Page 7 - Online Course Development Manual

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5
How Do I Design My Course to Meet QM Standards?
Syllabus
A well-structured syllabus is the blueprint of a course before initial development begins. To facilitate the
process of elaboration of the syllabus, please review the sample template (
Appendix E
) that contains the
most important sections that are recommended for inclusion in the syllabus.
Alignment
One of the essential factors that facilitate learning is instructional alignment. It is a factor that is crucial
but often overlooked. When instruction is aligned, students will learn more effectively. By identifying
instructional components in the planning stages, the development process is facilitated. See Table 1
below for an Alignment Example.
Objectives
: Expected course outcomes are written from the perspective of the student and
preferably in terms of observable behavior. The latter facilitates identification of objectives that are
measurable; for instance, it is difficult to measure an objective that says “Comprehend use of
passive voice in English”. On the contrary, an objective that states, “Identify valid reasons for using
the passive voice in English in various sentences” is easier to measure. Another important requisite
of objectives in developmental courses is that they are less complex than those of the general
education courses, which in turn are moderately complex. The objectives for upper division courses,
such as graduate courses, are written at a higher level of "evaluation and synthesis" consistent with
activities that draw on previous coursework for their understanding and application.
Content
: List of topics or skills that the participant should be aware of in order to attain the
objective. The content in online courses is usually disaggregated or broken-down in modules or units
associated with major objectives for the course. There is usually one list of high-order objectives for
the course (course objectives) and sub-lists of specific objectives for the modules or units.
Resources
: Materials that are available or new materials to be prepared that facilitate the student
attainment of the established objectives. The selection of materials that correspond to the
objectives is one of the most important tasks of the content expert, and it must be a thorough
process. Materials can be readings, presentations, interactive learning objectives, recorded videos
and many other elements; each one of them is introduced in the course because of its relevance to
the corresponding objectives. In addition, all materials not authored by the content expert must be
appropriately cited using a reference style such as APA or MLA. An overarching principle for the
content expert is that every resource introduced in the course signifies a certain interval of time for
the student to grasp the content or do what is expected with it; therefore, the instructional
materials should not be so overwhelming that the student has insufficient time to go over all of
them. At the same time, instructional materials should not be so abbreviated that there is
considerable slack time in the course. Instructors must assure an optimum of student engagement
by keeping a match between expected hours of work (as determined by the credit units of the
course) and the amount of materials included for study. There should be a clear distinction between
required and optional materials.