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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

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online course development an overview of best practices

Online Course DevelopmentAn Overview of Best Practices

Alison Slack

Operations Manager

Strategic Alliance for eLearning

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
what does a successful online learner look like
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
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
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
Traditional eLearning
  • Text or narration tells you about a particular device
  • You are exposed to its features and told why the features are important
  • 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
Scenario-based eLearning
  • A picture or video thrusts you into a realistic scenario
  • The situation is explained in detail
  • 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 implications
“ 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.”


reality the ultimate learning situation
Reality - the Ultimate Learning Situation
  • Scenario-based learning
    • learning that occurs in a context, situation, or social framework.
  • “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
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

grasps taken from the understanding by design handbook
GRASPStaken from The Understanding by Design Handbook

GWhat is the goal of the task? What is it designed to assess?

RWhat real-world role will the student assume as he/she is performing the task?

AWho is the audience for the task?

SWhat is the situation that provides the context for the task?

PWhat 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
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
Who develops courses?
  • To join the Alliance, each board must write 2 online courses
    • Alliance decides which courses should be written based on demand
  • writers chosen based on their expertise, interest, etc.
  • paid from $5000 to $6000 per course
  • 3 to 6 months to write
how are the courses developed
How are the courses developed?
  • Teams of teachers
  • Extensive training
    • eClassroom tools
    • Online teaching techniques
    • What works; what doesn’t visually
    • Building interactivity
    • Creating a sense of community
unit design
Unit Design
  • General overview
  • Expectations identified
  • Instructions – “second person”
  • Suggested time for each unit
  • Marking schemes available
  • Avoid download mentality
  • Avoid “textbooks online”
colour and icons
Colour and Icons
  • Links in blue
  • Activites
    • same colour and icon
    • Journal
    • Link to website
types of evaluations
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
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 learning
Why should you support online learning?
  • Virtual and Secondary Schools are not competing for the same students
    • 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