Developing an Online Course, Part 1

Dear Teachers,

Round 8 in the Master’s program I’m enrolled in is a class titled “Instructional Design in Online Learning,” and I feel very fortunate to taking such a class. More and more, it seems people are participating in online classes, so learning to design them well will be a great skill to add to my repertoire – especially since I have ZERO prior experience! Everything in this degree program provides opportunities to apply our new knowledge to authentic tasks and our personal interests, so it’s probably no surprise to you that my first online course will be all about – what else? – digital literacy.

The first week of all my graduate courses has always left me with a feeling of complete information overload, and this class is no exception. We’ve already looked at Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction, INACOL’s Standards for Quality Online Courses, Tony Bates’ Teaching in a Digital Age, and Learning Forward’s Professional Learning Standards. And all of that is in addition to reviewing Learning Theories, Understanding by Design principles, growth mindset, and a host of other constructs that I was aware of in only the vaguest of ways just a year ago. There’s a lot of synthesis going on here. (It’s almost like they planned it that way.) 😉

I’m imagining that the audience for my course will be teachers and librarians in my district who have “technology” as part of their T-TESS goals and/or have a personal interest in digital literacy, and who are seeking credit towards their required professional learning flex hours. There are currently six modules for the course:

  • What Does it Mean to be “Digitally Literate”?
  • Digital Citizenship Part 1
  • Digital Citizenship Part 2
  • Information and Media Literacy
  • Digital Equity
  • Applying What You’ve Learned

There’s a lot of information to cover in the first five modules, and an educator could spend quite a bit of time on any one of them. I’m not sure this early in the game if the information will be necessarily sequential, or if educators could jump in to any of the first five modules and just complete the one they are most interested in, along with the final module on application. For example, it’s possible that someone with a strong interest in Digital Equity might choose to work on only that module. I think it might be a bit overwhelming if teachers felt that they had to complete every module; it feels a bit more like a graduate level course at this point than something a teacher would willingly do for a couple of PD hours.

I’m pretty much a believer in constructivist learning theory when working with adult learners; I trust teachers to determine what their particular learning needs are and build the knowledge they need to be successful, so I think the “choose your own adventure” approach could work with this class. As I go through the process of the course that *I’m* taking right now, I’m guessing I will learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of the different ways I might set up my continuing plot to take over the world course on digital literacy.

I am an ardent (some would say obsessive) (and they would probably not be wrong) collector of information pertaining to digital literacy, so I already have what I think is a pretty good list of resources for the course. Some of the main ones include Futurelab’s excellent Digital Literacy Across the Curriculum, JISC’s Developing Digital Literacies, Media Smarts’ Digital Literacy Fundamentals, and CoSN’s Digital Equity Action Toolkit, among many other resources that I have found helpful. I’ve also been on the hunt for additional videos and other multimedia content that will be helpful to go along with the many web links I’ll be supplying.

When I get closer to the end of my grad class, I’ll post the access code to my Schoology course here so you can take a peek and see what you think. Right now it’s still in progress, so I’ll be leaving you in suspense for now.





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