Assignment: Designing an Online Educational Module

DUE: Tuesday, April 11, start of class. Upload to Canvas (Word or PDF file) and bring a hard copy to class.

For this assignment, you will plan a design and assessment for an online module designed to teach some CS-related content to an audience of your choice (e.g., a K-12 class, interns at a company, users of a particular technology, a specific upper-level CS class, etc). Scale-wise, this would be a module spanning roughly 2 hours, designed to teach a specific concept (of your choosing). Your work should draw on the readings about MOOCs, online learning, diverse audiences, and assessment.

Specifically, your writeup should have the following components (label them separately, please):

  • A description of your intended audience. Appropriate details might include age, prior knowledge, professional background, context in which they work/learn, etc (you don't need all of these, just those relevant to your answer).

  • A description of the goal of your module: what is your module trying to teach? What do you expect people can do (better) after taking your module? This should be a crisp description/definition -- details of how to teach are separate (next bullet).

  • A description of the educational activities you propose in the module. The level of detail should be along the lines of "students will watch a 10-minute video that shows X, then they will spend N minutes answering a series of multiple choice questions about Y. A sample question would ask .... The goal of the questions is to see whether they understand Z". The timing is there to help us both calibrate how extensive or intense you expect each component to be. You are aiming for roughly 2 hours in total duration.

    Describe any relevant aspects of the design of activities or the interface to activities (such as writing code versus outlining pseudocode, whether students can see each others' work, etc) -- assume the platform has any capabilities you need that are within modern feasibility.

    Obviously, you aren't limited to the specific activities I mentioned in the example -- that's an example of detail only.

  • A description of how you would assess whether the module met its goals. You can assume that students actually completed the module (ignore MOOC dropout rate issues, for example). Indicate what you would look for in whatever data you've gathered. You can assume that the online platform records all student interactions (answers to questions, when they watched videos, when they did exercises, etc).

  • A description of the threats that you see to the validity of your assessment. In what ways might your assessment plan NOT give you accurate information (there might be confounding interpretations or factors, for example). The goal isn't for you to eliminate all the confounds. Rather, you should do an assessment that has a good chance of being accurate most of the time, while acknowledging that there will be corner cases where it doesn't quite work.

All in all, I expect this to take 2-4 pages.

Grading Expectations

The goal of this assignment is to have you articulate a learning goal, assessments towards that goal, and how you manifest both in an online platform (as opposed to a live classroom environment). As with previous assignments, you are practicing describing educational goals and intended assessments precisely enough that someone else could take your plan and implement it without needing to ask many clarifying questions.

Grading will consider the following:

  • The clarity of your definitions of learning and assessment goals.
  • Whether the module design makes realistic use of an online platform
  • Whether the activities and goal are reasonable for your audience (considering their own goals, background, abilities, etc)
  • Whether the assessment goals align with the actual assessment activities
  • Whether the assessment activities are stated clearly enough that someone else could run your assessment without having to get (much) clarification from you (this doesn't mean you need all of the actual questions, but you have to be clear about the nature of the questions and what they should be testing).

Writing is expected to be professional quality, with proper grammar, spelling, punctuation, full sentences, etc.

Last modified: Mon Mar 27 04:25:36 MDT 2017