IM4470 E-Learning

This course will introduce students to the principles of instructional design as applied to e-learning. The course introduces different options for authoring tools, principles of effective design, instructional analysis, and production of e-learning materials. Students design, build, evaluate, and revise instructional applications using industry standard authoring systems.

Syllabus and Meeting Times

IM4470 eLearning Design & Applications

This course will introduce students to the principles of instructional design as applied to e-learning. The course introduces different options for authoring tools, principles of effective design, instructional analysis, and production of e-learning materials. Students design, build, evaluate, and revise instructional applications using industry standard authoring systems.

Instructor: John Keston
Meeting Times and Location:
M/W 11:00am to 2:00pm Room 304 (Pence)

Syllabus: IM4470 eLearning Design & Applications

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6
Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11

Week 1

Session 1: Let’s begin class by discussing e-Learning systems and cover the class content for this quarter. We will start out by researching existing systems that are popular and used widely today. This includes Moodle and eFront, but the list far exceeds these well known examples.

Assignment 2: “Google-Fu” Interactive Design Research Skills
Due: Before Session 2 of the Assigned Week (6 points)

Each student will be assigned one of fourteen weeks (2-9) from the class content. The student is required to research the content for their week using Google and find three current and relevant web-based articles about the subject(s) contained within their assigned week that are not already included in the class content. The link to each article and a 1-3 sentence description must be entered as a comment on the class website before session 2 of the assigned week.

1. Enter one comment with three links and descriptions for the assigned week
2. Make sure the links are current, relevant, and not previously included
3. Enter your comment 24 hours before session 2 of the assigned week for approval

Points Breakdown:
1 point is awarded for each relevant link
1 point is awarded for an accurate description of the article

Session 2: Today we will have a discussion on Blooms Taxonomy.

Bloom’s Taxonomy is a classification of learning objectives within education proposed in 1956 by a committee of educators chaired by Benjamin Bloom who also edited the first volume of the standard text, Taxonomy of educational objectives: the classification of educational goals[1] (1956). Although named after Bloom, the publication followed a series of conferences from 1949 to 1953, which were designed to improve communication between educators on the design of curricula and examinations.

This language of classifications has worked its way into educational documents, curriculum, syllabi, tests, and evaluation since its inception. Bloom’s is an effective guideline for writing educational materials for both online and traditional classes. Please archive the following materials provided by Dana and reference them for upcoming projects and research:

Six Levels of Questioning
Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy: The Building Blocks of Knowledge
Aligning Teaching for Constructing Learning

Week 2

Session 1: We will start the second week by reviewing the syllabus and discussing the course objectives. This is a new course for me to teach and my expertise is in the practical application of technology rather than theory and research. However, in order to gain a viable understanding of this field it will be necessary to discover and write about new developments and standard practices in use. We will do this by writing a research paper, installing and configuring existing platforms, developing simple systems, and meeting with industry professionals.

Additionally IM4470 E-Learning is a 4000 level class. This means that I expect participation and initiative beyond lower level classes, but I also value your input as colleagues. In our discussion today I would like to learn from you what your expectations for the class are and what you would like to cover beyond what I have envisioned so far.

In class exercise:
Sign up for the free Stanford Online Course: Intro to Databases

Session 2: Today we will discuss the requirements for the E-Learning Research Project. The research paper and presentation will give you the opportunity to explore applications that have been developed for the purpose of authoring and distributing curriculum, training programs, tests, surveys, and other learning systems. These applications use electronic media and information and communication technologies (ICT) to attain educational outcomes.

E-Learning Research Project
Due on session 1 of week 4 before class
20 Points

Description: Write a four to seven page research paper that compares and contrasts two widely available e-learning applications. Use a minimum of seven cited sources (three for each application and Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy: The Building Blocks of Knowledge) to make your comparisons. You may use Wikipedia to discover sources, but do not use Wikipedia as a source of its own. Using the official website for the application is acceptable, but make sure that you have independent sources in addition to sources that are authored by the organization that manages the application. Start by writing a summary of the objectives and features of each application. Next, discuss the pros and cons of each application. Thirdly, investigate the history and community of each application. Forth, discuss how Bloom’s Taxonomy can be implemented into content that is authored by each system. Finally, conclude by summarizing the best uses for each system.


1. Write a four to seven page research paper using the MLA 7 guidelines.
2. Include a separate (in addition to the 4 to 7 pages) “Works Cited” page also using MLA.
3. Use a minimum of seven sources including Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy.
5. Include a summary, pros and cons, history and community, Bloom’s, and best uses scenarios.
6. Write your paper using Google Docs and share it with jck362 [at] gmail [dot] com by session 1 week 4.
7. Be prepared to present your findings in a five minute presentation on session 1 week 4.

Week 3

Session 1: Part of the process for understanding e-learning involves the examination of successful systems that are currently available. Khan Academy is a not-for-profit organization with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere. All of the site’s resources are available to anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology. Khan Academy’s materials and resources are available to you completely free of charge.

Learning Management System (LMS) Implementation Project
Install, configure, and develop content for a widely used Open Source LMS (we will be using eFront). eFront makes use of the LAMP architecture as described here.

1. Install eFront on your student webspace or comparable hosting.
2. Configure your implementation to suit the content you plan to create.
3. Develop a short module of course work within the system.
4. Prepare to present your implementation and content by session 2 of week 5.

