Content v. Delivery  July 31, 2006Posted by Michael McVey in Online Tools.
Mary I. Dereshiwsky of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff produced and taught one of the best courses I have ever taken. The course dealt with the development of a research project from beginning to end. For me, the content was what I came for. The graphics were a little silly, many line drawing cartoons to demonstrate a few concepts in a lighthearted way and to transition the student from one section to another.
We exchanged a huge amount of electronic mail and made use of a site called Caucus to share thoughts and ideas with the five other students in the course. It was intense and it was fun but it was, technologically speaking, very simple in design.
The course was effective for me because the assignments were challenging, relevant to the topic, personalized, and criticism was prompt, appropriate, and insightful. I have all the notes still collected in a binder. Some of them did not even come through correctly and the professor had to fax a few chapters to me.
Last January, EduCause released an opinion piece that I wish I had read earlier. The Myth about Online course Development by Diane Oblinger and Brian Hawkins set out to draw a stark line between the professor and the instructional technologist. In this symbiotic relationship, the technologist would choose the graphics, take care of the nuances of the ways in which the course will parse our information to students, and will even suggest when it is more efficient and effective to use blogs versus course management systems.
I must address a major problem with this attitude and, I suspect, by doing so I stand apart from my fellow technologists on this topic.