EDTECH 512: Online Course Design

Instructor Information

Patrick LowenthalPatrick R. Lowenthal, Ph.D.
Office Hours: by appointment
E-mail: patricklowenthal@boisestate.edu*
Web: http://www.patricklowenthal.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/plowenthal
Adobe Connect: http://edtech.adobeconnect.com/patricklowenthal/

*Email is my preferred method of communication. I strive to respond within 24 hours. If you do not receive a reply within 48 hours, please email me again. Feel free though to contact me in other ways as needed.

Course Description

This course emphasizes an instructional design approach to the development of online courses that are engaging and effective, and in alignment with standards and best practice as identified by research. Course participants will create a fully-developed online course customized for use in their own instructional setting. Participants are guided through the process of conducting needs assessments, defining course goals and objectives, designing instructional lesson plans, activities and materials, and assessments. Consideration is given to various models of online delivery, content organization and presentation, and graphic design principles.

Course Goals

The following are the goals for EdTech 512: Online Course Design:

Course Location and Login Information

This is an online course delivered in Moodle. The Moodle login page explains how to login to Moodle. Contact Moodle Support at moodlesupport@boisestate.edu for assistance logging into Moodle. If you have forgotten your password, click the link below the login box, "lost password?" and you will be able to reset it. When you login to Moodle look for a link to EDTECH 512-4201/4202 Online Course Design (SU14).

Course Materials

Required Textbooks

There are no required textbooks.

Required Hardware & Software

Google Docs* as well as an up-to-date computer with an Internet connection is required to participate in this online course. Other hardware and/or software (e.g., access to a Learning Management System** or Adobe Creative Cloud) may be required to successfully complete your final project.

*Google Docs is used heavily in this course.
**If you decide to develop your final project in a Learning Management System, the EdTech department can set you up with a Moodle instructor account and a blank course shell on our development server (for up to one year after you graduate).


NOTE: If you create a course on the Boise State Moodle development server, keep in mind that the course will be deleted after you graduate and that you are expected to use this as a development server to create your course and not a place to host a course you are teaching.

Assignment Policy and Grading Scale

Assignment Information

Detailed information about assignments are posted in Moodle. The course consists of eight modules. During the fall and spring each module is two weeks long; but during the summer each module is one week long. All assignments are due on the 1st Tuesday after the module. You are expected to login at least two different days per week; but often successful students login 4-5 different days each week. Also, check your Boise State email at least once per week for course related correspondence.

Main Assignments

*Note: The course you develop must be a fully online course; you cannot create a hybrid / blended course for this project. However, the online course you develop might be a component to a face-to-face course.

Here is a tentative list of the assignments and projects for this term:

Assignments* Points

1. Scavenger Hunt (Module 1)


2. Bio & Learning Stories (Module 1)


3. Project Proposal (Module 1)


4. Design Document

1. Front-end Analysis (Module 2)


2. Course Map (with instructional strategies) (Module 3 & 4)


3. Course Prototype (Module 4)


4. Conduct Formative Evaluation (Module 7)


5. Summative Evaluation Plan (Module 8)


5. Online Course

1. Syllabus & Modules 1 - 2 (Module 5)


2. Modules 3 - 5 (Module 6)


3. Completed 5 module Online Course (Module 8)

6. Critique Online Course(s) (Module 3) 30
7. Peer Review (Module 8) 30
8. Discussion / Participation / Teamwork (Modules 1 - 8) 50
9. Group Reading Summaries* (Modules 1 - 7) 70
10. Group Chapter* (Modules 8) 85
Grand Total Points 1000
*These assignments are group grades, meaning that the grade will be based on a self assessment, a instructor assessment, and a peer assessment.

Final grades are based on the following scale.

59% & Below

Assignment Submission

All assignments must be submitted by midnight MDT on the assigned Tuesday due dates.

Grading Cycle

All assignments are graded together as a group to maintain a higher level of consistency. Grading begins on the first day after a due date and is typically completed before the next due date. You may track your progress through "Grades" in Moodle. All of the assignments are listed in Grades and points will be added as we progress through the semester. The type of assignment dictates the level of feedback provided. There are some assignments where I give extensive feedback and others that I simply enter the points earned for the assignment in the gradebook.

Late Work

Penalty for Late Work: Sometimes situations occur that might prevent you from completing your assignments on time. During the course, every student will be permitted one late assignment without losing any points for being late. Any other assignments that are late past this first initial late assignment will have up to one letter grade per day deducted from it. During the last two weeks of class, though, all assignments must be turned in on time and cannot be submitted late. The instructor is not responsible for any text or software that is not obtained in enough time to complete the assignments.

Submitting Late Work:
If you will be late for any reason please e-mail me at patricklowenthal@boisestate.edu on or before the scheduled due date. When the assignment is completed you must send a follow-up email to let the me know it is ready to be graded. This is how I calculate the late work penalty. Failure to notify the me could lead to a grade of zero. Further, late assignments are given the least priority when it comes to grading and feedback. In other words, I will not grade late assignments until all other grading is complete and, depending on the circumstances, I might not provide any detailed feedback on the assignment.

