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Course Syllabus

EDU 6616                                           Distance Learning Strategies

Course Number                                                                        Course Title

Cynthia W. Sparks, Ed. D.                Term I 2001 August 3-4, 24-25, Sept 14-15

Instructor                                                                                  Term/Dates

MEETING DATE AND TIME:       Friday, 4:30-9:30, Saturday 8:00-6:00.  Students must check in at the quarterdeck for each class session. Building N-19.

CONSULTATION HOURS: Dr. Sparks will be available in the assigned classroom before and after each class session.  She may be reached at 421-7346 (H) or 547-0153 ext. 199 (W).

E-mail address:

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is a study of various forms of distance learning with emphasis on computer-based systems and online learning.  The course integrates relevant technology including multimedia authoring, web design, and Internet delivery systems.  The course concentrates on the development of web based instructional materials and the management of Internet based courses and programs.  Students design an educational web site and develop a strategy to deliver web based instructional educational material. 

Prerequisites:  EDU 6605, 6606, 6607 or permission of the instructor.

COURSE OBJECTIVES: Upon completion of this course students will:

·        Acquire a technology vocabulary and knowledge of computer concepts.

·        Acquire an understanding of the impact of computers on classroom instruction.

·        Develop competence with and understanding of the role computers fill in the educational process.

·        Develop competence in using computers in the area of education.

·        Develop a theoretical rationale for the use of computers in education.  

·        Develop an understanding of the impact of distance education of the future of education.

·        Demonstrate an understanding of the primary application of computers in education.

·        Gain exposure to real life experiences in designing and planning distance education courses.

·        Gain exposure to uses of and be able to evaluate software for educational application.

·        Demonstrate the ability to integrate multimedia computer applications into specific content areas in a distance education environment.

Students will fulfill the requirements for the Virginia Technology Standards for Instructional Personnel:

            Standard 1       Operate a computer system and utilize software

            Standard 2       Apply knowledge of terms associated with educational computing and technology

Standard 3       Apply productivity tools for professional use—word processing, databases, presentations tools, and spreadsheets.

Standard 5       Identify, locate, evaluate, and use appropriate instructional technology-based resources (hardware and software) to support SOL and other instructional objectives.

Standard 7       Plan and implement lessons and strategies that integrate technology to meet the diverse needs of learners in a variety of educational settings.

TEACHING METHODS: This course will be taught in a computer lab with hands on activities. The class will require participation from students in exploring various ways to use distance education with computer applications, presentation tools, and the Internet to integrate technology into classroom instruction over the Internet.  This class assumes that students have mastery of the basic skills of the four basic application programs. This is an advanced class is distance education and its use in the classroom and on the web.   Students should also be familiar with web based computer applications (i.e. HTML and web authoring tools). Students will be using these programs to create integrated learning experiences for the classroom. 

GRADING POLICY:            There will be a final exam that counts 25 % and demonstrates student’s skills.  A research paper (case study) on a topic of the student’s choice which counts 25%.  A distance education project (35%)--The development of an integrated distance education course that demonstrates student skills with video, audio, presentation, and web development.  This may be delivered over the web or by disk.  Each class member will create a simple TrackStar distance learning project 10%.  Attendance 5%.

Guidelines for Research Paper/Case Study

1.         Identify an educational environment or topic related to instructional technology appropriate for a review.  The topic for study can relate to any concept that you wish to study related to technology in your particular job.

2.         The length of the paper will depend on the depth of your study but will be double spaced with an introduction, purpose, summary, and bibliography.

3.         Research must be written according to the APA Publication Manual.

4.         Each paper will include an Executive Summary as the opening page of the paper.

Guidelines for Distance Education Project and Presentation.

1.         Identify a topic for instruction which incorporates instructional technology into a course.

2.         Plan and design the course to meet the design specifications discussed by the instructor.  These projects must incorporate the use of presentation software, video, and audio as well as other instructional techniques.  These projects may be presented over the Internet (as a web page) or by disk.  These projects are expected to be interactive, i.e., they require active participation on the part of the learner.

3.         The presentation of the project requires the demonstration of the project with an explanation of it’s components.  The projects will be presented at the last class session.


REQUIRED TEXT:  None.  Web site address will be supplied where all handouts and notes will be posted.  The distance education site will be used for this course.  On The first night of class you will be given your login name and password so that you can access course information and documents.  The address is




CLASS SCHEDULE:           





E-mail, the web as a classroom tool; establish login to Introduction:  What is distance education?

Establish an e-mail account and E-mail the instructor giving her the address and a self-assessment of your computer skills and experiences.


Beginning distance education--TrackStar

Create a simple TrackStar track on a topic of your choice.


Distance Education:

Critique—explore and offer criticism and praise


What is in a distance course? Planning and pitfalls

Create your distance education course for presentation online.


Distance Education in action

Finish the revisions of distance education course project


Final Project presentations

Final Exam (afternoon)*

Distance Education Project and research paper due.

*Schedule of Presenters to be determined.


RECOMMENDED READING: Current articles from periodicals dealing with instructional technology. 

AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT:          Any student whose disabilities fall within ADA must inform the instructor at the beginning of the term of any special needs or equipment necessary to accomplish the requirements for this course.

ADDITIONAL SERVICES: Students who have or may be dealing with a disability or learning difficulty should speak with the instructor or contact the Office of Student Services at 451-8202.