Scope Creep scared my Hubby

Image result for scope creep images

Last summer, I experienced scope creep when planning both my son’s birthday party. Being the organized person I am, their party had been in planning for about a year, down to the very last detail. Prices were quoted for food, decorations, entertainment and of course, the cake. My husband was on board with all the details and we had already come to an agreement about everything. Or so I thought! About 2 months before their party, my husband secretly rented an inflatable water slide that was way over our budget. The water slide was themed with the Ninja Turtles, but the theme of the party was the Justice League. Because the water slide dipped into our party fund a little steep, we had to change the size of the cake for something less expensive. It got even worse when the company who rented us the water slide made a mistake and double booked it for the same date as the party. Would my husband have communicated the “secret” rental of the water slide, we could have budgeted the party around this great idea. We had to move the day of the party for the following weekend and change the theme of the party to the Ninja Turtles. Luckily, the cake shop worked with us and was able to accommodate the new size, type of cake, and the pickup date.  My husband and I really felt the stress over all these changes and he promised that next time he would just stick to the plan.


Managing a Project’s Schedule

Dr. Stolovich said that every activity eat up your scarcest resource – time. Remember it’s a plan! It’s advised to collaborate with your project team and write in pencil to allow flexibility. The instructional design process forms the core of the product management task list.

The project manager needs to analyze the task list, identify the start date for the tasks, and list activities associated with the tasks. After viewing many blogs, I have gathered a few that could help in synthesizing a project schedule.

3 Secret Scheduling Software Tips

 Peter Landau discusses the usage of software for scheduling to make the once manual task a whole lot easier. It makes collaboration with your project team a success!

How to Carry Out a Project Without Wasting Time

Avoid the common time-wasters in your project and move into a more efficient schedule by watching Jennifer Bridges, PMP, and following her advice.

How to Find Slack In Your Project Schedule

Devin Deen demonstrates the activity-on-the-node diagramming technique to calculate slack in a project schedule.

Avoid these 6 Common Project Schedule Mistakes

Rachel Burger describes common mistakes that project managers make that are avoidable.



Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.). Creating a project schedule [Video

file]. Retrieved from




The Art of Effective Communication

This week’s assignment deals with communicating effectively for it is essential for a project’s success. The way you communicate with different stakeholders is of equal importance to what you communicate and can influence how your message can be interpreted.

The multimedia program, ”The Art of Effective Communication”,  can be accessed by clicking the following link:

The information was given in three different modalities: email, voicemail and F2F. Even though the information was the same in all modalities, the way the content was presented gave it a different interpretation.

The following are my interpretations of the three modalities.


Jane wrote an email to Mark discussing some data that was needed so that she could go ahead and submit her part of the report. Her email was impersonal, but had that strong sense of urgency. It felt like she was stating to Mark that if he didn’t do his job in a timely manner, it was going to affect her job by also missing the deadline. She was blunt in the fact that she gave him an alternative by sending her only what she needed from the data. This email gave a strong cause and effect!


Even though the content of the message was the same, Jane’s voice was calm. I was able to hear emotion and it didn’t sound like she was being as stern as it was communicated in the email. She was still able to stress the importance of the data needed, but this time it wasn’t mandated for him to send her the needed portion. Instead, it sounded like she was trying to help him out because she knew he was busy in a meeting all day.


During this modality, Jane’s voice again was calm but now we can see her body language and facial expressions. They were very relaxed which gives me the impression that even though the data report may be important, she is understanding and approachable. She doesn’t seemed as stressed as I interpreted in the email.

Emails are impersonal and are usually straight to the point. They can be interpreted in many different ways based on the person reading them. The way I understand an email may be very different from the way someone else reads it. The same thing goes for text messages and the reason they invented emoji’s. Emoji’s, depending on the workplace, may be used in emails to emphasize feeling. Voicemails may be a better idea for businesses that frown on emoji’s. You are able to hear the tone of voice of your caller and sense the feeling of the message. As an instructional designer, a voicemail may be the best route to get a point across without misinterpretation, especially if there are time constraints and you aren’t able to meet with that person. I, on the other hand, like to meet with people and talk to them face-to-face, it may not always be possible but you are able to see their facial expressions when you are communicating vital information. Regardless, depending on the information being presented, one must make a decision on how to communicate that information. If it is something really important, it’s best not to send it in an email. In fact, email them letting them know that you need to meet with them in person.

Learning from a Project “Post-mortem”

Project: Paint the House

It’s exciting when you become a home owner for the first time! Therefore, decorating is definitely a to-do in order to give your home its own personal touch. I had been in my “new” house for 7 years now and thought that the white walls needed to go. Especially since my toddler decided that he needed to add his own personal touch with a blue crayon up the stairs and down several hallways.

