Learning Activities

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:

  • Draw.io  (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 - https://office.live.com/start/PowerPoint.aspx 
Participants are welcome to use other drawing apps or programs that they are familiar with and that can produce shareable illustrations or maps.