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Abstract

Although there are obvious differences between online instruction and face-to-face instruction, this paper focuses on their similarities. One of the challenges when designing a course that has been successfully taught in a face-to-face format is deciding what will stay the same versus what will be changed. How does one replace what happens in class with meaningful online content? In what ways can content be presented aside from reading text on one's computer screen? With these questions in mind, an instructor began collaborating with an instructional designer to develop her first online course, a graduate level course in pupil assessment and evaluation.

This paper describes the structure and components of that course. The instructor and instructional designer worked together to infuse three principles of instruction: a) developing a community of learners, (b) promoting critical thinking, and (c) defining clear expectations. Data from course evaluations indicated that overall, students perceived themselves as part of a community of learners, engaged in critical thinking, and found the course expectations to be clear. Applying the same principles of learning from a face-to-face course in an online course seems to have resulted in a successful course, at least from the students' perspective. The major problem identified is common to both face-to-face and online formats -- balancing the demands of the student workload in this challenging course with the expectations and life realities of students who maintain full time jobs and active family commitments.

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