Reflections on the course design process in distance education by practitioners with varying levels of experience
Contributor(s)Amundsen, Cheryl (advisor)
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AbstractInstruction at a distance is rapidly becoming one of the most widely used modes for teaching post-secondary learners. One of the distinctive characteristics of distance education is the emphasis on course development and the models of course development which have evolved. To date, however, the literature offers little understanding of the knowledge bases upon which current practice in distance education course development is based. Expertise in course development has not been characterized in any systematic way, and it is not known how novice and expert DE course developers differ in the way they conceptualize and go about course development. Even less is known about how course developers move toward expertise and from where they draw their understanding. The primary purpose of this study is to begin the investigation of these questions, based on data collected from multiple sources and contexts. Qualitative methods were used to collect and analyze data on the reflections of the course design process by nine participants. Participants varied in their experience level, the level of course they designed, and their role in the design process. Participants took part in a semi-structured interview and were asked to provide written responses to a practical design critique exercise. Themes or issues were allowed to emerge from the data, and were characterized along three main topics: the learner, design decisions, and evaluation. Differences between novices and more experienced participants were observed in their depth of understanding about the learner, the influence of theoretical constructs on their making design decisions, and the influence of context on the design process.
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation