Critique of an Instructional Design Blog: Online Learning Insights


Online Learning Insights is a blog about online education written by Debbie Morrison, an instructional designer. Her blog post entitled ” Course Design and Online Group Collaboration–What’s the Connection?” posted on March 14, 2015 describes the benefits of collaboration such as engagement, gaining communication skills, and fostering deeper learning. She also lists course design strategies to make the assignments meaningful, challenging, structured but also flexible, timed appropriately, and with clear instructions. I have had projects that had confusing instructions, were poorly timed, and did not aid in gaining deeper knowledge. I have also had some highly engaging tasks with clear instructions about what to do, but had a choice of methods to reach the end goal.  As the recipient of both excellent and poor online activity design, I believe this blog post should be read by all instructors designing group activities.

Her blog post entitled “Five Alternatives to the Talking Head Video for MOOCs & Online Courses” that was posted on February 15, 2015 had the interesting factoid that “talking head” lecture videos should be six minutes or less. I was also surprised that personally-created videos rather than professional-looking ones were more desired by students. I knew that tutorials using software on which the lecturer could write and point out items was more engaging. I do think short videos and tutorials are very useful, as the student may replay them to gain understanding. Podcasts do allow one to listen on the go and to take notes, but I find the lack of visuals annoying, allowing me to become distracted. Interviews can be very insightful if a true expert is queried about a topic. I absolutely love simulations. I used a simulation of a manufacturing company to graduate with my master’s degree in business administration. I have never seen or used weekly recaps, so I may want to look into this further. I also agree that the professor for an online course can use YouTube videos and not do any “talking head” instruction at all. I am currently attending a university, getting my degree in education and bilingual education, with no “talking head” videos at all.

Video Telephony On Digital Tablet Pc Stock Photo

Overall, I find her blog insightful, useful, and interesting. The author also takes care to attribute where she has gathered the information, so I may use these for further reading if I choose to do so. I have subscribed via RSS feed to her blog, and plan on reading new entries in the future.


Morrison, D. (2015, March 14) Course Design and Online Group Collaboration — What’s the Connection? [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Morrison, D. (2015, February 15) Five Alternatives to the Talking Head Video for MOOCs & Online Courses .[Web log comment]. Retrieved from


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