In this post I am analysing an open source course called “Writing for the Web” that I did last year and I actually really enjoyed.
The open source course “Writing for the Web” is offered by Open 2 Study and is a free course with a linear designed structure divided into modules with videos showing the instructor presenting the material, quizzes after each lesson, a longer assessment after each module, and discussion boards to allow participants post comments about each topic.
This course is mainly delivered to individuals that maintain a blog, write for a website, or want to create content for the web in a written form. This course does not cover technical topics about how to create a blog or website, or which portal to choose. But instead it covers topics such as writing styles for the web, how to organize content for the web, knowing the audience to create targeted content, and accessibility requirements.
The audience for this course consists on individuals that want to learn some basic concepts about writing for the web as opposed to writing for printing materials. This course is not designed for expert writers or people with experience writing for the web.
This course integrates some principles of adult learning theory since the structure of the course is very clear, as well as a presentation of clear learning objectives. Additionally, it is a self-directed learning experience where learners individually take responsibility for his/her learning, setting goals, implementing strategies, and evaluating his/her own results (Conlan, Grabowski, & Smith, 2003).
This course appear to be carefully pre-planned and designed for a distance learning environment, since it is very simple to access and run. It does not require installation of software, only an Internet connection. All resources, quizzes, and evaluations are embedded in the course and can be accessed with a computer or any mobile device connected to the Internet. Structure is clear, learning objectives, and estimation of course duration is well defined to inform learners exactly the amount of time needed for the course.
Based on the recommendations for distance delivered instruction presented by Simonson, Smaldino, and Zvacek (2015), this online course followed the organizational guidelines of unit-topic, module; assessment guidelines of having one major assignment per module and smaller assessments throughout the course; and content guidelines with the presentation of videos for each lesson. However, this course does not follow the instructor/teacher guideline of having synchronous chat sessions on a weekly basis.
Additionally the course did not implement course activities except for the quizzes and assessments to promote an active learning processing. The main components to engage learners was the use of videos with the instructor providing real world examples and practices that learners can put into practice in their own projects.
Conlan, J., Grabowski, S., & Smith, K. (2003). Adult learning. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Adult_Learning
Madden, F. (n.d.). Writing for the web. In Open 2 Study. Retrieved from https://www.open2study.com/courses/writing-for-the-web
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.