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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Course Development

What should online curriculum look like to you? What should a hybrid environment look like? In developing courses to be used in a variety of settings I find myself asking these questions and getting different answers from different people. There are the obvious features necessary in online design, multimedia, rich content, collaborative opportunities, but what else is missing? And if it's missing form the course, is that something that an instructor can and should adapt and adjust. The art of teaching is alive and well in online environments, we are able to see and do things outside the traditional brick and mortar environment, but many are hampered by the same perceived limitations of their online courses, or own limited expectations of an online environment.
Most courses I took online for my Master's were traditional online courses (is there even such a thing), but what I mean is that they had two discussion boards, some readings, a powerpoint or two, and an assignment each week. The discussion boards were okay, there was decent conversation, but they were so structured and over managed, that they just felt like journals, there was an authentic piece missing. And, when you are missing that authentic piece, what you have are people posting for the rubric, not the discussion; so the conversations die quickly.
I want my course developers t develop courses that if printed off and taken into a classroom would have no way of standing on its own. I want curriculum that utilizes the power of collaborative writing, and thinking, that asks the questions that provoke thoughtful discussion and debate, and that require multiple skills, offer differentiated instruction and assessment and engage students in powerful ways.

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