Constructing Courses to Enhance Learning: Course Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation Plan

Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation plan

Project Name: Introduction to Graphic Design

Overview and Background

Introduction to Graphic Design is a course that is planned to be taught at the Otago Polytechnic Dunedin campus with the scope for distance learners to contribute to this course through online portal.

This course will cover fundamental theories and skills required to carry out basic graphic design and visual communication for print and on screen communication. The course is designed for a wide range of students including first year design students, masters of design entrepreneurship students, and staff at Otago Polytechnic and to those who are interested in short courses from the public and the industries.

This course needs to be re-designed for the following reasons:

  1. To cater for students with various differing software capabilities
  2. To help students utilise self-directed time more efficiently.
  3. To allow students to carry out work at a their pace
  4. To design an entry level course that is organised and well documented so that different lecturers are able to deliver this course. This will allow flexibility in staffing
  5. To update course content to align with the most up to date industry standards

Main elements of the redesign will be to develop online portal and consolidate all teaching materials on to this portal.

Course content:

  1. Readability and understanding conventions
  2. Using Images
  3. Using text
  4. Using Type
  5. Composition

Aims and Objectives

To develop an online portal for students use for lecture contents, project based learning and for software learning. This online portal will be also supported by a lecturers’ online portal where teaching guidelines can be accessed for tutors and lecturers teaching this course.


  1. Online portal for the course including:
  • Course outline
  • Series of lectures
  • Project based learning instructions
  • Course Resources
  • Software tutorial portal
  • Online project sharing for students.
  1. Online portal for lecturers teaching this course

This portal will be designed for lecturers to help make the smooth running of this course for any lecturer who comes on board.

Stakeholders and Analysis of Learners


  1. Product and Interior Design lecturers with understanding of industry standard presentation styles
  2. Communication Design Lecturers with experience and resources to teach introductory level graphic design.
  3. Industry advice: Currently practicing industry professional to suggest industry specific presentation styles and trends
  4. Current Students: Discuss what skills they bring to the class, areas of interest and what they want to get out of the class.

Learner Analysis:

  1. Design students commonly prefer Visual, Kinaesthetic and Multi Modal Learners (VARK) and respond less to audio and reader/writer learning styles
  2. First year students respond well to learning strategies described by Felder and Solomon as Global and Sequential learning strategies (Felder and Soloman). The Global strategy allow students to visualise and understand requirements for the final outcome while giving sequential prompts will help them reach the final outcome without getting lost in the process.
  3. Design students enjoy seeing design examples to aspire to, however in the current web environment with overwhelming amount of information it is easy for them to get lost in the process. Navigating students to find examples that meet as well as push the boundaries of the industry standard is important, especially for first year students.
  4. First year students often struggle to organise and resource self-directed study. Online portal that offer sequential exercises and prompts is important to help them use their self-directed time effectively.
  5. Some software learning is required in this course. Students of all software competencies are present in first year level. Online software tutorials to provide in both sequential and subject based topics would be useful. Some students, especially beginners prefer step-by-step tutorials to let them learn “all they need to know”. Other students, particularly those familiar with the software, may prefer subject-based tutorials to refer to as required through out their project.
  6. Many students prefer face to face teaching and tend to put off accessing the online learning portals. However, students’ interest can be sparked when online portal is used in combination with social media to reports on each individual’s progress. Developing an online portal for both resources as well as to connect students may be helpful to motivate students to use this site.

Design Overview and Justification

  1. Develop a portal and resources for online based learning including:
  • Short video lecture series and notes
  • Project based activities and instructions
  • Resources including examples, website links and list of textbooks and online resources
  • Assessment instructions – such as mini quiz and project assessments.
  1. Provide and create a portal for online software tutorial
  2. Suitable existing software, such as, Adobe, and tutorials on YouTube. Offer different styles of tutorials to support varying learning styles such as sequential tutorials and topic by topic tutorials.


