The Great Expectations of a 4-week Course: A Cautionary Tale

Concurrent Session 6

Brief Abstract

Join us for a journey and help us write the ending. We have launched a new online Specialist in Education (Ed.S.) program that is primarily offered in 4-week, 1 credit courses. Let us share with you our great expectations, experiences through the trough of disillusionment, and questions for you as we grapple with both conventional and alternative endings.


Walters is a professor within the field of web and mobile application development. For the past 20 years, she has taught both virtual and campus courses in database design and development, full-stack web and mobile application development, and human-computer interaction. Her research interests include trust mechanisms within the online environment, responsive design, student motivation, and academic integrity, and mobile learning accessibility.
Dr. Andrew Feldstein is assistant provost for Teaching Innovation and Learning Technologies at Fort Hays State University. He leads a team of instructional designers, technologists, and professional development specialists; who collaborate with instructors to create meaningful, engaging and impactful learning experiences. He holds multidimensional responsibilities related to professional development programs for faculty; supporting best practices in teaching, research, and service; innovative instructional design and course development; and the delivery, management, and support of technology focused learning tools and platforms. In the area of professional development he has expanded the use of asynchronous workshops and micro-lessons through the delivery of targeted, and engaging professional development opportunities for busy faculty members. He has also developed new technology enhanced learning tools, offering faculty a choice of strategies for a more interactive and increasing meaningful connection with students.

Extended Abstract

As educators, we attempt to design and deliver the best quality instruction to meet the needs of our students. This was certainly our goal as we set out to design, build, and implement a new Specialist in Education (Ed.S) program for working professionals that desire convenience and flexibility as they balance personal and professional goals.  By carefully crafting learner outcomes, we ensured everything that we did served the purpose of meeting those learner outcomes. The program is designed to develop leaders to transform and manage the digital culture of an organization. Curriculum is offered primarily with 4-week, 1 credit courses. 

We have learned much after offering the first year of courses. It has turned the entire process of curriculum design on its ear. The most significant challenges seem to center around instructor and student expectations. This course design structure challenges us to develop our understanding of what it takes to deliver meaningful content in four weeks. The structure also challenges our students to adjust their trajectory as they navigate a 4-week class. As a community of educators, we are now wondering if this is a concentrated version of what we've always been doing and we keep moving forward in efforts to make it better or if, perhaps, we need to reevaluate and tell the story differently. 

We welcome you to join the conversation as we share experiences, tackle some tough questions, and consider best practices. We will explore sequencing options, setting expectations, the feedback loop, and perspectives from designers, faculty, students, and administrators. Through a series of short activities designed to facilitate lively conversation, you will help write the best ending to this story.