EDDL 5111: Introduction to Distributed Learning (Winter 2023 Cope Watson)

Your instructor for the course will be providing additional resources and instructions to help personalize the content in the course. Look for weekly posts or announcements and be sure to send them a message if you have any questions.


The campuses of Thompson Rivers University are located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Secwepemc Nation within Secwepemcul’ecw. As we share knowledge, teaching, learning, and research within this university, we recognize that this territory has always been a place of teaching, learning, and research.

We respectfully acknowledge the Secwepemc—the peoples who have lived here for thousands of years, and who today are a Nation of 17 Bands.

We acknowledge Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc.

We acknowledge T’exelcemc and Xat’súll.

We acknowledge the many Indigenous peoples from across this land. (Knowledge Makers, n.d.)


Welcome to EDDL 5111: Introduction to Distributed Learning

This Course Guide contains important information about the course structure, learning materials, and expectations for completing the course requirements. It also provides information about how and when to contact your Open Learning Faculty Member, an expert in the course content, who will guide you through the course. Take some time to read through the Course Guide to familiarize yourself with what you need to do to successfully complete your course.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your Open Learning Faculty Member. We hope you enjoy the course.

Course Description

Students—teacher candidates, in-service teachers, faculty members, and trainers—will explore educational theories related to teaching with technology through a variety of lenses including traditional, Indigenous, and universal design for learning (UDL).  Participants will explore a variety of topics including learning theory and pedagogy in digital environments, consideration and application of technological tools to enhance the learning environment, instructional design approaches, and examination and design of assessment strategies.


A Bachelor of Education, a bachelor’s degree in another discipline with teaching qualifications or experience, or permission from the School of Education’s Academic Director or designate.

Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • Interpret learning theory and pedagogy as it has been applied to digital learning.
  • Explain the connection between instructional design, learning theory and course/activity structure.
  • Using traditional and indigenous lenses, apply learning theory, instructional approaches and pedagogical content knowledge congruently to design learning in digital learning environments.
  • Select technology to enhance specific objectives for learning in digital learning environments.
  • Implement principles of design thinking and instructional design.
  • Design a learning activity or unit that integrates technology and pedagogy.
  • Apply appropriate strategies for assessing learning in digital learning environments that are congruent with pedagogical content knowledge and learning and design theory for diverse learners.
  • Situate design choices within existing educational theory

Course Materials

This section describes the course materials that you will need for EDDL 5111.

Required Textbook

These are open texts available for download without cost.

Bates, A. W. (2015). Teaching in a digital age: Guidelines for designing teaching and learning. Vancouver, BC: Tony Bates Associates. ISBN-13: 978-0-9952692-1-7

Antoine, A., Mason, R., Mason, R., Palahicky, S., & Rodriguez de France, C. (2018). Pulling together: A guide for curriculum developers. Pulling together: A guide for Indigenization of post-secondary institutions. A professional learning series. Retrieved from: https://opentextbc.ca/indigenizationcurriculumdevelopers/. CC BY-NC

Hardware, Software, Computer Skills, and Other Resources

Technical Basics lists the general hardware, software, and computer skills requirements for your course.

Additional Resources

You will be consulting a variety of resources throughout the course, including your course textbook, selected web resources and resources your fellow students may post to discussion forums. As such, a computer with Internet access is required.

Course Topics

This course is divided into four sections, with are further divided into modules of study. Each module consists of an overview, learning outcome, activity checklist, and learning activities divided into topics.

The course and module learning outcomes summarize what you can expect to “know and do” by the end of the course and/or module. The learning activities and assignments include steps to follow when completing a module.

Section 1 – Background to Educational Design

  • Week 1: The Continuum of Education: From Place-Based to Distance
  • Week 2: Congruence in Education
  • Week 3: Theoretical Approaches to Distributed Learning and Teaching

Section 2 – Finding and Selecting Web-Based Educational Technology

  • Week 4-5: Choosing Technology

Section 3 – Designing Instruction that Incorporates Technology

  • Week 6: Design Models
  • Week 7: Design Perspectives
  • Weeks 8-9: Designing for Instruction

Section 4 – Designing Assessment

  • Weeks 10-11: Assessment and Evaluation
  • Week 12: Final Project

Learning Activities

EDDL 5111 provides interactive and collaborative activities with other students and your Open Learning Faculty Member, as well as opportunities to apply your learning in relevant real-world contexts. Working through these activities will help you meet the course learning outcomes and successfully complete your assessments.

