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Developing and using an instrument to describe instructional design elements of high school online courses

, University of Oregon, United States

University of Oregon . Awarded


This study involved the development of an instrument for measuring instructional design elements of high school online courses and the use of that instrument to describe contemporary practice in five online schools. Instrument development included the following: (a) identifying a theory-based set of instructional design variables, (b) organizing and constructing an electronic instrument to gather data on those variables, (c) pilot testing the instrument, and (d) submitting the instrument to expert review and inter-rater reliability testing. The resulting instrument includes three review levels (course, lesson, and assessment) and 156 elements. It exists in electronic format and has an accompanying descriptors list. For each element, the descriptors include a construct description, rating rubric, and theoretical basis for inclusion.

Following development, the instrument was used to describe the instructional design elements of 22 online courses drawn from five online high schools. This process was comprised of: (a) selecting a representative sample of courses, (b) rating each course, including a representative sample of lessons and assessments, (c) aggregating data across courses, and (d) analyzing the information for common design elements and patterns of use. Results are presented as tables providing both number and percent occurrence for each instructional element and all fields within the element.

The discussion addresses frequently occurring instructional design variables that mimic traditional teaching models (e.g., heavy use of lecture format) and variables whose frequency differs sharply from what would be expected based on a review of the literature (e.g., levels of peer interaction). In addition to reporting common and distinguishing characteristics of the sample courses, the study provides recommendations for online course designers and suggestions for future research.


Keeler, C.G. Developing and using an instrument to describe instructional design elements of high school online courses. Ph.D. thesis, University of Oregon. Retrieved February 17, 2020 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

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