IT532 Online Learning Environments

University of Tennessee Knoxville

Instructor Information
Lisa Yamagata-Lynch
Educational Psychology and Counseling
513 Bailey Education Complex
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: 865-974-7712

*Please note that the instructor reserves the right to modify the syllabus during the semester and participants will be notified through this website and Blackboard Announcements

Meeting Time Tuesday 5:05PM- 7:45PM, All meetings are online both synchronous and asynchronous formats.

Office Hours Tuesday 3:00PM-4:30PM online, Other appointments can be arranged upon request

Course Description
This fully online course will examine theory, research and practice of designing, developing, and evaluating online learning environments including distance education and blended learning approaches. The discussions and explorations in class will include both synchronous and asynchronous online learning environments. Course topics will include issues related to current trends in online learning, teaching and learning in an online environment, online learning communities, and designing participatory online courses. Students will engage in an in-depth reading of theory and research related to online learning environments. Masters students will gain experience designing an online course that reflects what they learned during this course.

Course Format

This is a blended course with synchronous and asynchronous meetings through Blackboard Collaborate and Blackboard. To ensure that you are available for all synchronous course activities please make sure that you are available for the set course hours. Additionally, please make sure that you have access to a USB headset with a microphone for optimum participation in the synchronous sessions. Please review the Classroom Etiquette section carefully to understand your responsibilities as a professional participant in this course. If you choose to engage in activities that are unprofessional, disrespectful to others, or disruptive you will lose points toward course participation.


Course participants will be able to:
  1. Locate, analyze, and evaluate articles and book chapters from various sources related to online learning environments;
  2. Identify, analyze, share, and demonstrate effective online teaching and learning activities;
  3. Analyze various online learning and teaching activities and make connections to both practical and theoretical implications;
  4. Design and develop an online course proposal; and
  5. Engage in effective professional communications through oral presentations and written reports.
Alignment to Standards
  • AECT Standard 3: Learning Environments Candidates facilitate learning by creating, using, evaluating, and managing effective learning environments.
  • AECT Standard 4: Professional Knowledge and Skills Candidates will demonstrate the essential professional knowledge and skills needed to be a successful educational/instructional technology professional through their work collaborating with colleagues and leading their peers on the design, development, and implementation of technology rich learning environments.
  • AECT Standards 5: Research Candidates explore, evaluate, synthesize and apply systemic methods of inquiry to enhance learning and improve performance.
  • ISTE.NETS*C 3 Digital Age Learning Environments Technology coaches create and support effective digital-age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students.

Required Text

  • Conrad, R.-M., & Donaldson, J. A. (2012). Continuing to Engage the Online Learner: Activities and Resources for Creative Instruction. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Lehman, R. M., & Conceição, S. C. O. (2010). Creating a Sense of Presence in Online Teaching: How to “Be There” for Distance Learners. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2007). Building Online Learning Communities: Effective Strategies for the Virtual Classroom (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Required Equipment
  • Personal computer with high speed internet connection
  • USB headset with a microphone--every participant must access the synchronous session with USB headset with a microphone
Course Resources
Graduate Certificate in Qualitative Research
Graduate Catalog: (Listing of academic programs, courses, and policies)
Hilltopics: (Campus and academic policies, procedures and standards of conduct)
Course Timetable (Schedule of classes)
Academic Planning (Advising resources, course requirements, and major guides)
Student Success Center (Academic support resources)

Instructor Generated Resources
10 Habits of Being a Successful Graduate Student and Beyond
How do I know when an article is peer Reviewed?
Peer Reviewed Article Matrix

Resources for Searching Journal Articles
Course Communications
You will regularly receive course related communications from the instructor through email and through BlackBoard announcements. It is your responsibility to make sure that your university email account is in working condition. If you have technical issues or need help troubleshooting, please contact OIT at or call the helpdesk at 865-974-9900. You should expect your instructor to respond to your message within 24 hours on regular business days during the week and 48 hours on weekends and university holidays. If you do not hear back from the instructor, please send another message or call 865-974-7712.