So this past summer, I decided to finally paint over the stained white walls. After several trips to the hardware store, I finally picked up a few color schemes that in my opinion would give my home the mood I was searching for. It took a couple of weeks before I made the final decision and bought a can of paint.

My original thought was to paint the downstairs one color with two accent walls. What I thought was going to take me 2 weekends has now taken me a whole year and I can’t even say that because it’s unfinished.

Then, there was also the incident that made my project a complete nightmare. On one of my trips to the hardware store to get another can of paint, the associate didn’t mix the correct color. It looked right but when I got home and began touching up areas here and there, the paint was a tad lighter. I figured that once the paint dried it would match. Boy was I wrong! I quickly became discouraged after I had already painted most of the kitchen with the wrong color paint.


                I was not proud of the finished product because the paint colors did not match and the project wasn’t completed in a timely manner. The single most frustrating part of the project was the fact that a can of paint was the wrong color and didn’t correctly match the original paint. As the “project manager”, I should have compiled a budget of paint supplies, bought the paint in bulk, and possibly hired someone to get the job done in a timely manner. The most gratifying part was that the walls were not grossly white anymore and the color began to give the house a different feel. If I could wave a magic wand and change anything, I would buy the paint the desired color of paint in bulk to avoid the mismatch. The family (stakeholders) did not participate effectively. I could have improved their participation if I wouldn’t try to be a control freak and do everything myself. Like the saying goes, if you want it done right, do it yourself! Yeah, that didn’t work out so well!

A Reflection of Distance Education

Distance education and online learning continues to evolve quickly within higher education. As a future Instructional Designer, it makes my career an interesting one knowing that there will be opportunity for growth and much to keep up with this ever-changing field. Distance education is now seen as a predominantly online initiative, at least in the United States, and other delivery channels have taken a back seat (Shearer, 2015).

So given these dramatic shifts in the past 10 years, what should we expect over the next 5 to 10 years in the field of distance education?

  1. Regulations

With the growth of distance education, enrollments in these programs are likely to increase. As a larger percentage of financial aid is directed to this education modality, and with the increase in fraud and identity theft, we will continue to see discussions and possible legislation around identify verification (beyond online proctored exams), and a greater focus on outcomes for students.  We will also continue to see the evolution of the state authorization system and new accreditation standards emerge (Shearer, 2015).

  1. Learning Systems

Many companies are that were known for their Learning Management Systems (LMSs) are transitioning into education companies where the LMS is one of many of the services provided. The overall education service ecosystem is far greater than the LMS and it is quite possible that the LMS will fade as we rethink the education experience in the classroom and online. LMSs have been great at replicating the classroom experience of old, and have managed the student, but not really the learning. Thus, as we look forward, it is very likely that how we view learning system environments will be very different (Shearer, 2015).

  1. Pedagogy

Technology will afford many changes and challenges to explore new approaches to pedagogical practices. Real-life experiences will drive how we view online course designs moving away from the traditional replication of F2F experience.

  1. Access and Costs

There is no doubt that both access and the cost of higher education have become front-and-center in the discussions of the value of a degree. Institutions will continue to have to find ways to cut or at least maintain current cost structures while continuing to provide a quality learning experience, and support faculty and research. Whether we will see analytics provide efficiencies is yet to be seen, and whether distance education and online can truly reduce costs is still open for debate. This will depend greatly on how institutions shift from face-to-face to online and what it means for the current physical infrastructure. Further, can we truly find a way to develop courses at scale that also provide a quality experience in terms of a social-constructive pedagogical approach, or will the ideas of connectivism as envisioned by Stephen Downs and George Siemens take root for our upper division courses (Shearer, 2015)?

According to Dr. George Siemens, distance education will be impacted by new communication technologies, the contribution by experts around the world, and the increase use of multimedia, games and simulations.

Whether any of the above occurs or not, distance learning is definitely not a contemporary trend that is going to fade away. Many career paths, especially the Instructional Designer, will require the attainment and practice of new knowledge, skills, and competencies. Lifelong learning will be something any individual must do to remain competitive.



Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). The future of distance education [Video file]. Retrieved from

Shearer, R. (2015, June 26). Four Evolving Trends that May Shape the Future of Distance Education. Retrieved March 03, 2017, from


Developing a “User’s Guide for Blended Learning”

As I have entered the world of Instructional Design and Technology, it has opened the doors to so many tech tools and learning environments. I try to incorporate as much as I can in my daily teachings as to practice and not forget since the information learned is so abundant.

