casually in class and then started talking about the unprepared slides. Sometimes, when the Internet gets down or there is some technical problem with the computer, it is kind of low efficient for some instructors to follow that day's schedule to convey all the ideas they want to show in class.

(One good thing is that the instructors can exchange their teaching ways through comparing the slides.)

Monday, November 01, 2004

Class notes

Explicit Knowledge: -instraciated in some physicd medium; -text->proceedure, process,

Tacit Knowledge: http://www.sveiby.com/articles/Polanyi.html

Knowledge repositories

data, information, knowledge,
wisdom: someone who has knowledge and konws how to use it

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Knowledge Management

From google search: "The most comprehensive web site that I have found on Knowledge Management." - Karl-Erik Sveiby


Its definition for KM is:

"Knowledge Management caters to the critical issues of organizational adaptation, survival, and competence in face of increasingly discontinuous environmental change.... Essentially, it embodies organizational processes that seek synergistic combination of data and information processing capacity of information technologies, and the creative and innovative capacity of human beings."

My understanding about KM is that it reconstructs, reforms or reorganizes the information and knowledge into a more meaningful and accessible way to facilitate people who need it to use.

One thing I feel important in the paper is that "Data are raw facts and numbers which can be informative buy by themselves provide little value for decision making". A case in point is from my research in computational biology. We have bunch of data from sfmg company about DNA sequence and geanology. But the people in the company don't konw how to utilize those information and then they employ students in the CS department to make the best use of the data. Only when the raw data are put into "context" and the "relations between daa and context are understood", can we find a satisfied solution to harness those data.

Another point that is impressive to me is about workforce knowledge management. "An astonishing 42 percent is stored in emplyees 'heads'".(Malhotra, 2001). I can see that if companies can fully or further share and utilize those precious experience and knowledge in the employees' minds, they can save plenty of time, energy and money. And I think that it is very likely that older employees may have more valuable to share than the younge ones. But I really feel regrettable that companies in China are laying off tons of experienced employees and losing one their "human assets". I hope when I go back to my country, I will be able to contribute to improve the current situation.