WikiEdProfessional eLearning Guidebook/Online-learning course development models/Types of online-learning courses

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Robin Mason (1998) of the United Kingdom Open University has suggested that most online-learning courses sit on a continuum of a “partially online” or a “fully online-learning course” (see

A “partially online” course is one that integrates existing resource materials that are available either in print or non-print form such as textbooks etc. with some elements of online learning. This might include the use of a learning management system or simply a mailing list for some asynchronous discussion (for example see Naidu, & Oliver, 1999). Such courses promote the concept of what is commonly referred to as “blended learning”, where more than one mode is used to teach a course. Most distance educators have known such courses as “wrap around courses” because much of the teaching and learning activities in such courses are wrapped around existing resource materials such as textbooks.

A “fully online” course, on the other hand, is one that will have most of its learning and teaching activities carried out online. I say “most of its learning and teaching activities” because invariably everything about a course could not possibly be carried out online. Moreover, it might not be advisable to do so. For instance, students would always be studying away from the computer from printed materials, textbooks and other resources from libraries. There would be no real need to put these online, and it might not be possible to do so for reasons that have to do with costs and copyright laws. Mason calls this “integrated courses” (see