University Civility Statement
Civility is genuine respect and regard for others: politeness, consideration, tact, good manners, graciousness, cordiality, affability, amiability and courteousness. Civility enhances academic freedom and integrity, and is a prerequisite to the free exchange of ideas and knowledge in the learning community. Our community consists of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and campus visitors. Community members affect each other’s well-being and have a shared interest in creating and sustaining an environment where all community members and their points of view are valued and respected. Affirming the value of each member of the university community, the campus asks that all its members adhere to the principles of civility and community adopted by the campus:

Disability Services
Any student who feels he or she may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) at 865-974-6087 in 2227 Dunford Hall to document their eligibility for services. ODS will work with students and faculty to coordinate reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities.

Your Role in Improving Teaching and Learning Through Course Assessment
At UT, it is our collective responsibility to improve the state of teaching and learning. During the semester, you may be requested to assess aspects of this course either during class or at the completion of the class. You are encouraged to respond to these various forms of assessment as a means of continuing to improve the quality of the UT learning experience.

In order to become a successful online learning environments researcher, practitioner, or both, you need experiences that will help you be able to:
  • Design and implement online learning activities for a specific target audience;
  • Engage in thoughtful analysis of online learning activities with a strong theoretical background about how people learn; and
  • Understand how your learners are going to experience transitioning as a traditional face-to-face learner to an online learner.
The readings and assignments for this course have been designed to provide you with this type of experience and to assist you in becoming a successful researcher and practitioner of online learning environments.

Course Participation 100 pts
Read Assigned Articles, Book Chapters, and Other Resources
Please be prepared for each class session by completing readings on days that they are due with relevant questions for class, and by being a productive participant in course discussions. You need to able to share your understandings about the readings, new ideas, and discoveries about online learning environments through collegial, effective, and professional discussion in both synchronous and asynchronous activities. When you read each work make sure that you take note of interesting ideas you would like to explore through discussion with other participants. If there are ideas that are unclear to you, please make note of those and do not hesitate to bring them up in class.

Participatory Online Activities Showcase and Analysis 200 pts |Guide and Checklist|
You will find innovative methods for engaging online learners in synchronous or asynchronous activities and demonstrate and implement these methods during allotted time in class. There are several examples in each of the required texts. As a professional you need to gain experience testing new methods for engaging online learners and you need to understand how your beliefs related to online learning affect the types of activities you introduce to them. This handout is due the day of your showcase. The instructor will provide a designated location on Blackboard for you to upload your file. You are also responsible to submit your analysis of the activity you facilitated a week after your showcase and it should be a maximum of 5-pages double-spaced. The analysis need to be in APA 6th edition format.

The online signup poll for this assignment will be available during Week 2 of class on Blackboard.

Online Course Critique 200 pts |Guide and Rubric|
You will have the chance to attend an online course with an eye to reflecting on and critiquing the design of the course, in preparation for designing your own online course later in the semester. You need to find an online learning experience such as an online course, training program, or a MOOC. Attend at least one session/complete at least one module and evaluate your experience/the course design based on the University of Tennessee’s Best Practices for Developing and Delivering Online Instruction Finally, reflect on your experience and evaluation and prepare a paper that follows the requirements in the guide and rubric.

Online Course Grant Proposal 200 pts |Simulation| |Grant Review Form| |Checklist|
You will prepare a grant proposal for an online course development project. This assignment take place in place of the asynchronous activities for Week 7. It is important that you meet both submission and review deadlines on time to fully participate in this assignment. You will write a proposal within the perspective of a simulation scenario that is provided above. You will also engage in a blind peer review of selected participant proposals as a member of a review panel. First you will engage in an individual review using the Grant Review Form. Then your panel will meet during the synchronous session for Week 7, and complete the panel review. You will be assigned a grade based on the provided checklist.

