When moving from instruction that is provided by the instructor to students in a face‐to‐
face or web‐enhanced environment to a fully online environment, begin by building on a
foundation of planning and development that maximizes faculty satisfaction and student
Instructors want students to learn; students want to know they will be challenged, receive
feedback from the instructor, and communicate and engage with others in the course.
So, we want to consider how to move
A. from the old to the new,
B. from linear instruction which often focuses most on how to “send” out or
C. toward a modular approach which focuses on
1. how students will encounter and become engaged in different forms of
2. how they will interact with the instructor, and
3. how they will interact with peers to shape their learning.
Who are the students?
•Where are they located? Are they from different regions or countries? Different
time zones, languages, views, etc.?
•What kind of connectivity might they have?
•Are they traditional students, or are they non‐traditional students who are working
•Are they students with disabilities? (very important)
What is the plan, ESPECIALLY if the course is part of a program to be delivered online?
•Decide which courses will be developed first.
•Develop a matrix of course development and delivery.
•What technologies will be used to develop online instruction?
•What technologies will be used to deliver online instruction?
When will the course or courses be delivered?
•Is the timeline for development and delivery realistic?
•Are those making the decision familiar with online course development?
•Is there a market for the course or program?
Who will develop, teach, and own the online courses?
•What is the technology skill level of course developers?
•How long will it take them to become skilled enough to develop a course at your
•Are instructors in agreement with who will develop and deliver the courses?
•Who will own the intellectual property (course) after it is developed?
What is the incentive?
•Do developers get additional compensation or reduced work load?
•Do online courses have more, same, or fewer enrollments than traditional class sections?
•Will courses be counted in the load of teaching just as other courses are counted?
•Will they receive recognition in tenure/promotion?
When will course development occur?
•Do developers receive release time to develop the course?
•Will it take from time developers need to devote to tenure, promotion, or other scholastic endeavors?
Sloan‐C. (2009). Strong Faculty Engagement in Online Learning APLU Reports. Retrieved from http://www.sloan‐
Sloan‐C study (2009) of more than 10,700 faculty indicated:
•online courses are more likely to be taught by non‐tenure track faculty
•campus support structures were “below average” for online course development, course delivery, and students; policies
on intellectual property; recognition in tenure and promotion; and incentives for developing/delivering online courses.
•incentives for developing/delivering online courses were poor – received lowest ranking.
Why Modular Thinking?
•Why not just make available a series of web pages or power point presentations?
•Why not just put materials in a course management system and expect students to get the
•Brings learning into focus for students – they don’t have to wonder if they are missing
•Guides instructional design and development holistically, not piecemeal
•Breaks instruction into logical themes and weaves together an EXPERIENCE for students
How will you, the instructor, assign a grade to students for this learning? (this is the assessment)
What is the goal of this instruction (purpose)?
What are the objectives? (what steps will students take in order to be successful)
What is the content?
•Words you would say if you were in the classroom
•Outside resources – use amount legal under Fair Use and cite the source
•Begin with foundation, add technology/multimedia as you can make it accessible
•Incorporate a personal tone of voice
Is there a consistency of design in the course – do students know some of the basic expectations
that will be in each module?
•Discussion topics? (with feedback from instructor and peers)
•Assignment (with feedback from instructor and peers)
How will students interact with the instructor?
•In what form?
•Is it graded?
How will students interact with other students in the course?
•In what form?
•Is it graded?
What feedback is guaranteed from the instructor and stated in the course?
•No promise of feedback
•Some feedback in discussion board
•Designed forms of interaction and feedback with the instructor to ensure dialogue
Is the Interaction designed into the course instead of being email that is not tracked?
(part of the structure of the course)
How will the design of, and amount of, interaction change based on anticipated
What NEW methods are you introducing in the course?
•How are you pressing the envelope for yourself and for students? (keep excitement
•How are you presenting yourself as an instructor/teacher?
•Unafraid to utilize a facilitator role rather than authoritarian role?
•Put some of the responsibility for learning and sharing on the students?
•Design opportunities for students to reflect on their learning?
Are you welcoming creativity by daring to fail?
Next, we will look at a couple of different ways to develop a module structure in an online
•Units that contain modules, with assessment for the unit rather than each module.
•Stand‐along modules that contain activities and assessment for each module.
This online history course is divided into three units. Inside each unit are the modules for
that unit. We’ll take a peek inside one of the modules.
You can see that inside the module, there are components that provide students clear
direction for success in the module:
Content that is text‐based with links to video to appeal to visual learners (the videos have
text transcripts for ADA compliance)
Discussion for student‐to‐student and student‐to‐instructor interaction
The assessment is for the entire Unit rather than for each module.
In this course, there are no units. The modules are stand‐alone components of instruction.
Each module has its own interaction, activities, and assessments. Let’s look inside one of
these modules to see if it also has clear guidelines for students.
Because these are stand‐alone modules, they are very robust. The components of the
Goal and objectives
•Conduct an interview
•Submit a summary of the interview
Assessment – check understanding quiz
Dialogue with the instructor (student‐to‐instructor interaction that is built into the design
of the course)
Readings that involve group collaboration and group postings to a discussion board
Again, there are many ways to structure online courses and modules. Instructional design is
a guide for arranging components of the course in a way that is clear and understandable
for students. The modular design is a clear road map that will increase the likelihood of
success for students.