Design and Development of Online Course Materials

Design and Development of Online Course Materials

Chao Lee (University of Houston, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-376-0.ch010
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In the previous chapter, we discussed client computers, desktop operating systems and desktop environments. A desktop environment is the platform where most of the online course materials will be developed. This chapter will focus on course material development with open source technologies. The first part of this chapter is a brief introduction of instructional design and instructional technology theories. We will discuss the development cycle of technology based course materials. The theories of instructional design and instructional technology will be used to guide the development process. After the introduction, we will look at some of the open source tools that can be used to develop online course materials. We will have some detailed discussion on the open source Web authoring, multimedia, and collaboration tools. We will explore the options we may have and the functionalities provided by these open source tools.
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A large portion of the online teaching and learning research focuses on the development of online course materials. In general, the development process of online course materials is guided by the instructional design theories. Various instructional design models have been created. The book edited by Reigeluth (1999) summarizes the theories and models of instructional design and celebrates the diversity in the field of instructional design. The instructional design models provide a systematic approach to creating course materials. Dick, Carey, and Carey (2004) provide the theories and practice to systematically design instruction. In addition to the elements such as teachers, students, and course materials in a teaching/learning system, they also point out that the learning environment plays a crucial role. For readers who are more interested in the recent development of instructional design theories and practice, they may consider the book by Reiser and Dempsey (2006) who discussed how technologies would affect the future of this field and the trends in the field of instructional design and instructional technology.

Online teaching and learning can be greatly enhanced by using multimedia course materials. A lot of studies have been done in the area of developing multimedia course materials. The book by Lee and Owens (2004) presents hands-on guidance on design, development, and implementation of multimedia course materials. The book provides a number of tools and worksheets to help readers create their own multimedia course materials. More recently, we have Clark and Mayer’s (2007) book which points the way for analyzing how students learn and how to correctly use technology to construct a teaching environment that meets students’ needs. This book also provides valuable references.

Collaboration is one of the areas that need to be improved in the field of Web-based learning. Various online collaboration tools have been developed. The application of these collaboration tools have studied intensively. For example, Gellerman’s (1994) article provides an overview of the role of video conferencing in distance learning. The article also gives some information about the video conferencing technology. For synchronous collaboration and interactive activities, readers may refer to Clark and Kwinn’s (2007) book which is very informative. Various tools are often used to assist the development of collaboration course materials. Nokelainen, Miettinen, Tirri, and Kurhila (2002) described how a tool was used in designing and implementing real time online collaboration. Their study showed that the tool developed by them could be used to create a wide range of computer-based course materials.

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