These steps will provide you with the opportunity to view a model online course developed here at CWU by Dr. Chris Schedler of the English Department. While browsing the course we recommend that you initially, read the first announcement as an introduction to previewing the materials. Secondly, read the syllabus as a guide to the clear and coherent learning objectives, associated activities and assessments in the course.
What is good about this course? This fully online course, Multicultural Literature models best practices in learning, course design, interaction and collaboration, assessment and evaluation, meaningful technology use, and learner support. In the process of exploring the course consider the following guidelines and the valuable ways in which Professor Schedler has met them: Guidelines for Online Course Development. These guidelines are referenced in the discussion of the course features and components below under the headings,
To access Dr. Schedler's course on Blackboard as a student use the password below. Note that if you would like instructor access please request it by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and you will be enrolled with the role of instructor. If you do choose to access the course with the role of instructor please do NOT change any content in order to maintain the integrity of the demo course for other faculty.
Go to CWU Blackboard, click "Login" and enter the following username/password to view the course as a student:
user name = exemplary_student (not case sensitive)
password = learn (case sensitive, use lower case)
On the Blackboard My Institution tab click the link to the course. Follow the instructions you see in the sequence presented.
While viewing this course keep in mind the following features and characteristics that contribute to a valuable learning experience for students.
After logging in with the student login, "exemplary_student" and password "learn", at the Blackboard My Institution tab click the link to the course, Multicultural Literature. Now you are ready for a tour of what makes this course interesting, well designed and assessable.
By initially reading the syllabus you can see that the course is based upon clearly stated learning outcomes that are assessable, relevant to the course content and supported by stimulating activities and assignments. After reading the syllabus students immediately know what will be expected of them and how they will be graded. In addition the sequence of the course schedule of activities and assignments is clearly laid out.
The information about the course, including course requirements, course activities, assignments, grading and evaluation, dates, policies and instructor information are easily located and of sufficient breadth. Dr. Schedler provides learning guidance by allowing students to see examples of projects and papers done in previous courses.
The design of the course is notable for maintaining a consistency, thereby establishing ease of navigation. It allows for a clear progression through course requirements as outlined in the syllabus. The Course Documents area offers materials on which the assignments are based. Grading rubrics describe specific criteria for proper execution of the discussions, papers and projects to be completed by students. Course activities foster critical thinking, team collaborations and utilize technologies that take advantage of a variety of learning styles. Expectations for technology use in the course are made clear with extensive student support and direction.
The effectiveness of a course design needs to be evaluated to determine if students are able to meet the learning outcomes established. Dr. Schedler evaluates student performance by providing five assessment opportunities that build on a progression of increasingly higher levels of cognition. Each of these assessments is linked to learning outcomes listed in the syllabus. Students are required to directly demonstrate what they have learned with higher levels of thinking (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001, pp. 67-68) including:
A variety of evaluation and assessment tools are utilized including, discussion forums, reading quizzes, discussion openers, a critical paper and a poster presentation and analysis. Each of these takes into account different learning styles and shows a clear relationship between student performance and grades in the course
Dr. Schedler employs a variety of important teaching techniques to build an online community and foster learner engagement. His use of technology is aligned with the learning objectives and is appropriately chosen to convey meaning and deliver content. Of additional value is that students are provided necessary scaffolding to utilize technology to engage with the content, with fellow students, as well as with the instructor. Here are some of the valuable things that he does in his online course with regard to teaching and learning:
Note: For additional background on the development of this course by Dr. Chris Schedler please view the video in three parts on CWU on iTunes U. Dr. Schedler presented the information as part of the College of Arts and Humanities Speaker Series. The title of the presentation is "Engaging the Online Learner through Multicultural Literature" and is at the link below. To view it please be sure that you have iTunes from http://www.apple.com/itunes loaded on your computer.
iTunes Video of "Engaging the Online Learner through Multicultural Literature" - Instructions to play in CWU on iTunes U: Double click the title of the video for immediate launch.
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