magic, doves, sky, ring

The 12 Days of Course Development

What is Instructional Design? When Christine B. shared with us Aesthetic principles for instructional design , it was like walking in a magic forest with fairy tales hopping from tree branches. Could we have said it better ourselves? The instructional designer “sometimes acts in a role similar to that of the Greek chorus, commenting on the dramatic developments from a…

whiteboard, dry erase

What Happens in Those Writing Support Appointments Anyway?

The paper you’re reading has lost you: the commas are out of control, the word choices are weird, and that last paragraph doesn’t seem to have a point. It can be hard to know if lack of time was the culprit or if the student has not yet mastered the writing skills needed to express…

mac and paper

Think pen and paper are obsolete? Think again.

In distance education, many students type lecture notes on their computers, rather than writing on paper. After all, students use laptops to watch lectures, answer assessment questions, and participate in class discussions. It’s only natural to use the same device for taking notes, too, right? Not so fast. Last year, Pam A. Mueller and Daniel M.…

Depth of Knowledge

Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK)

In the world of curriculum development and student assessment, there are many models that inform our work. Each model supports the design of relevant, engaging, and rigorous learning experiences. While Benjamin Bloom ’s taxonomy has served as the “go to” framework since the 1950s, it’s Norman L. Webb ’s Depth of Knowledge system that has caught the attention of K-12 educators…

Reflective posture

Learning Styles: How we engage with the world

If you have been following this blog, just a few months ago, we wrote about common learning styles and what effect they have on learners and teaching methods and practices, and that to a large extent these are not well-evidenced in either science or practice, but for some reason have a wide acceptance. Today, we are tackling a different take on learning styles – rather learning preferences in…

putting together a jigsaw

Collaboration in Online Courses: Group Work

We often use group work in our online courses, and success varies among courses, projects, and students. Overall, our ultimate goal is organic learning, fostering an online community of learners and stimulating active participation in it. This, however, is not always achieved with a stellar consistency. Reflecting on our use of groups in courses, a…

Crumpled note paper

Creating Effective Writing Assignments: The Discourse Community Framework

Using the writing process – often a complex, messy and mysterious process for students – is crucial for graduate level success. Students not only need to grapple with understanding course concepts, they must be able to express them professionally and intelligently. Well-designed writing prompts, with the addition of writing support, can provide the extra guidance…

red school door

Touching the Third Rail: The Learning Styles (Myth) and Are They Worth Your Time?

It’s almost impossible to have a conversation about learning or teaching without invoking the concept of learning styles. Much of the drive behind lesson and course design is based on the need to tailor curriculum to particular or all of the learning styles that your students might come with. Is it practical – or even…