Course Information | Required Readings | Instructor Information | Course Goals & Objectives|

Course Policies | Course Requirements |Grading System | Other Requirements|

Course Information

Course title

Instructional System Design: Theory & Research

Course number

MIT 500

Course description

MIT 500 is designed to provide an analysis of theoretical foundations of instructional design and application in design practice. The course will examine multidisciplinary and multicultural influences upon instructional theory and development. A broad range of current design research and theory, and future directions in design theory and practice will be explored. The course provides hands-on experiences in designing and developing a self-directed learning material using current theories and research.


The course is online, but regular virtual or live meetings will be conducted in MIT 500 Virtual Classroom or MIT Lab. The option of meeting face-to-face is for students who prefer to meet face-to-face rather than virtually. However, all class meetings and discussions will be virtually broadcasted for students who prefer to attend virtual meetings. Live meetings (if scheduled) will be conducted in Education Building , Room 337 (MIT lab)

Meeting day

Although the course is online we will have regular meetings in MIT 500 Virtual Classroom or MIT Lab. By schedule Wednesday from 5:30pm to 8:15pm is our meeting time. However, as a learning community, we will discuss the best time for our virtual/live meetings during the first week of the class.

Meeting time

Between 5:00 to 6:30 PM to 8:15 to 9:15 PM


Participants enrolled in MIT 500 should be graduate students seeking a Masters degree in Instructional Technology.  Other participants may include education majors seeking an elective, or students in advanced placement with an undetermined major.

All students are required to have basic technology skills (word processing, spreadsheet, data base, Internet) prior to enrollment in MIT 500. Suggested but not required prerequisites include previous enrollment in EDN 500 and EDN 520, and/or previous curriculum development experience.

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Required Readings

Required reading

Textbooks (Required): You can order the books directly from the publishers or purchase them from the University Book Stores.

Dick, W., Carey, L., & Carey, J. A.  (2009).  The systematic design of instruction (7th edition). NJ: Pearson Pub. 

Reigeluth, C. M. & Carr-Chellman, A. A. (2009). Instructional-Design Theories and Models (Volume III). Ruthedge . (Call 1-800-9-BOOKS-9 to order). 

(Click here or o the title of the book to purchase the books online from Amazon)

Textbooks (Suggested):


Keirns, J. L. (1999). Designs for self-instruction: Principles, processes, and issues in developing self-directed learning. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Reiser, R. A., & Dempsey, J. V. (2006). Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology (2nd Edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall.

Rossett, A. (1987). Training needs assessment. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.

Rossett, A., Gautier-Downes, J. (1991). A handbook of job aids. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Journal Articles or Book Chapters (Required):

Resier, R. A. (2001). A history of instructional design and technology: Part I: A history of instructional media. ETR&D, 49 (1), 35-53.

Resier, R. A. (2001). A history of instructional design and technology: Part II: A history of instructional design. ETR&D, 49 (2), 41-57.

Association for Educational Communications and Technology (2005). In the 20th Century: A Brief History.

Association for Educational Communications and Technology (2007). Definition. In A. Januszewski, & M. Molenda (Eds.), Educational technology: A definition with commentary (pp. 1–14). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Kolb, D. A. (2001). Experiential learning. Prentice-Hall, Reproduced by Center for Teaching and Learning, Regent University, 2003.

Cheng, Y.C. (2002). Fostering local knowledge and wisdom in globalalized education: Multiple perspective. Invited paper at the International Conference on Globalization and Localization enmeshed.

Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for digital age. eLearning Space.


Yeaman, A. R. J., Eastmond, J. N., & Napper, V. S. (2007). Professional ethics and educational technology. AECT Publication.











