Interactions are the key, before content

After attending this week’s webinar for BlendKit2014 (a MOOC course on blended learning), I was struck by a comment made about focusing on the interaction rather than the content when designing these types of courses.  As I only design online courses at the moment, I think we can do a better job by focusing on the same things.  Our process has SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) first providing unit overviews and objectives, then readings and resources, and finally assignments.  I have worked to map course outcomes to unit objectives to assignments so there are no disconnects and the course is fluid and cohesive.  I’m wondering if the readings/resources step should come after providing assignments since I agree that the focus should be on interaction whether student-student, student-instructor, or student-content.  If we can design rich assessments of the learning objectives we can then focus efforts on finding the most useful resources for those assessments, using them as guideposts along the way.  For the concrete sequential person I am, course design is challenging my “big picture” perspective and getting me out of the details and more into the planning – which is where it should be, especially in the beginning.  The details will take care of themselves once that big picture blueprint is in place.

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BlendKit2014 Course on Blended Learning

I’m working on a MOOC right now through the Canvas Network called BlendKit 2014. It’s a course on understanding Blended Learning implementation. I’m learning a lot about online course design as well. There is an excellent exercise I’ve started using for mapping course outcomes with unit objectives with assessments. This can be an eye opening exercise to do with existing courses as well as helpful for course development to let the Subject Matter Expert understand how everything should be/is connected before the course goes live. Has anyone used a specific tool to do this type of mapping or to communicate it with those responsible for the course content?