My Thoughts on Course Design

Rebecca Kirstein

My instructional design philosophy focuses on learning outcomes and competencies, referred to as a back-end design. Over the years I struggled with the prep work for courses. When I first began teaching, there wasn't much time to break a course down, begin with learning outcomes and competencies. I jumped in feet first with little time for planning, this was high school and weekends were for lesson plans. Now, I know how important it is to do the hard work of design, the steps to follow and to circle back and re-evaluate and assess what I have developed. I developed Engaging Online and Hybrid Course Design using these concepts. As you can see, Design of Assessment is the second topic. The course taught faculty who wanted to develop online courses, and had some success. The problem was, they struggled as with the amount of work involved to design an online course before building it in an LMS (learning management system), so they could teach the class. When I tried to balance the workload, it was difficult due to the time constraints and the efforts involved in producing the materials and activities. In an online environment, instructors have a huge learning curve if they are not competent with their learning environment and the demands of their position at the college leave little time for this kind of work.


Technology influence and effectiveness, incorporating games or components, ePortfolio implementation, and open to new ideas.


Determine workload for a course, spread and hours are important. Can you justify increasing the credit hour based on your workload? Do some units seem overwhelming while others drag?


On-site or online workshops, tailored self-paced courses or webinars, and group instructional consultations increase awareness and understanding of learning design principles and pedagogy.


Does your organization struggle with planning and implementing instructional procedures? Do you have documentation? Are decisions hung up in committee?


Learning activities for in-house conferences, to stir up participation, increase morale, using "E-activities" that can be tailored by discipline or by theme.


Are your courses meeting today's challenges? Is the content being delivered to engage using current techniques that take advantage of the digital age, global learning, and community? Are your online courses the same quality as you grounded courses and vise versa?

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