AL891 Special Topics: Practicum in Blended and Online Learning

Syllabus V1.2

September 1, 2017

General Information

Scott Schopieray, Ph.D.

309 Linton Hall

Class time and classroom: Online and select Fridays (10:20-1:00PM, see schedule below for dates) in Linton Hall 120

Office Hours: By Appointment

This course focuses on exploring and designing blended and online courses through an open, project based approach. The projects will vary by student; depending on your focus and which faculty you are working with. The overall goal of this semester is to understand the process of designing, developing and assessing a blended or fully online course. Much of the class will consist of discussion, presentations and working individually and in small groups. We’ll spend a lot of time discussing relevant issues in online learning, developing small and large pieces of blended/online courses, and honing technology, research, and teaching skills.

Much of the content for the course will be provided on D2L, supplemented by our regular face-to-face meetings. The course will be divided into thirds, with the first third focused on the elements of course design/development, second third on research and theory, and the last third on assessment and evaluation. During the last third of the semester you will largely be working on your own projects.

About the Class

This class is about developing the skills, both technologically and pedagogically, to create sound online/blended courses. Your participation in all of the individual and group activities is vital to the success of this course. You’ll need to be in charge of managing your work on the course(s) you are working on in order to meet development deadlines.

Because technology skills may vary among the group and members will have varying needs in terms of what you need to know, we’ll often have time to work in the areas you need to develop skills. Accordingly, the instructor will advise and help guide students towards the learning they are trying to reach rather than assume the whole class needs a lesson on the same piece of technology on the same day. This is not to say we will not have whole class lectures from time-to-time, but that we will operate with the needs of the individual in mind. Your individual projects are largely the context for the learning that needs to happen.

Over the course of the semester we’ll cover the following broad areas relating to blended/online learning:

  1. Becoming an Online Teacher / Introduction to Blended and Online Learning
  2. Current Events and Trends / Learning Theories
  3. Basics of Online Course Development
  4. Tools for Teaching Online
  5. Media and Technology
  6. Evaluating Your Courses
  7. Researching and Evaluating Educational Technologies

The course is divided into three major sections which contain a total of four core Project Activities (see below).

Section 1 - Constructing an Online Course

This section will lead you through the components of constructing an online course. Our work will focus on discussion about these components and hands-on work to gain experience with them.

Section 2 - Educational Theory and Research

This section will focus on learning relevant educational theories and reading/conducting educational research.

Section 3 - Assessing an Online Course

This section will help you to learn how to assess your course (or other courses) for quality, accessibility and usability.

Course Objectives

By the end of this course students will:


For most weeks in the beginning of the course, 1 or 2 longer required readings will be assigned along a few short required readings, and several optional readings for those who are interested. Since this course is about exploring your specific areas in the context of blended and online learning, it will also require reading and research on your own.

Assignments and grading

Academic dishonesty, including plagiarism, may result in a zero grade in the course and removal from your program.

Grades in this course will be based upon several aspects of your work, each contributing to your overall grade. Each of these will be covered more extensively in class, but a brief summary of each follows:

(40%) Course Design Project

(25%) Group and Individual Research Proposal/Project

(20%) Digital Portfolio (Weekly and Project Assignments)

(15%) Class Participation (regular online participation, Eli Review participation, in-class participation)


Each week in the syllabus I have outlined the activities which will be required. Some are Weekly activities and others are longer-term Project activities.

Weekly Activities

These activities will be provided on the D2L site and are designed to be shorter activities which will be stored in your electronic portfolio. In addition to completing the deliverable for the activity, each weekly activity should also include a 1 paragraph micro-reflection on your experience doing the work.

Project Activities

These are longer-term activities that are more involved and larger in nature. These activities form the core parts of the course. Instructions for how to turn them in will be provided when they are assigned on the D2L site.

There are four major project activities in the course; Course Design Project, Group Research Project, Individual Research Proposal, and Digital Portfolio.


(40%) Course Design Project - A major portion of your grade is based upon your performance creating an online or blended course and an assessment of how well you progressed towards the course design project goals. You will, in collaboration with the instructor and your peers, determine these goals and then work toward accomplishing them across the semester.


        Presentations will vary in terms of content and your own goals. We will discuss content as a group

during the semester.

(25%) Action Research Project/Proposal - Knowing how to evaluate the work you are doing in your class is an important part of understanding how and why you use certain pedagogies or technologies, and ensuring you are providing a quality learning experience for students. Conducting a research project is also a part of the certificate in college teaching that most of you are pursuing as a part of your graduate career. This project will help you design a proposal for action research that will assist you with accomplishing this milestone for the graduate teaching certificate.


(20%)  Digital Portfolio of Weekly and Project Assignments - Mindfully crafting your online presence and maintaining an electronic portfolio of your work are two important parts of being a contemporary scholar. An electronic teaching portfolio is also required as part of the Graduate Certificate in College Teaching. We will discuss this more in class, but through the semester you will collect artifacts and objects you create in the class and use them start constructing your electronic portfolio.


(15%) Class participation - Your participation online (in D2L, Eli Review and other spaces), and your participation in class both count towards your grade. Because of the nature of this course you may participate more during some weeks than others, it is your overall participation across the semester that is important.

Deliverable: Attendance and active participation in the face-to-face and online components of the course.

Grading Scale

4.0 : 92 - 100%

3.5 : 87 - 91%

3.0 : 80 - 86%

2.5 : 75 - 79%

2.0 : 70 - 74%

1.5 : 65 - 69%

1.0 : 60 - 64%

0.0 : 00 - 59%

(†††) Attendance policy - It is expected that students will attend class regularly. However, sometimes, real life interferes. As such, students can miss one course meeting with no grading penalty. Beyond one course absence, however, 5% will be deducted from your class participation grade for each missed class (without a very good excuse, preferably pre-arranged).

