Building Learner-Centered Courses

Welcome to the Distance and Extended Education (DEE) community hub and resource space – a website created for instructors who are developing and teaching courses at the University of Idaho. This site’s content is open to anyone, and we welcome your suggestions and ideas.Developing a course for online delivery can be a daunting prospect. The following considerations may help aid your design process:

  1. Communication and community building are essential for both traditional and online learning environments. Until recently, online education has been viewed as a kind of digitized correspondence course but with very little correspondence. We know that participatory learning results in learners gaining a deeper and longer-lasting understanding of course material, so designing learning environments that afford social interactions and group inquiry is something we take seriously at DEE.
  2. Starting with the end result in mind is the best way to make sure students learn what faculty want them to learn. We ask faculty to start with the question, “If the students really learned to critically interact with the material and concepts of this course, what would that look like?” The answer to this becomes the assessment criteria for the course. The next question becomes the basis for learning design, “What can students produce to demonstrate they have learned what I want them to learn?”
  3. A learner-centered approach is the most effective way of tapping into student engagement around a subject. Giving students a chance to articulate their own learning goals, finding out what they already know, and designing learning activities that allow them to explore their individual interests is critical to designing learning that “sticks.”

Quality Framework

We understand that your course is your creation. In order to support your process, DEE has created the Quality Framework for Online Courses to assist faculty in reviewing their online courses with an eye towards learner-centered environments.

Note: Our quality framework originates from both the Quality Matters organization and from Blackboard’s exemplary course criteria, and may change over time with continuing research on teaching and learning practices. The framework document has a version datecode shown next to the page number.

Instructional Designers

DEE has two instructional designers on staff who are happy to meet with you to discuss any topics related to teaching and learning:

Carie Saunders Carie Saunders
Instructional Designer
Education Bldg Rm 201C
Mail Stop: 3099
Phone: (208) 885-7138
Doug Habib Doug Habib
Instructional Designer
Education Bldg Rm 201D
Mail Stop: 3099
Phone: (208) 885-6838

If you have any questions or need help getting started with your courses, you may also contact us at coursedesign@uidaho.edu.