  • The student interaction for this course includes, both face-to-face studio class and online learning resources. Holden’s ( assessment of blended learning strategy mentions that asynchronous approach is less suited to higher cognitive level of interaction and it is more useful for lower cognitive interaction, such as knowledge comprehension and drill practice. Therefore, the asynchronous online learning will be suitable for areas of learning such as software skill and knowledge comprehension for online quiz on conventions and language of graphic design. In contrast, some course content, such as composition and using image is highly nuanced and conceptual subject area that is difficult to be taught in linear step by step. Synchronous face-to-face studio would be effective for teaching this area of the course content.
  • Collis and Moonen discusses the importance of ”individualisation of learning experiences and flexibility in learning alternatives” In this course, individualisation of learning is particularly useful for software learning. Individualisation is required to cater for students with different skill levels and different learning styles. Offering online sequential tutorials and online subject based tutorials as well as face to face studio time where students can directly ask questions would help individualise learning experiences.
  • Zhang et al. (2006) highlights the benefits of video supported learning, such as providing flexibility for learners, and cost and staff saving for institutions. However, their study found that simply offering video support may not be sufficient for effective learning. Students involved in this study tended not to view the video for a second time if they did not understand the content. Therefore, video lectures for this course must be of high quality to help students understand the content and enjoy viewing the videos. Studying the trends of online videos such as YouTube videos for aspects such as lengths and presentation methods and applying some of these to the lecture video may help let us produce lecture videos that appeal to the students. An accompanying lecture notes may also be helpful.
  • Further, Collis and Moonen (2001) suggests the importance of sharing the responsibility with students to find resources. While it is important for the lecturer to select useful online tutorials for students to use, asking students to identify and share favourite online tutorials would help broaden the scope of resources both in tutorial subject matter and tutorial style. At the same time this may help motivate students to carry out deeper enquiry into their area of study. Students’ selection of online tutorials could be shared in the online portal for the course.
  • Letting students know that their work will be displayed can motivate students to develop work to a higher standard (Gibb 2009). This course asks students to post their weekly projects on the online portal for critique by lecturers and peers. As suggested by Gibb (2009), this assessment method would hopefully help motivate students to develop polished outcome and keep to deadlines.

Learning Strategies:


  1. Weekly Project offers a platform for students to apply theory to practical projects. 5 weekly projects will be completed for 5 learning objectives. Each project will be completed in A4 format using Photoshop and or InDesign and saved into jpeg format for digital submission. Students will be asked to use online tutorials when required to learn software skills as they apply the skills to the projects.
  1. Reflective learning is encouraged through these projects as explained in b. content, communication and interaction.
  2. Final project is another practical activity that helps students consolidate all learning outcomes and course topics. Students will be asked to develop presentation document to communicate a design outcome from another course Students can use online portal to look back at previous lectures and course contents to ground their learning.
  3. Self Reflection: Students will be asked to write a short paragraph of self-reflection on their final project. Outlining their intentions, discussing graphic design conventions applied to the final presentation and self-reflection of how they could improve their presentation will be useful to enhance students’ learning and for assessors to gain insight into students’ thinking process. Hattie and Timperley cited in Spiller (2009) suggests that an effective feedback from a lecturer should include three main focus; “Where am I going; How am I doing and Where next.” Hattey and Timperley (2007), p86 cited in Spiller (2009). These prompts would also be helpful to give students to carry out self-evaluation.
  1. Content

Mini lecture

Mini lecture will be delivered initially as a conventional lecture and later as information videos broken in short segments.

Online resources

  1. Online tutorial – link to and links to exemplar you tube video tutorials. Research will need to be carried out to find useful links as well as to find out which topics require video tutorials to be created.
  2. Portal of examples. Online, textbook and other printed examples will need formatting and organisation. This is not a one off exercise, but will require frequent updates to keep up with shifting trends and industry standards.
  3. Self explanatory lecture notes
  4. Brief and instruction for weekly projects and final presentation
  5. Online Short Quiz and Quiz contents.


  • Visual and video media formats – students seem to prefer these formats.
  • List of useful textbooks will also be made available online.


Interaction will be carried out in both synchronous and asynchronous approaches.


  • Studio workshop offers students a face-to-face learning with both lecturer and peers for discussions, and critique and learning skills.
  • Students’ projects submitted online will receive critique comments from the lecture and peers will be encouraged to also give constructive comments.
  • Mini Lecture helps students learn graphic design topics and give opportunity for questions and answers relating to the topic.


  1. Self directed weekly project work
  2. Online software tutorials
  3. Online resources on graphic design topics
  4. Online Short Quiz

Required Technologies

  1. Adobe Photoshop, InDesign Software
  2. Facebook
  3. Web search
  4. Moodle or other educational online portal

Learning sequence per week

  1. 30 min Lecture on graphic design topic
  2. 2 x studio workshops – discussion on the design topic and work on weekly project. Peer Critique session to discuss each other’s work
  3. Receive informal feedback from lecturer for iteration
  4. Receive software help from lecturer
  5. Carryout online software tutorial where required.
  6. Submit the project in online portal such as class Facebook page
  7. Online feed backs from lecturers and students. Students are encouraged to team up with 2 – 3 students to give each other constructive feedback.


