Understanding Course Design

This session allowed us to understand the importance of course design within education. We also addressed approaches to planning learning activities, something particullarly relevant given the upcoming micro teach assessment.

Bigg’s theory of constructive alignment was discussed during the session. Learning outcomes, activities and assessment must be aligned for effective learning to take place. When designing courses consideration must be given to how the learning activities, outcomes and assessment relate to each other, learners must be at the centre of this process, not the teacher.

Learning outcomes should be stated upfront at the start of the course, a student will then understand what is required. When developing learning activities we can use Bloom’s taxonomy to describe the intended outcomes desired from the learner. These cognitive levels of thinking will assist in constructing the Learning Outcomes. Again this taxonomy will be used when planning and setting out learning outcomes for the micro teach session.

In the session we reviewed Kolb’s Learning theories which I have summarised in a previous session post.

We also discussed course design for blended and fully online courses, as this is a significantly different process than planning a course purely delivered face to face. Clay Shirky is a consultant and teacher on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies and is a good person to look at when researching blended and online course delivery.

We were also pointed to a guide which addressed online course design, this allowed us to better understand the process of creating courses aimed at a different mode of delivery.

Within my current job online course design is something I work with on a day to day basis, thinking about Bigg’s Constructive alignment theory and using it when designing distance and blended courses is something which is ever changing. As the technologies and means of assessment develop so too will the objectives and learning activities we set students online. The constantly evolving world of online education requires us to continually review course design in an online environment.


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