I found this topic to be highly conceptual and cognitively engaging. Indeed, I would not expect less from having to think about designing online courses as we all know as educators that pedagogical design and syllabus creation have got to be the most arduous and important part of any course teaching. As I reflected on how am I to even get started on this challenging task of designing effective online courses, I got the answer from non-other than one of my ONL PBL 11 groupmates, Nesrin. I realized that it needs to begin with a good foundational framework on which one could effectively begin to design and eventually produce quality online courses.

As a group, we discussed and integrated the fundamentals between two teaching frameworks for online teaching – the Arena Blended Connected (ABC) curriculum design from UCL ( and Gilly Salmon’s 5-stage model for Design Learning. As a group, we connected similar design strategies between the two models and derived the main strategies and objectives that educators can implement to design effective online collaborative courses for students. I provide and briefly describe them below and I hope you will find them useful for the design of online courses as I have!

  1. Knowledge acquisition – Students to obtain knowledge through lectures, by reading literature, listening to podcasts, and practical activities on content knowledge.
  2. Investigation – Students to compare, reflect, and critique on different concepts, models, and ways of learning, specifically between conventional methods and innovative non-conventional ones, such as blended classrooms.
  3. Discussion – Students to formulate own ideas and questions, and are required to engage and respond to the ideas and questions from their peers.
  4. Production – Students to display the skills and competency in producing a product of learning collaboratively with their peers. The product will reflect individual contributions and competencies gained from topics learned in classroom.
Topic 4: Design for Online and Blended Learning