I. Course Design Principles > D. Interactivity

I.D.5 Any interactive activities, such as discussions, group projects, and the like are guided by the module’s learning objectives.

Values Supported

Alignment
Co-Presence

Overview

It is important that interactive activities take the learning objectives as a point of departure, as interactions that do not support the learning objectives are unlikely to be taken seriously. However faculty should recognize that students may and should engage in discussion beyond the immediate scope of the objectives. Such wide-ranging discussion will be of great value in helping put the material in a larger context. This is part of the larger mission of any university and ideally should not be discouraged.

This element supports Alignment, because the result of this element is activities that are coordinated with objectives and Co-presence, because interaction is validated as a means for achieving learning objectives.

Practice

Instructors often use rubrics to structure their evaluations of interactive activities. Using a rubric provides an opportunity to specify how closely interactive activities should adhere to the specific learning objectives for each unit/module of course content. Although alignment is important, it shouldn’t be too constraining. Often during the actual teaching of a course there may be significant current events that merit further discussion, or the particular direction a discussion is taking may go outside or beyond what’s been anticipated in the objectives.

Resource

Florida Gulf Coast University’s discussion of “Principles of Online Design” includes a section on Instructional Activities that considers the value of various forms of online interaction. See:
http://www.fgcu.edu/onlinedesign/designDevc.html