Instructional Design

Week 5: The Slippery Online Syllabus

Reading the various articles made me recognize the importance of the syllabus for my online course, as one author noted: “Your syllabus is one of THE most important documents you create for your class” (University of Minnesot’as Syllabus Tutorial).

Map from the Hobbit courtesy of Josh Calvetti (Creative Commons)

I found three reasons that highlight the importance of a syllabus:

  • The syllabus should provide a road map to guide students through the class.
  • The syllabus should use a conversational style so students are more aware of your presence in the course.
  • The syllabus should be a good way to communicate.

Some of the guidelines I consider really useful in my work with syllabus are:

From the University of Minnesot’as Syllabus Tutorial (thanks Jim!)

  • An effective syllabus conveys what the class will be like, what students will do and learn, as well as what they can expect of you.
  • It tacitly records and transmits your teaching philosophy.

3 aspects of an online syllabus to emphasize, from Teaching Online, Ko and Rossen.

  1. the contract: between students and the instructor (participation and grading criteria, student expectations,
  2. the map: course URL, used tools, assignments, document format, contact information, sequence of learning activities.
  3. the schedule: week organization (start, due day)

Some recommendations deepened too much in details, which could result in a very extensive syllabus. I think it is appropriate to build a model that best suits the particular course you are preparing. Each course syllabus may be slightly different.

Instructional Design Online Pedagogy

Week 4: Pedagogy and Course Design II

"Why waste time learning, when ignorance is instantaneous?"
“Why waste time learning, when ignorance is instantaneous?








Continuing with the reading of Ko and Rossen, Chapter 3: Course Design and Development, pp. 63-end, I found really attractive goodies:

The Table 3.2 is a useful template when you are in the middle of the course organization chaos. So I tried to apply this template to a course session related to Concept Maps. This is the result:

Some considerations that seemed particularly relevant are referred to Assessment:

  • Consider a good proportion of questions from different sources: lectures, readings, in-class activities.
  • The use of different methods of evaluation (quizzes, essays, discussion participation)
Online class tours

The sequence of courses shows different methods and structures. This expresses different personal points of view and a particular vision of the builder, but also the influence of the course subject and the student’s experience in the use of the technology. This represent a varied gallery of courses.

In building a course I should consider a weekly proposal, like the weekly design presented by Lisa in one of the tutorials.


Instructional Design Online Pedagogy

Week 3: Pedagogy and Course Design

Sharing Creative Works: ccNL Translation
CC Netherlands translation

A really good chapter of Ko and Rossen, Teaching Online Guide. The third chapter offer good proposals and practical tips related with the design and development of a course. The examples describe valid contexts although in my case I missed some examples connected to the training of teachers in the “transition-process” from the traditional face-to-face to a blended or totally online architecture.

The topic about the “Initial Steps in Course Design and Development” can be connected to Lisa’s tutorial” Where the Hell Do I Start?”-sections: “Pedagogical Design” and “Design Elements”. The explanation looks clear and logical. The difficulties start when you try to apply the worksheets to your practical course content. It’s really a good exercise!

Looking back to Ko and Rossen’s third chapter, I personally found a good set of tips to help to convert and organize the materials and avoid a mechanical conversion. The book point to 3 elements in the conversion or creation of an online course: Analysis, Course Goals and Learning Objectives and Design.

1. Analysis

I liked the structured questions to link between the course and the context:

  • Target group
  • Delivered online content
  • Student Internet access
  • Instructional Design support
  • Available tools

2. Course Goals and Learning Objectives

It is important is to identify the differences between Course Goals and Learning Objectives. A thing is now clear for me: it is easier to express goals that Learning Objectives. Personally I have used Bloom’s Taxonomy on several occasions in curriculum redesign projects. For this reason I found particularly important the following book references:

3. Course Design

I found useful the checklist of questions to ask yourself so you do not forget anything!

Regarding a blended course I’m designing, in which the guiding force is the syllabus and a weekly timeline; I identify the following pedagogical goals and objectives:

Pedagogical goals
  • Recognize the effects of ICT in educational innovation.
  • Identify the differences between face-to-face and online teaching.
Learning Outcomes
  • Recognize new forms of online assessment. (Remember)
  • Install and update a free software application (Application).
  • Locate an area of your specialty (Analysis)

The tutorials show me orientations and tips that help me to put these objectives in practice:

  • In the Pedagogical Design Tutorial: about the importance to identify the Guiding Force (The syllabus, Textbook, Learning Outcomes, etc.)
  • The Design Elements Tutorial is a good help to a possible organization sketch.
  • The Examples of Design, shows good examples, although I have more experience in the weekly course design (one-column) inside a Learning Management System.
Online Pedagogy

Week 2: Teaching and Learning Online.