Online Course Proposal and Analysis and Presentation 300 pts |Guide and Rubric| |Peer Evaluation Form|
You will work in a team of 3 to 4 members to prepare a proposal and design an online course. The course can be in any type of educational setting such as K-12 schools, professional development, higher education, corporate settings, and military settings. As a team you will need to agree on the target audience, course content, and course duration. The course you create can be based on a hypothetical audience. While designing the course your team needs to make design decisions by proactively reflecting on the theories and learning activities introduced in this class. Your team present this project to the class.

Assignments and Total Possible Points
Assignments Alignment to Objectives
1. Course Participation Objectives 1 & 5
2. Participatory Online Activities Showcase and AnalysisObjectives 1, 2, 3, & 5Group or Individual
3. Online Course Critique
Objectives 2 & 5
4. Online Course Grant Proposal Objectives 1, 3, 4 & 5Individual
5. Online Course Proposal and Analysis and Presentation Objectives 4, & 5Group

 Total Possible

Assignment of Final Grade
Grades are updated regularly in Blackboard. Final grades will be given according to the UT grading scale:
F=599 and below

A Note Regarding Letter Grades
Completing all assignments and meeting the minimum expectations of the course constitutes “B” work; truly outstanding/superior work constitutes “A” work; and failing to meet the minimum expectations will result in a grade of “C” or lower. Spending a lot of time on course requirements (or having a history of being an “A” student) may not, in and of itself, necessarily result in an “A” grade.

A= Superior performance, B+= Better than satisfactory performance, B=Satisfactory performance, C+=Less than satisfactory performance, C= Performance well below the standard expected of graduate students., D=Clearly unsatisfactory performance and cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements, F=Extremely unsatisfactory performance and cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements

Academic Honesty
Academic integrity is a responsibility of all members of the academic community. An honor statement is included on the application for admission and readmission. The applicant’s signature acknowledges that adherence is confirmed. The honor statement declares:

An essential feature of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is a commitment to maintaining an atmosphere of intellectual integrity and academic honesty. As a student of the university, I pledge that I will neither knowingly give nor receive any inappropriate assistance in academic work, thus affirming my own personal commitment to honor and integrity.

You are expected to complete your own work. You cannot re-submit work here that was done for previous classes.

Students shall not plagiarize. Plagiarism is using the intellectual property or product of someone else without giving proper credit. The undocumented use of someone else’s words or ideas in any medium of communication (unless such information is recognized as common knowledge) is a serious offense subject to disciplinary action that may include failure in a course and/or dismissal from the university. Some examples of plagiarism are
  • Using without proper documentation (quotation marks and a citation) written or spoken words, phrases, or sentences from any source.
  • Summarizing without proper documentation (usually a citation) ideas from another source (unless such information is recognized as common knowledge).
  • Borrowing facts, statistics, graphs, pictorial representations, or phrases without acknowledging the source (unless such information is recognized as common knowledge).
  • Submitting work, either in whole or in part, created by a professional service and used without attribution (e.g., paper, speech, bibliography, or photograph).

Extreme caution should be exercised by students involved in collaborative research to avoid questions of plagiarism. If in doubt, students should check with the major professor and the Dean of the Graduate School about the project. Plagiarism will be investigated when suspected and prosecuted if established.

For this class, plagiarism will result in a zero on the assignment and a meeting with your academic adviser.

Academic writing conventions and abilities
All assignments must conform to the style and reference notation format outlined in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.  The APA manual is an essential tool for graduate school academic writing.  Please study it carefully and refer to it often.  If you are unsure about particular APA formatting and citation rules, refer to the manual. 

The ability to write in an appropriate academic manner is critical to successful graduate study. If you find that you need assistance with your writing, please visit the university’s free Writing Center housed in the English department: They do not proofread or edit your work, but they can help with idea development and organization – key elements of successful academic writing.

