Course Handbook

Site: SCoPE - BCcampus Learning + Teaching
Group: Facilitating Learning Online - Design SEPT 2020 OER
Book: Course Handbook
Printed by: Guest user
Date: Sunday, 19 May 2024, 7:22 AM


An overview - a course outline


FLO Design is intended to help participants develop online course design skills and try new techniques and strategies to create effective, engaging, online learning experiences. This course complements the Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) Fundamentals course which focuses on facilitation skills and strategies. 

FLO Design begins with a brief review of theories of learning, widely used approaches to instructional and learning design, and principles of online course design. During the course, participants will be encouraged to explore various ways to engage learners and support learning online.

Participants will be involved in online learning that is:

  • participatory and learner-centred — participants form a learning community and support each other's learning
  • feedback-rich — participants will be encouraged to give and receive feedback throughout the course
  • relevant and meaningful — participants explore the future application and transferability of skills and knowledge developed during the course

FLO courses are intentionally designed to provide:

  • a safe, respectful learning environment - participants develop mutually acceptable "agreements" of engagement
  • opportunities for reflective practice - participants reflect on and analyze their personal, professional and project goals, often sharing insights and questions with their peers and the facilitators

Facilitators support and encourage participants to:

  • take risks and try new design approaches, structures and activities, scaffolded by FLO facilitators and their peers;
  • design authentic, meaningful learning experiences for students; and,
  • develop a deeper understanding of their pedagogical preferences and beliefs about learning.

During this course you will:

  • explore learning theories, instructional design approaches, related frameworks, models and quality standards;
  • identify a topic and describe intended learners for a short unit of online learning;
  • create a design plan and prototype learning activity for a unit of online learning;
  • discuss design choices with peers, and give and receive constructive feedback (studio);
  • explore "quality" and/or Universal Design of Learning (UDL) principles as design guides;
  • share a final plan/learning unit design, or engage others in a "walk-through" of a prototype learning experience;
  • reflect on, and plan how to apply learning to other courses and contexts.


FLO Design takes place primarily within a Moodle LMS (Learning Management System). Moodle is a popular open source LMS with a wide range of collaborative tools and activities to support online learning.

Once you've logged into the Moodle site, you'll see FLO Design in your list of courses. When you click on the course link, you'll be taken to the Hub section- the core area of the course that contains information that you may need to refer to throughout the course.

The default layout is a 3 column arrangement - with a Title Bar and Site Header that display on any open page in the course site.

a navigation layout for course site

The left column (1) contains the Navigation panel (also known as the navigation drawer) that provides access to the sections of this course, your profile, and other course information. If you like a less crowded layout, you can click on the "hamburger icon" (3 horizontal lines) to open or close the navigation panel.

The course content and activities are organized in sections that are displayed in the main (middle) part of the page:

  • The Hub - contains information such as the Course Handbook and Schedule that you may need to refer to throughout the course. You'll also find important Announcements from your facilitators and an Open Forum that we can all use to share general questions and ideas throughout the course. The Hub also contains FAQs (frequently asked questions) and help documents.
  • Pre-Course ORIENTATION
    This page will be available to you in the week prior to the official start of FLO Design. If you are unfamiliar with Moodle or you want to get a start on the course, you'll find orientation information, a discussion forum, and links to help documents, and some challenge activities that you can try to earn an Explorer badge.
  • Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4
    The weekly sections each contain:
    • a brief checklist of tasks;
    • an overview "book" of the relevant topics, detailed instructions for the week's activities (where required), readings, videos;
    • a Studio Forum for sharing each week's project progress; and,
    • a Weekly Reflections forum to share selected "nuggets" from your learning journal.

The right hand column (3) contains a block of useful links to course activities and resources. You'll learn more about them during the Pre-Course Orientation.

The Title bar (4) contains the full name of the course and the "breadcrumbs" trail that displays the path you follow to arrive at this page.

The Site Header (5) provides links to help you navigate to other courses or areas on the SCOPE site and allows you to access your profile, messages and notifications quickly.

