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  • Learning Styles and the Online Environment - Is This Possible in Sakai?

A. Instructional Design and Delivery Techniques


The course should employ instructional design and delivery techniques that encourage student interaction, achieve the course learning objectives to the best degree possible, and facilitate student learning.


  1. Learning objectives and learning activities

Easy to Accomplish in S akai ?

1.1     Behavioral learning objectives are stated for each course unit (e.g., “At the end of this unit the student will be able to calculate and explain basic measures of central tendency.”)



1.2     Readings and assignments support learning objectives


1.3     Activities lead to learning desired concepts


1.4     Activities are varied and address multiple learning styles:


1.4.1 Lecture


1.4.2 Reading and writing requirements are consistent with student abilities and course unit load


1.4.3 Multimedia (Audio/Visual)


1.4.4 Demonstration/simulation


1.4.5 Discussion group


1.4.6 Practice by doing


1.4.7 Teaching others/Immediate application


1.5 Activities help develop student critical thinking abilities (e.g. compare and contrast exercises, case studies or “real world” scenarios, peer review)


1.6 Material is motivated by real-world examples, when appropriate


1.7 Summary provided frequently, particularly at the end of topics, to reinforce learning


1.8 Pace of delivery of course content is managed



2. Assessments

Easy to Accomplish in Sakai ?

2.1 Students are encouraged to reflect on their learning in the course via journaling, self-tests, applying rubrics to own or others’ work, creating a portfolio


2.2 Quantity and scope of graded assignments is reasonable


2.3 Assignments are clearly aligned with unit and course learning objectives


2.4 Exam study questions identify core concepts


2.5   Grading criteria are clear and explicit, and known to students prior to submitting work


2.6 Rubrics are used to evaluate participation in online discussion groups


2.7 Rubrics are used to evaluate papers, essays, or other written work


2.8 Students are not assessed solely on tests/quizzes but are provided ample opportunity to demonstrate proficiency in different ways


2.9 When possible, options among assignments are provided to allow for different interests, backgrounds, and personal learning styles



3. Promote interaction in the learning community

Easy to Accomplish in Sakai ?

3.1 Introductory announcement welcomes students to class


3.2 Introductory exercise in which students introduce themselves and are encouraged to respond to classmate introductions


3.3 “Ice-breaker” activity is incorporated to help students get acquainted


3.4 Instructor introduces himself/herself to model interaction


3.5 Students are required to post their own assignments and respond to others’ posts


3.6 Student participation will be tracked; plan to draw “wallflowers” in to the discussions


3.7 Students understand that facilitator may play “devil’s advocate” in discussions


3.8 Provide a virtual meeting place for casual off-topic communications


3.9 Assign a “study buddy” as a learning support partner.



4. Faculty Use of Student Feedback

Easy to Accomplish in Sakai ?

4.1 Student input regarding the course and course delivery is sought at regular intervals


4.2 Instructor has an open door to students to point out flaws of delivery of instruction using technology



B. Online Organization and Design


Courses should have a consistent organizational structure, and information should be easy to locate. Courses should also have an attractive look and feel, to the best extent possible .


1. Course navigability and organization

Easy to Accomplish in Sakai ?

1.1 Syllabus and required instructional materials are easily located


1.2 Navigability is clear, simple and user friendly


1.3 Layout of course is visually and functionally consistent


1.4 Course organization and sequencing is logical and clear--students know “what to do next”


1.5 Resources are separated into “required” and “optional” categories


1.6 Folders have descriptions before opening them


1.7 Top level links have no files that increase load time (e.g., audio files or animations)


1.8 Nothing should be more than three clicks from the top level


1.9 Topics are clearly identified and subtopics are related to topics


1.10 Numbers identify sequenced steps; bullets list items that are not prioritized or sequential


1.11 Links to other parts of the course or external sources are accurate and up-to-date


1.12 Links to outside web sites open in a new browser window (this is required for copyright compliance)


1.13 Course schedule is available in a printer-friendly format for student convenience


1.14 The calendar or other device is used to inform students of due dates and other time-sensitive information


2. Written materials

Easy to Accomplish in Sakai ?

2.1 Spelling and grammar are accurate, and a consistent writing style is used throughout


2.2 Written material is concise, sentences and paragraphs brief



2.3 Language of written material is friendly and supportive



2.4 Clear directions are given for each task or assignment



3. Universal accessibility

Easy to Accomplish in Sakai ?

3.1 Transcripts of any audio or video are provided


3.2 Images are optimized for speedy display and include alt-tag text


3.3 Alternative formats of materials are provided, when possible (e.g., optional print packet of extensive reading materials available, CD of audio clips used in course, low bandwidth alternative for multimedia elements, PDF for a print option, etc.)


3.4 Use of color adds interest but does not disadvantage those with color blindness (e.g., color of text does not impart meaning)


3.5 Use of background images is avoided, as these are distracting to some students with learning disabilities



4. Aesthetic design

Easy to Accomplish in Sakai ?

4.1 Typeface choice and contrast between text and background enhances readability. A light background with dark text usually works best.



4.2 Design keeps course pages to a comfortable length with white space. If longer texts are used, optimize for printout and offline reading.


4.3 Appropriate images supporting course content add visual interest


4.4 Consistent theme used throughout


4.5 Appropriate level of humor cultivates interest in course materials


C. Analysis of Technology / Tool Use in Your Class


Please indicate which of the following is used in your class (es). These are not guidelines, but will help us better understand the technology “landscape”. Not all tools will be appropriate for your class, and many fine blended or online classes make use of only a few such tools.  


___           Discussion Board required as part of course grade


___           Group discussion areas, when appropriate, for group activities


___   Discussion areas specifically for student questions—open to responses from other students as well as the instructor


___           Discussion area for off-topic discussions to keep the instructional discussion areas focused on course content


___           Email/Email archive


___           Online Office Hours using instant messaging or “Chat”


___           Virtual Classroom / Synchronous “Chat”


___           Teleconferencing (either using ITV, or using synchronous audio or video technologies)


___           Online “lecture” – text version, and/or audio and/or video version


___           Course texts available online


___           Weblogs (blogs) created by students


___           Web searching in support of research papers


___           Library database searching in support of research papers


___           Instructor tracks student activity to monitor individual interaction with course materials and classmates


___           Regular use of announcements area


___           Flash illustrations / animations


___           Audio / Video clips


___           CD-ROM or DVD supplemental materials


___      Podcast


___ Wiki


___ RSS news feed


___ Online quizzes


___           Software specific to your discipline: __________________________________________


___           Other technology – please describe: _________________________________________