Sample Course Syllabus

Course Description

Welcome to my “Learning Living Room” and to this exciting course titled “Foundations of Distance Education and Training”. This course focuses on the principles of distance education as a medium for courses, degrees and training-based instruction. The history, technologies, philosophies and best practices associated with distance learning will be presented and analyzed. Current and future critical issues that impact the teaching/learning environment in distance delivery modalities will also be examined.

Textbooks and Supplies

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S. Albright, M. & Zvacek, S. (2000), Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice-Hall. (ISBN 0-13-769258-7)

Heinich, R. Molenda, M. Russell, J.D. & Smaldino, S. (1999). Instructional media and technologies for learning supplement (custom edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice-Hall.

These materials are available at the IVCC Bookstore.

Expected Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • Analyze the evolution of distance learning from the 1850’s to the present.
  • Define the key terminology of DE.
  • Compare and contrast the different applications of DE and training.
  • Identify and analyze the use of various synchronous and asynchronous systems to deliver DE.
  • Support the need for instructional design when planning a distance education course.
  • Identify the teaching strategies and media that promote effective student learning in a distance learning environment.
  • Explain the emerging trends in distance education delivery.

Disability Statement

In an effort to create a classroom environment that maximizes the success of all students, I encourage you to make me aware of any barriers that may inhibit your learning.  Feel free to speak to me at any time about concerns or questions you may have about assignments, activities, or assessments.  The college provides several support services for students who have barriers to learning.  They include, but are not limited to:  Disability Services Office, Writing Center/Peer Tutoring, Counseling Center, and Project Success.  Please see me if you want to learn more about any of these offices. 

Attendance Policy

You are reminded that in order to be in attendance during the week, you must post at least one message to the main discussion board on two different days of the week. I remind you that if you are out of attendance for an accumulated amount of time either online or in our face-to-face meetings, and I feel that these absences will interfere with your progress and your ability to successfully complete this course, I have the right to drop you from the course without prior notice. Students are expected to attend all classes regularly.  If absence from class is unavoidable, it is the student's responsibility to explain the absence to his instructor(s) and arrange to complete any work missed.Participation and Grades

You will be expected to participate in the Online classroom by contributing to the class discussions three out of seven days each week with two or more messages each of the three days. Messages must be substantive in order to be counted toward the Participation requirement. Messages such as “I agree” or “Good job” do not qualify as “substantive”. I am looking for messages which further develop the content of discussion.

To meet your participation requirement, you must post messages to the Main newsgroup. 

Note: Posting ASSIGNMENTS does not count toward fulfilling the requirement for posting two or more substantive messages in the Main newsgroup three out of seven days.

Grades will be based on the following assignments:


Individual (48%)

“Brick and Click” Paper – Week One  80 Points

Problem Discovery Paper – Week Two  80 Points

Product Investigation Paper – Week Three  80 Points

Distance Education Platform Evaluation Final Report – Week Four  160 Points

Learning Team (34%)

E-learning conversion plan (I) – Week One   60

E-learning conversion plan n(II) – Week Two  60

E-learning conversion plan (Final) – Week Three  80

e-learning conversion plan PowerPoint Presentation – Week Four  60

Participation (12%)  80

Weekly Summary (6%)  40

Total Points:  780 


Learning Teams

Each class participant will be assigned to a learning team before the end of the first week of class. Each learning group will be assigned one grade for each group activity. However, I will be monitoring the activities of each group member and will adjust the grades for individuals on group assignments if they have not contributed at the level of the other group members.

You may find that you team wants to do some work off-line. That might be by telephone or by a chat room. Please feel free to do so. However, everyone in the group needs to agree to meet by that method. Our online class structure is an asynchronous model of education, which means that each person may attend the online portion of the class on his or her own schedule. If chats or telephone meetings do not work for everyone in the group then plan to use BlackBoard only. If you do meet outside of the learning team newsgroup, post a message in your team newsgroup summarizing the information discussed for each offline meeting. (You will need to have a designated note-taker for each offline meeting).

Please remember that should a dispute rise concerning any student performance, it is only possible to confirm what has been posted in the newsgroup. Therefore documenting each meeting is vital for your protection.

Withdrawal Policy and Financial Aid Statement

Your participation in this class is required.  I reserve the right to withdraw you from this class if one or more of the following conditions are met and you have failed to provide me with a valid explanation.

