Friday, November 16, 2007

Web Based Curriculum Resources

The Web has grown to have a lot of content in the beauty/cosmetology area over the past several years. When I became a full time cosmetology instructor in 2004, I used the web to find content for the courses I taught. Back then, there was very little. Now, there is an abundance of material pertaining to beauty in general. But it is geared more for the consumer market, and not cosmetology students or professionals. When I do find material on the Web, I must make it useful for my students. Following is the process that I use to find and incorporate content that I find on the web for my theoretical courses.

The first thing that I do is read over the outcomes for the course. While I’m doing this, I identify which outcomes I’m going to research on the Web. Generally, I select topics that I know students may have difficulty comprehending or that the textbook only does a fair job of explaining.

Next, I use Google to conduct a keyword search to see if there are any resources or materials that I can use. While at Google, I check out the images and video that is available pertaining to the keyword search.

With resources/materials in hand, I decide what I’m going to use to complement the PowerPoint presentation created by the textbook manufacturer. If necessary, I add additional images and information I found to enhance the presentation. Although I use content I find on the Web to enhance the lecture presentation, the main purpose is to construct activities to reinforce the material in the textbook and lecture presentations.

There are two sites that I use often to develop activities for my students. One is How Stuff Works. I found this site several years ago by doing a keyword search on “hair color” for a tinting class I was teaching. The site has mange categories which are searchable. I conduct a keyword search to see if there is an article on my topic. If there is one, I read it and decide if I can use it. There isn’t one, I’ll try a search using Google.

Articles that I find on the Web are used as supplemental reading for the students. They must read the article and either answer questions I have provided, complete a worksheet, or summarize in their own words. Sometimes I let them conduct a Web search on keywords I’ve chosen. They select from one of the keywords that I have provided, search the web using Google or a search engine of their choosing, find an article, read it and summarize it. I’ve also broken them into groups and jig sawed several article and have them present to the class.

The other site is Green Eclipse. I was looking for an online crossword puzzle application and found this site using the keyword search “online crossword puzzle.” The crossword puzzle application is very user-friendly and versatile. Puzzles can be posed to a webpage to be used electronically or it can be printed and duplicated.

There are two other resources that I use to reinforce course content. They are Quia and Wisconsin Online Resource Center. Quia allows instructors (or students) the ability to create customized games online to supplement course materials. I use this site to create games as a review for test and exams. The Wisconsin Online Resource Center is a digital library of Web-based learning resources called “learning objects.” The learning objects are Flash presentations created by faculty in the WTCS (Wisconsin Technical College System) on a variety of topics. I use these presentations to reinforce material.

It is wonderful to see how the Web has become a resource in helping teachers supplement their course content. New and helpful websites are being added each day. With that said, for those of us who utilize the Web to supplement our course materials, we must make sure that the information we use is accurate and current. We must also make sure that when we use information retrieved from the Web in our lectures, it is properly cited. Also, when we use links to websites in our course management systems, we must make sure that the links are not broken.

I would like to see cosmetology teachers not only use the web as a resource; but become contributors of content as well. Currently we rely too heavily on textbook and product manufacturers as sources of information to use in our classes. While textbooks are good general references, some information in them is dated and too general. If we become our own resources of information and use the Web a means to share, collaborate and distribute information, we can tailor the information to meet our and our students’ needs. Also, our students will learn to use the Web as one of their resources of professional development.

1 comment:

The knotty Truth said...

great research techniques. im a researcher by training and hobby in the cosmetology industry now, developing curriculum. id love to partner with you!
author/cert natural hair consultant