Faculty and course developers often resort to shorthand when describing options for online learning, including traditional, web-based, synchronous, asynchronous, hybrid, blended, and bichronous. These abbreviated descriptions are somewhat trendy and convenient but tend to oversimplify the complexity of online course design and delivery. A more precise taxonomy that describes an online course’s architectural features will aid communication and enhance collaborations among higher education faculty, course developers, and personnel. We will explore five categories of descriptive terminology related to Space, Pace, Interactivity, Assessment, and Media Rich Content. Additionally, we will examine varied curricular models (e.g., competency-based education, problem-based learning) that can overlay the proposed taxonomy’s five categories.
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