Not So Final Final

My final is a slight deviation from the published final topic. I am going to focus on one area of Adult Education and how it links to this course. Instead of creating a lesson I am going to focus on how I intend to modify my current approach to digital Adult Education course construction.

The issue is reducing recidivism of adult offenders through education. I have built a course   Fundamental Skills. Feel free to bounce around in the course using Teacher1 and the password as password. Ed654 is driving me to rethink the approach to inmate education.

Before I get into the content, I think it is important to understand the issue I am trying to address. The question of how to best reintegrate 700,000 ex-offenders back into society each year continues to be one of the most pressing issues in American criminology and criminal justice. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics , over 1.5 million prisoners were held in state and federal correctional facilities in 2014. At least 95% of all  prisoners will be released from prison at some time. The DOJ notes,that within 3 years of release, two-thirds of former prisoners are arrested again and half return to prison. It is the issue of recidivism that needs to be addressed. Empirical research in the federal prison system has demonstrated that participation in education is associated with a 16% reduction in recidivism.

Knowing education has an impact on recidivism, the clear outcome is creation of educational programs for inmates moving them along the continuum of literacy through high school equivalency (HSE). The concept of digital literacy is crucial when evaluating education opportunities for inmates.

Digital impact to released offenders

  • The majority of job applications are online applications
  • Employers screen candidates using online identity
  • Parole Officers review digital media to ensure parolee compliance (Facebook, Twitter, and other)
  • Job functions include technology tools
  • Communication tools might have changed dramatically during incarceration.


The course I am going to review for revision based on the thinking shift post course is   Fundamental Skills. Fundamental Skills covers skills you would have learned in grades k-5. The course is designed for Adult Basic Education (ABE). While ABE is a term used to describe skills covered in the range of 1-12 for this activity we are going to limit the range to k-5.

To earn a GED an adult learner must test in the proficient range on the GED test. The test is given online in Pearson Vue labs. To ensure success, not only does the student need to develop basic education skills but they also need to develop digital skills. The computer becomes their pencil.

The education path in prisons is test preparation driving to successful completion of the GED test. This year, President Obama approved Pell Grants for Prisoners. This option allows inmates to secure post secondary education prior to release. There is a growing understanding that to reduce recidivism we must help the inmate discover options beyond crime. Gainful employment upon release is the goal.


The current course covers all the identified skills in the ABE range as identified by TABE. The delivery method is via a Learning Management System (LMS) providing actionable data. The LMS allows the educator to control the order of lessons, the grade outcomes, the ability of students to move ahead, and promotes grouping along with targeted instruction.

I thought if an educator could see, by standard by student, the level of mastery the opportunity for targeted instruction would be greater. My goal being to provide a solution allowing the student to focus just on areas of need and progress at their natural speed based on mastery. However, I am still limiting the educational experience to one between student and educator. The course fails to put student in charge of knowledge acquisition and fails to factor in collaboration.

The LMS allows grouping, audio, video, robust data collection, and communication. A strong teacher could add the additional pieces without modification but it is always easier to edit than to create from a black canvas. Meaning, if I modify the course to include more robust lessons it is highly likely an educator will expand the course even more since the course is built on an open LMS.

The rules in prison limit access to the internet but for this exercise I will assume low security access with open internet access.

What would I Add?


  • The LMS has the functionality allowing the teacher to group based on mastery. Using the function to create tutoring groups pairing strong students with struggling students. As most institution will not allow 1:1 inmate interaction record a video of the inmate providing tutoring and upload to the struggling inmate.
    • The goal being to foster deeper understanding through peer instruction using technology as the communication tool. A  side benefit of showing the inmate how to use technology to communicate.
    • In low security setting use the group function to arrange peer groups based on ability. As a group work through the lessons and submit group lessons. By having to work as a team the opportunity for item level tutoring is present. Only summative assessments would be individual allowing the institution to record progress as required.


