Six Course Development
Assumptions that Fail
by Steven R. Van Hook, PhD
Not only may each fallacy below sink an effort on
its own, we often pile fallacy upon fallacy.
1) Just because someone knows a topic, they can
teach it. Actually, the inverse may be closer
to the truth: If someone knows how to teach well,
they may teach just about anything.
2) Since someone can teach domestic students, they
can teach internationals. International students
pose challenges for the novice instructor: the
contextual culture differences for sure, varied
learning styles, and their natural antipathy to
unchallenged nationalistic assumptions.
3) As someone can teach onground, they can teach
online. It is possible to infuse an online class
with interpersonal energy, even intimacy; but
these are skills carefully developed.
4) Because someone can teach online, they can
teach onground. Many instructors may now start a
teaching career in online programs, but can be
rattled in real-time onground exchanges where
reactions must be synchronous,
engaging a group rather than a solitary
reader of one.
5) Since someone can teach online, they can
develop/design online courses. Not only must a
course designer know the theory and application of
a course topic, they must also understand a
learning platform, logistics, layout, technical
aspects, while infusing the class with an
6) Because someone can design a course, they can
teach it. The best instructor is current on a
subject, adding fresh and relevant material, while
bonding the process of learning with the learner.
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