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February 24, 2012 / Meegan

eLearning 12 Conference: Strategies and Tools to Support Online Course Design

The presenters of this session share a virtual binder with us ( which contains a variety of resources for developing online courses. The presentation was set to go through the general standards of the Quality Matters Rubric and provide tools to assist faculty in achieving the standards. Given the length of the session, (and the interruption of a fire alarm), we were only able to get through the first three standards:

  1. Course Overview and Introduction
  2. Learning Objectives
  3. Assessment and Measurement

It is important to put time into an overview and introduction to every online course to give your students a road map to follow on their journey through your online course as well as to include some professor presence into the course. One tool mentioned was Voki which lets you create animated, talking avatars which you could use to present a welcome message to your students. I think you can be just as effective in introducing yourself and the course by creating a short Camtasia Relay recording. (For instructors who want to have an image of themselves in the recording, Relay 4 will allow you to do this!) The presenters used mind maps to bring together information, which could be used to show the structure of a course if you wanted to create a more visual element. Here are three free mind mapping tools that were mentioned:

The presenters had a variety of tools for writing learning objectives. This website from Iowa State University has an interactive map of the knowledge and cognitive dimensions with examples for each intersection. They also showed a number of helpful websites for building objectives such as Radio James and the Differentiator.

Once you have your learning objectives worked out, you need to determine what how you will assess and measure these in the online class. Quality Matters looks for a variety of different types of assessments which are appropriate for what you are trying to assess. A helpful tool for anyone wanting to know if their assessments align correctly with their learning objectives, here is a resource from Carnegie Mellon. This website may also help you find some new ideas for assessments.

The presenters also mentioned rubistar for anyone looking for help developing rubrics. Here is another resource all about creating rubrics from the Authentic Assessment Toolbox. Our version of Blackboard at GRCC has a built-in interactive rubric tool for grading which can save a lot of time grading and providing feedback to students. It can also save you time on the questions you can get from students wanting to know how you’ll grade their assignment. You can send them to the rubric for details. For tip sheets and videos on creating and using interactive rubrics at GRCC, checkout the tipsheets at

This was a good session in that it breaks down the elements in Quality Matters and gave support for each one. I could see developing something similar for faculty at GRCC to break up our online course readiness rubric into chunks with some resources and examples.


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