Goal 3. To construct effective delivery of courses, topics, or training by using existing CMS tools.

Key Assignments, Projects, & Activities Related to Goal

Anderson, T. & Elloumi, F. (Eds.). (2008) Theory and Practice of Online Learning, 2nd edition, Athabasca, AB, Canada: Athabasca University.
http://www.aupress.ca/index.php/books/120146 (select ebook)

Chapter Ten (TPOL): Development of Online Courses- A Narrated Presentation and Comments

Learning Management System Build

Group Project Using Blackboard LMS to create online course

Integrating Web 2.0 Tools into InstructionAn Online Professional Development Course developed for K-12 teachers.

Reflection on Learning Experiences

In reading Chapter 10 in the Theory of and Practice of Online Learning, one of the key discussions that “stuck” with me was the discussion of what it means for a course to be online and what it takes to have a successful implementation of an online course. Unless in the course development process, an intentional and purposeful effort is made to ensure the full integration and utilization of technology resources and tools in such as way as to ENHANCE rather than simply supplement the learning, an online course is missing a great opportunity to be something extremely effective and forward thinking. As I mentioned in an earlier Discussion Board posting:

Simply placing information on the web and utilizing digital technologies is NOT online instruction, but rather the it is simply a delivery method and is the platform for the instruction. Instead, online instruction occurs when learners USE the Web to go through a sequence of instruction, to complete the learning activities, and to achieve learning outcomes and objectives “(Ally, 2002; Ritchie & Hoffman, 1997). The goal of all types of instruction involves engaging the learner and promoting learning through effective pedagogical methods and practice. The use of online technologies simply promotes access and flexibility. It is NOT a substitute for solid pedagogy and instructional design principles. In fact, I believe that in developing an online instructional course or training module, the instructor must , if anything, have a stronger grasp on issues related to identifying learning objectives, utilizing quality assessment and measurement, providing adequate resources, engaging the learner and being accessible.

All too often, faculty are asked to develop online courses, but they are not equipped with the technological skills and expertise regarding the learning management system to be able to effectively create a course that implements sound pedagogical practices for effective online learning. Additionally, they are not often provided the level of support and instructional design consultation that would improve the quality of the course and subsequently, the learning outcomes for the students. This reading helped to provide some basic context for creating an online course as well as a basic framework for the makeup of the development team. It has been a good source of information as my College looks to develop online programs. In fact, we participated in several webinars related to the development of online programs at small colleges and each one of them focused on the issue of instructional design support, technology training and expertise and a team model for developing the courses.

This team approach also played out in the LMS build group project. Despite the fact that the course development happened in an extremely abbreviated timeframe, each person on the team had different strengths and skills to offer. I was initially overwhelmed by the assignment, as I am sure many faculty are when presented with the task of creating an online course. However, due to the fact that I was working with three other team members, the process moved through the development and implementation stages very smoothly with each person having contributions to content, ideas for structure and format as well as technological expertise with the LMS product that was invaluable to the design and creation of the course. This experience was an extremely positive one and our group worked seamlessly together. The experience has served to further enhance the group model presented in Chapter 10 and has solidified my position that it is not just something that is “nice to do”, but rather a “must do” approach. I will definitely utilize the structure, format, and make changes to the overall setup as I plan to use this course as a framework for developing a Special Topics Hybrid course on Educational Technology in Instruction. I am fortunate that the course will not be offered until the Spring 2011 semester so I have the necessary time to fully develop the course. I will most certainly rely on the lessons learned and experiences of this course as my College further explores online educational programs.