Design Considerations for an On-Line Course - A Case Study in Malaysia

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF1 // The Multimedia Development Centre was set up to provide assistance in instructional technology to the academic staff at the University of Malaya. Particularly, the centre's main focus is to provide multimedia as well as web-based training and support. // As the multimedia section of the centre was not fully developed, we embarked on the idea of enabling the academic staff to provide learning support to students through on-line materials. The idea was to create a template that will not take too much of instructor time as well as was easy to understand and implement. According to Harasim et al (1995:12) " Networking technologies can be easy to learn, and using them makes learning and teaching richer and more effective". With these ideals in mind, the staff at the multimedia centre began to brainstorm on the software, hardware capabilities and design considerations for the template. A review of on-line courses was carried out whereby the design aspects, the layout and the download time was considered. One major factor that was deliberated upon in the decision to adopt the template was "less time on training" and "minimal time on layout of the online course for the academic staff". Apart from that it was important to consider techno-phobia in technological adoptions. In view of this, the Lotus-Notes software was adopted as the authoring software, which had the capabilities of creating a database of information that, was needed. Within the first six months of 1998, the first version of the template was ready and was pilot tested with forty academic staff with the view of getting feedback for improvement. Subsequently, a few courses were offered to students, however the main aim was to provide students registered on campus with an alternative form of instructional support. // The purpose of this paper is to share some of the design aspects of the Course On-line template. The following sections will discuss the principles of on-line learning, the design aspects of the course on-line template, how the template was received by students and some concerns about using the template. //