Incomplete Grades

Incompletes are rarely given in this course. Be aware that to even be eligible to receive an incomplete grade in a course, students need to have completed 75% of the course successfully.


A three credit graduate course requires 9 - 12 hours per week of work during the fall / spring semesters and 18 - 24 hours per week during the summer. The amount of time actually needed will depend, though, on your entry level knowledge and skill. This is an advanced elective course synthesizing skills and knowledge gained in your core classes in the Master's program. A familiarity with html, learning objectives, instructional design models, instructional message design, and online teaching provide a good foundation for this course. If you are missing one or more of these areas, anticipate the possibility of needing more time to synthesize and apply course content. It is in your best interest to start early on each assignment to give yourself time to fix any problems or to get help before a due date. The types of assignments and the level of interactivity vary from week-to-week. This is not a self-paced course and some projects involve collaborating with peers.

Tentative Course Schedule

Topics Date Main Activities*
Module 1: Course Introduction & Project Proposal Wk 1 Introduction to course, create project plan
Module 2: Front-end Analysis Wk 2 Front-end analysis / needs analysis
Module 3: Course Design Wk 3 Complete course map
Module 4: Course Prototype Wk 4 Course prototype instructional & motivational strategies
Module 5: Development Wk 5 Create syllabus and Modules 1-2
Module 6: Development Wk 6 Create modules 3-5
Module 7: Implementing and Evaluating Wk 7 Conduct formative evaluation
Module 8: Show & Tell Final Projects Wk 8 Peer reviews, revisions, & summative eval. plans
*Reading summaries and a group paper will take place across all weeks.

General Reading Schedule

The following is a general overview of the main readings for this course. There might be additional reading assigned as needed. This is provided for those who like to read ahead. Keep in mind that you will work in groups to write reading summaries on selected readings for each module. All of the readings assigned this semester are available in Moodle as a pdf, available as a pdf from the library, or available as free ebooks from the Boise State library (which is described in more detail in Module 1 in Moodle). However, most of the readings come from the following books:

Streamlined ID Streamlined ID: A practical guide to instructional design by Larson & Lockee Perfect Online Course The perfect online course: Best practices for designing and teaching by Orellana, Hudgins, & Simonson (Eds.)
eLearning by Design E-learning by Design by Horton A guide to authentic learning A guide to authentic e-learning by Herrington, Reeves, & Oliver
Design for how people learn Design for how people learn by Dirksen Conquering the content Conquering the content: A step-by-step guide to online course design by Smith
Online learning idea book The online learning idea book (vol. 1 & vol. 2) by Shank (Ed.) eLearning and Science of instrution eLearning and the science of instruction by Clark & Mayer
Theory and practice of online learning The theory and practice of online learning by Anderson (Ed.) Engaging the online learner by Conrad & Donaldson


If you have not taken EDTECH 503 Instructional Design, you should plan to do any reading labeled as "Review"


Module Required Textbook Reading
Module 1 1. Read one of these two articles:
Context Matters: A description and typology of the online learning landscape by Lowenthal et al.
e-Learning, online learning, and distance learning environments: Are they the same?
by Moore et al.

2. Key instructional design elements for distance education by Zheng & Smaldino
3. Ch. 2 - Towards a theory of online learning by Anderson (in Anderson)
4. Ch. 10 - Development of online courses by Caplan & Graham (in Anderson)

Review: Ch. 1 & 2 in Larson & Lockee
Module 2 1. Ch. 1 - What is authentic elearning? in Herrington et al.
2. Learning outcomes in higher education by Allan
3. Ch. 1 - Foundations of Educational Theory for Online Learning by Ally (in Anderson)
4. Ch. 1- What is backwards design? by Wiggins & McTighe/

Review: Chapters 3 - 6 in Larson & Lockee
Module 3 1. Ch. 8 - What works: Student perceptions of effective elements in online learning by Reisetter & Boris (in Orellna)
2. Ch. 4 - Design with organization in mind in Smith
3. Ch. 18 - Organizing instructional content for web-based courses: Does a single model exist? by Moore et al. (in Orellana)