Finding Help

Please feel free to contact me if you need any help outside of the class hours. E-mail is often the best way to get in touch with me.

Ethics and Academic Integrity

The work you submit must be produced originally for this class. An additional expectation is that you will follow this basic ethical obligation: You should credit others’ contributions to your work. You should not claim, as your own, work (or writing) that is not your own. To do so is considered plagiarism. It is perfectly appropriate for you to borrow graphics, to quote passages, and to use ideas from others. However, whenever you do that, follow appropriate conventions for citing and using your sources. Procedures for responding to cases of academic honesty and possible repercussions are outlined in Spartan Life: Student Handbook and Resource Guide. They can also be found on the web at:

Safe Learning Environment

Our class and our university aim to be safe learning environments. Title IX makes it clear that violence and harassment based on sex and gender are Civil Rights offenses subject to the same kinds of accountability and the same kinds of support applied to offenses against other protected categories such as race, national origin, etc. If you or someone you know has been harassed or assaulted, you can find the appropriate resources here:

Special Needs and Accommodations

To receive accommodation for any disability, students must first register with the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities ( The RCPD will request appropriate documentation and make a determination regarding the nature of the accommodation to which a student is entitled.  The RCPD will then give the student a “visa” that specifies the kind of accommodation that may be provided. It is then the responsibility of the student seeking accommodation to present the visa to his/her instructor.

That said, we all learn in different ways and process information differently. Please talk to me as soon as possible about your individual learning needs and the ways in which we can accommodate you. Even if you do not have a documented disability, remember that there are support services available to you at MSU such as the Writing Center ( and the Learning Resources Center (

Course Schedule

Our coursework is largely done online, with face-to-face meetings serving as a vehicle for presentations and discussion. Please note that the online modules for each topic will be due on the day we discuss them in class. This will be noted in the D2L site as well.



September 1

Introduction to Class / Basic Overview of Online Course Development

Weekly Assignment: Course Design Proposal (Due 10am September 8)

Project Assignment: Course Design Project - Due end of Finals Week

Project Assignment: Digital Portfolio - Due end of Finals Week

September 8

Web Accessibility and Current Issues in Higher Education Technology

Weekly Assignment: Elements of an Engaging Learning Space

September 15

Learning Environments and Tools for Teaching Online

Weekly Assignment: Copyright Case Analysis

September 22

Educational Media: Video, Audio and Imagery

Weekly Assignment: Create an introductory experience for your class

September 29

Communication/Discussion Online

Weekly Assignment: Design a Discussion activity of your own

October 6

NO FTF Class

October 13

Educational Theory and Research: Overview and Methods/Designing a Project

Assignment: Group Research Project - Due November 10

Weekly Assignment: Find a research article relevant to your interests or a problem area and provide an outline and critique

October 22

Educational Theory and Research: Current Trends

Assignment: Individual Research Proposal - Due End of Finals Week

Weekly Assignment: Choose a current trend in educational technology and provide a 1-page overview of the trend and issues involved

October 27

NO FTF Class

November 3

Evaluating Your Online Courses: User Experience and Accessibility

Weekly Assignment: Conduct an Accessibility Review of your Course and at least 1 UX assessment

November 10

Evaluating Your Online Courses: Course Quality Measures

Weekly Assignment: Use the Spartan QM or another course quality rubric to evaluate your course

November 17

Draft Presentation Day

November 24



December 1


On Friday Dec. 1 the College will be hosting Accessible Learning 2017, a regional conference focused on web accessibility. Students receive free registration and I encourage you all to use this class time to attend. More information available at 

December 8



Finals Meeting Time

Final Presentation of your Course Project in Class

Introduction to Class / Basic Overview of Online Course Development

Friday September 1

Topics/Class Activities


Web Accessibility and Current Issues in Higher Education Technology

Friday September 8

Topics/Class Activities


Learning Environments and Tools for Teaching Online

Friday September 15

Topics/Class Activities


Educational Media: Video, Audio and Imagery

Friday September 22

Topics/Class Activities


Communication/Discussion Online
Friday September 29

Topics/Class Activities


Educational Theory and Research: Overview and Methods/Designing a Project

Friday October 13

Topics/Class Activities


Educational Theory and Research: Current Trends

Friday October 22

Topics/Class Activities


Evaluating Your Online Courses: User Experience and Accessibility

Friday November 3

Topics/Class Activities


Evaluating Your Online Courses: Course Quality Measures

Friday November 10

Topics/Class Activities


Draft Presentation Day

Friday November 17

Today in class you will present your Course Design Project draft and discuss the current status of your Individual Research Proposal

No FTF Class

Friday November 24, Friday December 1, Friday December 8

This time will be for you to work through your projects and make progress on them. I will be available for Zoom or Face-to-Face conversations to work with you on your projects.

Final Presentations

Week of December 11

Topics/Class Activities


Syllabus Change Log

This tracks the changes that are made to the syllabus in general terms, please contact the instructor if you’d like to see the detailed change log.

9/15/17 - V1.0 to V1.1 - Changed September 15 Weekly Assignment from Workshop Design to Copyright Case Analysis.

11/17/17 - V1.1-1.2 - Struck lines about Eli Review and additional peer review. Modified language about draft presentation day to reflect the accurate month (November vs. October)

Al891 – SS17 Syllabus – V1.2 updated 11/17/17