Online Course Design: Planning and Outlining

“Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.” – Jeffrey Zeldman

When planning any course, I focus on the desired outcomes first, keeping the audience in mind. What do we want my learners to know or do at the end of the course?

After identifying the outcomes, we have to determine the resources that the learner will need. Reading materials, examples, videos, and other resources will help the learner to gain the knowledge they need, but they also need opportunities to practice and apply. What sort of experiences can we incorporate to help the learner progress toward the desired outcomes?

For my course, Developing Community in Online Learning, learners will focus on creating course components designed to help their learners engage with each other, and helping them to develop a sense of community… like-minded learners moving toward the same goals and outcomes.

I have identified the following tentative learning outcomes for this course:

Expected Learning Outcomes

Throughout this course, participants will work collaboratively and independently to identify strategies and best practices through research, observation, and discussion

At the end of this course, participants will:

LO1:  Establish a sense of presence in the online learning environment

LO2:  Evaluate various types of online communities

  • Give examples of online communities, and discuss how these could increase student engagement (or how they might disrupt student learning)
  • Illustrate how instructors can incorporate online community-building tools into online learning environments
  • Identify strategies that can be implemented to inspire collaboration in those varying online communities

LO3:  Compare/contrast journaling, blogs, wikis and other forms of online interaction that can be used to enhance online learning

  • Identify best practices for designing discussion questions, blog topics, and activities to increase engagement and collaboration, and to help you achieve your objectives

LO4:  Examine methods for evaluation of student work in a collaborative environment

LO5:  Create and integrate effective communication and community-building methods into online teaching environments

 

  • Develop inclusive and engaging communication components for an online course.
  • Create personal communication guidelines and methods for an online course.

The tentative outline for this course is listed below:

Course Outline By Week
(Tentative and Subject to Change)

Week

Topic

Instructional Approach
(*denotes a strategy adopted by AVID)

Assignment

Assignment Alignment
to Course SLO(s)

Assignment Submission Method

Participant Responsibility Exercise LO1 Blackboard Quiz
Week 1

 

Getting Started

 

Readings (links to PDFs on changing trends in Online Learning provided in module)

Social Media: Facebook Group Discussion LO1, LO2

Participate in Discussion using social media

Module 1

A Sense of Presence

Reading (Textbook)

Engagement Activities (Blog, Social Media)

Reflection (Journal)

Blog: Creating A Sense of Presence

Social Media (Facebook Group Discussion)

Journal – Reflection on activities that initiate and foster a sense of connection in the online classroom

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO5

LO1, LO2


LO1, LO5

Blackboard Blog

Participate in Discussion using social media

 

Blackboard Journal

     

Week 2
 

Module 2

 

Learning Communities

Reading (Textbook)

Engagement Activities (Blog, Social Media, Synchronous Meeting through Collaborate)

Reflection (Journal)

Assignment: Create a social media experience in your course
Social Media (Facebook Group Discussion)Synchronous Discussion (Collaborate)Jounral – Reflection on activities that build community in online classroom
LO2, LO5

LO1, LO2
LO1, LO5LO1, LO5
Blackboard Assignment Dropbox

Participate in Discussion using social media

Participation in Discussion using Collaborate

Blackboard Journal

Week 3
 

Module 3

Designing Effective Communication Strategies

Reading (links to communication policies and strategies provided in module)

Assignment (Communication Policy)

Engagement Activities (Social Media)

Reflection (Journal)

Assignment (Develop a Communication Policy)

Social Media (Facebook Group Discussion)

Journal – Reflection on strategies for communication in online classroom

LO5


LO1, LO2

LO1, LO5

Blackboard Assignment Dropbox

Participate in Discussion using social media

Blackboard Journal

 Week 4

 

 Module 4

Collaboration in the Online Classroom

Reading (links to EduCause article provided in module)

Engagement Activities (Group Activity and Course Wiki, Social Media, Synchronous Meeting through Collaborate)

Reflection (Journal)

Social Media (Facebook Group Discussion)

Group Activity and Course Wiki

Synchronous Discussion (Collaborate)

Reflection (Journal

LO1, LO2

LO1, LO4, LO5

LO1, LO5


LO1, LO5

Participate in Discussion  using social media

Participate in Blackboard Group Discussion
Contribute to Blackboard Wiki

Participate in Discussion using Collaborate

Blackboard Journal

 


Resources

Bhat, P. (2011). Decoration [Photo]. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/the_world_as_i_see/