Session 2: Why is there such an emphasis on technology in education? Is it simply that education has been using technology all along, but because technology is advancing so quickly it seems as though there is a greater emphasis now than in the past? What is the impact of mediating human interaction through machines? These questions are important to consider while researching e-learning. The following talk explains how technology helps children teach themselves.

Week 4

Session 1: Officially the implementation project has been changed so that there are option for the framework that you choose to implement. Unfortunately it is not possible to install the current version of Moodle on the student web space. It may be possible to work with a different LMS such as eFront. The option of using a different system instead of Moodle is available. Today we will look at the installation process for eFront and delve into some of the features within each system.

Session 2: Today I would also like to continue our examination of eFront. So far eFront seems to be a good alternative to Moodle. It has a much more modern and friendly user interface and pre-installs a course module that instructs new users how to use the system. After the eFront demos let’s discuss the requirements for the Instructional Video Production assignment.

Instructional Video Production Assignment
Create a two to five minute video that provides instructions for a particular task or sequence of tasks. Pick a topic that interests you or one in which you have a degree of expertise. Consider using a higher quality microphone to record dialog separately and edit it into the project using Adobe Premiere or a comparable application. Edit the video and use transitions in order to help articulate the technique or task that the viewer is learning.

1. Produce an instruction video between 2 and 5 minutes long.
2. Choose a topic that is interesting to you and that you know well.
3. Improve the audio by using equipment other than a mobile phone or computer mic.
4. Edit the video and audio for content, concision, clarity, and relevance.
5. Publish the video as content in a step or group of steps within a lesson or course.
6. Present your video with the implementation project by session 2 of week 6.

Week 5

Session 1: Today the research papers and presentations are due. Please review the requirements listed on week 2. After your presentations we will discuss the direction and features for our E-Learning Web Application Development Project. This project will be delivered in a workshop style through demos during lab time. The goal is to build a functional system with a small subset of tools and features that can be completed by the end of week 10.

In regard to the Instructional Video Production assignment, consider looking for resources that will help you produce instructional video. Here’s an article I found that covers preparation and best-practices:

White Paper – Producing an Educational Video


HYBRID PEDAGOGY: A Digital Journal of Learning, Teaching, and Technology

Session 2: The rest of the day we will start to work on the design documents for the E-Learning Web Application Development Project. We will be building a simple system for instructors to create projects for students and for students to submit their work for evaluation.

Screen Shot 2013-08-07 at 1.55.42 PM

When starting from the ground up building a content management system of any sort, often the best place to start is with the database schema. Before a building is erected scaffolding must be in place. The same is true of CMS, LMS, and many other kinds of applications. Here’s a list of database tables / columns that we will need:


Week 6

Session 1: Today let’s pickup where we left off building the database for our LMS development project, “DropOff”.

Session 2: Implementation project presentations.

Week 7

Session 1: Today we will continue developing the DropOff project using PHP Object Oriented Programming techniques. If you have not already, please review the modules linked below:

9 Object-Oriented Programming, Part I
10 Object-Oriented Programming, Part II

Session 2: Following the Instructional Video Production Assignment project presentations we will review the progress we have made so far on the DropOff project and begin to create classes for each database table.

Week 8

Session 1: Today we will be completing the insertDOUser method within the DOUser class. This will not take very long since it is a very similar process to creating the insertDOClass method for the DOClass class. Afterward we will shift gears slightly and create a method for the DOClass class that retrieves the items in the dropoff_classes table. Will we code the method so that it can either show all classes, or all classes specific to a particular user.

Session 2: Today will we continue coding the DropOff classes and methods as well as the controller. During the lab time I will be checking off that each student has met a list of required milestones.

LMS “Drop Off” Project Milestone #1
During lab time today, please be prepared to demonstrate the following features from the Drop Off project on your shared hosting service.

1. Illustrate that the session based authentication system is operating properly.

2. Show that your dashboard (index.php) displays the forms for adding classes and users.

3. Confirm that the insertDOClass and insertDOUser methods are active and functional from the dashboard.

4. Display a list of classes on the dashboard using the getDOClasses method and the scope resolution operator.

Week 9

Session 1: Let assess our progress so far on the Drop Off LMS and identify and prioritize several tasks that will work toward making the system functional at a rudimental level.

Session 2: Today I’d like you to think about what you will add to the system that is not part of the demos. Simply duplicating what I have presented in class is not enough for a passing grade on this project.

Your contributions might include:
1. HTML5 / Javascript form validation
2. Significant changes to the layout, styles, and typography
3. Carefully crafted content (classes/users/projects) within the system
4. Backend functionality that has not been shown during the demos

Once we have made the assessment I will continue by demonstrating how to implement the features that have been identified as a priority.

Week 10

Session 1: Last week I posted some suggestions on how to update your project beyond the code base that is provided. This week we will add a few more features and then find a good stopping point so that the rest of the time can be used to make your own personal updates to the system.

Important things to remember:
1. Turn in your project before the beginning of class on session 2, week 11.
2. Create the following user in your system (keston/abc1234)
3. Place an internet shortcut to your project and a .zip file of your code on the dropoff drive.
4. Beprepared to present your implementation of the Drop Off system during week 11.

Session 2: Let’s take a last look some of the work necessary to get to a final stopping point. I have updated the code with the forms, methods, and tasks to handle dropoff_projects. Let’s review these changes and solve a few more tasks in today’s demos.

Week 11

Session 1: Today we may have one or two demos depending on the type of questions asked during lab time.

Session 2: Final presentations.