Online Course Development An Overview of Best Practices

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					 Online Course Development
An Overview of Best Practices

               Alison Slack
           Operations Manager
     Strategic Alliance for eLearning

Strategic Alliance for eLearning
    •   Algonquin Lakeshore Catholic DSB
    •   Durham DSB
    •   Grand Erie DSB
    •   Greater Essex County DSB
    •   Hamilton-Wentworth DSB
    •   Hastings & Prince Edward DSB
    •   Lambton-Kent DSB
    •   St. Clair Catholic DSB
    •   Thames Valley DSB
    •   Windsor-Essex Catholic DSB
              Why an Alliance?
         Collaboration                         Advocacy
•Sharing                          •Ministry policy
•Course development               •Ministry funding formula
•Knowledge base                   •Federations
•Training                         •Students
•Resources                        •Parents
                                  •Greater community
            Quality                              Access
•Interactivity                    •Diverse population
•Course standards                 •At risk students
•Staff development standards      •Special Education
•Review process                   •Remote access
•Course delivery                  •Variety of courses
•Focus on emerging technologies   •Focus on emerging technologies
Online Learning

      What does a Successful
      Online Learner look like?

able to work independently
highly motivated
able to meet deadlines
has access to a computer and the internet
able to use a browser, send and receive
 email and use a discussion board
usually a senior student with a minimum of
 16 credits
    Who takes online courses?
 Athletes in training
 ill and can’t attend home school
 Stay at home teenage moms/dads
 Want a course that won’t fit in timetable
 Going on an exchange
 Only want course for 1 semester, home school
  may be non-semestered
 Half credit courses
 Summer school: can work during day or take an
  additional credit they really want in day school
        What Courses?
        GLC2O           SPH4U
What’s an online course
       look like?
What makes an online course
I am very excited to start this course! I have already
taken an on-line course last semester and it was
wonderful. I love the freedom although not too much
so that there are no deadlines because without them I
tend to wander a little. I like being able to do school
when I want to. One thing about learning in school is
that I find I personally wastes a lot of time because I
may already be done the work or have heard what the
teacher is repeating, or simply finish the work early.
With virtual learning I do not waste any time. My time
is limited and therefore cannot be wasted. I love that
being a part of virtual learning makes this possible.
                                           Briana G.
I LOVE ONLINE LEARNING! It is a great way
to learn: you have freedom as to when you
want to sit down and complete your work, and
help is just an e-mail away from either a peer
and/or a teacher along with technical support
members. I took an online course last semester
and loved it, the teacher was great and always
helped if I needed help. I'm looking forward to
starting this class, our teacher seems to be
really nice, however I have only talked with her
through e-mails and read her bio, and I think
that she sounds pretty interesting, so I'm
looking forward to learning from her!
                               Justine A.
When I first enrolled in a virtual course, my main
concern was that this class would basically just be
really boring since we obviously don't get to do all
the fun stuff like do oral presentations or make skits
and that kind of thing. However, in the virtual
course, we get to do lots of things that we can't do in
a school, and it's much more flexible. I think this is a
good opportunity for students who don't feel they
need to sit and listen to teachers lectures and would
prefer to just read the directions and work on their
assignments independently. I like not spending my
savings on sheets of bristol board. I think that there
also is a sense of comfort when working in familiar
surroundings, such as your home, and you can't feel
alienated by all the other students, either.
                                         Stacie E.
I totally agree with your last point. "I think that
there also is a sense of comfort when working
in familiar surroundings, such as your home,
and you can't feel alienated by all the other
students, either." It's true. People can work a lot
better and more effectively if they're in a
comfortable environment. I've had classes
before in school where I didn't know a single
person in the class. I felt off on my own
because other people knew one another and I
felt alienated. Taking a course online definitely
gives you a sense of comfort because you're
learning in a place you're familiar with.
                                     Helena S.
           Traditional eLearning
• Text or narration tells you about
  a particular device
• You are exposed to its features
  and told why the features are
• You are shown how the
  components interact
• Finally, a test asks you to
  identify the device, its
  components (or the concept and
  related ideas), and the functions
  they fulfill
      Scenario-based eLearning
• A picture or video thrusts
  you into a realistic scenario
• The situation is explained in
• You are given descriptions
  of possible outcomes
• Whether the results are
  good or bad depends on
  your actions
• You make decisions, each of
  which has different
― Games Generation workers rarely even think of
reading a manual. They'll just play with the software,
hitting every key if necessary, until they figure it out.
If they can't, they assume the problem is with the
software, not with them—software is supposed to
teach you how to use it. This attitude is almost
certainly a direct result of growing up with Sega,
Sony, Nintendo, and other video games where each
level and monster had to be figured out by trial and
error, and each trial click could lead to a hidden
surprise. Games are almost all designed to teach as
you go.‖

