Resources for Module Six - Developing Effective Assignments
Annotated Bibliography

Clark-Ibanez, Marisol and Linda Scott. "Learning to Teach Online ." Teaching Sociology, 36.1 (2008): 34-41. Web 5. Mar 2012.

  • In order to accommodate growing student populations, online teaching has become an increasingly popular option. This article information has been compiled from ASA workshop. The learning management system used was WebCT but authors maintain that their recommendations are general enough to fit any learning management system.
  • Two operational tenets for the course declare that student learning comes first and technology follows and learning happens through interaction and active participation.
  • Benefits of teaching online are dynamic learning environment, intense participation, increased opportunities for learning, flexibility for instructor and student, and increased access.
  • Shy students report feeling safer in the online classroom environment.
  • Challenging areas for online teaching are students that take them have the least amount of time for a cours; students mistakenly believe online courses are easier than face-to-face discussion classes; some students still struggle with technology, and can lead to instructor burn out.
  • Core facts about designing and preparing an online course are you can’t simply convert a face to face course into an online course, best when formed by a team of instructors, and well thought out organization plan best to avoid student confusion.
  • Used chunking materials for Sociology course and less “bells and whistles” first time around. Also, made use of internet and MERLOT.
  • Highly recommends chunking material into content modules because they provide an easy to follow structure for students. 
  • Recommends preparing students with welcome letter and syllabus.
  • Talks about starting with Module Zero as Introduction Module, taking the time to let students get to know each other for discussion board, and having discussion board guidelines.
  • Recommends direct and immediate feedback.
  • Emailing is most common way to have students contact you.
  • Recommends multimedia, checklists, and rubrics.
Fish, Wade W. and Leah E. Wickersham. "Best Practices for Online Instructors Reminders." Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 10.3 (2009): 279-284. Web 5. Mar 2012
  • Demand for online courses is growing.
  • Online course development is more than placing course content into course management system. An effective online course requires different communication with students, time to adjust to limited student social interaction, and more time for instructor to develop course materials.
  • Online courses function best with adult learner theory that is with material that inspires higher- level thinking, real world problem solving, and critical thinking.
  • Successful programs need faculty cooperation and funding.
  • The successful online student should be disciplined, organized, and self-motivated, but many students enrolled are not tech-savvy. Students should have some form of online training.
  • Recommends easy-to-navigate online system and high quality images, graphics, and video streaming.
  • Modules are properly organized. Should have higher-level and lower-level cognitive activities.
  • Instructors must provide prompt feedback for effective online course.
Fox, Ola H. "Diversity in Online Teaching: When Culture and Online Education Conflict ." Home Health Care Management & Practice,17.4 (2005): 342-345. Web 5. March 2012.
  • Online courses can create cultural difficulties for students who come from a highly oral culture. This article looks at the cultural impact of online coursework on a primarily African-American (AA) campus and the struggles AA students had on the discussion boards.
  • AA students were participating but not critically engaged in discussion threads. Students reported the reasoning for this being that students felt disconnected from peers and preferred face-to-face interactions.
  • Author cites students conducted by Monroe, who identifies three pedagogical factors for facilitating online discussions: assignment or discussion that promptly launches discussion, facilitating discussion is crucial (respond with more questions), and clear evaluative material (graded qualitatively not quantitatively).
Gaytan, Jorge. "Effective Assessment Techniques for Online Instruction ." Information Technology, Learning, and Performance Journal,23.1 (2005): 25. Web 5. Mar. 2012.
  • Effective online assessment has high standards.
  • Online assessment requires more systematic approach than traditional instruction.
  • Best to think of online courses as a system.
  • Online instruction must be student centered and instructors must be patient while students adapt to technology.
  • Benefits are grades can be applied quickly, can create less expense for students in regards to paper based exams.
  • Effective assessment techniques are using proctored testing, holding many threaded discussion sessions to become familiar with student’s writing style, using identity verification methods, using several start times to accommodate time zones and time controlled questions.
  • Maintaining constant contact with students is also effective.
  • Recommends use of web portfolios.
Gilman, Todd. "Designing Effective Online Assignments." Chronicle of Higher Education,26
March 2010: A44-A45. Web. 5. Mar. 2012.

  • Believes it’s more effective to give online essays than multiple choice tests .
  • Best if you can get the students to want to learn independently. Believes independent student work will get best results.
  • Make sure syllabus is clear and demands are clear.
  • Highly recommends model assignments.
Johnson, Nicole. "Is An Online Learning Module an Effective Way to Develop Information Literacy Skills? ." Australian Academic & Research Libraries,41.3 (2010): 207-218. Web 5. March 2012.

