Please find the reflections below…

Reflection 1 -August 22-September 16

My internship assignment is to assist the Office of Public Health Practice (OPHP), an office under the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina, with the development of a virtual community of practice (COP) and a new course for their virtual campus.  OPHP is an office funded by grants and one of their goals was to create a community of practice.  After several years the community of practice is composed of public and private health care practitioners throughout the state.

A formal need assessment is not being performed for this course because the director of the OPHP and the SC Public Health Training Center Coordinator will be meeting with the existing community of practice to better understand their current needs.  My meeting with my mentor in the following week will provide more detail so I will be able to recommend solutions and provide better technical feedback on solutions that have already been presented to the director and team leaders at OPHP.


Reflection 2-September 17-October 7

This week I researched best practices for implementing a Community of Practice and compiled a list of the tips that I thought were most important (See Communities of Practice Best Practices and Tips). I started out this week continuing to search for a discussion board solutions that would integrate into our Totara, our learning management system, for the COP (Community of Practice). After quiet a bit of research, I realized that there was no extensions or plugins available that would further enhance the built in discussion board feature. As a custom developer, I looked at the possibility of creating a custom solution; however, this did not seem feasible as we often upgrade the learning management systems and allocated resources may be a concern in the future to maintain a new extension. That Tuesday, I met with Dr. Frass and gave her my recommendation that the best solution was to stick with the integrated discussion board feature found in Totara and a custom solution was not feasible for this task because of long term maintenance and stability. (See Community of Practice Recommendation for the full recommendation.)

While meeting with Dr. Frass, we also discussed the file-sharing component of the Community of Practice. The file sharing aspect of this course would have the following features:

  • Allow a select group of users to upload files
  • Set permissions for particular user groups to view particular sections
  • A nice graphical display

After doing some research, I realized that Totara would allow some of this function ability. Users could be assigned to a particular group and based on that group different blocks containing various folders would be displayed. The only problem with this solution is that each folder that had different permissions would be assigned to a different block. In the end, this means that some users that are allowed to see several different folders would have access to them; however, it would be a user interface disaster. Also, users would not be able to easily upload files and they would have to be submitted and manually reviewed by a staff member. I met with Dr. Frass again the following week to discuss my findings and recommended that I look into solutions through our current content management system Joomla.

The Office of Public Health Practice’s My Source for Public Health (MySPH), uses a custom login system with a bridge. The system accepts both LDAP user credentials including faculty, staff, and students USC login credentials along with default Joomla users for our partners that work outside the university. In addition, there is a bridge between all of our components including the Opportunity Manager, Work Force Assessment, and Totara. Therefore once a user logs into Joomla they are also logged into all the other system that the office operates. I began to look for file-sharing solutions that are available in Joomla that could be easily brought into the learning management system. The two solutions that I found are Edocman and Docman.

The major differences between the two are cost and the graphical user interface. Edocman is $24.99 for the life of the script and Docman is $69 a year and both of these solutions allow all of the requirements that are above. I met with Dr. Frass later in the week to present my solutions and she asked how they would look, how they would work, and which one I would recommend. I told her the idea was to install them into Joomla and break them out of the MySPH theme and embed them into an iFrame in the LMS. This would allow us to use the Joomla privileging system to allow access to certain folders as well as upload rights to different folders by different users. This means that the person in charge of the learning management system would periodically send the IT team a list of people that would need various permission levels since it does not use the Totara groups. She was fine with that solution since there should not be a lot of people needing additional permissions once the base permissions are set. As far as my overall recommendation, I told Dr. Frass that I was not biased the main thing was to view the current demos to see which one that she preferred more. She will be meeting with the Director of the Office of Public Health Practice later this week to present the options and get a budget approved.

