Session Four: Instructional Design for Online Learning Project April 27-May 3


What am I working on?

I opted to work on my own because I’m in the instructional design phase of working on two courses I will offer in the fall.  Last fall, I had all of the courses in my ESL program approved through our Curriculum process for distance education (fully online or hybrid).  To be honest, I don’t know whether I will ever offer the beginning classes in an online format, but it made sense to get the approval all at once in case I want to try in the future.  I’m starting with a hybrid version of our two most advanced classes which are one level below Freshman Composition:  ESL 71 Academic Reading and Writing II and ESL 71A Advanced Grammar.  

Why Start with these courses?

Research supports the use of online instruction in second language acquisition, yet online credit ESL classes at the community college level are nearly non-existent.  Eight months ago, I began researching whether my student population was likely to be successful; here is what I came up with-

However, three significant factors led to my decision to offer hybrid classes to the advanced rather than beginning students-

  1. First, there is a recent study from Berkley that shows online students are not successful if the course is taken in the students’ first semester; since the majority of our ESL students start out in a lower level, the advanced classes will not be their first semester-
  2. Students need strong reading and writing skills to succeed in online classes.
  3. International students and students of color particularly benefit from Learning communities and student-student interaction, and I believe this is best fostered through f2f contact.  This last issue contributed to my decision to not offer our first two levels online (yet) and to my choice to offer the courses as hybrid. 

Design Quickly and Reliability I think the way I am going to use this process is to reflect back on my decisions on-

  • Course Goals- Matching the student learning outcomes with the online delivery.
  • Learners Needs/Abilities-  This is where I need to reflect and talk to current online teachers at my school:
    • Who am I going to be teaching?
    • What is the motivation for students to learn content?
    • What are students previous experience with online
    • What are students’ propensity for cheating?
    • What are students need for student/content, student/student, student/instructor
  • Learning Objectives- Not what my objectives are because those are already established through the Curriculum approval process; instead, I plan to reflect on whether/how those objectives can be met in an online format.
  • Prerequisites-  Again this is established by curriculum approval process, so there really isn’t anything to do in this area.
  • Approach Meeting Objective-I really want to get away from the idea of just trying to replicate my f2f class, and I want to think about how the online format can improve success.
  • Teaching Sequence-  I’ve taught college writing for twenty years, so I have a good idea of sequencing.
  • Objects to Accomplish Objectives- I really want to analyze how I can integrate reading and writing better in this area.
  • Tests- I plan to talk to teachers who use flip classrooms to see if tests will improve the likelihood of students coming to f2f prepared.
  • Learning Activities- This is an area where I plan to completely disregard the assignments I have used in f2f and really think about how writing college essays can be rethought and fit into weekly modules.
  • Media-  I plan to look at the weekly schedule I developed last quarter and reflect on whether the media I have matched is a good fit and feasible. 

(Horton, 8-63)

What Instructional Design Have I Completed So Far?

  1. ESL 71 Schedule
  2. Empty Course Shells were set up and I am just beginning to create modules.  

Further Reading on Hybrid Courses and Student Success


6 thoughts on “Session Four: Instructional Design for Online Learning Project April 27-May 3

  1. Hi Christen,

    Your project idea looks good. I was wondering, were we supposed to identify the exact activities which we intend to have in all the 11 steps? What I did I drafted some questions which reflect the 11 steps. What do you think?

    Thanks for sharing,


  2. Great job! You are ahead of the curve (for this class) due to having already completed a lot of the ground work in your march towards developing online content in this area. I’m looking forward to seeing your design mature a bit more in this class!


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