Effective Course Design

wordle1Course design, in any type of eLearning course, is important to creating an effective learning environment.  Blogger Debbie Morrison (2012) addressed course design in her blog titled “How [not] to Design an Online Course”.

The five NOT’s are:

Do NOT use the same face-to-face syllabus for an online or blended course.

Create a syllabus with your classroom environment in mind.  Make sure to include your contact information and times available.  If your course is blended or totally online, you may want to consider creating a short video or audio clip.  This helps the student connect a name to a person (social presence).

Do NOT implement course grading that relies heavily on exam assessments.

Use a variety of assessment methods.  Examples include: discussions, group projects, or project-based assignments.  This helps to promote critical thinking, student engagement, and collaboration.  If you are conducting a totally online class there are many resources for group projects.  Skype, wikis, and blogs are just a few examples.

Do NOT give assignments that lack detailed instructions.

Unless you want students contacting you constantly, be sure to supply clear and concise instructions for assignments.  Chances are you will not get it right the first time.  If you have students inquiring about the same issue, consider adding this information for the next time the assignment is offered.

Do NOT utilize the same course materials as a face-to-face course.

The adopted textbook can be used, but also add a variety of other resources.  Articles, PDF’s, videos, podcasts, and websites.  Make sure that all material is compatible with the D2L environment.

Do NOT underestimate the time involved when converting a face-to-face course to online.

The initial conversion to an online course can take time, but will also save time in the future.  Make sure you are responding in a timely manner to students discussions and providing feedback on all assignments.

If you have any questions or need any help with your online course design, please let me know.  Thanks and enjoy designing your course!


Morrison, D. (2012, August 6). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/how-not-to-design-an-online-course/

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