Brown, J. S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989, January February). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, 32-42.
Spector, M. J. (2000). Trends and Issues in Educational Technology: How Far We Have Not Come. ERIC-IT Newsletter.
Gagné, R. M., & Glaser, R. (1987). Ch. 1: Foundations in learning research. In R. M. Gagné (Ed.), Instructional Technology Foundations (pp. 49–83). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Richey, R. C. (2000). The Legacy of Robert M. Gagne: Ch. 6: The Impact of R. M.Gagné’s Work on Instructional Theory by Patricia L. Smith and Tillman J. Ragan.
Mayer, R. E, & Moreno , R. (2004). A Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning Implications for Design Principles. This paper is based on an entry entitled "Instructional Technology" in the forthcoming Handbook of Applied Cognition, edited by Frank Durso and published by Wiley.
Sweller, J. (2004). Instructional design consequences of an analogy between evolution by natural selection and human cognitive architecture, Instructional Science, 32: 9–31, 2004. Ip, A., Morrison, I., & Currie, M. (2004). What is a learning object, technically?
Olinger, D. (July/August, 2003). Understanding new students: Boomer and Gen-xers millennial. Educause Review
Moallem, M. (2007). Accommodating individual differences in the design of online learning environments: A comparative study, Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 40(2), 219-247.

Journal Articles (Optional):

Blumenfeld, P., Soloway, E., Marx, R., Krajcik, J., Guzdial, M., & Palincsar, A. (1991). Motivating project-based learning: Sustaining the doing, supporting the learning. Educational Psychologist, 26 (3 & 4), 369-398.

Rossett, A. (2007). Performance support yesterday and today. In Allison Rossett and Lisa Schafer, Job Aids and Performance Support: Moving from Knowledge in the Classroom to Knowledge Everywhere, Pfeiffer/Wiley. A web site supports the book and includes a performance support tool to help in decisions about performance support.

You can order your textbooks by following the directions listed on UNCW Bookstore. Click here for more information about Bookstore online.

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Instructor Information


Mahnaz Moallem


Office location

Education Building, Room 349

Office hours

F2F: Wednesday 1:00 to 2:30pm; Virtual: Skype (my name is "mahnaz91") between 12:00pm to 3:00pm Wed. & Thursday




Ph.D., Instructional Systems Design--Instructional Technology
Professional Certification, Program Evaluation
M.S., Educational Technology

University Professor: 24 years
Federal Government (National Science Foundation): 2 years
School Principal: 2 years
Elementary Teacher, Special Education: 4 years

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Course Goals

Course Goals & Objectives

Course General Purposes and Organization:

As a core course, MIT 500 hopes to play a major role in preparing highly competent instructional technology professionals to serve in educational leadership roles. To achieve this goal MIT 500 attempts to provide its students with a coherent system of experiences which develop critical thinking and decision-making skills in a variety of contexts, and with many opportunities to reflect on current practices through continuous thinking and rethinking. The general purposes of the course are to help students:

Examine trends and issues, research findings related to the design and development of instructional systems; 

Develop a deeper understanding of instructional theory and a greater ability to create effective, efficient, and appealing instruction in any content area for any audience with any medium, including live instruction; and

Apply a theory or theories of their choice to design and develop a small self-directed training/instructional module or unit. 

The course will be focused on two related sections or parts.

The first part of the course will focus on establishing knowledge and instilling professional ethics and values required of instructional designers and performance technologists. It will explore a full range of theories, models and methods of instruction, such as direct approach to instruction, discussion approach to instruction, experiential approach to instruction, problem-based approach to instruction, and simulation approach to instruction and research background related to each approach. 

The second part of the course will focus on a set of skills required of instructional designers and performance technologists. It will also provide a hands-on approach to practicing knowledge, skills and values/ethics learned in the course in the design and development of self-directed learning materials. Practicing micro instructional design process and procedures will allow students to apply a theory or theories of their choice (subject to negotiation) to analyze, design, develop and evaluate a small self-directed instructional unit or module (materials) for a topic of their choice. The emphasis of this part of the course will be on mastering skills and applying the theory and research in assessment of needs, analysis, design, development and evaluation of instructional materials. The development of computer-based or web-based instructional materials is encouraged. Students are also encouraged to work with a real client (a professor, teacher, trainer, staff developer at local school or other organizations) to conduct analysis and design, develop and evaluate their instructional materials.