4. Quality online learning. Read two of the following:
The Quality dilemma in online education revisited by Parker
Establishing a quality review by Chao et al.
Using Quality MattersTM (QM) to Improve All Courses by Finley
Three institutions, three approaches, one goal: Addressing quality assurance in online learning by Britto et al.
National Standards for Quality Online Courses
Module 4 1. Ch. 5 in Conquering the Content by Smith
2. Development and use of the ARCS model of instructional design by Keller
3. Ch. 8 - Design for motivation by Dirksen
4. Ch. 2-4: Absorb, Do, Connect Activities by Horton
5. Read 5 or more ideas in The Online learning Idea Book (vol 1. or 2)
Module 5 1. Ch. 6 - Design with process in mind by Smith
2. Critical Inquiry in a Text-Based Environment: Computer Conferencing in Higher Education by Garrison et al.
3. Evolution and influence of social presence theory on online learning by Lowenthal
4. Chose one article in Part two: Activities to engage the online learner by Conrad & Donaldson
Module 6 1. Ch. 7 - Design with navigation in mind by Smith
2. Ch. 8 - Evaluating authentic elearning courses by Herrington et al.
3. Ch. 23 - Interaction in online learning environments by Wanstreet (in Orellana)
4. Ch. 24 - Interaction online: A reevaluation by Battalio (in Orellana)
5. Ch. 25 - Online learner' preferences for interaction by Northrup (in Orellana)
Module 7 1. Ch. 4 - Applying the multimedia principle by Clark & Mayer
2. Ch. 13 - Learning together virtually by Clark & Mayer
3. Ch. 14 - Whose in control? by Clark & Mayer
4. Ch. 17 - Applying the guidelines by Clark & Mayer
Module 8 No assigned reading


Old AECT Standards

The assignments in this course have been aligned to the Standards for the Accreditation of School Media Specialist and Educational Technology Programs



2.4 Integrated Technologies
Integrated technologies are ways to produce and deliver materials which encompass several forms of media under the control of a computer”

Final Project

Standard 4: MANAGEMENT

4.0 Management
Management involves controlling Instructional Technology through planning, organizing, coordinating, and supervising”
Implementation Plan

4.1 Project Management
Project management involves planning, monitoring, and controlling instructional design and development projects”

Implementation Plan
4.2 Resource Management
Resource management involves planning, monitoring, and controlling resource support systems and services”
Implementation Plan
4.3 Delivery System Management
Delivery system management involves planning, monitoring and controlling ‘the method by which distribution of instructional materials is organized’ . . . [It is] a combination of medium and method of usage that is employed to present instructional information to a learner”
Final Project
Standard 5: EVALUATION

5.3 Formative and Summative Evaluation
Formative evaluation involves gathering information on adequacy and using this information as a basis for further development. Summative evaluation involves gathering information on adequacy and using this information to make decisions about utilization”

Formative/Summative Project

New AECT Standards

The assignments in this course are aligned to the AECT standards

This table lists the assignments by number from the previous table and the associated standards
  Standard 1
Content Knowledge
Standard 2
Content Pedagogy
Standard 3
Learning Environments
Standard 4
Professional Knowledge & Skills
Standard 5
Creating 4, 5 4, 5 4, 5  7  
Using 4, 5 4, 5 4, 5    
Accessing/Evaluating 4, 5, 6, 7 4, 5, 6, 7 4, 5  4  6, 7
Managing 4, 5 4, 5      
Ethics 4, 5   5    

Technical Difficulties

On occasion, you may experience problems accessing Moodle or class files located within Moodle, Internet service connection problems, and/or other computer related problems. Make the instructor aware ASAP if a technical problem prevents you from completing coursework. If a problem occurs on our end, such as Moodle or EDTECH2 server failure, then an automatic due date extension is granted.

Reasonable Accommodations

Any student who feels s/he may need accommodations based on the impact of a disability should contact me privately to discuss your specific needs. You will also need to contact the Disability Resource Center at 208-426-1583 located in the Administration Building, room 114 to meet with a specialist and coordinate reasonable accommodations for any documented disability.

Academic Honesty

For this course, we will be adhering to the BSU Student Code of Conduct along with generally accepted Strategies for Fair Use. We will also observe U.S. copyright laws in this course.

According to the BSU Student Code of Conduct: "Cheating or plagiarism in any form is unacceptable. The University functions to promote the cognitive and psychosocial development of all students. Therefore, all work submitted by a student must represent her/his own ideas, concepts, and current understanding. Academic dishonesty also includes submitting substantial portions of the same academic course work to more than one course for credit without prior permission of the instructor(s)."

For this course the following standards will be used:

In the event of academic dishonesty a complaint is filed with the BSU Student Conduct Office with supporting documentation. This complaint remains on file and actions may be taken against the student (e.g., loss or credit, reduction in grade, etc.).

Conceptual Framework

College of Education - The Professional Educator

Boise State University strives to develop knowledgeable educators who integrate complex roles and dispositions in the service of diverse communities of learners. Believing that all children, adolescents, and adults can learn, educators dedicate themselves to supporting that learning. Using effective approaches that promote high levels of student achievement, educators create environments that prepare learners to be citizens who contribute to a complex world. Educators serve learners as reflective practitioners, scholars and artists, problem solvers, and partners.

Department of Educational Technology Mission

The Department of Educational Technology supports the study and practice of facilitating and improving learning of a diverse population by creating, using, managing, and evaluating appropriate technological processes and resources. Believing technology is a tool that enhances and expands the educational environment, we promote the use of current and emergent technologies for teaching and learning in a dynamic global society. Educational technologists are leaders and innovators, serving in institutions of higher education, public or private school settings, federal, state, or local educational agencies, and educational organizations in the private sector.