These past couple of weeks, I have dived into the blended learning environment where face-to-face instruction interacts with online instruction. This creates a more collaborative environment that is centered around its learners. Technology is used to enhance what is already happening in the classroom by using online learning management systems, virtual classrooms and digital course materials. This allows the learners to control time, pace, and place of their learning.

Many educators find themselves excited to get involved with blended learning, while others find it overwhelming. The trick is to think big but start small! The world of blended learning shouldn’t have to be a “chore” but an enhancement to what you are already doing in the classroom.

There is so much information about blended learning and so I have compiled a user’s guide to assist those who are interested in transforming their classroom into this blended environment.wk7assignruizm

Distance Learning Evolved

Mind Map

Distance learning has evolved throughout the decades. When I went to school, I thought that distance learning was barely being introduced and the technology wasn’t nearly as advanced as it is today. In the school setting, distance learning was a tool used to communicate to remote areas. They placed a big screen television with a camera in the front of the classroom, and if we were lucky, other students from the district would tune in and we could all watch a demonstration live.  Many people are under the impression that distance learning only deals in the education atmosphere, which is not true at all.

Due to advances in technology, distance learning has come a very long way and keeps advancing as new technologies are brought to light. Distance learning is a form of communication where the teacher and the student do not meet in a face to face classroom but rather online.

Distance education has gone through several stages of development.
Taylor (1999) has proposed five generations of distance education:

  • correspondence education;
  • integrated use of multiple, one-way media such as print, broadcasting or recorded media such as video-cassettes;
  • two-way, synchronous tele-learning using audio or video-conferencing;
  • flexible learning based on asynchronous online learning combined with online interactive multimedia;
  • intelligent flexible learning, which adds a high degree of automation and student control to asynchronous online learning and interactive multimedia.

The progression through these stages of development has been driven mainly by changes in technology and educational theory.

Throughout the past week, I’ve learned that there are four characteristics of Distance Learning (Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek, 2015):

  1. It’s carried out through institutions
  2. Geographic separation and time separate students and teachers.
  3. Interactive telecommunications, electronic communication created the interaction between learners and teachers.
  4. It established a learning community.

Distance learning has become a method of learning (studying), in which the lectures are conducted over an online connection, without the student or employee having to be present in a face to face environment.

The future of Distance learning is held in the demands of the consumers.  Many have turned to Web 2.0 tools to learn how to do many things from cooking to building a house. It will remove barriers from learning and technology will continue to be the critical element in Distance Learning.


Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of

distance education.

Taylor, J. C. (1999). Distance education: the fifth-generation proceedings of the 19th ICDE world

conference on open learning and distance education, Vienna, Austria

What Is Distance Education? (2008, July 7). Retrieved January 13, 2017, from

About Me



Hello and welcome to my blog! My name is Mayte Castilla and I was born and raised in Texas! I have been an educator for about 9 years and have taught 5th – 7th grade, Science and Reading. I am also certified by the Texas State Board of Pharmacy as a pharmacy technician. I am currently working on my M.S. in Instructional Design and Technology through Walden University. My goal is to blog about the instructional design field and distance learning.

I’m ALWAYS Learning


After reading and studying the different learning theories and learning styles, it was brought to my attention that I learn many different ways. I have a multimodal way of learning, meaning that I have to use kinesthetic, read/write, aural, and visual strategies.

Using more than one strategy usually works best! Knowing this, my learning stretches across different learning theories as well. I feel as if I may dip into a little bit of all the learning theories based on different situations and also my mood. My students show the same energy at times. In order to keep their engagement, you have to know your students and feel their energy and think, “How will my students learn best?”

Technology plays a huge part in my learning and teaching. Teachers need to keep abreast of the new technologies and instructional strategies using apps on iPads, for example.  When performing research, I have to teach my students how to research correctly using the internet and making them aware of situations that could arise. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t use technology. I use it to keep grades and attendance, keep records, and analyze data. I often find different ways to engage my students and use technology to raise the rigor of the curriculum.

There’s so much to learning and teaching than meets the eye. Those who aren’t in the education field find it hard to believe that it’s a difficult job. It’s not for everybody! But for those who want to argue, I simply take off my shoes and tell them, “Here, put these on!”


My Mind Map of Network Connections


Mind mapping is fun and I was able to reflect on my learning experiencing. Theres no way that I would have been able to finish this because its a “working” mind map. I am constantly getting information and support from family, education, work and my personal life. This allows me to connect with different people all the time and through them I acquire new skills and experiences. During this process, I was able to reflect on my past experiences and think about the wonderful memories. Those memories alone, taught and molded me into the person I am today.