Whether you have years of experience teaching online or you were just asked to teach your first distance learning course, the Office of Distance Learning and Instructional Technology is here to help you become a better online instructor. Look through the information below and on the menu bar to learn more about our office and what you can learn at UNT Dallas.
Instructional design is to courses as architecture is to buildings. There are a variety of ways to approach instructional or course design. DLIT adapts the approach defined by the foundational instructional design framework, Backward Design, where the instructor considers the learning goals of the course first. Once the learning goals have been established, the second stage involves consideration of assessment prior to consideration of how to teach the content. For this reason, backward design is considered a much more intentiona lapproach to course design than other traditional methods of design. Each of the three backward design stages has a specific purpose:
Stage One - Identify Desired Results: The instructor must consider the learning goals of the lesson, unit, or course. The instructor asks themselves the following three questions as they progressively focus in on the most valuable content:
- What should participants hear, read, view, explore or otherwise encounter?
- What knowledge and skills should participants master?
- What are big ideas and important understandings participants should retain?
Stage Two - Determine Acceptable Evidence: Instructors consider the assessments and performance tasks students will complete in order to demonstrate evidence of understanding and learning. Consider the following two questions at this stage:
- How will I know if students have achieved the desired results?
- What will I accept as evidence of student understanding and proficiency?
Stage Three - Plan Learning Experiences and Instruction: Instructors begin to consider how they will teach. This is when instructional strategies and learning activities should be created. With the learning goals and assessment methods established, the instructor will have a clearer vision of which strategies would work best to provide students with the resources and information necessary to attain the goals of the course. Consider the questions below:
- What enabling knowledge (facts, concepts, principles) and skills (processes, procedures, strategies) will students need in order to perform effectively and achieve desired results?
- What activities will equip students with the needed knowledge and skills?
- What will need to be taught and coached, and how should it best be taught, in light of performance goals?
- What materials and resources are best suited to accomplish these goals?
We strive to make instruction and learning more efficient, engaging, and effective. To accomplish this, we work tirelessly to support faculty members according to their individual needs and, when appropriate, engage students during the course development process. Instructional design and development is an intensive endeavor that is best done with a team. The team-based approach ensures that we develop instructional products that meets the needs of our students, accrediting agencies, potential employers and faculty.
We endeavor to achieve our mission by providing the following instructional design and development services:
- Supporting UNT Dallas faculty in the design and development of their courses for blended, and/or online delivery.
- Defining strategies for enhancing student engagement and learning in the online classroom: active learning, problem-based learning, working with large classes, leading discussions, and more.
- Promoting student-centered pedagogy through the Learning Management System, currently Canvas, that results in consistently positive student learning outcomes in the online environment.
- Providing programs and individual mentoring and guidance on online teaching techniques, specific strategies for enhancing distance-delivered courses, and appropriate tools for assessing student learning in the online environment.
- Promoting the use of technology and best practices in enhancing teaching and learning, including the use of distance learning technologies to increase the accessibility of the UNT Dallas' academic programs.
- Working in cooperation with the Academic Programs to assure quality of distance learning courses and curricula.
- Collaborating with faculty to further their use of technology for teaching and learning.
For any questions, please reach out to an instructional designer from our team.