The 5Ds Model for Planning and Teaching Online Courses: Introduction and Overview

The 5Ds Model for Planning and Teaching Online Courses: Introduction and Overview

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2042-0.ch001


This work is not intended to be a theory-based textbook about online learning. It is, however, an application-based guidebook for planning and teaching online courses. It presents a customized five-stage learning model that is based on the instructional system design approach (ISD). Therefore, this chapter is mainly devoted to introducing the 5Ds (define, design, develop, deliver, and determine) Model for Planning and Teaching Online Courses depicted in this book. However, a brief background summary of the online learning evolvement and a theoretical framework of online learning are also included to put the 5Ds model into perspective.
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A Brief Background Summary Of The Online Learning Evolvement

Online learning is a form of Distance Learning (DL). Generally, DL as a way of teaching and learning at a distance is not a new concept. Throughout the years, DL has gone through several stages. In each stage, new ways of delivering instruction to targeted students were introduced, and the latest instructional delivery means of the time were utilized to enhance learning at a distance. First, was the correspondence learning by which the instructional materials were prepared, packaged, and sent to targeted students via traditional mail. Then came the radio and cassette recorder, television and the video cassette recorder (VCR), and later the satellite technology. All of these instructional delivery means were used one way or another in distance learning. Additionally, after the International Business Machine (IBM) introduced its first Personal Computer (PC) in 1984, several computer-based instructional technologies were introduced and later utilized as instructional delivery mediums in different learning settings, including distance learning. Such technologies included computer-assisted instruction (CAI), computer-based training (CBT), computer-based education (CBE), and interactive video discs. Also, interactive video conferencing applications and satellite technology were all utilized in modern distance learning. However, since the emergence of the Internet as a popular information tool in the mid-1990s, distance learning had taken another direction. Several public institutions and private organizations, including the Military, Government, Business, Corporates, and Education took advantage of the availability of the Internet to offer virtual education and training programs online. For instance, the U.S. Department of Education started the Star School Program in 1995. The main focus of this program was on K-2 students. According to Simonson (1995), “the purpose of the program is to encourage improved instruction in mathematics, science, foreign languages, literacy skills, and vocational education for underserved populations through the use of telecommunications networks” (pp. 3-4). However, virtual education programs were not limited to K-12. It also included higher education. Several academic institutions were utilizing the World Wide Web (www) to offer educational programs online, and the number of higher education programs continued to rise. With the turn of the new millennium, the vast majority of distance learning activities in the United States started taking place online. At the time, Sloan Consortium conducted several studies to examine whether distance education is a mainstream education and collected a wide range of data about the growth of online learning. In 2003, Allen and Seaman reported that online learning was growing rapidly and was perceived positively by faculty and administrators.

However, in spite of the phenomenal growth of online learning, most traditional face-to-face students were then cautious about it, and the societal perception of online degrees was negative in general. Also, many students in traditional education were worried about the accreditation of online programs. The general impression then was that these online programs are nothing but a diploma mill generated by for-profit institutions. One of the major discussions that I used to have then in my Distance Learning classes is about the perception of online degrees. Often, students would take sides of being either a proponent or opponent of online degrees. However, I used to conclude the discussion by claiming that “online learning is here to stay and will be the wave of the future as the web technologies continue to advance, and the society becomes more accustomed to it.”

In the 3rd edition of their book, Teaching and Learning at a Distance, Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek (2009) stated that “many educators are making grand claims about how distance education is likely to change education and training. Certainly, the concept is exciting, and recent hardware and software innovations are making telecommunications distance education systems more available, easier to use, and less costly. Distance education has begun to enter the main stream” (p. 4).

Today, every American academic institution utilizes the Internet one way or another for online teaching, and as a result, the negative perception about online learning has been diminishing with the time. Online education has become an expanding societal phenomenon. For instance, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) are prepared by specialized instructors, posted on the World Wide Web (www), and made available with open access for everyone.

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