The purpose of the edX online HTML 5 course is to familiarize the audience with the new structure of HTML 5 as well as the benefits of the new coding structure. The course begins by introducing students to the overall course objectives which include exposing them to the new coding structure and the corresponding new features. Features include tags that are more descriptive and therefore more accessible as well as features that make incorporation of multimedia functionality more seamless. The course is broken down by weekly topics and within those topics are sub topics that focus the learning. Each week the facilitator introduces the topic to add a personal touch and to address why the week’s content is important. This primer provides context around the learning to guide students in their studies for the week. The content for each topic contains a variety of media in addition to the static content. Code examples are provided to distinguish between the old version and new version. Examples are also shown to indicate proper coding structure. There is also use of video to demonstrate certain concepts such how attribute apply to audio and video. Finally, students are provided with an example of what the final piece should look like.

 

This course, as is the case with other online courses, relies on andragogy and active learning theories. Students are expected to be self-directed, self-paced and autonomous. Everything the student needs in terms of content is provided within the course. This includes additional resources provided through a class wiki and some informal assessments provided through knowledge checks. A discussion area is also provided for active learning opportunities. While there is something to be said for the convenience of these types of courses there can also be drawbacks, especially in open source course. The biggest issue is the very large class size. This can hinder any effective active learning activities. On a smaller scale, as it applies to a regular higher education online course, this environment can lead to a disconnect among participants. The classroom environment and classroom discussion cannot be replicated in the same way. While there is plenty of opportunity for enriching discussion within this format it takes away some of the personal quality of an in classroom environment. Also, students of different learning styles may struggle within this environment due to the predominantly static nature of the content. However, through the use of meaningful technology some of these challenges can be combatted. There will never be a way to replicate the classroom in the online environment but there is a way to utilize technology tools to their full potential in order to provide all student with the opportunity for success within a virtual environment.

 

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