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Course Objectives

The course goals and objectives are derived from several sources: Current competencies for instructional designers by ibstpi; 21st Century Learning and Innovation Skills developed by The Partnership for 21st Century Skills; and competencies for Technology Coordinators (NETs for Administrator) and Technology Facilitators developed by International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).


Describe important research-based findings related to major theories, approaches and methods of instruction.

Describe the science of learning and interrelationship among all theories related to instruction and their contributions to instructional systems design.

Describe multicultural considerations and shifts in organizational paradigm and issues related to balancing globalization with localization confronting instructional design professionals.

Demonstrate accessing information efficiently and effectively, evaluating information critically and competently and using information accurately and creatively for the instructional technology issues or problems at hand.

Demonstrate using professional resources in order to gather information and establish professional habits and relationships.

Demonstrate applying instructional design models, theories and processes to the design, development, and evaluation of an instructional unit or module for a topic of choice.


Describe why and in what situations professionals in the field will have to use professional ethics to make decisions and to influence their actions.

Demonstrate a fundamental understanding of professional ethic and the legal issues by identifying and resolving ethical and legal design issues in the real world cases.


Demonstrate planning and conducting needs assessment (e.g., selecting and utilizing appropriate needs assessment tools, implementing needs assessment data collection methods, including surveys, observations, and an appropriate group technique).

Demonstrate conducting analysis of the characteristics of target learners.

Demonstrate conducting analysis of the characteristics of the environment.

Demonstrate conducting analysis of the characteristics of existing and emerging technologies and their use in an instructional environment.

Demonstrate selecting and using a variety of techniques to define and sequence the instructional content and strategies.

Demonstrate selecting, modifying, or creating a design and development model appropriate for a given project.

Demonstrate conducting procedural and cognitive task analyses where appropriate.

Demonstrate specifying and writing goals, enabling objectives, and terminal objectives.

Demonstrate designing and developing assessment strategies aligned with goals and performance objectives.

Generate detailed lesson specifications and instructional strategies appropriate for the content, context and the learner.

Demonstrate designing methods and strategies for integrating technology resources that support the needs of diverse learners, including adaptive and assistive technology.

Develop and implement formative evaluation appropriate to the designed and developed material.

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Become Active in the Field: As a MIT student, I expect that you become involved in the field of instructional technology.  Although your involvement in the field is not a requirement in MIT 500 it is critical for your future success, as instructional technologists, that you begin exploring the field in this course and continue your exploration throughout your program of study.  Whether you are interested in working for a business, a government agency or a school system, you should (1) research companies/school districts/government agencies for which you might like to work; (2) become a member of a professional organization that fits your interest; (3) show self-organization and actively engage in your own learning; (4) focus your learning assignments and course product on the issues and topics that might be useful for your future career; (5) familiarize yourself with the journals and publications of the field; and (6) think of your course assignments as products that you would be able to show them to your future employer with pride.

Special Needs: If for any reason you have needs for special accommodations to fulfill course requirements and succeed in this class, contact me between the first class and second class by phone or e-mail.  Your special needs may be related to physical disabilities, learning disabilities, or lacking prerequisite knowledge and skills for the course. If you would need special accommodations due to unexpected events in your personal life during the course of the semester, please see me as soon as possible.

Meeting With the Instructor:  I expect and strongly suggest that you make appointment and meet with me as soon as you are ready to develop your learning plan and to discuss your Project.  It is your responsibility to request a time for the meeting, which can be in person or over the phone or Internet. Once you begin developing your product you may again request for meeting as needed.  I consider your meetings with me as part of your learning plan and expect that you check the quality and the process of your work with me regularly and seek my feedback.