  • You do not log into the course for 10 consecutive days.
  • You do not complete four consecutive assignments.
  • You do not complete 2 unit tests.

Withdrawals may be initiated by either the student or instructor.  Instructions for student initiated withdrawals are available online at http://www.ivcc.edu/admissions.aspx?id=18560.  Withdrawing from a class can impact your financial aid status. 

Plagiarism and Cheating

The following statement on plagiarism and cheating was adopted by the Humanities and Fine Arts Division:

Plagiarism constitutes the appropriation of another person's exact words or original thoughts or writing without extending proper credit (using in-text citations and a works cited reference list) to the original source. As such, plagiarism exists as an illegal action—a type of theft that, in the business/professional world, for example, could result in severe penalties against you.

The administration and faculty of Illinois Valley Community College prohibit plagiarism, whether the language and the ideas originate from a published source or from work done by another student. Commission of plagiarism and/or cheating may result in failure of the course and/or dismissal from the college.

Simply, plagiarism is not worth the effort; don't do it!

Library Resources

The library hours are Mon.-Thurs. from 7:30 am-8:00 pm, and Friday hours are 7:30 am-4:30 pm. Notices of shortened hours are posted on the library web page.  Please plan your work on research assignments accordingly. Many library resources are available online with your IVCC student ID at https://www.ivcc.edu/library. Chat online or text the library at 1-815-605-0482 for assistance.

The mission of Jacobs Library is to provide resources to enhance the IVCC learning programs, and services that enable our community to seek, evaluate, and use information. To fulfill that mission the library promotes an environment for quiet reading, study, research, and computer access by individuals, as well as small group work in designated areas. Students need to be respectful of this mission and of other students using the library for quiet reading, study and research. Failure to abide by the rules of the library and failure to follow directions of staff will subject students to the Student Code of Conduct. If you, or a group you are with, are disruptive you will be asked to leave the library.

Jacobs Library (located on the main campus) helps you get to know your college library’s collections and services. A self-guided orientation is available whenever the library is open for you to learn about the library at your own pace. Allow about 20 minutes and bring your IVCC student ID to the library service desk in A-201 to get started.  If you prefer to participate in a guided orientation with a library staff member, please bring your IVCC student ID to the library at one of the scheduled times posted at https://www.ivcc.edu/libraryorientation.

 Classroom Rules

Course Changes – There may be times when the assignments listed on the course syllabus vary from what is posted onto Blackboard. If there are any differences between the syllabus and what is listed in the assignments folder I will make sure to notify you via email. Regardless of any changes in course materials, the course objectives will remain the same.

Annual Theme of Instruction

Respect-- one of IVCC's core values of respect, caring, honesty, fairness and responsibility, represented by the acronym ReaCHFaR-- has been chosen as this year's campus wide theme. This semester, as you complete class readings, articulate in class discussions and engage in group activities consider how respect is represented. While some class activities during the semester will involve the theme, respect is a value that guides our daily lives. Perhaps Aretha Franklin sang it best: "R-e-s-p-e-c-t, find out what it means to me." This semester, discover what respect means to you.


In the virtual classroom, you communicate with your classmates and Instructor primarily in writing through the public course bulletin board, e-mail, and sometimes chat sessions. "Online manners" are generally known as "netiquette." As a general rule, you should adhere to the same classroom conduct that you would "off-line" in a face-to-face course. Some examples of proper netiquette are:

  • Avoid writing messages in all capital letters. THIS IS GENERALLY UNDERSTOOD AS SHOUTING.
  • Be careful what you put in writing. Even if you are writing an e-mail message to one person, assume that anyone could read it. Though you may send an e-mail to a single person, it is very easy to forward your message to hundreds or thousands of people.
  • Grammar and spelling matter. Online courses demand the same standard of academic communication and use of grammar as face-to-face courses.
  • Never use profanity in any area of an online course. The transcripts of online course bulletin boards, email, and chat sessions are savable.
  • When responding to messages, only use "Reply to All" when you really intend to reply to all.
  • Avoid unkindly public criticism of others. Publicly criticizing others in an inappropriate way is known as "flaming."
  • Use sarcasm cautiously. In the absence of nonverbal cues such as facial expressions and voice inflections, the context for your sarcasm may be lost, and your message may thus be misinterpreted.

