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Designing Online Modules. Dr Gareth Norris ( Department of Law and Criminology Aberystwyth University.

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Designing online modules

Designing Online Modules

Dr Gareth Norris (

Department of Law and Criminology

Aberystwyth University

The role of the instructor

“Online learning is most effective when delivered by teachers experienced in their subject matter. The best way to maintain the connection between online education and the values of traditional education is through ensuring that online learning is “delivered” by teachers, fully qualified and interested in teaching online in a web-based environment.” (Feenberg 1998).

Feenberg, A. (1998). “The Written World: On the Theory and Practice of Computer Conferencing.” In Mason, R. and Kaye A. (Eds), Mindweave: Communication, Computers, and Distance Education. Oxford: Permagon Press.

The role of the instructor:

Why consider online

  • Practical:

    • Choice, technology

    • Timetable and teaching space, staff resources (time)

  • Educational:

    • Reflective and self-driven learners

    • Competent in use of technology

Why consider online?

Engagement and assessment

  • Engagement:

    • E-mail/messaging & announcements

    • Online discussions

    • Wiki’s/Reflective journals

    • Dedicated textbook

  • Assessment

    • Formative

    • Feedback

    • Plagiarism

Engagement and Assessment:


  • Potential to introduce too much!

  • Structure and format

  • Link to module Learning Outcomes

  • Link to textbook/specific chapters

  • Current format:

    • One PowerPoint lecture

    • Two articles (PDF’s) posted online

    • One video clip (available online – YouTube etc.)

    • Reflective question (additional question banks are often available from book publishers)

  • Weekly revision notes/reviews

  • Content:

    Navigation expectations

    • Introductory face-to-face lecture in Week 1

      • Recorded using Panopto and uploded to platform

      • Screencast recording of main activities (e.g. how to post on the discussion board)

    • Follow ‘traditional’ 10-week format

    • Open each week on Day 1 (Monday)

    • Discussions in Weeks 5,7&9 (only last two assessed)

      • Post 250-350 word response by day 4 (Wed)

      • Post minimum of two additional 150-200 word responses on two different days

      • Expectation of activity on 3 out of the 7 days (min)

    • One 1,500 word assignment (hard copy)


    The role of the instructor1

    “Good teaching is good teaching…more about what makes for an effective educational experience, regardless of where or when it is delivered” (Ragan, 1998).

    Ragan, L.C. (1998). Good teaching is good teaching: An emerging set of guidelines for the design and development of distance education. DEOSNEWS, (8) 12.

    The role of the instructor

    Contact: for an effective educational experience, regardless of where or when it is delivered” (Ragan, 1998).

    Dr. Gareth Norris

    Department of Law and Criminology,Aberystwyth University

    Telephone: +44-1970-621666