Vol. 16 : No. 5< >
Online Course Designer
As pointed out in "Meeting the Challenges of Becoming an Online Course Designer" by R.J. Powers, much online course design is an awkward transplant of F2F classroom procedure. Ties to our education tradition are strong, and accommodation of online to mirror traditional learning has depleted the power of new technology based education systems. In these new systems, the student will certainly have more control and more responsibility. This responsibility hopefully will go beyond that of completing assignments on time, with or without a required number of responses to other group members. The role of the teacher has increased in complexity in direct proportion to the number and inherent qualities of the online technologies incorporated into the virtual classroom.
As an online course designer, I would examine carefully my preconceptions of the form that learning experiences take in achievement of set course objectives. Those of us teaching online are of necessity on the edge of the envelope or circuit if you will. As an analogy pointed to future configurations of online learning, consider the development of networking. The first phase was the bus, the second the ring, and the third the star. I have a feeling that we are still in the bus arena!
The architecture of the online course is dependent, I think, on three factors.
If the professor writes the textbook, the development/sequence of the materials is preset. The path of knowledge acquisition is clear.
If the textbook is not written by the professor, there may be more elasticity in the introduction of learning modules depending of the research and philosophies of the teacher.
In a number of disciplines, instructors are using a set number of articles, books, monographs rather than a specific text, which are reserved and available in the online Library Research Files. These resources are selected by the instructor
In addition to the resources selected by the instructor, the students create an additional on line bibliography as reference for the instructor and for the class as a whole.
The Online Course Objectives
This is just a beginning analysis. Validation of questions and assessment of progress require much research. My premise, however, remains. The students must have an integral role in course development/implementation and outcome. Each course will be a different journey because of the quality of differences in the electronic paths. (Is that going a bit far?)Much to ponder.