  • Johnson used information literary module to give students “the necessary research and information literary skills” for her first year social work class.
  • Since students were both on and off campus, the literacy module was most appropriate form of instruction.
  • Module created used searching strategies, information gathering, and referencing.
  • After completing the module, students filled out a survey using Survey Monkey.
  • Out of 100 students, 25 students completed the survey of this research experience (13 on campus and 12 off campus students).
  • Only 4% of students believed the module was not easy to understand.
  • Students valued “how to use” sections and reportedly valued the ease of the system.
  • 82% overall felt the module helped them understand research/information more effectively
Lewis, Cassandra C and Husein Abdul-Hamid, "Implementing Effective Online Teaching Practices: Voices of Exemplary Faculty." Innovative Higher Education,31.2 (2006): 83-98. Web 5. Mar. 2012.
  • Study talks about what faculty found to be most effective for teaching online courses as reported by University of Maryland professors.
  • “Hacker and Niederhauser (2000) outlined five learning principles for the enhancement of effective online instruction and student learning outcomes. Their principles include requiring students to become active participants in their own learning, grounding learning by using examples, using collaborative problem solving, giving appropriate feedback, and using motivation to challenge and enhance students’ self-efficacy” (1)
  • “In WebTycho, the UMUC online course management platform, conferences are considered the “heart” of the course. Conferences are typically created by the instructor by the listing of a main topic with discussion guidelines. In formal conferences students are usually required to respond to a main topic posting for an assigned grade. Informal conferences may be related to the course objectives, but are generally less structured and offer students opportunities for further discussion and connection in a relaxed environment” (1)
  • Faculty talks about using rubrics and sending email reminders for students to participate.
Milman, Natalie B. “Crafting the ‘Right’ Online Discussion Questions using the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy as a Framework.” Distance Learning, 6.4 (2009): 61. Web 5. Mar. 2012.
  • Milman proposes Bloom’s Taxonomy as a way to propose the right questions on discussion board that will generate a higher order of thinking for the students
  • Milman breaks down the rubrics of the original Bloom’s taxonomy and explains the newer revised taxonomy that is developed out of an interdisciplinary effort by cognitive psychologists, curriculum researchers, instructional theorists, etc.
  • The revised taxonomy has two dimensions: knowledge dimension (factual, conceptual, procedural, and metacognitive) and cognitive process dimension (remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, create). 
  • It is important to ask questions that span the dimensions in order to motivate and instill a deeper learning in adult learners.
Milman, Natalie B. "Differentiating Instruction in Online Environments ." Distance Learning, 6.3 (2009): 87-89. Web 5. Mar 2012.
  • Milman refers back to Ward’s “differential education” (1986) that vary teacher approaches to maximize student learning
  • Tomlinson (1999) offers how instructors can vary content, process, and product for different groups of students
  • Strategies to offer “differential education” in an online environment with some examples being lectures offered in both podcast and PDfs, encourage a varied list of products rather than the standard exam or paper, find different ways to interact with material rather than one standard system for the entire class.
Scherling, Sarah E. "Designing and Fostering Effective Online Group Projects." Adult Learning ,22.2 (2011): 13-18. Web 5. Mar 2012.
  • Collaborative work is crucial for an online course.
  • Collaborative online work is beneficial for students because it builds real world skills, assists students with problem solving abilities, prepares students for the future, and assists them with communicative skill development.
  • Criticisms of group online projects are only work if there is individual accountability for each member and goal is important, students report lag time between projects, and dealing with “slackers”
  • Recommends having students provide group reviews and being allowed to give feedback.
Sieber, Joan E. "Misconceptions and Realities about Teaching Online ." Science and Engineering Ethics,11.3 (2005): 329-240. Web 5. Mar. 2012.
  • Sieber offers counsel to new instructors on developing online courses where the student responsibility is greater and the teacher-student power differential is reduced
  • Emphasizes process over outcomes and involves a review of one’s own pedagogical principles
  • Multiple strategies offered on running very successful online courses

Wade, Christine E., et al. "Are Interpersonal Relationships Necessary for Developing Trust in Online Group Projects?" Distance Education, 32.3 (2011): 386-396. Web. 5. Mar. 2012

  • Wade et al set out to understand whether interpersonal relationships are critical for developing trust while conducting online group projects
  • Defines the nature of trust and distinguishes it from integrity
  • Male students report more negative feelings about their group experience and online distance education students profess more interest in developing trust and community with their group members
Building Skills Through Assignments
  • Boye, Allison, Ph.D. Texas Tech University, Office of the Provost: Division of Undergraduate Education & Student Affairs, Teaching, Learning & Professional Development Center. How Do I Create Meaningful and Effective Assignments Retrieved February 28, 2012 from

  • Educause Quarterly.  Volume 30, Number 1, 2007. Alan R. Roper. How Students Develop Online Learning Skill.Retrieved February 28, 2012 from

  • NCTM National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.  Effective Homework Assignments Brief.  Retrieved February 28, 2012 from

  • University of Texas, Austin.  Instructional Assessment Resources: Assess Students. Retrieved February 28, 2012 from
Learning Styles
Writing & Designing Effective Assignments
Critical Thinking
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