Module Building

I approached the module building fairly confident in my abilities.  I’ve written numerous tutorials for my current job over the programs and systems that we use.  In fact, it’s one of the more enjoyable duties I have.  However, with the tutorials I write for them, I tend to be creating them for one of two use groups: (1) People who are skilled with computers but new to our program or (2) People whose computer skills tend to end with the ability to turn one on. Building a module for a group of people whose skills vary and are unknown to me proved to be a bit challenging.

When I first created the module, I included very detailed instructions in our “Create” section.  However, after reading over it, it seemed a bit too much for users who were more advanced.  Just as I didn’t want to be too confusing for less skilled users, I also didn’t want to be boring or redundant for advanced users.  Trying to find a middle ground involved some work.  I eventually was able to create what I hope will be a good module for all users.

This was an excellent lessen in creating for different levels of students.  It’s easy to assume that your students posses certain knowledge or don’t, but that assumption isn’t doing you or the students any favors.  Knowing what level of students you are teaching beforehand is really helpful, but that isn’t always an option.  Finding that balance and remaining open to questions and suggestions is very important.

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3 responses

  1. This reminds me of Char Booth’s ARGH counter-model from her guest lecture, where Understand can be replaced with Assume. How did you decide on a middle ground?

    1. I decided to cut out the very detailed instructions on the assumption that they were all computer literate and able to figure out the basics. I did leave in the instructions specialized to that site, however. I also linked to external videos and how-tos for anyone who needed a bit more help. And I included an “explore a feature of your choosing” activity so participants could go as simple or indepth as they would like.

  2. Kim, I had the same problem in trying to satisfy beginners and advanced users. We don’t know where they are in the technological continuum though I’m going to pay a lot of attention this first week to see if I need to adjust my module. Unfortunately my module is next week so I won’t have a lot more insight to go on, but any additional context will be helpful. I ended up providing a lot of additional “exploratory” links so the advanced people can just browse those. We’ll see how it goes.

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