In a face-to-face setting, our tone of voice and facial expressions may convey as much of our meaning as the words we use. In a written message, the subtext of your meaning may be confused or misinterpreted. "Emoticons" are sometimes used in conjunction with text to overlay emotion in a written message, to clarify the meaning. It is a good idea to check with your Professor as to when (or if) it is appropriate in any areas of the online classroom to use emoticons or commonly used Internet slang abbreviations (e.g., "lol," "brb," etc.). Some examples of emoticons are:


Here are just a few examples of some popular smileys (it helps if you read them sideways):

Symbols Used for Online Communications

:-) smile

|-( late night

B-| sunglasses

;-) wink

:-( sad

[:-) listening to walkman

:-& tongue-tied

:<| Ivy Leaguer

8-) glasses

:-} wry or fiendish grin

:-0 big mouth

:-@ screaming

:-D big smile

:-I hmmm

(:-) smiley big-face

:-] sarcasm

Source: How to Succeed in an Online Course: Study Skills and Survival Tips. 6.2.05http://www.distancelearning.org/howtosucceed.html


WEEK 1 – January 10-16, 2005


  1. Read chapters 1, 2 & 4 – Teaching and learning at a distance
  2. Read chapters 2 & 10 – Instructional media and technologies for learning supplement
  3. Create a weekly summary on your weeks learning (Due every Friday)
  4. Select a team leader that will facilitate the individual learning teams.


Description of Assignmnets


Team or Individual

Project/Assignment Description

Online or F2F

Date Due



Student Bio.





Select a team leader for the Week





Select a Team Name





Provide Team Definition of Distance Learning





Weekly Summary




WEEK 2– January 17-23, 2005


  1. Read chapters 3 & 7 – Teaching and learning at a distance
  2. Read the articles available at the IVCC Library (insert links to articles here).
  3. The proposal report on a distance education vendor or network – Submit a 450 word proposal on the distance educator vendor or network you have chosen for your final, including an annotated bibliography or 4-5 references. (Due January
  4. Select a team leader that will facilitate the individual learning teams.


List of Assignmnets for Week 2


Team or Individual

Project/Assignment Description

Online or F2F

Date Due



Proposal on a Distance Education Vendor or Network containing at least 400-450 words, a cover page and annotated bibliography. Instructions: (Choose 1 Distance Education Vendor or Network outlined in Assignment Document located in Materials/Course Newsgroup)





Learner Profile





Weekly Summary





Create a Distance Learning Glossary of Terms



*This template can be duplicated for each week of class.


Login Instructions

Describe how to access course and where to access helpful documents.

Technical Support

The Student Help Desk provides individualized academic assistance to all students utilizing computer technology. The Help Desk Support Staff provides assistance to students in person, on the phone, and via e-mail.

Phone: 815-224-0318

Location: The Learning Commons (D201)

Email: crc@ivcc.edu

Web Page: Learning Commons

If you need assistance with communication tools or software issues, contact our staff.

If you are having trouble with your computer, you will need to contact the manufacturer or the store where you bought it.

If you are having trouble with your Internet connection, you should contact your Internet Services Provider (ISP).

Please call 224-0318 as soon as you detect a problem during regular campus hours.

Contingency Plan

You will need a lifeline computer--that is a computer that you can use if your home computer is not working, or if you lose your Internet connection.  The IVCC Computer Resource Center may serve as your lifeline.

Always remember to save materials frequently.  Keep a record of all correspondences that you send to me, including emails and assignment submissions.  Technology failures are not an automatic excuse for late or missed work.

I will acknowledge the receipt of assignments that you are directed to submit via email.  If you do not receive an acknowledgement, it is your responsibility to follow-up to determine if I have received it.

I will not acknowledge receipt of all email messages, but will attempt to respond to them promptly.

If the course Blackboard system fails, I will post assignment due-date modifications and other contingency notices to my web page [reference page address].

If the campus web site is down, I will post an announcement in the Blackboard  (http://ivcc.blackboard.com) to direct you to other resources or services.

If I lose my email access, I will communicate with you using the Contingency Plan Forum in Blackboard.  I will post an announcement in Blackboard directing you to this forum.