Wrapping Up Distributed Learning…and my degree!!

I am SO excited to finally say that this will be the last assignment of my MEd degree.  I couldn’t be happier!  I’ve learned so much, met so many great people, and have a tonne of great information and resources to take with me.  As a wrap up, I wanted to share the big takeaways I have learned…

1.  When designing a course, no matter where it lies on the blended learning continuum (ICT usage, e-enhanced, e-focused, e-intensive), be sure to start with a well defined set of learning objectives.  Learning objectives should state the audience, what is expected of them, and the criteria or standard they must meet.  Bloom’s (1956) Taxonomy of Educational Objectives provides a clear system for defining the comprehension level expected of the audience.

2.  Decide on the type of course that you want to design.  Twigg (2003) provides a series of models that can be used to guide course redesigns depending on the level of technology integrated into the course and time spent online vs. face-to-face.  Some of the different models include the Replacement Model, the Supplemental Model, and the Fully Online Model.

3.  The Community of Inquiry framework (Garrison & Vaughan, 2008) provides a guide for creating an engaging, interactive, and collaborative learning environment in which the instructor and students freely engage and interact via three fundamental elements: cognitive presence, social presence, and teaching presence.  The three elements work together to assist students to move through the Phases of Practical Inquiry and engage in deeper levels of learning.

4.  Have a variety of students assessments available in order to appeal to all learning styles and preferences.  Assessment instructions should be clear and include a grading rubric to provide students with guidance as to what is expected of them.  There should be formative and summative assessments, online and face-to-face elements, some elements of group work or collaboration, and all assessments should reflect what is expected of students in the learning objectives.

5.  Have a course evaluation plan.  When redesigning any course, it is imperative that it is evaluated from the perspective of the students and the instructor.  Feedback should be collected in order to make appropriate changes or adjustments.  Feedback should be collected at several points throughout the course as adjustments made during the course may prove to be beneficial for students and/or the instructor.  The Quality Online Course Initiative (QOCI) Rubric is a great example of a course evaluation rubric for online courses (Illinois Online Netword, n.d.).

I wish you all the best with your degrees and I hope these 5 tips can be useful to you in the future.  They are the building blocks around which I have based the course redesigns that I have done in the past.  And they provide a solid foundation from which to implement new techniques and strategies.

Best of luck to you all.



Bloom, Benjamin S. & David R. Krathwohl. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals, by a committee of college and university examiners. Handbook 1: Cognitive domain. New York , Longmans.

Garrison, D.R. & Vaughan, N. (2008).  Blended Learning in Higher Education.  San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.

Illinois Online Network (n.d.). Quality Online Course Initiative (QOCI) Rubric.  Available online from:http://www.ion.uillinois.edu/initiatives/qoci/rubric.asp

Twigg , C.A. (2003). Improving Learning and Reducing Costs: New Models for Online Learning.EDUCAUSE Review, 38 (5), 29 – 38. Available online from: http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/erm0352.pdf

4 thoughts on “Wrapping Up Distributed Learning…and my degree!!

  1. Congratulations!!

    This was an amazing post – I actually bookmarked it! Well cited, research based and leaving me with the desire to read all of the references you cited to learn more!

    Enjoy your convocation and thank you again.


  2. Hi Steph,

    Great posting and summary … and what an achievement. Congratulations on finishing the job, my friend!


  3. Steph, thanks so much for the “big takeaways!” This did indeed provide us all with 5 excellent tips for the design and development of distributed learning experiences.

    Congratulations on completing your MEd degree! This is a huge accomplishment and you should be very proud. All the best to you as you move forward, standing on this new foundation that you have built over the duration of your graduate program.


  4. Steph,

    I know that responses to posts were to be completed yesterday, and I did reply to my two posts… but today I spent some time reading all of the posts… I just wanted to say thanks for the amazing post and the great tips that you provided. I hope you don’t mind if I link to your post for future reference when my Moodle team is redesigning our Moodle courses.

    Thanks, and congratulations on the completion of you MEd degree.


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