Distance Learning Workshop

DL Workshop Outline

Home ]
DL Workshop Outline
DL Workshop Summary

Classroom-based Courses vs Distance Learning Courses

  • Good Practice is Good Practice; it doesn't depend on the delivery environment.
  • Learning goals are the same even though the environment is different.
  • Learning tools are selected to fit the environment.

Structured Distance Learning Course Syllabus

  • The word syllabus comes originally from the Greek word syttyba which was a piece of parchment used as a label. In Latin the word was sittybas which meant a list.
  • A distance learning syllabus is a descriptive wrapper (label) that serves as the organizer for the course.
  • It is the 'road map' that gives context to the content.
  • Learning units are structured into an outline format having several levels. The learning content is developed exclusively in the lowest level of the outline.

Course Information Architecture

  • There are two general ways to organize a course web site. One is by resource type and the other is by topical outline.
  • Resource type organization is easier for the instructor to maintain.
  • Topical outline is more consistent with a hierarchical distance learning syllabus.
  • You need both. One to facilitate maintenance and the other to facilitate learning.

Learning Unit Creation

  • Keep your learning units short. Size them to cover the equivalent of 20 minutes of lecture time.
  • Create a storyboard for the learning unit. This visual design tool will help put each part of the learning unit into proper perspective.
  • Page titles are very important. Page titles must be unique. The page title is the item displayed by a browser in it's bookmark/favorites function.
  • Provide links to communication tools (discussion board & email) on each page of the learning unit.
  • Tell the student what they need to do in each learning unit to attain an adequate understanding of that micro-topic. This implies that there are learning objectives at the micro-topic level.
  • Provide some form of assessment with each learning unit. The student needs to know whether he/she is progressing in a satisfactory manner.

Content Consolidation

  • Consolidate learning units with a navigation structure that matches the topical outline of the course.
  • Don't make too many levels in the navigation structure. Three outline levels should give you small enough units to fit the 20 minute recommendation without burdening the student with excessive linking.

Incorporate Course Administration

  • A course web site is the ideal place to publish course administration items.
  • Remember to include: Textbook List, Grading Policy, Office Hours, Course Schedule, Term Projects, Case Studies, etc.
  • Package everything within the context of the distance learning syllabus as presented above. The syllabus is the 'front-end' to the course.