June 26-28, 2024
Long Beach, CA

Let’s Scroll! It’s Time to Reconsider A6 “Page-level Chunking” of the OEI Rubric

Effective Practices
All Audiences

Presented by:

  • Mike Smedshammer, Distance Education Coordinator, Modesto Junior College
  • Roxie Christensen, Instructional Designer, Humboldt State University

Speaker Bios:

  • Mike is the Distance Education Coordinator at Modesto Junior College. He has been a Certified Blackboard Trainer, Blackboard Catalyst Exemplary Course award winner, @ONE Certified Online Instructor, @ONE Peer Guide, and OEI Lead Course Reviewer. He is the 2020 recipient of his college’s Purdy (Faculty of the Year) and Beacon of Hope awards. He also serves on the board of the Northern San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. He enjoys spending time with his wife and two kids, cooking, running, back-packing, playing golf, and fly fishing.
  • Roxie Christensen is an instructional designer and educational technologist who is passionate about education. She enjoys exploring the UX design in course development, specifically in higher education. She also is interested in the implementation of transformative technologies and iconography into courses in order to build more equitable solutions for students. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors. Some of her favorite hobbies are skiing, snowshoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, hiking, being at the farm and vacationing. She currently resides in northern Utah with her family.

Session Info:

Section A6 of the California Online Education Initiative (OEI) Course Design Rubric requires content to be “chunked in manageable segments,” but what does that mean? Over the years, OEI Course Reviewers have generally come to think of it as no longer than a typical computer screen. If you have to scroll through a page on a computer, it’s too long. But what if that conventional wisdom is wrong? This question arose while creating the Humanizing Online STEM Academy, a grant-funded professional development program for California higher education. Our team initially designed the Academy course according to OEI Rubric standards. But with its important subject matter and the goal of closing equity gaps, the course became content-heavy. Using a research-based framework, we conducted in-depth interviews with faculty and students as they navigated our first draft of the course. Although they liked the content, the modules, they said, were overwhelming. Making significant cuts was out of the question. After much debate, we decided to abandon the “no scrolling” rule and intentionally broke with the OEI Rubric section A6. And then we taught the course again, this time to over eighty faculty from across the California State and Community College systems. Their enthusiastic feedback confirmed we made the right decision. In this session, we will share this story to illustrate ways of designing modules and pages so that they do not overwhelm students but still retain content and rigor. These techniques are important for effective online teaching practices and for equity in online teaching and learning, as students from minoritized groups can be disproportionately impacted by course design. Scrolling represents a design approach that can help students succeed. To let this happen, we should consider revising section A6.

Session Outcomes:

  • Design modules and pages so that they do not overwhelm students but still retain content and rigor
  • Distinguish between the psychological impacts of page-level chunking and module length
  • Assess the value of user feedback in course design All Audiences

Session Resources:


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