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Instructional Design Tips
AISR and Blackboard believe that instructional design plays an important part in developing online education. Not surprisingly, a critical element contributing to the success of an online learning experience is the role of the instructor and the instructional design of the course. "Materials themselves do not teach but provide a medium that with appropriate use can support learning," (Oliver, Herrington, and Omari, 1996). Accordingly, the instructor must incorporate the organization, presentation, and integration of materials into the online environment.
All Jefferson faculty may take advantage of working with AISR Education Services and our instructional designers. There are no charges for consulting on educational technologies in the classroom or for most of our course support services.
Blackboard offers the following instructional design tips to help you develop an engaging and instructionally sound Pulse CourseSite:
In traditional classroom-based education, students are presented with assignments coordinated to lecture materials. The instructor distributes required activities as appropriate and can answer student concerns/questions in the classroom environment.
When distributed online, students may be exposed to an entire semester's worth of materials all at once. As such, they must be provided with clear, concise instructions regarding navigation within a CourseSite and organization of the materials.
When developing online components, be sure to provide students with:
Try and create CourseSites with explanations, descriptions, and cues about goals and accomplishments, as students "prefer clearly defined learning outcomes, or tasks, and recommended sequencing, from which they can orient themselves at any time," (Campbell, 1997). Guide students through the CourseSite by including elements such as:
Since the instructor is not physically present during the online learning process, it is important to explain exactly WHAT materials are provided and WHY they are important in the scheme of the course. Indicating relationships between materials helps students develop bridges, see associations, and recognize the relevance of content elements. Without this, instructors run the risk of presenting fragmented information "that appears to the user as a series of discrete rather than coherent information elements," (Oliver, Herrington, Omari, 1996).
You can easily add transitions into your Pulse Course sites by providing:
Explaining how each new module builds on previous knowledge helps students remember and understand relationships more effectively.
Provide Ample Opportunities for Feedback
Consider checking class discussion lists and responding to student email on a daily schedule to provide your students with ample feedback. This helps build positive interpersonal relationships with your students and increases instructor credibility.
Instructor feedback in discussion forums is also critical to maintain the focus of the activity. Monitor student discussions to insure students remain "on track" with the assignment. If necessary, provide guidance and suggestions to the group or to individual students. "The teacher's role in coaching, observing students, offering hints and reminders, providing feedback, scaffolding and fading, modeling, and so on, are powerful enhancements to any learning situation," (Oliver, Herrington, and Omari, 1996).
Provide Methods for Assessment
Although the instructional medium can change from paper based to classroom-based, to online delivery, all effective course materials need to maintain basic elements that support solid instructional design. Keep in mind that all course content should contain:
Campbell, Katy. The Web: Design for Active Learning. Academic Technologies for Learning. Alberta, Canada 1997. http://www.atl.ualberta.ca/presentations/.
Duchastel, Philip. A Web-Based Model for University Instruction. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 1997. Vol 25, No. 3. Pp 221-228.
Oliver, Ron, Herrington, Jan, Omari, Arshad. Creating Effective Instructional Materials for the World Wide Web. AusWeb 97 Conference. 1997. http://ausweb.scu.edu.au/.
© 1998 Blackboard Inc.