For this course, you may from time to time use a synchronous (i.e., real time) online conferencing tool which will allow participants to gather in an online meeting room. Your Open Learning Faculty Member will provide you with more information about how and when to participate in these conferences, if needed.


The readings are the core resource for the course, so be sure to read carefully and take notes.

Case Studies

This type of learning, called case-based learning, is included in this course in order to link theory and practice through the use of a “case.” Cases are specific scenarios that resemble or are real-world examples. The case studies are intended to promote both the acquisition of content knowledge, as well as analytic and application skills.


The course includes links to online videos. You may find it valuable to take notes while watching the videos to refer to when completing assignments.

Read Online Discussions for information about discussion guidelines and etiquette.


To complete this course successfully, you must achieve a passing grade of 70% or higher on the overall course and 50% or higher on the mandatory Final Project. The following table shows how your final grade will be determined for this course.

Assessment Value
Blog Posts and Discussion 20%
Assignment 1: Philosophy of Teaching 15%
Assignment 2A: Draft Lesson Plan 15%
Assignment 2B: Peer Feedback on Lesson Plan 10%
Final Project: Complete Lesson Plan and Analysis 40%


Refer to the Course Schedule section in this Course Guide for assignment due dates.

Blog Posts and Discussion Forums (20%)

At times you will be asked to post a response to a question in your blog. You’ll make your post available to your colleagues and hopefully benefit from their review and comments on it. At other times, you will be asked to discuss an issue with your classmates in a discussion forum. When using the forum it is very important that you tag your post with your name. This will allow the Open Learning Faculty Member to filter your discussion posts when the time for grading arrives. To view the grading rubric for this assignment click here.

Why do we want to introduce colleague feedback into an online course? Without the walls and group dynamics of a traditional classroom, these dialogues become the classroom. The benefit is exactly equal to the effort everyone puts into it. The more comments, the richer the environment. And if no one posts comments, it becomes stale. Please engage with your colleagues!

It is important to establish rules and guidelines around these discussions to ensure that all participants feel welcome and comfortable and to help establish good communication in the course:

  • To ensure that this area actually constitutes a discussion, or even better, a conversation, make sure that you post as early as possible. This will get the discussion going and will help the conversations flow. On the other hand, do not be offended if fellow learners do not post back right away; commitments other than school often interfere with best intentions.
  • Focus on exploring ideas, stimulating discussion, and receiving feedback from your fellow course participants and your Open Learning Faculty Member rather than trying to write the perfect answer. You should think about the topics we are discussing and formulate your ideas before posting them. You might want to compile your thoughts and ideas in another document and then cut and paste them in when you are satisfied with them.
  • Remember that communication in cyberspace lacks the visual and non-verbal cues that we are used to in traditional face-to-face classrooms. We need to make sure we consider all the possible meanings of a text message, and rather than leave ourselves open to misinterpretation or display negative reactions, we need to clarify the intent of the message. Sending or posting any inflammatory or confrontational exchanges via technology, can lead to complete communication breakdown, breaking the feeling of trust that can be built through the development of online communities.
  • To help clarify your message use emojis or other acronyms to give contextual clues.
  • Keep your postings relatively short for ease of reading (maximum 20 lines or 250 words). Your paragraphs should be 4–6 sentences long, and make sure you use proper capitals and punctuation.
  • If you are going to be absent from the discussion for any length of time, let everyone else know so that they do not miss you.
  • When responding to colleagues, always remember to be respectful of everyone’s ideas. To create a similar space to that of a classroom, everyone needs to feel welcome and valued. The discussion areas should be a safe place to create collective knowledge and to explore the topics in the course in greater depth.

Assignments (40%)

Non-completion of an assignment will result in a mark of zero for that assignment.

