Analyzing Scope Creep

Describe a project, either personal or professional, that experienced issues related to scope creep.

Some years ago I was involved in a pilot initiate to implement workstations in our literacy program. The ideas behind this initiative was that a few low income Title I schools would begin implementation in their classroom the first year, with other schools joining in on subsequent years. These literacy workstation activities were centered on state standards and content in their current literature adoption. In other words, our school district wanted us to create literacy workstation activities that correlate with the stories in the current literature series. These literacy workstations would be in the areas of vocabulary, phonics, comprehension, and technology. Each workstation area would have an activity that required student’s work sequentially on three standard and content related assignments, including a reflection and/or self-assessment. Each school within the piloted program was given a unit within the literacy series to focus on. Teachers were expected to create these workstation activities and were compensated for their time spent creating these activities.

What specific scope creep issues occurred? How did you or other stakeholders deal with those issues at the time?

In this case the project was improperly or insufficiently defined resulting in confusion or roles and expectations. The project eventually grew beyond its original anticipated size. Scope creep is defined as “ the natural tendency of the client, as well as project team members, to try to improves the projects output as the project progresses” (Portny, et al., 2008). The expectations about such things format and quality were never discussed. Teachers were just given the above parameters and a due date and were expected to create successful products. Teachers were left to manage themselves within grade-level teams to complete the project. Even within each grade level teachers were working individually on their “lesson”, which would entail creating activities for all four workstation areas. There wasn’t much collaboration going on. Another issue that arise here is just that: teachers attempting to create effective lessons alone, without help or support from a SME. Teachers are educations but not curriculum writers. Within grade level teams, teachers were attempting to gather together to discuss such things are quality and project uniformity. But we soon found that those things were even different among each grade level. There was no school uniformity and as a direct result no district uniformity. One of the goals of this project was that after the creation of these resources, teachers would have a bank of resources that followed the literacy program and wouldn’t have to create their own or search endlessly for lesson plans. One of the problems was that works done by some teachers were poor quality work.

Looking back on the experience now, had you been in the position of managing the project, what could you have done to better manage these issues and control the scope of the project?

“Since scope creep is a major cause of cost and time overrun, the project manager must control changes to the project charter and project scope by following the change management plan created during the planning stage of the project” (Lynch & Roecker 2007). Scope creep is likely if the project manager fails to perform sufficient thorough planning and monitoring to ensure that the project is accomplishes the objective, is completed on time, and budget. One of the first things I would do as a project manager is assemble a meeting with all curriculum specialists from each selected school to discuss project expectations. In this meeting we would create a scope statement. This will assist in managing stakeholder expectations. All curriculum specialist will sign off on this documents agreeing that they are aware of the scope and expectations of the project and that they project will not go beyond the agreed upon scope. The curriculum specialist will then conduct similar meeting with each grade level within their school and also create a school/grade level scope statement, which would be an extension and slight modification of the original created and signed off at the district level. There would also be frequent monitoring and check points to adhere to timelines and provide support as need. This should also be done and the district and school level.



Lynch, M. M., & Roecker, J. (2007). Project managing e-learning: A handbook for successful design, delivery, and management.

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., & Sutton, M. M. (2008) Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


Posted by on October 13, 2014 in Uncategorized


Blog Assignment: Communicating Effectively


To prepare for this assignment, view the multimedia program “The Art of Effective Communication.” In this program, you will observe a piece of communication in three different modalities: as written text, as audio, and as video. Pause after receiving the communication in each modality, and reflect upon what you interpret the message to mean. Think about the content and tone of the message. Record your interpretation of the message after receiving it in each modality.

How did your interpretation of the message change from one modality to the next?

Email: No personal connection. The tone of the message is left for the receiver’s own interpretation which could totally be inaccurate or opposite of the sender’s intention. This is a very informal mode of communication, which is unlikely to produce the desired results. With this mode messages get misinterpreted and a sense of personal connection is never truly established or maintained.

Voicemail: A little more personal than the email. Being that you could actually hear the voice, you are able to discern some type of tone in the message and one is not totally guessing on how the messages is intended to be received.

Face-to-face: In my opinion, this is the best method. It doesn’t leaven room for interpretation. You are able to hear the sender as well as watch their tone and body language. There is less room for misinterpretation with this method.

What factors influenced how you perceived the message?

