Educational Communication, an all-online undergraduate course offered by eConcordia, received the top award in the Instructional Design category of the 2022 in Canadian Network for Innovation in Education Awards of Excellence.
Educational Communication is two asynchronous undergraduate courses in one.
- Prepares students specializing in Education, to communicate instructional content in genres typical of work in the field, including definitions, concepts (descriptions), procedures, objectives, tests, and lesson plans.
- Prepares students specializing in Professional Writing to communicate informational content in genres used in that line of work, including definitions, descriptions, procedures, references like catalogs, announcements like press releases, and how-to articles.
(See the overlap!)
- The course also attracts students in other majors seeking to strengthen their professional writing skills.
Because of a significant overlap of content for the two groups of students, this course is designed as a single course with two paths through parts of it: one for Education students, another for Professional Writing students.
Unique characteristics of this course:
- The two-path approach. Students take the first four lessons of the course together. They then choose to follow one of two paths for the fifth and sixth lessons to learn about writing objectives, tests, and lesson plans in the educational path, or about writing reference material and announcements on the professional communication path. Students converge again for the last two lessons. As noted earlier, each lesson also includes a style lesson; those are the same in every lesson, regardless of the path students choose.
- A specially-written pair of open textbooks specifically tailored to this course: one focusing on the genres taught in the course and the other focusing on the matters of styles addressed in the course. Open texts are available at no cost to students.
- Integrated self assessments and self-efficacy checks. The former let students assess their developing skills and receive feedback. The latter let students assess their feelings of confidence, which the instructor uses to determine whether intervention is needed.
- Integrated live virtual sessions, which occur a week before each graded assignment is due and provide the instructor an opportunity to assess the extent to which students have familiarized themselves with the content and students with the opportunity to receive clarifications on the assignments. A special session with a working communicator occurs during the eighth lesson.
- Peer-reviewed assignments. To provide students with additional opportunities to practice writing beyond the graded assignments, the course includes three peer-reviewed assignments, in which students write an assignment that two other students review (automatically assigned by the system) according to criteria provided. Students also receive training to ensure that they feel comfortable reviewing other students’ work.
- Assignment topics tailored to students’ majors (though students can choose topics outside of their major if they wish).
Student response to the course has been positive, as measured by student surveys taken twice during the pilot course, and comments made subsequently, when others have taught the class.
The course was developed by Professor Saul Carliner (Department of Education), and Instructional Designer Vanessa McCance and Project Manager Mathieu Guilbault from KnowledgeOne.