I had to post the image after Sherry’s comment about the syllabus being a GPS. It is the map of the course, and how we integrate that into the CMS is part of that analogy. This is something that Ko and Rosen point out as well, and their points about needing to take advantage of web resources is a great one. I find that video lectures, with a text component as well for students that need it (this can be closed captioning) are a good way to combine both. My rule of thumb is 15 minutes or less, but I noticed that Chickering and Ehrmann said 6 minutes. I use Screencast-o-Matic, but there are certainly other options. I would also agree with both texts that it is important to be detailed in your assignments, expectations and grading. This goes back to the establishment of community we talked about last week, and links to Chickering and Ehrmann’s point about the importance of prompt feedback so students know whether or not they are completing things correctly, as well as some of the points from the UCF Online Pedagogical Repository.
One thing I took from the class tours I did, Lisa’s, Pilar’s and Jason Whitesitt’s, is the importance of a coherent design that not only follows Universal Design theories, but also is coherent throughout the course. I loved Whitesitt’s fun and very original design, and his linking of video, text, and voicethread to give students lots of options. All of these points were backed up by the Online Pedagogical Repository, in its discussion of modules divided by time length to allow the students to follow along in the course easily and clearly. I liked the idea of the “advance organizer,” which relates “what a student already knows to the new content to be learned and thus increase retention. Advance organizers should be at a higher level of abstraction, generality, and inclusiveness than the content to be presented” (Chen, B. “Advance Organizer).
My classes, especially after doing POT last spring, are usually designed following many of these theories. I divide the content into Weekly segments, and these weeks contain all links to readings, video lectures, assignments and links to discussions. Within the Discussion Forum prompts are my links to the Thinglinks I want them to consider, which allow me to link out to more things without getting too top heavy. I also open the class on my Welcome page, which gives them an image, and instructions for navigating the course.