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Scott Schopieray

Thinking about Course Modalities

3 min read

As we think about course modalities I'm drawn to thinking about how I define modalities that I'm working with, and also how I take the main components of a course and think about different modalities for them well. How can some of these models and ideas guide thinking about modalities of instruction and learning?

Perhaps we start with four of the components that we find embedded in the Quality Matters rubric of thinking about the content presentation, activities that learners engage in, assessment of learning, and student interaction.

For example, as we think about student interaction then we should think about Moore's Theory and consider that students need to interact with other students, with the instructor, and with the content.

Building further off that, we could look at models such as the TPACK model that takes into consideration the technical, pedagogical, and content knowledge components of a course from the instructor's perspective. How can TPACK guide thinking around modalities?

For each of these components, how do we understand what modality means and what would be alternate modalities than the traditional face-to-face mode? Or some we may find that there are many different modes of thinking about this oh, and four others there may not be as many at this point but perhaps they will come to us as we continue to think and work about this.

An additional layer of thinking through this work would be to start to consider what we might call the context of the students (related to TPACK). This could be in areas such as the technical (devices they are using and relatedly their movement in space/time with these devices), internet access and reliability of it, time in terms of not only time zones which are related to their geographic location in the world, but time in terms of schedules that are driven by Family Life, work schedules, or needs and preferences of the individual. Additionally, we could think about areas such as identity in terms of their status as a student, their identity in the world, or the plethora of other opportunities that are there based on how one identifies oneself in the world. Finally, we might think On a related note to identity is their experience which drives how the student sees and identifies with the course, what they bring to the course, and how their interaction may work with others to improve learning across all students.




“Demographic Modality” - this is the dotted line in TPACK

  • Technical

    • Device (can be movement-related)

    • Internet access

  • Time

  • Geographic

  • Identity

  • Experience


learning/content presentation




Interaction types - moore’s theory