This has been a difficult topic for me. Mainly because I’m not a teacher and I don’t plan courses. I’m extremely happy that I have such skilled team members that know what they are talking about.

My reflections of this topic will be more from a learner’s perspective. At my age (50+) when I attend a course, I usually do it because I want to. ONL has proven to be an excellent course choice, as the topics have been relevant to me most of the time. But, if I think of myself as a young student, the situation was quite different. Most of the time, the topics seemed uninteresting and even irrelevant, but the course had to be done and you whished for group members with high motivation so that you could just tag along.

To get a desired degree you have to take certain courses of which some are more interesting than others.  To keep the students engaged is a challenge both in a classroom and especially in online teaching. Thus, course planning is of course always crucial, but even more so for online teaching. You cannot go into an online classroom thinking – We’ll see what we’ll talk about today. You have to know what you are doing all the time. If you start fiddling with your presentation material or don’t find the pages you were supposed to show, you have probably lost half of the students already. It is so easy to start doing something else when you can’t be seen (at least in Finland you can’t force your students to have their camera on). In the classroom you still have your eyes on the students so most of them will not (at least openly) start doing something else.

For planning courses, I like the Iceberg model presented in the article Learning Design for Student Retention (Weller, Martin; van Ameijde, Jitse and Cross, Simon (2018). Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 6(2)). The model takes in account important aspects for creating a successful course that will keep the students on track and engaged. The ICEBERG consists of seven key clusters: Integrated, Collaborative, Engaging, Balanced, Economical, Reflective and Gradual. All these principles are important to consider in course planning, but I think the ability to collaborate, is one of the most important things that we learn during studies, as that is an essential skill for coming professional life. All in all, I think course planning seems to play a bigger role now compared to my youth study days, which is the inspiring to see. There is an actual interest for the student’s experience.


Design for online and blended learning – Topic 4