Resources and Responsibilities
It is assumed that this course will "cost" you extra resources in time and expense. Any new skill such as computer use or graphics design should be considered time-consuming and most work will be done outside of the regular class period. It is further assumed that those who enter the course have a wide range of experience and expertise in the field. Ownership of a microcomputer is not required; however, access to one is a necessity. We will be using both Macs and PCs in this course.

Attendance Policy
Students are expected to be on time, attend all classes, and participate in class discussions, small group activities, exercises, and projects. You may not receive class participation credit for missed classes and are responsible for missed information. However, emergencies can occur at any time and the instructor reserves the right, based on the individual situation, to accommodate a student with any emergency. A student missing class must complete all assignments to the satisfaction of the instructor before credit will be issued. Absences are not considered excused for job interviews, vacations, regular doctor's appointments, or general lack of planning. Students are granted one "free" absence, regardless of the situation. However multiple absences and excessive tardiness are considered unacceptable for success in this course and can be cause for a final grade reduction. Attendance will be taken every class session, and every unexcused absence after the "free" absence will cost you a 10 point deduction from your final grade.

Tardiness is disruptive and rude to your instructor and your fellow students and reflects badly on you - it can speak about your attitude and work ethic. Students arriving late to class should wait until the instructor, fellow student, or guest speaker is finished talking and should take a seat close to the door. Excessive tardiness = 20 minutes late more than two times.

Classroom Etiquette
While your instructor, your peer, or guest lecturer is conducting a presentation you are expected to pay complete attention to what they are presenting. It is not only rude, but also distracting to the presenter and other students in class when you are working on the computer, personal portable devices, cell phones, or behaving in any manner that is disruptive to them. If you are engaging in activities such as surfing the web, writing a paper, reading/writing email, working on class assignments, answering your cell phone, Skyping or any other disruptive activities in class you will be asked to leave for the day. If your disrespectful and disruptive behaviors continue, you will lose points from course participation, which will affect negatively on your final grade for this course. Make sure that your cell phone and/or beeper are turned off or set on manner mode. Please inform the instructor before class session begins if your are experiencing circumstances that warrant your cell phone/beeper to be turned on, such as extreme weather conditions that may put your family members in danger.

*Please note that readings must be completed by the date they appear in the schedule.
*All Assignments are due 11:59pm the day it is due.
*Please assume that all sessions will be held in synchronous format during the allotted course time. When a course will be in asynchronous format the instructor will announce it ahead of time.
*When there is a date labeled POAS those are designated dates that course members can choose for his/her Participatory Online Activities Showcase. The instructor will send out an invitation to an online signup tool for members to choose their specific dates.

Topic Assignments/Readings

Course Expectations, Canvas, Review Readings on Teaching and Learning in Online Learning Environments

Gayol (2010) Chp 8
Muilenburg, L. Y., & Berge, Z. L. (2005)
Palloff, R. M. & Pratt, K. (2007) Chp 1


Understanding Practices I
Student Engagement in Online Learning Environments
Conrad & Donaldson (2012) Chp 1
Hrastinski (2010)
Lehman & Conceicao (2010) Chp 1& 2


Understanding Practices II
Online Virtual Teams
Anderson, McEwan, Bal, & Carletta (2007)
Asterhan, & Schwarz (2010)
Kauppila, Rajala, & Jyrämä (2011)

Understanding Practice III
Understanding Successful Online Educators and Support Services
Edwards, Perry, & Janzen (2011)
Palloff. & Pratt (2007) Ch 6
Stewart et al. (2013)

Theory into Practice
Online Learning Theories and Online Learning Communities
Haythornthwaite & Andrews (2011) Ch 3
Garrison & Cleveland-Innes (2005)
Palloff & Pratt (2007) Ch 2

Online Course Critique

Understanding Design Issues I
Existing Designs of Online Learning Environments
Bonk & Zhang (2006)
Koszalka & Ganesan (2004)
Philip & Nicholls (2007)

