They Aren't Wrong, We Are: Designing Online Courses for How Students Actually Use Them
As instructional designers and academic technologists, we devote our time to working with faculty and content experts to meticulously design and develop online courses. The student voice, however, is all but absent in this process. We are making broad assumptions about who our students are and how they will interact with the environments we design. We are creating these courses for them, and if they aren’t using them the way we expect, they aren’t doing it wrong, we are. After undergoing usability testing of multiple online course designs, the Office of E-Learning Services, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, gained a better understanding of how students think and operate in our online courses. As a result of this testing we have implemented numerous changes to our design process, the most important of which is a commitment to building relationships with our students.