Objectives for this Activity: (as presented to students before activity or in syllabus)

A specific learning objective for this essay is to develop a functional understanding of the nature and similarities/differences among various instructional design processes.

Prerequisites for this Activity: (not necessarily presented to students)

Student should have a desire to teach online and develop quality courses. They will need basic research skills. The student's writing skills must be adequate to score well on the rubric.

Materials and Resources:

What needs to be prepared in advance by the teacher? - The assignment and rubric.

What does the student need to bring to the lesson? - Access to necessary research readings.

Guiding Questions for this Activity: (not presented directly to students but a question that should be addressed in the readings)

How well do the students understand the instructional design processes and how they compare to one another?

Activity as Presented to Students: (usually in conjunction with the asynchronous discussion forum)

evaluation.gifAssignment: Essay 


Students will be asked to submit a 3-5 page essay on the similarities and differences between 2 instructional design methodologies.

  • It allows students to choose what to focus on and take control of their own learning experience.
  • It brings outside resources into the course.
  • It provides participants with an extensive list of summaries of related resources which they can choose to read or archive for later use.


Your first required posting is to submit a listing of resources you have found for your essay. At least 5 separate resources must be submitted. A full reference for these resources must be submited by the date in the course calendar. This list will be worth 5 points.

Then, submit your final essay to the instructor in the digital drop box no later than the date it appears in the course calendar. The Essay Rubric will be used to evaluate the assignment. The final essay will be worth 40 points.

Essay Instructions:

  1. Choose two instructional design paradigms that we will explore during this course.
  2. Locate at least 5 references that explain each paradigm. At least two of these references must be primary research using the method.
  3. Submit your choice of paradigms and initial citation list to the assignment drop box by the due date in the course calendar.
  4. Explore the instructional design paradigms that you have chosen. Pay particular attention to what is written in the course forums as we discuss these paradigms in order to aid your understanding. Consider the pros and cons of each paradigm. Consider their similarities and differences as well. Which one might you use and why?
  5. Write up a 3-5 page original essay exploring these comparisons and questions.
  6. Submit this essay to the assignment drop box by the due date in the course calendar.

Teaching Strategies:

What are some tips to help the lesson run smoothly? Provide the students time to complete the readings. Allow the students time to ask question about the assignment. Keep track of student progress in the essay so that they are not doing it all the final week.


What accommodations may be needed for students with disabilities or other special needs? This lesson requires few if any accommodations. Most text to speech and speech to text programs can function within most asynchronous discussion tools. The bandwidth requirements are also low.

Ideas for Activity Evaluation and Teacher Reflection:

In addition to formative feedback during the process, the following rubric scores the final essay. Additional points include 5 points for the citation list.

Sample Rubric:

Essay Rubric

Criteria Grade Additional Comments [descriptions of critiria given for instructor use]
Introduction 1-5 Does the introduction explain the concept? Is the reader's interest caught? Is the thesis statement clear?
Organization 1-5 Is the document well organized?
Clarity 1-5 How clear are the comparisons and the writing used?
Grammar/Spelling 1-3 Is the essay free of grammatical and spelling errors?
Number of comparisons 1-5 1 point for each comparison. At least 5 points are required.
Validity of comparisons 1-5 1 point for the validity of each comparison
Timeliness 1-2 Is the essay submitted on time?
Overall 1-10 In the end, does the reader understand the similarities and differences between the concepts? Is there a conclusion?


Back to Top

arrow buttonReturn to Essay Activity
arrow buttonReturn to OTAI Main Page


University of Illinois
University of Illinois University of Illinois at Chicago University of Illinois at Springfield University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign