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Designing for Deep and Meaningful Student-to-Content Interactions
ILT Faculty Publications
  • Joanna C. Dunlap, School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver
  • Donna Sobel, University of Colorado Denver
  • Deanna Sands, University of Colorado at Denver
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Online education has skyrocketed in popularity. Every year, more universities are starting online programs. This increase is mostly due to institutional economics, and the demands of students who face a number of obstacles that make the on-campus format inconvenient. The University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center is no different. Over the last few years, there have been numerous institutional initiatives to encourage faculty to create new online programs or online versions of existing on-campus programs. As part of a program level effort to offer a fully online licensure program in the area of special education that would meet the growing statewide demand, the authors were charged to create an online version of the "Instructional Strategies for Students with Severe Needs" course. As part of a professional preparation program, this course is a methods course designed to prepare pre-service teachers to work with students who have significant support needs. The purpose of the course is twofold: (a) to promote the acquisition of knowledge and skill in service provision for children and youth who have a range of "low incidence disabilities," including severe and multiple disabilities; and (b) to support pre-service teachers' evolvement into empathetic, self-aware, socially conscious educators. This article describes two important steps in their design process: (1) Determining appropriate strategies for supporting deep and meaningful student-to-content interactions; and (2) structuring student-to-content interactions within professionally relevant problems.

Citation Information
Dunlap, J.C., Sobel, D.M., & Sands, D. (2007). Supporting students’ cognitive process- ing in online courses: Designing for deep and meaningful student-to-content interac- tions. TechTrends, 51(4), 20-31.