Plagiarism:  As a graduate student and prospective instructional designer, I expect that you practice your professional ethics. While in this course you are encouraged to create your own social learning network and work with peers and other professionals to learn knowledge and skills required of you I expect that you make your learning processes transparent and complete your own work. When you use ideas and excerpts from other people and/or resources including your peers you must cite and properly reference them in your work. Please review the university policy with respect to plagiarism. If the policy is not clear to you, please ask me for explanation or examples.

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Additional information

Disabilities: If you have a disability and need reasonable accommodation in this course, you should inform me of this fact in writing within the first week of class or as soon as possible. If you have not already done so, you must register with the Office of Disability Services in Westside Hall (extension 3746) and obtain a copy of your Accommodation Letter. You should then meet with me to make mutually agreeable arrangements based on the recommendations of the Accommodation Letter.

Academic Honor Code:
The UNCW Provost has asked all UNCW faculty to make reference -- in course syllabi -- to the 'Academic Honor Code' which can be found in the 2008-2009 Student Handbook and Code of Student Life, Section V. -- Academic Honor Code. Please regard this as a reminder that all UNCW students and faculty are held to the terms of the Academic Honor Code.


Violence Prevention: For violence prevention information and resources click here.

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Course Requirements


MIT 500 is offered by the Department of Instructional Technology, Foundations and Secondary Education, Watson School of Education. The Watson School of Education develops highly competent and effective professionals to serve in educational leadership roles. To view visual schematic of the conceptual framework click here.

MIT 500 is a CORE course for the Master of Science Degree in Instructional Technology (MIT). Instructional Systems Design (ISD) is the primary curriculum design and development paradigm in use in training and education environments in America and around the world.  Its effectiveness has been demonstrated in the development of training and education in the last forty years.

As a required course in the MIT Masters program at UNCW, MIT 500 is one of several fundamental building blocks necessary for a well-rounded background in both the theoretical and practical elements of ISD. Students seeking a masters’ degree in ISD should be cognizant of the fact that the subject matter and project embodied in this course represent prerequisite material for the remainder of this program. It is essential that students expend the time, commitment, and energy necessary to meet the stated objectives if they want to adequately meet future prerequisites in this program and for their future career.

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Participation in your own learning. This is a graduate seminar emphasizing self-directed, active and social learning. Thus, it is expected that you take responsibility for your own learning by planning, organizing, monitoring and assessing it.  Taking responsibilities for your own learning process means that you: (1) create/utilize a social networking site/account, (2) develop a learning plan identifying a timeline, a list of assignments, and a social group to work with to achieve the objectives of each unit/module within the course, and (3) document and monitor your own learning by making your learning process transparent and by collecting a selected list of evidence to demonstrate achievement of the objectives and by forming a group of peers to evaluate the evidence of your accomplishments for their quality and compliance with the standards. Your learning plan in which you identify your assignment(s) for each module or each lesson, your strategies for monitoring and self-assessing the assignments and the completed assignments will be used to assign pts for your final grade (100 pts, 10 pts each week/lesson).

Active Reading. Building foundational knowledge is one of the major objectives of this course. This objective requires that you actively read and reflect on the selected reading materials and your own identified resources. Active reading and reflecting mean that you: (1) create and/or participate in a forum or discussion group for the topic, (2) facilitate and/or participate in the discussion by asking thoughtful questions related to the readings, reflecting and offering your insights and comments, and by critically analyzing and synthesizing the results of the discussion, and (3) participate in virtual/live class discussions and offer your final thoughts and ideas. The attached assessment rubric will be used to assess your contributions and participation in the forum and/or live discussion.
Topics and related Chapter(s) or readings for each module are listed in the course schedule. (65 pts (5 pts each
During the second part of the course, when you are working with clients to conduct analysis and then design, develop and evaluate your instructional materials, it is expected that you communicate with your clients regularly (e.g., invite your client to your social network) and to share your experiences with the class regularly. This wider sharing necessitates recognition of major professional responsibilities and ethics, including respect for confidentiality within the seminar and within the client-developer relationship.