Understanding Design Issues II
Designing Online Learning Environments

Lehman & Conceicao (2010) Ch 3 & 4
Palloff, R. M. & Pratt, K. (2007) Ch 7 & 8

Online Course Grant Proposal
--Submit online on 2/20/14, review by 2/25/14

Foundational Issues I
Ethics and Accessibility
Palloff, R. M. & Pratt, K. (2007) Ch 3
Agger-Gupta (2010) Ch 9
Marsico, et al. (2006)


Foundational Issues II
Community Engagement and Gender Equity
Irving, & English, (2011)
Remmele & Holthaus, (2013)
Tsai, & Tsai, (2010)

Spring Break

Reviewing Outcomes
Learning Analytic, Assessment, and Evaluation of Online Learning
Conrad & Donaldson (2012) Chp 4
Palloff & Pratt (2007) Ch 10
Lockyer, Heathcote, & Dawson (2013)
Siemens (2013)

Current Trends I
Impact of Open Learning Environment Movement to Online Learning
Jézégou (2013)
Nikoi & Armellini (2012)
Wiley, & Hilton (2009)

Hilton, et al (2013)


Current Trends II
MOOCs, Mobile Learning, and Media Trends
DeWaard (2011)
Liyanagunawardena, Adams, & Williams (2013)
Traxler (2009)

 14 4/15
Participant Work Week

 15 4/22
Participant Project Presentations
Final Project and Presentation

Week 1

  • Gayol, Y. (2010). Online learning research. In K. E. Rudestam & J. Schoenholtz-Read (Eds.), Handbook of Online Learning (2nd ed.) (pp. 197-225). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Muilenburg, L. Y., & Berge, Z. L. (2005). Student barriers to online learning: A factor analytic study. Distance Education, 26, 29-48. doi:10.1080/01587910500081269
  • Text: Palloff, R. M. & Pratt, K. (2007) Ch 1
Week 2
  • Text: Conrad & Donaldson (2011) Chp 1 & 2
  • Hrastinski, S. (2010). How Do e-Learners Participate in Synchronous Online Discussions? Evolutionary and Social Psychological Perspectives. In N. Kock (Ed.), Evolutionary Psychology and Information Systems Research (pp. 119–147). Springer US. Retrieved from
  • Text: Lehman & Conceicao (2010) Chp 1
Week 3
  • Anderson, A. H., McEwan, R., Bal, J., & Carletta, J. (2007). Virtual team meetings: An analysis of communication and context. Computers in Human Behavior, 23(5), 2558–2580. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2007.01.001
  • Asterhan, C. S. C., & Schwarz, B. B. (2010). Online moderation of synchronous e-argumentation. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 5(3), 259–282. doi:10.1007/s11412-010-9088-2
  • Kauppila, O.-P., Rajala, R., & Jyrämä, A. (2011). Knowledge Sharing Through Virtual Teams Across Borders and Boundaries. Management Learning, 42(4), 395–418. doi:10.1177/1350507610389685


  • Edwards, M., Perry, B., & Janzen, K. (2011). The making of an exemplary online educator. Distance Education, 32, 101-118. doi:10.1080/01587919.2011.565499
  • Text: Palloff, R. M. & Pratt, K. (2007) Ch 6
  • Stewart, B. L., Goodson, C. E., Miertschin, S. L., Norwood, M. L., & Ezell, S. (2013). Online Student Support Services: A Case Based on Quality Frameworks. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 9(2). Retrieved from

Week 5

  • Haythornthwaite, C. & Andrews, R., (2011). E-learning Theory and Practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Ch 3
  • Garrison, D. R., & Cleveland-Innes, M. (2005). Facilitating Cognitive Presence in Online Learning: Interaction Is Not Enough. American Journal of Distance Education, 19, 133-148. doi:10.1207/s15389286ajde1903_2
  • Text: Palloff, R. M. & Pratt, K. (2007) Ch 2

