Adult User Education/Module 5
Diversity and Instructional Technologies
In this module, we will cover the topics of diversity and instructional technology. We will concentrate on how to become aware of the different considerations that surround diversity issues, and we will examine some of the instructional technology options that are available.
Our textbook describes diversity in "its broadest sense, including not only race, ethnicity and religion, but also various cultural, linguistic, gender, generational, sexual orientation, ability and disability characteristics and needs of our population" (193). In continuing with that theme, I have added two articles that cover some adult users that we do not typically see covered in the literature: people in prison, and disconnected young adults. I have also added an article that specifically addresses how one public library addressed ADA compliance, another aspect of providing for diversity in the library that has become a common concern.
There are many new instructional technologies available to educators, and the advent of Web 2.0 technologies has added some exciting and interesting possibilities to the mix. Our textbook chapter discusses some of the basic concerns to address when deciding whether to add technological aspects to your instruction, and it gives a good overview of what instructional designers do. I have added a few articles that discuss library instruction in the web environment, and provided links to some of the TWU Instructional Design team's wiki pages. I have also given a selection of links to examples of some of the tools that we regularly use in designing for online education.
Intents and Purposes
My intent for the diversity aspect of this module is to give you an overview of the wide range of different interactions that are possible in the library environment. The textbook offers some insight in describing ways to vary teaching style and incorporate flexibility into instruction. In addition, there is discussion of ways to change questioning technique and address different learning styles, and they give a good overview of some different cross-cultural instructional strategies. Deep investigation of this topic is something that could create a whole other course, so the purpose here is just to give you a brief overview, and to provide thinking material for this aspect of instruction as you plan your program.
The text does a great service to instructional design by addressing a main concern up front: "Perhaps the most important concept to grasp about instructional technology is that it is more about instruction than technology" (208). This is a concept that I, as an instructional designer, deal with on a daily basis. Just because there is a great new tool out there does not mean that it should be used, or that it is the best way to accomplish the goals of instruction. The ADDIE model for instructional design is very good and should be helpful to you if you are considering using technology in your adult user education program. The other ideas that we use here at TWU on a daily basis are those of Chickering and Ehrman (covered on page 215 of your textbook). Our department has created a Promising Practices course based upon these ideas and which discusses how to incorporate them into the online environment. In addition to the theory of instructional design, our readings for this module address some of the technologies that are being used. I have added information based upon what I use on a daily basis when considering design for the online environment, which is a variety of Web 2.0 tools and other commercial software. I hope that you will take some time to explore these so that you can see the kinds of tools that are now available.
As you continue working on your final assignment for this course, please consider whether there are any instructional technologies that you could implement, as well as whether there is any planning that you can do to prepare for diversity issues that might arise.
Our course blog entry for this module will be a continuation of your experience as you are working on this project. Please share with us what and how you are learning as you go through the planning process!