Weekly project

Weekly project is a practical application of weekly lecture topics.

Online Quiz

Some knowledge required for graphic design, such as file types and sizes are fact based learning which is suited to online learning. After becoming familiar with graphic design terms and conventions, students will be asked to take online quiz to consolidate their learning.

Final Project

Create design posters and presentation PDF (PowerPoint type of presentation designed in InDesign software). Poster and presentation will be developed by consolidating all graphic design topics and skills learnt through the weekly projects. This will give students the opportunity to demonstrate their learning from this course. Students are able to carry out their design during studio workshop classes.

Informal comments and formative assessments will be carried out during the studio workshop classes.

Milestones and timeline for Objectives:

Objective 1 Online portal for the course including:

  • Course outline
  • Series of lectures
  • Project based learning instructions
  • Course Resources
  • Software tutorial portal
  • Online project sharing for students.

Milestone 1. Develop and source contents for the online portal – Approx. 6 weeks. The contents include developing lectures and filming into video format, gathering course resources and suitable software tutorials online and writing project and learning instructions.

Mile Stone 2 Proof and finalise the above contents

Mile Stone 3 Make the course contents available online.

Mile stone 4 Develop teaching guide and instructions for teaching staff and make them available on teaching portal


Teaching staff: Communication design staff to research currently available online resources and tutorials. A vast array of online tutorials for software is available. A staff will be required to define what tutorial contents are required, what tutorials are already available and what tutorials need to be developed.

Mini lecture is a part of this course that could be made online to enhance flexibility of this course. Short online lecture videos needs to be created that are current, attractive and informative.

Online Quiz: Technical language and aspects of graphic design will be taught in self-directed learning online. Online tutorial is required to teach technical language and aspects, such as file formats and size. Online quiz is required to test students understanding. Both tutorials and quiz need to be developed and up laded onto digital portal for students to access in self-directed time.

Teaching Manual Because this course covers fundamentals of graphic design, ideally it would be taught by any communication design lecturer. Developing teaching hand-book will be useful for this course to gain flexibility in staffing.


Formative feedback

Invite students for an informal focus group to discuss how they are finding the course. Make a list of minor changes that can be made immediately and implement for the rest of the course. Note minor and major changes that could be evaluated for future course delivery

Summative Feedback

Students: Ask interested students to come to focus group to discuss the course. Bring prompts to ensure all areas of interest are covered during the discussions. Also ask to complete an anonymous survey and sprite a summary of their view of their course.

Staff: Invite stakeholders identified above for pin up critique session. Pin up a range of student outcomes to discuss areas for improvement, elements to add or alter in the course. Develop and implement areas for improvement in the following delivery of this course.


Collis, B. & Moonen, J. (2001). Flexible learning in a digital world. Open and Distance Series. London: Kogan page Ltd

Felder, R. M. & Soloman, B.A. Learning Styles And Strategies. 15 November 2014

Gibbs, G. (2010). Using assessment to support student learning. UK: University of East Anglia.

Holdern, J. Develping a blended learning strategy. Powerpoint Retrieved 15 November, 2014.

Zhang, D., Zhou, L., Briggs, R., Nunamaker, J.,(2006). Instructional video in e-learning: Assessing the impact of interactive video on learning effectiveness. Information & Management 43, 15–27.


One thought on “Constructing Courses to Enhance Learning: Course Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation Plan

  1. Machiko this is an excellent plan. The plan to use five weekly projects with ongoing formative feedback and self-reflection, particularly on the final project are sound learning strategies that should accommodate the diversity of your students for learning. Very good depth and breadth of information in your analysis of the stakeholders and potential learners, and good justification from the literature for the planned approach. Something about the model on which this learning design is based would enhance the plan. I really like the idea of exploring the design of Youtube videos to check you are up with the trends. Good on you. Yes Moodle will be a suitable portal and in combination with Youtube and Facebook should provide some good interaction between students. Maybe think about how students could use mobile devices with these technologies. Could they share images using something like an album in Flickr or Picassa as well?

    The information about evaluation is brief but adequate for this situation. I think the idea of gathering regular formative feedback is a good one – maybe think about getting them to submit responses using anonymous stickies – based on: Stop, Start, Continue – what they want you to stop, start or continue doing. Informal but effective for rapid feedback. Other feedback will be sent using the marking criteria.

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