Doctor of Education in Distance Education (EDDE) 803

Teaching and Learning in Distance Education

Course cover

Delivery Mode: Grouped study with Internet component

Credits: 3 - Core Course

Prerequisite: None

Availability: Fall Only

Early access to the Moodle Learning Management System begins a few days before the official start date of your course. At that time you will have limited access to the course.


EDDE803: Teaching and Learning in Distance Education addresses advanced topics in online teaching methodology, research on instructional approaches, and the design and implementation of online and distance instruction. Students examine a range of instructional theories and frameworks, and explore their application in online and distance education. A variety of instructional approaches, techniques, and technologies are studied and explored, as well as experienced through the opportunities offered by the Teaching Internship that accompanies the course.

Teaching Internship

As part of their studies, students engage in a Teaching Internship, where they obtain actual online teaching and instructional design experience in the Centre for Distance Education (CDE). Under the supervision of CDE faculty, students assist with the delivery of a course in the Masters of Distance Education program, obtaining skills in areas such as moderating synchronous and asynchronous conferences, grading and providing feedback on assignments, and revising and enhancing course materials. As an alternative, teaching using distance education modalities in the K-12 sector, in training or workplace learning, or in the delivery of undergraduate Athabasca University courses may be approved.

Note: Although no grade or mark is given for the Teaching Internship, students receive ongoing feedback over the term of their Internship and upon its conclusion. In addition, students will need to draw on their experiences in the Teaching Internship in order to complete the reflective practice-related activities and assignment.

Course Goals

The overarching aim of the course is to provide an in-depth examination of instruction and the teaching-learning process in distance education, and to explore its application in the post-secondary, K-12, and training/workplace learning sectors. Through a combination of scholarly study, experiential learning, and reflective practice, students will attain the outcomes listed below.

  • Analyze selected core models and paradigms underlying the nature of instruction, and assess their application to distance education within the post-secondary, K-12, and/or training/workplace learning contexts.
  • Outline the components of selected instructional theories and approaches and critically evaluate their application in a variety of distance education contexts.
  • Synthesize instructional models and theoretical frameworks and assess their application in a variety of instructional and experiential contexts.
  • Critically analyze and apply research findings to the design of instructional processes or materials in a variety of distance education contexts.
  • Explain the importance of a supportive learning environment for effective student learning, and describe strategies for creating supportive environments in a variety of distance education contexts.
  • Critically analyze the moral and ethical implications of selected instructional issues involved in teaching and learning in a variety of distance education contexts.
  • Develop a personalized theory of teaching and learning, and explore its application in the design and implementation of instruction in distance education.
  • Analyze selected learning theories and assess the application of these theories in a variety of distance education contexts, including personal experience.
  • Conduct (and later reflect upon) instructional activities associated with the delivery of online courses (e.g., providing feedback on course progress, marking and grading, tutorials, remediation, and conference moderation)

Course Outline

The course consists of four units, as outlined below.

  • Unit 1: Instructional Competencies
  • Unit 2: Instructional Theory
  • Unit 3: Instructional Approaches, Techniques and Technologies
  • Unit 4: Learning Theories

Learning Resources


Reigeluth, C. M., & Carr-Chellman, A. A. (Eds.). (2009). Instructional-design theory, Vol. III: Building a common knowledge base. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum & Associates.

Laurillard, D., (2012). Teaching as a design science: Building pedagogical patterns for learning and technology. New York, NY: Routledge.

Other Resources

The EDDE803: Teaching and Learning in Distance Education course web site serves as a guide for the course, and includes introductory and explanatory content, readings and commentary, discussion forums, collaborative activities, and assignments.

Student Assessment

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1: Competency Profile - Groups of three or four participants will develop a profile of the competencies of online instructors. 10%
Assignment 2: Theory and Practice Paper - In this assignment, students will explore how research can inform their practice as a distance educator. Students will select an instructional technique, strategy, or technology, and describe what it is, how it works, and so forth. They will then review the relevant literature pertaining to their chosen topic. A critical analysis will follow, where they assess the applicability and usefulness of the theories and research as a means for informing distance education practice within the post-secondary, K-12, and/or training/workplace learning context. 35%
Assignment 3: Learning Theory - Groups of two or three participants will develop a presentation on a selected Learning Theory. (This assignment may also be done as an individual activity.) 10%
Assignment 4: Reflective Essay - Students will reflect upon their experiences in the course and in the Teaching Internship using selected theoretical frameworks and research they have encountered in their readings. Critical analysis will include an examination of the applicability and usefulness of theories and research as a means for informing distance education practice. 35%
Conference Participation - Students are expected to be prepared for and to participate in the synchronous and asynchronous conferences included in the course, contributing to the scholarly discussion and fostering a sense of community. 10%
Total 100%

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.