Once the purpose and audience has been determined, the Next phase of the design process is to create a road map of objectives and alignment for the course.
Engaging in this process forced me to ensure that each module had objectives spelled out, and that a variety of activities were designed that were aligned to meet the objectives. Completing this activity helped me to see that information in each module was aligned to the overall course objectives, and also to remove extraneous information and activities in the course. It assisted me in determining what the real objectives were in each module, and aligning the accompanying activities to measure student achievement of those objectives.
Defining the different types of activities, Absorb, Do, Connect, allowed me to ensure that a variety of activities were used for each objective to help students’ understanding and retention. Absorb Activities ask students to passively absorb information in written, audio or video format. Do Activities ask students to practice with the information, often in the form of a quiz or discussion forum. Connect Activities ask students to go beyond the information presented, and connect it to their own personal knowledge or something in the "real world."
The key for me was completing the alignment in three stages, so as not to overwhelm me as a designer. Looking first at layout and objectives, then connecting them to assessment ideas, then finally breaking them down to Absorb, Do, Connect activities, really helped me to see how each module was shaping up. This was one of the most valuable activities I did in redesigning my course, as it served as the foundation for creating other course documents. Here is a sampling of the alignment from three modules:
(A Complete Alignment Document is available as a PDF here)
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