Xu, H., & Morris, L. V. (2007). Collaborative Course Development for Online Courses. Innovative Higher Education, 32(1), 35-47. doi: 10.1007/s10755-006-9033-5.
“The purpose of this study is to add to the literature on course development through a detailed analysis of the roles that faculty assume during the planning and development process and to examine the curricular decisions made by the development team for an online course.” (p 36)
[Collaborative development process for online courses]
“This research is important in that it explores two significant areas in need of rigorous research: (1) the course development process for online courses and (2) the use of a collaborative approach to course development.” (p 36)
[Interactivity needs focus more than content]
“In other words, the development of online courses needs to focus on interactivity more so than content in order to replace discussions taking place in face-to-face learning environment. It is the interaction and connections built into the course that students remember as the key to learning in an online course (Kang, 2001; Palloff & Pratt, 2001).” (p 36)
“Scholars of online teaching and learning agree that pedagogy is of primary importance in the development of online courses (Byun, Hallett, & Essex, 2000; Liu, 2001). Also emphasized is the need to attend to learner characteristics (Byun et al., 2000; Kang, 2001; Palloff & Pratt, 2001) and to pilot newly developed courses as part of the development process (White, 2000).” (p 36)
“Reflecting the need for technological skills, the team model is increasingly used in online course development (Moore & Kearsley, 1996).” (p 37)
“The researchers suggested that a team should have explicit responsibilities, shared values, an understanding of expectations, and mutual respect for each other ’s knowledge.” (p 37)
“Other challenges existing in the collaborative process include increased workload, the difficulty in keeping a project on schedule, limited resources, and a traditional institutional reward system that undervalues online teaching (Kang, 2001; Luck, 2001; White, 2000).” (p 37-38)
“To develop better quality online courses, the literature suggests that faculty members engaged in online teaching be granted opportunities such as access to others’ experience in developing online courses, more knowledge about the capabilities and potential of online media, time release, and ongoing technical support (Kang, 2001; Torrisi & Davis, 2000).” (p 38)
“With the emerging practice for course development and course delivery to become disconnected, an understanding of how online course development involving multiple faculty members actually works in practice is an important contribution to the literature.” (p 38)
“Accordingly, this study relied on three primary data sources: semi-structured interviews with participants, observations of the four planning meetings, and content analysis of course development at the online site.” (p 39)
“As the online instructional designer, the project coordinator brought to the team substantial expertise in web-based course development and instructional design. She ensured that the instructional design of the course complied with certain quality criteria.” (p 41)
“Interestingly, content was the primary focus at the course development website, garnering far more postings by the team members than any other element of the academic plan.” (p 45)
“In comparison to solo course development, the team approach to course development has the advantages of combining the experience of instructional designers and disciplinary experts (Luck, 2001).” (p 45)
“While role overlap brought group cohesiveness, it also caused conflict between the faculty and the project coordinator, especially when curricular decisions were involved. The dispute seemed to be between substance (e.g., content) and form (e.g., presentation), but fundamentally boiled down to differences between traditional pedagogy and online pedagogy.” (p 46)
“Instead of focusing on the technological aspect, faculty development should spend more time on familiarizing faculty members with characteristics of the online environment and helping them to develop online pedagogy and learn how to build interactivity into the course structure. Instead of partnering faculty members with an instructional designer, faculty members may benefit more by working with a peer in the same discipline who has expertise in developing online courses.” (p 46)
” To be successful in a team environment, an individual needs to relinquish some decision-making control to others, respect the skills and knowledge of others, and be willing to compromise (Moore & Kearsley, 1996).” (p 46)
“Does collaborative work affect learning in the online environment?” (p 46)
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