Session 2: Response to Prompts

1. Scenarios

You have been  asked to lead the team that is developing a series of courses for an online University. Explain some design decisions or issues that you would have to deal with for each class given the characteristics of the content, instructors and students are presented.

Course A

Content: This course will cover beginning college algebra.

Instructor(s): This course is taught by various adjunct and full time professors who are very familiar with the content who have differing degrees of tech skills and online teaching experience. The same class has to serve for all instructors.

Students: All students in this course are college freshman and sophomores with good technology skills and each has successfully taken an online orientation to online learning course.

Response: The content for this course can be best described as convergent, since it deals with mathematics. Based on Dr. Newberry’s podcast, it is “content that has a right answer”. For this course, instructors will have greater ease in producing an online course that is straightforward and organized for students. Which creates a comfortable and secure learning environment. A negative aspect of this course is the fact that it is taught by various professors. The phrase “the more the merrier”, does not apply when it comes to developing an online course. Instead it leads to confusion, since each professor has their own internal construction of what is important and what teaching style is effective. Students in this course have good technology skills, which will help them engage in the material presented to them in different formats, because they are less intimated by the tools utilized to present the material.

Course B

Content: The course is a philosophy of leadership class

Instructor(s): The Instructor is an experienced face-to-face instructor with good tech skills and prior online teaching experience. This instructor prefers lecture and discussion classes.

Students: Graduate students who are well motivated and with a broad range of technology skills, from average to very advanced.

Response: Contrary to course A, this course involving philosophy is divergent. Dr. Newberry’s definition of divergent content is, “material that doesn’t have a single correct answer”. The issue with divergent content is, that subjects as complex and confusing as philosophy, can be overwhelming for a student who is learning this online independently. There is also no structured manner in which the subject can be presented with clarity. Luckily, the course involves an instructor that prefers lecture and discussion classes. Meaning, the instructor will most likely enjoy having discussions and interacting with students, which is an important part of divergent content courses. Another positive aspect of this course are the graduate students who are well motivated with technology skills. Not only will they be comfortable in the online environment, but will also be self-motivated to do well and approach the material positively. Without motivation learning cannot take place.

Course C

Content: This course is an introduction to college success. It teaches study skills, communication skills, and tries to help students learn how to fit into the college community.

Instructor(s): This course will be taught by various instructors all with good tech skills and prior online teaching experience but who have never taught this content before.

Students: Students are incoming freshman who have been identified by advisors as high risk for drop out.

Response: For this course, I believe there is an issue with all three aspects. The content aspect of this course would also be considered divergent. Which will come across similar issues as course B. In addition, the content for this course strives to teach study and communication skills that lead to college success. However, it fails to take into consideration that every individual has their own strategies and unique personalities. Aside from having various instructors, this course includes instructors that never taught this content before. Instructors are at risk of presenting incoherent material to students. They are exploring this subject for the first time, so they do not have an idea of what is the most efficient way of teaching this information. The last issue for this course is the students. Students who are incoming freshman and are at high risk for drop out, tend to be individuals who lack the motivation. They lack the motivation to learn and succeed. Instructors can make an attempt to prepare material in an interesting way, but learning begins with self-motivation.

2. Now, think about an online learning experience that you might someday create. Describe in detail the content, instructor and student characteristics. What are the design issues or features that these suggest? Explain your answers.

Content: As a mathematics major with great interest in teaching the subject at a secondary school level, I will focus this course content on high school geometry.

Instructor(s): This course will be taught by one instructor, myself, who is very familiar with the content. The instructor acquires good tech skills, however has no prior online teaching experience nor taught this content before.

Students: All students are motivated freshman with good tech skills, but no prior experience with online classes.

Response: As I designed this online course, my goal was to keep it as realistic as possible. The content, instructor(s) and students pertain to my current situation regarding my experience and skills. Since the subject is geometry, the content is defined as convergent. There exist only one correct answer to math problems, so it will be easier for me as the instructor, to provide the steps to arrive to the correct answer. I would do so by externalizing my internal dialogue with the use of audio tools,to effectively lead students through the process of problem solving. The main issue with this course design would be that I lack the experience needed to teach the content in an online setting. Prior online experience is a characteristic that can affect the design of the course greatly. An instructor with less online teaching is experience, is less likely to utilize the new technology in ways that will benefit students the most. I would consider this very important in geometry because it is a course that involves visualization. For many students visualizing certain models and figures can be difficult. Technology is certainly a tool that can assist students struggling in this area. Students in this course are incoming freshman are highly motivated to do well. As a result, students have greater self-motivation and will be more flexible with the material presented to them. What might affect their motivation is the fact that they have no prior online class experience. This can leave students feeling intimidated to explore this new world of learning. It would be my goal to create a comfortable environment and smooth transition for students who are new to online learning. Doing so will help students succeed in geometry.

3. List the 11 instructional design steps presented in chapter 1 of the text (Design Quickly and Reliably)

1. Identify Your Underlying Goal

2. Analyze Learners’ Needs and Abilities

3. Identify What to Teach

4. Set Learning Objective

5. Identify Prerequisites

6. Pick the Approach to Meet Each Objective

7. Decide the Teaching Sequence of Your Objectives

8. Create Objects to Accomplish Objectives

9. Create Tests

10. Select Learning Activities

11. Choose Media



5 thoughts on “Session 2: Response to Prompts

  1. Great responses Jacqueline. I myself was a math major (now a Geometry and Algebra 2 teacher) and I think your ideas on an online course for mathematics are good ones. Although I do agree that it is more of a convergent topic, that is not always the case. Proofs, for example, are divergent so allowing more student-student interaction through a bit of a holistic approach would be a good idea, for that section at least. Keep up the good work!


    1. Thank you Aldo for pointing that out, proofs definitely have more than one correct way at arriving to a solution. Your suggestion on the holistic approach is great, I will definitely keep that in mind for future reference.


  2. Hi Jacqueline,

    Nice reading your posting and meeting you for the first time in an online class.
    My previous interaction with my classmates helped me to learn a lot from what they were sharing.
    I am sure you will find the class useful, and interesting.

    Best wishes,


  3. Hi Jacqueline,

    Great to have a new “face” in one of our classes; I look forward to reading more of your post.

    I had a similar response as yours when it came to assessing that multiple teachers with varying skills would be problematic. I thought it was interesting that Kimberly saw that as an asset. She described how the range of skills would create a class that touched on varying student abilities. Interesting idea!


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