    Learning Outcomes

    We use learning outcomes to help us focus on the important attitudes, knowledge, and skills that can be achieved by participating in this course. Stating our intended outcomes also provides an anchor to align the activities and tasks and to provide "learning check-points" as you progress through the course.

    Intended Learning Outcomes:

    After participating in, and contributing to, learning activities throughout FLO Design, participants should be able to:

    • discuss important elements of online learning design, including quality, accessibility and design guidelines;
    • create a plan for a short unit of online learning that includes a prototype learning activity;
    • critically reflect on their learning and evaluate their progress in augmenting or developing their online learning design skills and knowledge; 
    • explain design choices and pedagogical perspectives applied to a specific learning design project.

    Course Flow

    FLO Design uses a project-based approach to enable you to apply what you are learning and to develop a meaningful artifact during the course. You will be are encouraged to try new design or pedagogical approaches in a supportive and interactive environment.

    We encourage you to monitor your learning each week and ask you to share some highlights or questions with others in weekly reflective forums.

    The FLO Design course integrates a collaborative "studio" model of delivery where participants are asked to share what they are designing each week, and take time to review some of the designs of their peer. The collaborative weekly studio forums::

    • provide opportunities to ask questions, test ideas and discuss pedagogical choices with peers and facilitators;
    • establish milestones to keep everyone "on track" and focused on their design projects; and
    • encourage creativity and risk-taking with appropriate feedback and support.
    Weekly activities

    Week 1:  Welcome, introduction to course, choose a topic or theme for your Design Project (i.e., the unit of learning you want to design), share your progress in Studio forum, share some reflections on learning in Reflections forum;

    Week 2: review ideas about how to design; choose an approach or pedagogical perspective to guide you; develop a plan, share progress in Studio forum, share some reflections on your learning in Reflections forum.

    Week 3:  Continue to 'build' your design, create a visual "map" - identify a brief learning activity, share ideas, collect feedback in Studio, share some reflections on your learning in Reflections forum; 

    Week 4:  Prepare and present design (with visual) and a prototype activity in Studio Showcase.

    FLO Design Activities (see larger image in (FLO Design Visuals Gallery)

    a visual of course activities

    Learning Activities

    The key learning activities in FLO Design are:

    • Review weekly Overviews: Each week features a different Moodle "book" that introduces new ideas and approaches to online learning design.

    • Develop your Design Project (i.e., the plan and supporting details for a short online learning (2-3 weeks) experience.)
    • Participate in weekly Studio Forums:  share your progress and receive feedback from FLO facilitators and peers; in turn, take time to review and provide constructive feedback to others each week.

    • Reflective practice:  record thoughts and ideas each week in a personal learning journal; share highlights or specific "aha" moments in the weekly Reflections forum.
    • Assessment:  use the FLO Design Rubric to self-assess your learning (see Assessment chapter).  Constructive feedback from FLO facilitators will help you improve your online learning design skills and understanding.

    Design Project

    What is the Design Project?

    You will be asked to select a specific topic or theme for a short unit of learning (not an entire course) that you will design and share in Studio each week. This small design project might take place in only 2-3 weeks of online learning. An additional component of your Project is the design of a specific prototype learning activity that demonstrates or provides an example of how you will engage your online learners.

    Why?  Limiting the scope and size of a design project will help you focus on your pedagogical perspectives, your learning objectives / outcomes, choices for online learning activities, the roles of your learners, your assessment strategies, etc.,

    How?  You can develop your Project individually or you can choose to work together with another course participants. Please ensure that you state your intention by the end of the first week.