Assignment 1: Philosophy of Teaching. After completing several preliminary reflective activities, write a brief (500-750 word) description of your philosophy of teaching as it applies to a specific teaching location.

Assignment 2A: Draft Lesson Plan. Using a systematic approach, develop a prototype for a lesson that will incorporate educational technology. The lesson may be designed for purely online or blended delivery.

Assignment 2B: Peer Feedback on Draft Lesson Plan. Provide feedback on one of your classmates’ prototypes.

Final Project (40%)

Based on the peer feedback complete your lesson plan. Build on the lesson plan by describe an approach to assess the student learning.

To accompany the lesson plan submit an analysis of it that documents the strategies and choices you’ve made in consideration of course content. This analysis should be between 750 – 1,000 words and include reference to sources used. Use APA style to cite sources.

Note: Always keep a copy of each assignment you submit so that you have a copy to refer to in the event of a telephone or email conference with your Open Learning Faculty Member.

Grading Scale

The official grading scale for this Open Learning course is the TRU Graduate Programs scale as noted in TRU’s Grading Systems and Procedures.

Once all your coursework and final exam marks are entered by your Open Learning Faculty Member, the system assigns the grade. You may check your marks at myTRU.

Academic Integrity

Appropriate academic conduct requires that you complete your assignments independently, honestly, and without misrepresentation or plagiarism. Typically, plagiarism occurs in three forms: when a writer uses someone’s exact words or ideas as if they were her/his own, paraphrases someone’s ideas without acknowledgement or identifying the source, or simply does not include the proper citations.

Be sure to cite all sources of direct quotations and borrowed ideas. If you do not, you could fail your assignments and, potentially, the course.

Each assignment is viewed individually for academic integrity. Please be aware, should you choose to submit multiple assignments at the same time and if an academic integrity violation is discovered in more than one of those assignments, that each assignment submission will be viewed as a separate offence and sanctions will be applied accordingly.

Note: Citing facts, statistics, or other illustrative materials deemed to be common knowledge is not considered to be plagiarism.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are fully familiar with the “Forms of Academic Dishonesty” section of the TRU Student Academic Integrity Policy.

TRU Library also provides the valuable Plagiarism: What It Is and How to Avoid It resource.

Be sure to cite the sources you use in assessments and discussions. Check with your Open Learning Faculty Member to see which style to use. TRU Library’s Citation Style Guides is an excellent resource for writing academic citations.

Help Available

The following sections describe the support that is available to you throughout this course.

Open Learning Faculty Member

Your Open Learning Faculty Member will guide your learning in this course, mark and comment on your assignments, and provide you with whatever assistance you need with your coursework. You are encouraged to contact your Open Learning Faculty Member early and often; for example, when:

  • You wish to discuss any ideas about the course content.
  • You do not understand some aspect of the course instructions or assessments.
  • You have difficulty with any of the assigned readings.
  • You have a question or a problem arising from your Open Learning Faculty Member’s comments or grading of your assessments.

TRU Library

TRU Library provides you with access to online, print, and audiovisual resources to successfully complete your assignments and for further reading on any topic discussed in this course.

The Distance, Regional, and Open Learning (DROL) services include the direct delivery of library materials at no cost to you and one-on-one research assistance.

Use the Discover search box to search for the library’s resources. You will be prompted to log-in using your TRU network account. You may need to change the default password to your network account before you will be able to access the library’s resources. See Student Network Account for information.

You can request assistance by email or phone 250-852-6402 (Kamloops, BC) or 1-800-663-1699 (toll-free in Canada).

Writing Centre 

The Writing Centre can help you with feedback on your writing. You can request help with any stage of the writing process, including: understanding assignment requirements; tips on brainstorming and idea generation; feedback on organization, sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation; resources for academic citations and avoiding plagiarism; and strategies for effective revision. You may ask for help with a specific writing problem or for general feedback. Open Learning students can get support online or in person on TRU’s Kamloops campus.

Technical Support

If you have problems using the tools or features of the course website, check the Technical Basics web page to see if you are using the correct hardware and software required for your course. If you still experience problems, go to the IT Service Desk.

