Online learning

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[edit] Online Learning

Definition/ description

Online learning is content and curriculum that is accessible to the student through an online portal maintained by the institution on a Learning Management Service (LMS).

Trends and Issues MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) [content needed for this section!]

Master Course Philosophy The Master Course Philosophy requires separation of the course design and content from the teaching of the course, reducing the instructor to a facilitator.

The development of the Master Course Philisophy is described by Phil Hill in a blog noting technical trends in the field of online learning. Hill sets the development of the master course within in the context of profit and non-profit institutions scaling up online learning to teach many, many students. It is, he maintains, an alternative to MOOCs (the Massively Open Online Courses that enroll thousands of students in each course).

Here is how he describes the arc of development: "For the past century in higher education, the core concept of course design is that an individual faculty member, or occasionally a small team of faculty members, designs and delivers each course. There may be some guidelines and policies from the institution, but after initial review of the course objectives and design, the course belongs to the faculty designing and teaching it. While there are many benefits to this model, there is a key challenge to consider."(Hill) That challenge is scalability—how do we teach more courses and offer access to more students? While the traditional response was to employ graduate students, Hill points out that the master course philosophy involves a team approach to course design with the actual online courses taught by those who are not a part of that team. Of course, this creates institutional barrier, which is generally crossed in three ways, according to Hill: • by creating a separate organization for online classes (University of Maryland University College, Penn State World Campus, and others), • by outsourcing or forming partnerships (Western Governor’s University, Arizona State), and • by moving the barrier through the use of MOOCs (MITx, Stanford and others).

Fears about the diversity of online instruction go back to 1997 (a mere three years after the first online course was offered). J. S. Daniels suggested that students would be confused if each instructor created their own course (referenced by Levy 1, 4). This speech may be the genesis of the master course philosophy, since Daniels suggests that the opportunity of online learning will be “fumbled” if universities let “individual faculty members or their departments do their own thing” (Daniels 16). Combine that restriction with the need for increased productivity and decreased costs in Daniels’ marketplace view of higher education, and the one-size-fits-all master course has its foundation. The only academic source that I have found that references “The Master Course Philosophy” comes in a video of a presentation at a Learning House conference. Anne Marie Hodges stated that the key factor in adopting the Master Course Philosophy at Notre Dame was quality assurance. When each course was developed by a faculty member with full editing rights, “we found that we could not assure that assessments were aligning to the outcomes,” she pointed out. Part of the motivation also seemed to be the compilation of valid, reliable quantitative statistics on student outcomes.


Bedford, Laurie and Heather Miller. “All Adjuncts are Not Created Equal: An Exploratory Study of Teaching and Professional Needs of Online Adjuncts.” Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, (March 2013), 15, No. 1. Web at University of West Georgia, Distance Education Center.

Bledsoe, T. Scott, and Bruce D. Simmerok. “A Multimedia-Rich Platform to Enhance Student Engagement and Learning in an Online Environment.” Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, (Winter, 2013) 17, no. 4. 18 September 2014. Web through Online Learning Consortium.

Britto, Marwin, Cristi Ford, and Jean-Marc Wise. “Three Institutions, Three Approaches, One Goal: Addressing Quality Assurance in Online Learning.” Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, (Winter, 2013) 17, no. 4. 18 September 2014. Web through Online Learning Consortium.

Brooks, Lori. “How the Attitudes of Instructors, Students, Course Administrators and Course Designers Affects the Qualiyt of an Online Learning Environment.” Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration. 7, no. 4 (Winter 2003) 8 September 2014. Web at State University of West Georgia, Distance Education Center.

Capra, Theresa. “Online Education: Promise and Problems.” MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (June 2011) 7, no. 2, 228-234. Web.

Hill, Phil. “The Master Course: A Key difference in Educational Delivery Methods.” E-literate Blog. 22 March 2012. 20 May 2015. Web at [1]

Daniel J. Why Universities Need Technology Strategies. Change [serial on the Internet]. (1997), (4): 10. Web through JSTOR Journals.

De Gagne, Jennie C. and Kelly Waters. “Online Teaching Experience: A Qualitative Metasynthesis (QMS) MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (December 2009) 5, no. 4, 577-590. Web.

Dzubinski, Leanne M. “Teaching Presence: Co-Creating a Multi-National Online learning Community in an Asynchronous Classroom.” Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, (2014) 18, no. 1. 18 September 2014. Web at [2]

Hodges, Anne Marie, and Judy Marcum. “Connect 2010: Creating and Implementing Master Course Philosophies” accessed 12 May 2015. Web at [3]

Levy, Susanne. (2003). “Six Factors to Consider When Planning Online Distance Learning Programs in Higher Education.” Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 6(1). Retrieved from [4]

Lorenzetti, Jennifer Patterson. "Surviving Success: Lessons from The Ecore Program At The University Of Georgia." Distance Education Report 10.10 (2006): 1-6. Education Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web.

“Memorandum of Understanding: Faculty Expectations Ver. 2015 March.” Web at [5]

Orr, Robert, Mitchell R. Williams, and Kevin Pennington. “Institutional Efforts to Support Faculty in Online Teaching.” Innovative Higher Education (2009) 34:257-268.

Wallace, Raven M. “Online Learning in Higher Education: a Review of Research on Interactions among Teachers and Students. Education, Communication, and Information, (July 2003), 3, No. 2, 1-41.

Emerging Standards for Designing Online Courses

Institute for Higher Education Policy. "Quality On the Line: Benchmarks for Success in Internet-Based Distance Education. "April 2000. 31 May 2001 [<>.]

Tomei, Lawrence A. Designing Instruction for the Traditional, Adult, and Distance Learner: A New Engine for Technology –Based Teaching. Hershey, NY: Information Science Reference, 2010. E-book.

Quality Matters. Available [6] Web site.

Revere, Lee, and Jamison V. Kovach. “Online Technologies for Engaged Learning: A Meaningful Synthesis for Educators.” Quarterly Review of Distance Education. (Summer 2011) 12, no. 2, 113-124.

Varvel, Virgil E. Jr. “Master Online Teacher Competencies.” Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, X, no. 1, (Spring 2007) Web under University of West Georgia, Distance Education Center.

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