    What?  Be prepared to develop a written plan and some form of visualization to help you communicate your emerging design plan with others. The elements of your Design Project will develop during the first two weeks of the course. The elements of your Design Project are:

    1. The Plan:  to help us understand what you are designing, we ask you to provide some basic information similar to what you might include in a course outline and syllabus. You can use the planning form provided in the Week 1 Design Documents folder. The Plan should include:
      - a Mission Statement (with your goals, intended audience, and topic(s));
      - a scope statement that outlines what you plan to design, a more detailed description of the level of learning, learning objectives or outcomes, etc. 
    2. A flowchart or visualization to make it easier to understand your vision for your Project;
    3. A prototype learning activity (a description or an actual activity that peers can review before the end of the course.)
    Example of a prototype learning activity:  Each learner might be asked to view a video and formulate a critical analysis of the central theme. You might choose to have your learners:
    • work in pairs or small groups and share the analysis with a written forum post;
    • use a specific app or media to share the analysis in more creative ways; or
    • complete a short quiz to identify elements of their analysis.                           

    The prototype allows each designer to test (think through and explain) how to facilitate or scaffold learning that helps learners achieve the stated outcomes or objectives for the unit.

    Tools to develop visualizations:
    You can just draw a flowchart or mindmap of your emerging design and post photos in the Studio forum. However, using a digital tool will make it easier to update your visual as your design evolves.

    We suggest that participants use tools that are freely accessible, easy to use and that produce visuals that can be shared easily online. Some tools to consider:

    •  (no account required - you can access through a web browser and have your drawings saved to Dropbox, GoogleDrive, Onedrive or to your desktop)
    • Google Drawing  - you'll need a free Google account
    • Microsoft Powerpoint - drawing tools - you can use your desktop Powerpoint and share through cloud-based MS services - 
    Participants are welcome to use other drawing apps or programs that they are familiar with and that can produce shareable illustrations or maps.

    Sharing in Studio

    During FLO Design, you are asked to share your design plan as it evolves. During the first week, you share your choices and purpose (or mission). Then, as you explore new approaches or develop different parts of your design, you'll share your changes in each week's Studio forum. This weekly reporting allows your facilitators and peers to ask clarifying questions or provide constructive suggestions.

    As part of your learning each week, we ask that you try to review the evolving projects of others. Share your responses to the evolving designs (from your perspective as a potential learner or using your background and experience as an instructor or instructional designer. Giving and receiving feedback is a valuable part of learning.

    Feedback should be:

    • descriptive (specific) not evaluative
    • identify strengths or positive effects first
    • be framed with "I" statements not "you"
    • be helpful not hurtful
    • provide suggestions for change (that can be accepted or put aside)
    • establish an opening for further dialogue.

    In addition, a basic list of elements of online learning to think about will be provided to deepen the quality of the feedback provided - as the plans evolve.

    Reflective Learning

    The value of reflection in teaching and learning is well-documented; reflective practice in higher education can take place during teaching activities or afterwards (what Donald Schon, author of The Reflective Practitioner called "reflection-on-action").

    We ask that you take time each week to gather your thoughts, think about what you are trying to achieve, recall what you observed and experienced, and record these thoughts in some concrete way in a personal learning journal.

    Your personal learning journals can be in any format that works (e.g., paper-based, handwritten, types or drawn - or digitally recorded, typed, drawn, recorded). Just try to record regularly so you don't lose details as the weeks fly by.

    Sharing parts of your journal, significant learning moments or new ideas or questions generated by your thinking about your learning, with others, can broaden the scope of your reflective practice. We ask that you contribute some reflections each week to the Weekly Reflections forum.

    Reflective prompts

    We have found that many participants enjoyed reflecting with some form of guidance or inspiring questions. So, near the beginning of each week, we'll pose a "thinking" question to ponder during the week. At the end of the week we'll prompt you to share your response to that question and to add any other "nuggets" of learning you think others might enjoy.


    Smith, M.K. (2011). Donald Schon: learning, reflection and change, The encyclopedia of informal education, retrieved Dec. 10, 2016 from


    The FLO Design workshop is a developmental learning opportunity; there are no "marks" or evaluative grading for your design project and participation. Building from a participatory, adult learning focus and a constructivist perspective, we adopted a reflective practice, studio-learning approach to encourage you to "make meaning" individually and in group activities.

    To help you self-assess your learning progress in relationship to the FLO Design Learning Outcomes and the focus on collaborative learning and planning, the rubric identifies different criteria to apply to your participation and project development.


