CTLT Dialogues

The Blog of the Center for Teaching & Learning with Technology

Instructional Planning

Posted by ctlt on May 22, 2009

The topic for Session B of this year’s TNT Institute was a discussion of the theoretical background for the “Guide to Quality Assurance for Online and Blended Courses at FDU,” written by Cathy Kelley, Sandra Selick and Paul Younghouse, and published by CTLT in 2007. Paul Younghouse, Coordinator of Instructional Design for the College at Florham presented on the Guide, and its use in reviewing course materials for online and blended offerings.

Much of the thinking that went into the Guide was based on a familiarity with the article “Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education” (by Arthur Chickering and Zelda Gamson) and the research it reported, and the efforts to develop an effective evaluation method for online offerings by Maryland Online (under a FIPSE grant).

Chickering and Gamson’s paper inspired a subsequent article by Chickering and Stephen Ehrmann, which focused on integrating technology into the educational practices that the earlier research report presented. Chickering and Ehrmann point out that technology is not a substitute for good teaching; rather, it is a means to supplement or extend effective teaching practices.

An additional influence on the Guide was a discussion among the authors of underlying values that they believe should inform commentary on educational practices, and the integration of technology into teaching and learning. A review of those values provides reminders of optimal ways to make use of technological resources for instructional planning and development.

Paul then presented on four groupings of design elements, as identified in the Guide. The Guide includes checklists based on each of those design elements, and these checklists were made available to participants. That led to the main activity for the session, as participants formed small groups and logged in for a specially-prepared blended course, “The World Around Us” (an altered version of “The Global Challenge” course). Each group was assigned one of the checklists from the Guide and reviewed the course on the basis of whether it satisfied the criteria identified by the checklists.


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