Nonverbal communication is very important in my perception of the message. It is normal to reacting and adjusting to nonverbal cues. For example, someone who is frequently checking their watch or yawning, would tell you very easily that it’s time to wrap things up or make an effort to change the quality of your voice to be more engaging (or at least change the subject.) And the very opposite is also true; if colleagues are smiling, nodding or leaning forward, you know that they’re invested and have their buy-in. There isn’t much guesswork involved. (Acicao, 2012)

Which form of communication best conveyed the true meaning and intent of the message?

The form of communication that best conveyed the true meaning and intent of the message was the face-to face method. The effectiveness of meetings is that things get done. When there’s an issue that requires a decision, you’re able to reach a consensus more quickly. One simple 5-minute conversation could eliminate 15 back and forth emails.

What are the implications of what you learned from this exercise for communicating effectively with members of a project team?

The communication method that you select should depend on your message. “Project managers are responsible for a variety of communication activities during the life of a project. Communication can be written or verbal. Project managers should plan and prepare so their messages are received and correctly interpreted by project audiences” (Portny, et al., 2008, p. 367).


Acicao, V. (2012). The Benefits of Face-to-Face Communication. Retrieved from:

Portny, S.E., Mantel, S.J., Meredith, J.R., Shafer, S.M., Sutton, M.M., & Kramer, B.E. (2009). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


Posted by on September 18, 2014 in Uncategorized


 Learning from a Project “ Post-mortem”

Last year I worked with two of our school’s curriculum specialist to implement a data team program designed to improve upon student test scores. The curriculum specialist and I attended citification training and where then given the task of training our core data team (consisting of one representative from each grade level), who would then be responsible for training their grade level members. Core data team where responsible for managing their team throughout the process. This process consisted of weekly meetings in order to create a pretest, administer and grade it, grouping the students into necessary groups based of needs, teaching the skills/strategies, then administering a post test.

One of the major issues I faced associated with this project was the fact that I didn’t have all stakeholders on board. Greer (2010) states that it is important to assemble a team of players that care about the project. “Of the many people in a project’s audience, the members of the project’s team are extremely important to the success of the project. Project managers can develop their authority, responsibility, and accountability through a variety of methods, including delegation and sharing responsibility” (Portney, et al, 2008). There was practically no buy in from the other teachers. We were basically made to implement a project that no one had buy-in with except our principal. The team was neither inspired nor motivated to take on this project. The project leaders and I were stuck between a rock and a hard place.  Greer 2010 suggests using specific problem-based challenges that are designed to inspire and motivate your team. These challenges include quotations, war stories, examples, philosophy, reflections, team challenges, and project management challenges. The 10 challenges presented include: trust your judgment, let go of perfectionism, celebrate the chaos within, embrace the work itself, take the risk, just say no, listen/understand/and collaborate, just do it, consciously choose your attitude, be the change you want to see.

I also believe that a project charter or statement of work would have been beneficial in this matter. We were able to organize a kick off meeting however; we were not able to get all team members to commit to attend this initial kick off meeting. This ended up causing us to do a lot of re-work. Because we did not create a project charter our kick off meeting was not as successful as it could have been. The kick of meeting should have met the following objectives: “Clarify “broad brush” work product (deliverables*), Clarify roles and responsibilities of team members, Create a shared sense of purpose among team members, Obtain specific commitment of each team member to complete assigned tasks according to schedule and budget constraints, Make sure all team members have what they need to start work.” In this meeting we would have created a responsibility matrix in which would capture the team’s agreement about who will do what on the project team. It would have been beneficial to create a project schedule. A project schedule will be utilized to “help coordinate the work of project team members by keeping them focused on upcoming tasks, deadlines, elapsed project time, and remaining project time” (Greer, 2010).


Greer, M. (2010). The project management minimalist: Just enough PM to rock your projects! (Laureate custom ed.). Baltimore: Laureate Education, Inc

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


Posted by on September 11, 2014 in Uncategorized


Distance Learning Reflection

reflection 2

Distance education is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society as technology and the world we live in evolve, so does learning and education. The number of students taking distance-learning course has by far outweighed the number of student who enrolled in a traditional brick and mortar school; and within a short amount of time. (Gambescia & Paolucci, 2009). In the future there will be more opportunities for globalization and development of satellite offices of universities. Our workforce also requires more education and continued learning. Technology is also becoming more and more available thus making learning easily accessible.