Instructional Material: Each student will design, develop, and evaluate an instructional module using instructional design principles and best practices as their major framework and a specific instructional design model or theory as their module design model (click here for examples) . The instructional module must be self-instructional and require approximately 45 minutes to complete.  Students are free to select the instructional topic. (It is suggested that students work with a client to identify a topic that is one of the client's interests). The instructional module may use any media as appropriate. Media options may include computer-based or a Web-based lesson, a slide/tape presentation, printed workbook, a videotape, among other combination of various media option. When developing the module, keep in mind that the emphasis of this course is on instructional design principles and best practices rather than on media production techniques.  The focus is on stating instructional goals, deriving appropriate instructional content, making the instruction appropriate for the audience and engaging, and developing appropriate instructional and assessment strategies. The emphasis is not on the artistic quality of the materials. Click here to review descriptions of Instructional Materials/Products. Also click here to review the tips for developing the instructional materials and writing product reports. (100 points)

Product Report: In addition to the copy of the developed product, each student (or team--formed by the instructor and under contract condition (see Course Project Description)) must prepare a no longer than 15 page written report that provides evidence of the analysis, design, development, and evaluation of the instructional material. (Evaluation should include both one-on-one and small group). You may choose the format of the report.  However, the report should include an executive summary, a section on the theoretical orientation and a rationale for the applied design model, a section on goals, objectives, assessment, and sequence of the materials, and a section on evaluation plan, implementation of the evaluation plan and a summary of the results. The 15 page limit refers to the body of the paper; appendices may create a longer product report. Appendices should include the analysis documentation (e.g., questionnaire, interview, analysis charts, etc.), evaluation documentation (e.g., formative evaluation data including test results, graphical representation of the evaluation results, revisions made, etc.), a log of the hours spent on different aspects of the project, minutes from team meetings & meetings with the client, and evaluation tools/instruments. Your report must be professional (carefully edited and formatted). See "Product Report" for more information.  Also see the time line for completing the product and the product reports. (100 points)

Consultations. Because the nature of the project (product & Product Report) makes it a highly individual experience, the students or teams are required to consult with the instructor throughout the semester (a minimum of two meetings (preferably one meeting in the middle of the semester and one toward the end of the semester) is suggested). Short consultations are also encouraged.  Consultations will be more productive if you prepare a brief written agenda outlining the issues you want to discuss.

Open Book and Self-assessment Quizzes:  Students are expected to take self-assessment quizzes constructed for each module. Students will also take an exam that covers material emphasized in MIT 500 in addition to identifying other objective assessment strategie in their learning plan that demonstrate their domain specific knowledge (knowledge & skills identified for each lesson or module).  The exam will review readings and focus on analyzing and proposing sound instructional design theory or model for a given case or situation. (100 points (60 pts quizzes; 40 pts open book time limited exams))

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Grading System


The final course grade will be based upon the percentage of the total points accumulated (500 pts).  There will be no midterm or final exam.  Grades will be criterion-based. The following scale will be used to assign the letter grades.

A = 90-100 means outstanding achievement; available only for the highest accomplishment.
B = 80- 89 means praiseworthy performance; definitely above average.
C = 70- 79 means average, awarded for satisfactory performance.

Individual grades in MIT 500 are based on 7 activities:

Evidence of taking responsibilities for one's own learning

 100 pts (19 %)

Evidence of active reading and reflecting

  65 pts (12.4%)

Instructional Materials (Product)

 100 pts (19%)

Product Report 

 100 pts (19%)

Self-assessment Quizzes

 60 pts (11.4%)

Open book exam  40 pts (7.6%)

Evidence of communication and team building skills (e.g., participation; contribution)

 60 pts (11.4%)


525 pts (100%)

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Other Requirements


Read " MIT 500 Design Model" where you learn how the course is designed and pedagogical strategies used in the course to assist you in your flexible, yet standard and competency based learning plan and how to proceed with the assignments.
Check the qualities that make you a successful online student.      

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