Course Design

Examine all the elements that help create a course.

Writing Measurable Learning Objectives

When you begin creating a course, you want to design with the end in mind. The best way to approach this is to start by writing measurable, learning objectives. Effective learning objectives use action verbs to describe what you want your students to be able to do by the end of the course or unit. Aligning assessments with course expectations is much easier when you have written measurable objectives from the beginning.

Continue reading

Best Practices in Online Learning

This excerpt follows sections on the distance education context and learning theory related to the social presence of online learning. The author addresses best practices related to social presence in online learning based on their experience. The author provides a few suggestions of what they consider to be next best practices.

In mentored online seminars, students complete reading assignments and/or view video lectures, post initial responses in a threaded discussion forum to a question from a faculty member, post additional responses in discussion with students and the faculty member, and complete other course-length assignments, such as papers and tests also administered online.  It is best to give additional guidance regarding the threaded discussion forum.  For instance, if lessons are to be completed weekly, students should be expected to make their initial postings early in the week so that there is plenty of time for “substantive” response later in the week.

Read more on Distance Educator.

What Does the Excellent Online Instructor Look Like?

Graham et al. note the following seven lessons for online instruction: Instructors should provide clear guidelines for interaction with students; provide well-designed discussion assignments to promote cooperation among students; encourage students to present course projects to one another; provide prompt feedback of two types–information and acknowledgement; provide assignment deadlines; provide challenging tasks, sample cases, and praise for high-quality work to reinforce high expectations; and allow students to choose project topics.

Continue reading

Why Students Cheat

When faculty are asked “why students cheat?” they often cite different reasons from what a student would say. In this video, I highlight why students cheat. We begin be looking at some of the research on why students cheat and then we look at a theory as to why students cheat in order to minimize academic dishonesty.


  1. Academic dishonesty
  2. Definitions of terms from the ASU Provost’s website
  3. Cyber-bullying
  4. Provost’s website on Academic Integrity

Defining Cheating

When someone says “Don’t cheat” what do they really mean? Students often commit acts of academic dishonesty not because they are lazy, but because they did not understand that what they were doing was considered cheating. This video will explore various definitions of cheats in order to help you communicate clearly to your students what you define as cheating. Continue reading

Video Tips

Your course deadline is approaching and many of you will be heading to one of the studios to record your Meet Your Instructor, Course Tour/Introduction, Weekly Lecture and/or Weekly Topic videos. I came across some great advice for making videos and thought I would share.

Here’s a tip for the week: Shorter videos are more engaging—think of the popular TED Talks.

Continue reading

Quality Matters Overview

Arizona State University is committed to implement the Quality Matters standards for the design of online courses, and we are systematically building and evaluating our courses based on these rigorous, research-based standards. The Quality Matters standards assure that the online components of these courses promote learner engagement and provide students with all the tools and information they need to be successful learners.

Continue reading