  • Have the student build their profile and customize their homepage. Discuss the photo they selected for their homepage. Does it convey the image they want others to have of them? Family? Instructors? Potential Employer?
  • Email communication in the platform: discuss the retention of information.
  • Encourage regular email exchanges between the educator and the student. Use the exchange to discuss email use in the workforce. Include email etiquette.
  • Add an online portfolio function. After review of several portfolio options I am going to go with School Chapters to comply with the security rules in Corrections. Post incarceration, the portfolio can travel with the inmate.
  • Use the voice record function to record lesson instruction and use the class time to discuss the skill. Apply a flipped instruction model.
  • Project based instruction: all of the lessons are flat more like a digital textbook. Rework instruction to include project based instruction requiring collaboration, inquiry, and multimedia responses.
  • Open ended responses: allow more open ended response including opportunities to explain their answers. Use the audio record functionality.
  • Allow opportunities for teacher feedback as video/audio clips not grade book.


Objective: discuss email as a written form of communication in social, business, educational, and official  realms.

Successful outcome: can articulate the appropriate etiquette to adopt based on audience using online examples compiled in a multi media submission.

Samples to use in discussion:

Michigan Department of Labor Video on email Etiquette

Created and developed under the collaboration of Livingston County Michigan Works, Career Alliance of Genesee County, Ann Arbor Center of 
Independent Living, DPAN, and Communication Works for the Deaf

While the courses are 508C and work with screen readers and captioning the unit on ADA made me think of the need to add more visual instruction including sign language to the course.

Continuing email etiquette:

Use email fail videos on YouTube to show examples of actual email issues . Use as discussion starters. The video is copyright protected and can not be added to the LMS but the activity can be added to the instructor section along with the link to the youtube video.


Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Life Application

Objective: student will understand the base of education in the workforce.

Successful outcome: can show concrete example of an academic skill in action.


Applied mathematics expert Stefan Robert connects real life with math. Detectives use math in homicide investigations to identify where the shooter stood giving a better picture of the crime scene. YouTube

Add an opportunity to “show what you know” as it applies to the workforce at the conclusion of each unit. Answer the question of “why do I need to know this” by having the collaborative groups search online for one example of the skill in use.

Example 2 (making change)

Not directly tied to the workforce but a clear example of a skill in action



From the class assignment “Collaborate A Little”

I have had to challenge my ideas around group work and the goal of group work. I have been stuck in the mindset of an educator of years gone by. While the activity was not a major piece of the semester, it has had a rather profound impact to my ideas around course construction. The bleed over is into the area of asking “what is the goal” to which we are marching? To this date, I have been focused on do an activity, get a grade, add the grades, get your final result. As opposed to the course being a process allowing the student to move along a continuum forward as well as backwards as knowledge is acquired. I have viewed collaborative assignments as a check box instead of seeing the educational benefit.  Here I have been struggling to ensure courses are workforce relevant and what is more workforce relevant than collaborative work groups? We do not work in silos why should we learn in silos?

Google and Groups

Nick, Heidi, and Samantha created a great visual I plan to use as the base of an additional component of all future courses. The structure of the information was engaging as opposed to a flat list of “rules”. As I have previously noted, my current course is severely lacking in collaborative learning opportunities. I will be adding a module to the opening of all future digital courses providing a guideline for collaborative learning. The guideline will be created in a similar manner to that of Nick, Heidi, and Samantha and will be located in the teacher toolbox. The students will receive a blank presentation to be created as a class. Allowing the class to develop their rules for collaborative engagement.


The course needs more modeled opportunities for collaboration, digital exploration, multi media creation, and digital communication. If the goal is to reduce recidivism through education the inmate must have exposure to the tools used outside the walls. Correction education must include 21st Century Skills.

Instead of summative assessments there should be opportunities to demonstrate what the student knows through multimedia projects of the students design. Allowing the student to utilize the digital tool set to communicate thought and prepare for reintegration into a digital world.

Rehabilitated Men and Women Graduating Back Into Society.




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