Essentials of Online Course Design : A Standards-Based Guide book cover
2nd Edition

Essentials of Online Course Design
A Standards-Based Guide

ISBN 9781138780163
Published October 23, 2015 by Routledge
252 Pages 105 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

In spite of the proliferation of online learning, creating online courses can still evoke a good deal of frustration, negativity, and wariness in those who need to create them. The second edition of Essentials of Online Course Design takes a fresh, thoughtfully designed, step-by-step approach to online course development. At its core is a set of standards that are based on best practices in the field of online learning and teaching. Pedagogical, organizational, and visual design principles are presented and modeled throughout the book, and users will quickly learn from the guide’s hands-on approach. The course design process begins with the elements of a classroom syllabus which, after a series of guided steps, easily evolve into an online course outline.

The guide’s key features include:

  • a practical approach informed by theory
  • clean interior design that offers straightforward guidance from page one
  • clear and jargon-free language
  • examples, screenshots, and illustrations to clarify and support the text
  • a checklist of online course design standards that readers can use to self-evaluate.

  • a Companion Website with examples, adaptable templates, interactive learning features, and online resources:

Essentials of Online Course Design serves as a best practice model for designing online courses. After reading this book, readers will find that preparing for online teaching is a satisfying and engaging experience. The core issue is simply good design: pedagogical, organizational, and visual.

For more of Marjorie Vai in her own words, listen to this 2011 interview from the On Teaching Online podcast:

Table of Contents

Foreword, from the first edition
Preface, from the first edition

Introduction to this Guide
Chapter 1: Orientation to Online Teaching and Learning
Chapter 2: Elements of an Online Course: A Tour
Chapter 3: Language and Writing Style
Chapter 4: Visual Design Basics
Chapter 5: Engaging the Online Learner
Chapter 6: Activities and Tools: Working Collaboratively and Independently
Chapter 7: Resources that Engage
Chapter 8: Assessment and Feedback
Chapter 9: Building the Course Foundation: Outcomes, Syllabus, and Course Outline
Chapter 10: Structuring the Course Content: The Online Presentation
Appendix A: Writing Learning Outcomes
Appendix B: Using the Standards Checklist

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Marjorie Vai has been directly involved with online education and training for 25 years. Most recently she designed and developed the online graduate program in teaching English at The New School, USA.

Kristen Sosulski is Director of the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning and Clinical Associate Professor of Information Systems at New York University, Stern School of Business, USA.


"If I had to choose a single book to share with a faculty member about how to design and teach an online or blended course, or with an instructional designer partnering with that faculty member, that book would be Essentials of Online Course Design: A Standards-Based Guide, Second Edition. In this concise, clear, and well-written volume, Marjorie Vai and Kristen Sosulski provide a methodology for online and blended course design that is informed by learning theory and seasoned by practical experience. This is the standard reference guide that those of us involved in online and blended learning will be keeping close at hand."

Joshua Kim, Ph.D., Director of Digital Learning Initiatives, Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL), Dartmouth College, USA, and Blogger for Inside Higher Ed - Technology and Learning