    Level 1:

    Level 2:

    Level 3:

    Structure of Design Project Plan

    Elements of plan disorganized

    Difficult to discern how learning is expected to occur.

    Little evidence of learner-centred design.

    Basic structure is clear and logical.

    Descriptions, outcomes and objectives are clearly stated and appear relevant to primary purpose.

    Pedagogical choices for learning are evident; elements are aligned to outcomes statements.

    Some important principles of quality and accessibility are considered in the Plan.

    Plan description contains pedagogical perspective, technological considerations, reasons for prototype activity selection and design.

    Plan includes consideration of learner in terms of flexibility, meaningfulness and expectations (time, resources, etc.)

    Communication of Plan in Studio

    Design Project Plan is presented briefly; little consideration of how to make it easier for audience to understand (language, design, method of presentation)

    No visuals

    None or little response to questions from participants

    Plan is presented in detail - some consideration of layout design for understanding

    Plan is augmented with visuals - drawings or images or videos

    Presenter responds to questions in a timely fashion

    Plan is presented in a concise, easy-to-understand way (visuals are integrated and aid depth of understanding of content)

    Presentor adds audio or video explanations for more complex aspects or to explain pedagogical perspectives or technological choices.

    Presenter responds to questions and engages in broader and deeper exploration of design challenges in education.

    Feedback on Plan

    Superficial feedback responses - limited to praise or minor defects

    Llittle reference to list of online learning elements to consider or requests for specific feedback from presenters

    Demonstrates appreciative, developmental approach when posing questions or sharing feedback.

    Shows consideration of learner perspectives.

    Some posts show little evidence of quality, pedagogical considerations in feedback.

    Feedback is provided in a timely and meaningful way.

    Questions invite further dialogue rather than stating opinions.

    Reference made to requested feedback elements; links made to course design theory resources or related academic sources.

    Participation in Workshop Events /Activities

    Sporadic attendance in synchronous sessions or weekly activities

    Limited efforts to participate in discussion.

    Shows little engagement in course.

    Attends synchronous sessions or reviews recordings and posts relevant questions and comments.

    Provides weekly, clear descriptions of evolving design plan elements in Studio Forum.

    Participates in weekly Reflections Forum.

    Posts insightful or thought-provoking comments or questions in forums.

    Responds quickly to support other participants.

    Develops a consistent "presence" as an online community member.

    Reflective Practice

    Reflections on the course experiences and activities are infrequent or very brief

    Regularly shares selected journal items that highlight personal learning and insights.

    Integrates learning from setting objectives and/or rubric.

    Notices key ideas and strategies from both readings and peers, and considers implications for practice.

    Tracking Your Progress

    Each week in FLO Design engages learners in activities of reflection and application. You'll be developing your Design Project, reading or viewing different presentation of theories and perspectives of how people learn and ways to design for learning.

    As you share your progress in Studio forums, you'll have the opportunity to explain your choices and intentions and receive helpful questions and suggestions to improve your design. Taking time to review other design projects can broaden your perspectives and provide new ideas.

    We'll post a "thinking question" early each week in the Weekly Reflections Forum. Post your responses and any "nuggets" you choose to share from your personal learning journals by the end of each week. Part of your reflections could include consideration of elements identified in the FLO Design Rubric.

    We've embedded a few ways for you to track your progress and to identify what you should (and have) accomplished each week.

    1.  Schedule - the table of weekly tasks, events and dates, found in the Hub

    2.  Checklists - found in each weekly section, the checklists can be edited by participants and used to "check off" what's been accomplished.

    3.  Studio Feedback - weekly sharing in Studio will be open and developmental following the constructive feedback guidelines provided.

    4.  Feedback on the final designs presented in Showcase sessions will utilize structured feedback forms - these will be completed by Facilitators. Participants may still provide final responses, suggestions or other feedback.

    Course Access and Use

    Creative Commons License
    Unless otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

    The conversations and creations by participants are not to be shared without their permission.

    Registered participants will have ongoing access to the course after the end date.