Designing for learning: What are the essential features of an effective online course?

Allison Brown


How do online courses differ from traditional university courses? What are the new learning demands made on students in online courses? Which particular design features optimise the teaching and learning process in an online delivery mode?

These were the questions explored in a collaborative course design project involving an economics lecturer and the instructional designer at Murdoch University. Emerging from the project is the fully online courseĀ Economic Thought and Controversy, together with an instructional design template. This template is now being applied to other courses in the discipline with the aim of transferring the whole economics programme to online delivery in 1998.

This paper describes the pedagogical rationale of the design template.

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