Unit 4, week 1

October 5-11

Integrated Course Design

When teaching online, course design is an integral part of instruction. Content is typically created before the semester begins, providing opportunity for thoughtful, intentional development of the learning environment. Fink proposes a method of course design that holistically considers outcomes, assessment, and learning activities while customizing for situational factors. Readings in the Fink text will be supplemented with articles on learning taxonomies.


  1. Identify situational factors that impact curricular planning
  2. Discuss the value of taxonomies in defining student learning
  3. Design a concept map to illustrate nuanced levels of understanding
  4. Begin to outline a curriculum plan that considers outcomes, assessment, and learning-centered activity

First Week of the Unit

Estimated Time to Complete
 Instruction  2 hrs
 Assignments  5 hrs
 Collaboration  3 hrs


  • Chapter 3 of the Fink text: Designing significant learning experiences I: Getting started.

Learning Activity

Before the end of this semester, you will create a project-based lesson plan (larger than one lesson, smaller than an entire course). In preparation for that assignment, begin considering both your intended audience (student characteristics) and your topic. You will probably receive the most benefit if you work on an actual unit plan for a real audience–something you will teach in real life. If that’s not feasible, select a target audience and a content area with which you’re reasonably familiar. As you read chapter 3 of the Fink text, begin to make notes about both your audience and your subject matter.

Note: We will spend more time with  feedback and assessment  during the next unit. Consider this section of the text an overview for now.

Additional Resources

If your target population is K-12, you will need to address the developmental stage of your students and the appropriate teaching standards. You may wish to review these resources:

If your target population is adults, you may wish to explore these resources:

  • Brown, J.S. (1989).  Situated cognition and the culture of learning,  Educational Researcher, 18(1), 32—42.
  • Daley, B. J. (1999). Novice to expert: An exploration of how professionals learn.  Adult Education Quarterly, 49(4), 133.

Reflection and Writing

For your writing post this week, develop a thorough description of the situational factors impacting your lesson plan. Exhibit 3.2 in the text provides a checklist of initial considerations. If you’re developing for K-12, speak to the developmental stage of your students. If you’re developing educational content for adults, estimate the level of prior experience and describe how that will affect your lesson plan. Highlight the situational characteristics that you believe will make course development most challenging.

Review the posts of your classmates and provide feedback on the situational factors they’ve listed for their target populations.