As described in my first post I already have used a blog created before with WordPress which I moved to a hosted WordPress installation. I had a Diigo account from before.

  • I opened the book: Ko and Rossen, Teaching Online by reading the first chapter.
  • I got 10 comments this week, really good comments!
  • I began the tutorial Where the Hell Do I Start?

In relation with the Beginner’s Questionnaire, I got 11-12 points: with some comments I want to emphasize.

  • Interest in materia: 2 – Students should be given choices of how to learn the material. Depending on the situation, I would choose small group discussions. Sometimes a combination of these methodologies is the best solution.
  • Content: 4 Students need to be provided with extensive content, selected by the instructor. Again, sometimes are small groups more appropriated or in other circumstances lecturing is a good instrument, etc.
  • Roles: 3 Students should be active participants in creating their own knowledge. I’d like to open students the opportunity to create their own knowledge, but it’s a process to learn to create your own knowledge. The educational system do not incentive the active participate in the creation of knowledge. This is something the students do not learn in a short time.

  • Assessments: 2 or 3
    : (Assessments are most important to test application of skills/ Assessments are most important as a learning tool for students).

I Completed also the second section: the Getting Started Chart

I need naturally help, but I have some experience and ideas with online teaching. I use so work with an LMS (Moodle or Blackboard) and using some social media like Wikipedia, Blogs and Diigo.

The most important part of the chart is related to the way I like to teach: I prefer a combination of lectures with discussion and group work. I like to add learning activities similar to Webquest to promote and strengthen internet searching and research.

Most of my “students” are teachers with an extensive face-to-face experience but a reduced web practice. I use to organize the course topics like a syllabus. A combination of a blog with social media network is also a good idea, but it assumes students with better web experience.

Online Pedagogy

Getting started with Program For Online Teaching class

Week 1 – my reflexions 


cc licensed, flickr photo shared by Mark Brannan

First let me introduce myself: My name is Jaime Oyarzo. I am an Associated Professor in the Department of Computer Sciences in Alcala University, Madrid-Spain and e-learning consultant at a Swedish university.

I enjoy learning new things, particularly related with the innovation in the teaching and learning process with help of TICs and the Web.

I have some experience in blended teaching, which both face-to-face sessions and online periods, aimed at teachers of Latin American universities in virtual pedagogy, instructional design and open educational resources. The aim of these courses is the acquisition of pedagogical and technical skills, which combined with the academic experience, help teachers to develop active learning environments.

I have used different LMS (Blackboard, Moodle, Claroline, etc.). I will probably continue using Moodle in my blended and online courses. Moodle is more flexible than others LMS, but, like all LMS, it creates a somewhat static environment. The combination and connexion of social media tools introduce more flexibility to the virtual learning environment and allow the creation of a more active and participatory context.

I like blogs, because it provides a good place for a personal reflexion and opens the opportunity for students to argue and develop a more elaborate response or reflection than a simple multiple option questionnaire.

My participation in this PortCert course gives me a unique chance to combine different tools. I admire the elegant way Lisa and her team solve the connection between the central POT Blog with participants blogs. It’s interesting the way WordPress is integrated with plugins like “FeedWordPress” (an Atom/RSS aggregator which syndicates extern chosen content from feeds into a WordPress blog) and the “Add Link” plugin which enables POT participants to add links to the POT blog.

Even though I have some experience in blended teaching, I need to reinforce my skills and learn from this experience to apply it to my own “constructions”.

Online Pedagogy

Program for Online Teaching’s 2012-2013 Certificate Program

I finally completed the necessary steps to start moving my blog from to a private server hosting.

Moving my blog from the WordPress over to a new hosted server was painless. One export and import of the blog content did the job, and I was picking out a theme in no time. The longest process was the installation of the WordPress software on the new server location – which really has nothing to do with…

A separate issue, a little more time consuming, was making the necessary adjustments (still not finished …) and inclusion of plug-ins, etc.

This is my second try with POT Cert course and I’ll try to acquire good experiences and ideas to apply in my own online courses.
I’m looking forward this learning experience with POT Cert 2012-13.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I currently work as a teacher in University of Alcala, Madrid, Spain.

Jaime Oyarzo