Digital Divide is the concept that many students “do not have ready access to computers, and if they do, they may not know how to use Internet resources” (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright & Zvacek, 2012, p. 126). This has always been more of an issue in rural and lower socioeconomic regions. With the age of smart phones comes cheaper, faster communication. Thus the Digital Divide will not be so much of a barrier to distance education anymore. With the readily availability of information on the internet. Access of information continues to increase. While I believe books will always hold value to those who appreciate having the opportunity to hold and manipulate the book, the internet makes it possible to purchase these items instantaneously. Why have to wait until you have the opportunity to go to the library or a bookstore when you can get the information you need in a matter of minutes. The evolution of technology makes way for the demise of the textbook or book in general. “Advances in educational technology provide new ways to teach, new ways to learn, and new ways to measure the effectiveness of educational offerings” (Cohen, 2012).

As an instructional designer I can be a proponent for improving societal perception of distance learning by simply sharing my experiences as a distance education learner. Distance learning makes it possible for learners who simply cannot sit in the classrooms. It is important to foster education through new technologies which also aide in student support and collaboration. An instructional designer should “ plan activities that encourage interactivity, and that allow for student group work” (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright & Zvacek, 2012, p. 153).

In order to be a positive force for continuous improvement in the field of distance education, I must first be committed to continual learning in the field of instructional design. Just as technology continues to evolve so should the education of the instructional designer. It is important for the instructional designer to be kept abreast of all the latest technologies and innovation in the age of technology. One way to achieve this is the Use of the ADDIE model. Understanding this model will aide in providing better materials. One of the major differences of distance education and face to face is the paradigm shift to a focus on student centered versus teacher centered. This philosophy “promotes active learning, collaboration, mastery of course material, and student control over the learning process” (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright & Zvacek, 2012, p. 123).


Cohen, S. (2012). Distance Learning and the Future of Education. Retrieved from:

Gambescia, S., & Paolucci, R. (2009). Academic fidelity and integrity as attributes of university online degree program offerings. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 12(1). Retrieved from

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012) Teaching and Learning at a Distance: Foundations of Distance Education (5th ed.). Boston, MA. Pearson Education, Inc.

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Posted by on August 24, 2014 in Uncategorized


Distance Learning Conversion

A training manager has been frustrated with the quality of communication among trainees in his face-to-face training sessions and wants to try something new. With his supervisor’s permission, the trainer plans to convert all current training modules to a blended learning format, which would provide trainees and trainers the opportunity to interact with each other and learn the material in both a face-to-face and online environment. In addition, he is considering putting all of his training materials on a server so that the trainees have access to resources and assignments at all times.

Converting curriculum from a face-to-face module to a blended or hybrid learning format requires that the instructor be well knowledgeable in this type of online learning environment. This type of format is a combination of both a face-to-face and online delivery format; with 30%-79% of the course delivered online. (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012, p.5). Before the course can be converted the instructor need to consider several pre-planning strategies. One of the first items to be considered is the instructional environment. “The instructional environment should be viewed as a system, a relationship among all the components of that system; the instructor, the learners, the materials, and the technology. When planning for distance education, the instructor must make decisions that will affect all aspects of the system because this is how learning occurs” (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012, p. 151). In order for a learning system to be successful it must contains the following components: the learners, the content, the method and materials, and the environment, which includes technology. Each component is equal and none is more important that the others. They must work in unison and interact efficiently and effectively.

The instructor– The instructor needs to have clearly defined prerequisite skills, course goals and objectives. This is essential as this structure helps learners stay organized. It is just as essential when converting from face to face onto an online environment.

The learner– General knowledge of learner characteristics can help overcome the issue of separation of teacher and student. This ill required learners to take more responsibility for their learning. Such factors need to be considered such as student’s learner styles, general knowledge and ability levels. Knowing your students helps to develop materials to aide in differentiation of instruction.

The content– Dumping a face-to-face course into an online format is not best practices for transition to the online learning environment. When this occurs instructors don’t much effort in the course. This is what instructional designers call shovelware. Courses previously taught in a traditional face-to-face environment cannot be simply copied and pasted into an online environment; those courses must first be restructured. When revising these courses consider ways to “illustrate key concepts, or topics, using tables, figures, and other visual representation” (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012, p. 153). Some content may need to be delivered by alternative means or thrown out all together. Instructors will need to select a course management system (CMS) to “manage student enrollment, track student performance, and create and distribute course content” (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012, p. 162). Care should be taking into consideration when selecting a course management system. This will be the course’ virtual home where everything can be found.

