2000px-PDCA_Cycle.svg.pngThis week I will answer two questions most pertinent to the course I am currently designing:

  • How will you know whether your blended learning course is sound prior to teaching it and with which of your trusted colleagues might you discuss effective teaching of blended learning courses?

The first question is really a reflective, introspective question that most designers would answer in a way similar to “Of course, it’ll be sound, I’ve put my effort and care into it, how could it not be sound?” Standards are arguably the best way to gauge whether one’s course is sound and if it actually does what it set out to do. Herein lies the problem; most of the research about defining standards says that there are no real standards yet. Yes there are generic standards that might suggest that a course is good or not but it is a challenge in a field that is so new and still growing to have such clearly defined standards neatly set in place.

Although there are a few universities with guidelines as to what defines minimum acceptability, these guidelines are painted with such broad strokes that they need to be articulated for them to work for any particular course. The standards for a course like sexual harassment training will differ tremendously for a course built around math concepts.

The article highlights three challenges to setting standards for courses along a broad spectrum. One that there is no governing body to address all the standards for each and every course on offer, two is that creating tools to assess and manage course standards would be difficult if such a governing body did exist and three it would be time-consuming to apply this tool to all the courses in a particular institution or system.

As far as colleagues are concerned, that’s an easy one. My friend and colleague Martin Tuttle and I have been working together now on similar projects for a couple months and we’re both heading in similar career directions so it has been good to have someone with whom I can share ideas and get good, critical advice.