                       Marc Prensky DIGITAL GAME BASED LEARNING
     Reality - the Ultimate Learning
• Scenario-based learning
  – learning that occurs in a
    context, situation, or social
• ―Situated cognition‖
  – knowledge cannot be
    known and fully
    understood independent of
    its context.
Learning is a natural byproduct of "authentic
activities that are common to the community of
practice in which the learner is involved.―

―There's little the expert can do in the way of
teaching the learner particular motions of the
swing. Instead, learning has to be experiential
and feedback based; only a handful of basic
principles are involved.‖ The same goes,
he says, for any and all kinds of learning.
"It’s about learning, not about golf.―

Michael Hebron
Golf Instructor
     Think of your own example
• Immersed in a situation in which we are
  forced to perform
• Receive feedback from our environment and
  adjust our behaviour accordingly
• Done automatically and with such
  frequency in a compressed timeframe
  that we hardly notice we're going
  through a learning process
Writer’s Craft
   taken from The Understanding by Design Handbook

G What is the goal of the task? What is it designed
  to assess?
R What real-world role will the student assume as
  he/she is performing the task?
A Who is the audience for the task?
S What is the situation that provides the context for
  the task?
P What is the product or performance that is
  required by the task?
S By what standards will the product or
  performance be judged?
 Why does the teach-test method
          still prevail?
• The generation gap and technology gap
  between learners and teachers
• Trying to meet numerous expectations
  and hesitate to move away from
  traditional teaching methods
• Some courses don’t lend themselves to
  scenario based learning
• TIME!!!!
        Who develops courses?
• To join the Alliance, each
  board must write 2 online
  – Alliance decides which courses
    should be written based on
• writers chosen based on their
  expertise, interest, etc.
• paid from $5000 to $6000 per
• 3 to 6 months to write
  How are the courses developed?
• Teams of teachers
• Extensive training
  – eClassroom tools
  – Online teaching techniques
  – What works; what doesn’t
  – Building interactivity
  – Creating a sense of
General Design Tips
               Unit Design
• General overview
• Expectations identified
• Instructions – ―second
• Suggested time for each unit
• Marking schemes available
• Avoid download mentality
• Avoid ―textbooks online‖
Meeting expectations without
    drowning students?
        Colour and Icons

• Links in blue
• Activites
 –same colour and icon
 –Link to website
           Types of Evaluations
•   Online exams
•   In person exams
•   Emailed screen captures
•   Emailed scanned work
•   Creation of webpages
•   Faxed work
•   Online quizzes
•   Peer evaluation
•   Threaded discussions
•   Online journals
•   Group work
•   Self evaluation
•   Slideshows
  Who ensures viability of courses?

• Quality assurance process
  – Summer Institute in July
  – Complete course review
    by all teachers who
    have taught the course
    during the past year
         Why should you support online

• Virtual and Secondary Schools are not competing for the same
   – Student can only take an online course if his/her home school Principal
     or designate approves
   – Student’s Guidance Counsellor approves his/her application, not Virtual
     High School
• Gives opportunities when:
   –   Home school classes are full
   –   Courses not offered at home school (small, rural schools, especially)
   –   Courses only offered certain semesters
   –   Courses ―cancelled‖ in home school
• Face to Face, traditional classroom, is best for most students…
   – But, we need to offer alternatives to some students…
   – Helps provide equal access for all students