The environment- It is important that the instructor foster relationships, build community, collaboration and a sense of belonging. It is essential to plan for interactivity and group work. Students who are typically shy and introverted in a face-to-face classroom are typically more comfortable being social in a distance online environment. They have comfort in their “perception of privacy and the informative nature of mediated communication” (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012, p. 155).

Content can be enhanced through interactive multimedia. The instructor should provide resources that will keep learners engaged and also promote collaboration among groups. One way to achieve this is to utilize Web 2.0 tools into the course content. These can include but not limited to audio, video, graphics, blogs, wikis, and podcasts. Instruction and content should also be shifted from a teacher centered to a student-centered approach. Collaboration can occur in many forms. The most common is the discussion. This exists in both the formats. The Socratic type discussion in the face-to-face classroom becomes the threaded discussion in the online environment.

The instructor will have many roles when converting to an online environment. Roles can be shifted or changed completely. One important role shift will be that of a time manager; meaning instructors manage of time and expectations. Time restraints must be carefully considered. There is typically a limited and inflexible amount of time allotted in an online environment. “The instructor needs to balance content with the limited time for learning activities and possible removing extraneous, nonsense information” (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012, p. 157). Although time is limited, its essential that the content of the course be sufficient while effective and lead to desired learning outcomes.

The instructor should take steps to encourage the trainees to communicate online. One way to begin this is introductions at the start of the course. Encouraging students to share personal information such as hobbies, interest, and demographics and build community and raise student interest in each other. (Lorenzetti, 2012). This is a great first assignment designed to get students familiar with the threaded discussion. Soon students will be communicating about the content with ease through the threaded discussion. Another critical step to encourage communication would be to establish a support forum. This is a pace where students will go for “support, assistance, and an exchange of information with other students”. Students can assist their fellow classmates. If done effectively, little support is needed from the instructor.



Lorenzetti, J. (2012). Faculty Focus: Higher Ed Teacher Strategies From Magma Publications. Six Ways to Get Your Online Students Participating in the Course. Retrieved from:

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

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Posted by on August 17, 2014 in Uncategorized


The Impact of Open Source


Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 12.08.32 AM

“Open-source course management systems are free educational software that are maintained by users who implement, even modify, and ultimately support their system to meet local, specific needs” (Simonson et al., p. 162, 2012).  The open source I chose to view was a course Open Yale Courses entitled “African American History: From Emancipation to the Present. Open Yale Courses provides introductory courses taught by Yale professors. There is no registration required to enroll in the course and no certification or course credit received for course completion. Its soul purpose is to provide educational material for all who wish to learn. Open Yale Course is supported by a grant from the Hewlett Foundation. In 2001, The Hewlett Foundation launched an initiative, which “seeks to use information technology to help equalize access to knowledge and educational opportunities across the world” (Hewlett Foundation, 2014). One of the reasons I choose an open-source from Open Yale Courses was due to the ease of the web-layout. The site was organized by topics, which allowed me to quickly view what courses where available in which I had interest. This helped me to save time in choosing just the right course.

This course does not appear to be carefully pre-planned nor does it appear to be designed for a distance-learning environment. It is apparent that this is a traditional lecture based course that was filmed and simply “dumped” on the web. There is no evidence of specific pedagogical or course management purposes. The course is entirely lecture based. All the lectures were recorded in the Yale classroom; and are available in video, audio, and transcript formats. A syllabus and suggested reading is also available. I was easily able to download the entire course including all viewing formats. If an online instructor plans to use material previously used in a traditional classroom, the course material should be tweaked to fit the online learner. This was not the case with this course. I would consider this to be a classic example of “shovelware”. The term “shovelware” is used to describe the act of shoveling or dumping the course on the web by simply uploaded handouts and choosing discussion topics to the CMS without much thought (Simonson, et al., p. 134, 2012). Although the content of the course was knowledgeable, it was not a very effective form of distance learning.

This course does not follow the recommendations for online instruction. According to Simonson, et al., There are four elements of distance education (1) institutionally based; (2) separation of students and teacher; (3) interactive telecommunications; and (4) sharing of data, voice, and video (Simonson, et al., p. 33, 2012). These courses are institutionally based because Yale professors teach them. There is a separation of students and teacher by time, and space. There is no evidence of interactive communications, as this course did not provide any way for students to interact with each other or with the instructor. There is no evidence that collaboration is encouraged through data, voice, or video sharing. The course designer did not implement course activities that maximized active learning for students. There was no evidence of a plan for interactivity throughout this course.


Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. (2014). Retrieved from:

Open Yale Courses. African American History: From Emancipation to the Present. Retrieved from:



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Posted by on August 4, 2014 in Uncategorized


Selecting Distance Learning Technologies: Interactive Tours

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?

In distance education, it is imperative that educators think about how communication will occur and how to apply experiences that will promote effective and efficient learning (Simonson et al., 2012). As an instructional designer, I would approach this scenario through the use of synchronous communication tools such as virtual tours, chat, and web conferencing. In order to provide the best learning experiences for the students in this scenario, it may be wise to begin with a virtual tour of the museums of the exhibits being held at the two prominent New York City museums. The teacher should check the museums websites to see if they may already have virtual tours in place. If not, the teacher may create his/her own virtual tour using pictures from the museum’s website. In order for the students to interact with the museum curators, the teacher may use web conferencing tools. Web conferencing sites like WebEx and Google Hangouts enables people at separate locations to communicate using video and audio transmissions (WebEx 2014). They are great distance learning tools because using them helps to break down barriers of time, distance, and expense by connecting people of all areas of the globe in real time (Horton 2014). The best learning experience in this scenario would be the ability to have the museum staff interact with the students as they view items from the collections and exhibits within the museum. This will give them the opportunity to ask questions of the curators on the spot and actively participate throughout the program. Although discussion technologies helps students collaborate and engage with peers and the instructor, it can be quite challenging to schedule real-time events through certain technologies, such as chat and web conferencing (Laureate 2012). Commercially provided web conferencing, combining telephone and Web technologies, overcomes the limitations of voice-only technologies through the provisions of “ application sharing” (Simonson et al., 2012). However, with this being a high school class as well as a difference in the time zones there may be some potential issues with this solution. It may not work out perfectly and it’s a good idea to have a back up plan in place. Since this is a high school class there is the assumption that the teacher will have more than one class in which she would like to participate in this process. It may not be feasible to have all her classes participate in this virtual tour/web conferring all in one day. She should spread this out over a couple of days in order to get to all classes. Also, different time zones come into play here as well. The class is on the west coast but want to view information in New York City, which is on the east coast. This may cause potential issues with trying to schedule a perfect time for the web conferencing aspect. She may want to contact the museum ahead of time in order to personalize the field trip to meet all of her needs and that of her students. Another option would be to have different portions of the lesson done on different days. She may want to begin with the virtual tour and give students a chance to develop questions based on the tour. The next step would be to have the questions sent to the curators who can then record themselves answering the questions. The students can then view this in video format. It would also be great if the curators may be available by ozone if needed.

After the virtual tour and web conferencing the teacher would like the students to participate in a group critique to two pieces of artwork. A great tool to use here would be Edmodo. Edmodo is the number one K12 social learning network in the world, dedicated to connecting all learners with the people and resources they need to reach their full potential (Edmodo 2014). There are two ways Edmodo can be utilized to achieve the group critique: using small groups for project based or team learning and/or using small groups to organize posts within the main group.

1. Using small groups for project or team-based activities – In these examples, all members of your group are divided into small groups. You can specify which students you want added to each small group you create. By placing students in small groups, they can discuss their thoughts, share resources and collaborate on classroom activities in their private small group (and you as the teacher can still oversee their activity). This can also be a great way to differentiate instruction and learning. (Edmodo 2014).

2. Using small groups to organize posts within your main group – In these examples, all members of the main group are added to each small group you create. This is a simple way to organize classroom activities by project, unit of study, modules or discussion threads. (Edmodo 2014).

Example of Using Virtual Tours

One example of a virtual tour is the Google Art Project
The Google Art Project has acquired art collections from dozens of galleries and museums around the world for Internet browser viewing. Instead of taking a field trip to a museum, students can see the art of many museums while still in the classroom. The Project also has user-created galleries, which teachers can use to create themed presentations of artwork from different collections. Users can even create their won gallery and share it. This site has virtual tours for 12 museums in New York City.

Example of Use of Edmodo

The above link shows examples of many different ways that high school teachers are utilizing Edmodo in the classrooms as a discussion forum.



Edmodo. 2014. Retrieved from:

Edmodo Teacher Hub. 2014. Using Edmodo-High School. Retrieved from:

Horton, J. 2014. How Stuff Works. How Classroom Video Conferencing Works. Retrieved from

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2012). Technology of Distance Education [Video file]

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson

The Google Art Project. Retrieved from:

WebEx Video Conferencing. 2014. Retrieved from:

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Posted by on July 21, 2014 in Uncategorized


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