During our last meeting, Dr. Frass and I began discussing the presentation that I will be creating to go into the learning management system. The other members of the Workforce Development Team were brought in for this assessment and included Ms. Xavery Hopkins,and Ms. Shaena Rouse. The workforce development team helped me further define the topic since they knew the audience much better. My target audience is practitioners in the health field, especially those working in state agencies like DHEC between the ages of 25-60 usually with a very limited technical background. When I began sharing my ideas both Ms. Hopkins and Ms. Rouse identified that I needed to simplify my approaches. The main points of the presentation should be as follows:

  • Different types of social media
    o Facebook
    o Twitter
    o Linked In
  • Go over how to create an account for Each
  • Explain personal versus professional presence
    o If posting on an organizations behalf you usually need approval
  • Tips and best practices
    o Don’t use personal social media between 8-5 (Work Hours)
  • Security

Since the analysis phase has been completed. I will move this part of the project into the design phase. I plan to present a more detailed outline or wireframe the following week to get approved by the Workforce Development Team.

Reflection 3-October 8-October 29

This week started out with performing research for the training video. I began the design phase for the training course by creating a storyboard with a script. Upon completion, the initial version was given to my mentor for approval before the development stage begins.

Although, I had already started working on my bibliography, I spent an entire weekend finishing up the first ten entries. I learned that as you create more entries it gets increasingly harder to find more credible sources to review. I worked on my midterm report and reviewed two of my peers projects. It was interesting to see the other tasks that my classmates had you chosen and how they were displaying all of the information that they had collected so far. Before completing my storyboard, I spent a weekend preparing the remaining annotated bibliographies for the rest of the semester. When completing each entry in the annotated bibliography, I realized different statistics that helps broaden my knowledge on social media in the workplace.

The other part of my internship was to work on the community of practice and that was at a halt until funding was approved for a piece of software that was needed. The director of the office approved the funding and plans to implement the software will occur within the next month. Overall, the internship is going extremely well and as you can tell this period was mainly spent doing the annotated bibliography, midterm presentation, and the storyboard.

Reflection 4-October 30-November 11

Over this period, I updated the storyboard to include an objective slide as my mentor requested. She is reviewing the final document for any changes to the storyboard. While waiting on the storyboard, I met with our current media specialist who is part of our instructional design team. The original plan was to get her to do the voice recording; however, her last day was November 8th so I made sure that I knew how to properly create the LMS template and asked any remaining questions that I had. During this time period I made some adjustments to Joomla to make sure the file sharing component would load without the standard header and footer since it will be put into an iframe in the learning management system. In the next time span, I plan to record the actual course and implement the file sharing system as well as train users on how to use it.

Reflection 5 -November 12-November 25

During this time period, I focused on the implementation part of the ADDIE phase. To start out with, I purchased the file-sharing component that was going to be used for the learning management system’s community of practice course. I then installed the component and I had to create a new template in Joomla so when I embedded those pages into the learning management system it would only show the file-sharing component itself (instead of the header and footer). Once I completed that, I collaborated with the IT department to get feedback and any suggestions they might have before proceeding to my mentor. Unfortunately, I was unable to show my mentor because the server was being moved to another physical location at the time but I explained in detail how everything worked. Specifically, that the file-sharing component was in a “Windows” like file hierarchy and a view could be given of any folder. We discussed that since it was implemented that I would need to know the file hierarchy that way the lady in charge of uploading the documents into the Community of Practice could start migrating the files over before we made it live. Later that week, I spoke with the person in charge of the files for the Community of Practice and my mentor but we decided that we needed to all sit down together to come up with the best file hierarchy before proceeding. The file-sharing component is available on a development service but until a file hierarchy and the files are migrated it will not go into production (more than likely past the scope of my internship).

The implementation of the social media module also started during this time period. I received the revised copy of the storyboard from my mentor on November 22 and I worked the entire weekend on creating the course. This went rather smooth; however, it was trouble ensuring the module looked similar to the other ones available in the learning management system and the voice over took an extended amount of time as expected. I am prepared to meet with my mentor on November 25 to present the first draft of the course and discuss any revisions that need to be made.