Week 6

  • Bonk, C. J., & Zhang, K. (2006). Introducing the R2D2 Model: Online learning for the diverse learners of this world. Distance Education, 27, 249-264. doi:10.1080/01587910600789670
  • Koszalka, T., & Ganesan, R. (2004). Designing online courses: A taxonomy to guide strategic use of features available in course management systems (CMS) in distance education. Distance Education, 25(2), 243–256. doi:10.1080/0158791042000262111
  • Philip, R., & Nicholls, J. (2007). Theatre Online: The design and drama of e‐learning. Distance Education, 28(3), 261–279. doi:10.1080/01587910701611310

Week 7

  • Text: Lehman & Conceicao (2010) Chp 3 & 4
  • Text: Palloff, R. M. & Pratt, K. (2007) Ch 7 & 8

Week 8

  • Agger-Gupta, D. (2010). Uncertain frontiers: Exploring ethical dimensions of online learning. In K. E. Rudestam & J. Schoenholtz-Read (Eds.), Handbook of Online Learning (2nd ed.). SAGE.
  • Marsico, M., Kimani, S., Mirabella, V., Norman, K. L., & Catarci, T. (2006). A proposal toward the development of accessible e-learning content by human involvement. Universal Access in the Information Society, 5, 150-169. doi:10.1007/s10209-006-0035-y
  • Text: Palloff, R. M. & Pratt, K. (2007) Ch 3
Week 9
  • Irving, C. J., & English, L. M. (2011). Community in Cyberspace: Gender, Social Movement Learning, and the Internet. Adult Education Quarterly, 61(3), 262–278. doi:10.1177/0741713610380448
  • Remmele, B., & Holthaus, M. (2013). De-gendering in the use of e-learning. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 14(3), 27–42.
  • Tsai, M.-J., & Tsai, C.-C. (2010). Junior high school students’ Internet usage and self-efficacy: A re-examination of the gender gap. Computers & Education, 54(4), 1182–1192. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2009.11.004
Week 11
  • Text: Conrad & Donaldson (2011) Chp 4
  • Lockyer, L., Heathcote, E., & Dawson, S. (2013). Informing Pedagogical Action Aligning Learning Analytics With Learning Design. American Behavioral Scientist, 57(10), 1439–1459. doi:10.1177/0002764213479367
  • Text: Palloff, R. M. & Pratt, K. (2007) Ch 10
  • Siemens, G. (2013). Learning Analytics The Emergence of a Discipline. American Behavioral Scientist, 57(10), 1380–1400. doi:10.1177/0002764213498851
Week 12
  • Jézégou, A. (2013). The influence of the openness of an e-learning situation on adult students’ self-regulation. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 14(3), 182–201.
  • Nikoi, S., & Armellini, A. (2012). The OER mix in higher education: purpose, process, product, and policy. Distance Education, 33(2), 165–184. doi:10.1080/01587919.2012.697439
  • Wiley, D. & Hilton, J. (2009). Openness, dynamic specialization & the disaggregated future of higher education. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning 10(5), PID:


  • Hilton, J. L, Gaudet, D., Clark, P., Robinson, J., & Wiley, D. (2013). The adoption of open educational resources by one community college math department. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 14(4). Retrieved from
Week 13
  • DeWaard, I., Abajian, S., Gallagher, M.S., Hogue, R., Keskin, N., Koutropoulos, A. & Rodriguez, O.C. (2011). Using mLearning and MOOCs to understand chaos, emergence, and complexity in design. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning 12(7), 95-115.
  • Liyanagunawardena, T. R., Adams, A. A., & Williams, S. A. (2013). MOOCs: A systematic study of the published literature 2008-2012. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 14(3), 202–227.
  • Traxler, J. (2009). Learning in a Mobile Age: International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, 1(1), 1–12. doi:10.4018/jmbl.2009010101

Last updated: October 12, 2016