For help, email the IT Service Desk or call 1-888-852-8533 (toll-free in Canada), 250-852-6800 (Kamloops, BC), and 1-250-852-6800 (International).

Strategies for Success

In some ways, taking a course through distance education is different from learning in a face-to-face classroom. For example, distance education often requires a high level of independent learning and uses of a variety of digital communication technologies. In addition to familiarizing yourself with the Open Learning Student Orientation page, the following sections provide some suggestions that can assist your progress through the course.

Familiarize yourself with the course materials and resources

After you have read this Course Guide and explored online learning management system, review the other course materials so you know what is expected and can plan your coursework time effectively.

Review the learning outcomes as you complete each module and unit

As you complete each module, review the learning outcomes to ensure that you have achieved them. If you feel unsure about your ability to meet any of these outcomes, review the relevant study material and/or consult your Open Learning Faculty Member.

Read, view, and listen actively and critically

As you read, keep a pen (or electronic note-taking device) handy. If you make careful notes on key ideas and jot down the page numbers of essential passages, you can save yourself hours of searching for references when you complete your assessments. Your notes also will be useful if you develop contributions to online discussions and when you prepare for exams. Develop your skills to evaluate what you read. Are the author’s arguments logical? Is the evidence valid? Do you agree with an argument? What are the alternatives to the author’s point of view? Your answers to these questions will help you to develop informed opinions about your readings.

Complete all learning activities as if they were being graded

Activities provide you with opportunities to explore topics related to your course materials. Although these activities are ungraded, they are designed to help you build the skills you need to successfully complete your assessments.

Participate actively in the online discussions

In a paced online course, it is important to communicate with your fellow learners and Open Learning Faculty Member on a regular basis. Participating in a learning community provides opportunities for support, access to a variety of individual viewpoints, and stimulation of new ideas, all of which can contribute to your learning success. Use the discussions as a way to reflect on, clarify, and communicate your perspectives on the course learning materials.

Appreciate the diversity of your community of learners

In an online learning environment, student cohorts usually include learners from a diverse range of ages, cultural backgrounds, and geographical home communities. Diversity and the variety of individual perspectives of other students can provide you with many valuable learning experiences. Since by definition diversity includes difference, it is important for all participants in learning communities to be open to considering others’ perspectives, values, and positions; and to communicate in a courteous, respectful way. Even though this does not mean you must always agree, part of academic discourse is considering opposing viewpoints and perspectives. Increasingly, employers seek out employees who are skilled at appreciating diversity and who can work collaboratively with those who have different experiences, perspectives, and values.

Course Contributors

Curriculum Developer

Curriculum Developer Photo

Mary Wilson is an instructional designer, researcher and writer with a particular interest in online learning.

Her instructional design work has included course development at post-secondary institutions (including the British Columbia Institute of Technology and TRU); for international agencies (including the World Health Agency and the Council of Europe); and in a variety of other workplace settings (including Fraser Health and the City of Vancouver).

She has extensive experience as an online facilitator and instructor. She has taught for the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, Thompson Rivers University and as part of the University of Victoria Certificate in Continuing and Adult Education program. She developed an online course in online facilitation for the Public Health Agency of Canada, and worked for several years as a tutor and senior tutor for various effective writing courses offered through the Commonwealth of Learning.

Her research interest in online learning dates back to her M.A. thesis at UBC, where she researched interactivity in online courses. Her Ph.D., from Simon Fraser University, focused on effective faculty development.

Her co-authored book, Changemakers: embracing hope, taking action and transforming the world, was published by New Society Publications in 2018. Her current writing project is a book exploring the emotional and relational terrain of caring for aging parents and others.

Curriculum Consultant

Matthew Stranach.

Course Schedule

Everyone in your cohort group will use the same timeline to work through the course material. To pace your study and keep on track, proceed through the material step-by-step and module-by-module.

In a paced course, it is extremely important to stay current with the class discussions and activities. Thus, to help you complete your activities and assignments on time, we suggest you fill in the calendar due dates and print the following suggested schedule to use as a reference.

EDDL5111 Course Schedule

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