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PRST 5440/6440/7440 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

PRST 5440/6440/7440 - Engaging the Adult Online Learner

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course specifically addresses web-based learning environments with a particular focus on student engagement and interaction. Developing alternative means of training employees has become of greater interest to employers recently. E-training can give employers a mechanism for cutting costs, an alternative method for delivering training at any time and any place, a means for remediation of employee training, and an opportunity for employees to develop learning communities.

Course Outcomes:

Components essential to designing and developing a distance/online course. Principles, theories, and paradigms of distance education are explored. Technology issues, design, development, and assessment methodologies are covered.

After completing this course, the student should be able to:

  • Determine when online training is appropriate for the audience
  • Define the type of online training that most effectively meets the needs of the audience
  • Apply principles of adult education to the design and development of the online program
  • Manage the expectations of clients, users, and the development team
  • Plan programs that use elements of design and instruction effectively
  • Know where to find other resources about online training 
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

PRST 5430/6430/7430

Course Topics:

This course will be taught by covering the following topics:

  • Advantages of Online Instruction
  • Principles of Adult Education
  • The Online Training Process
  • Assessing Learner Needs
  • Selecting Online Delivery Methods
  • Instructional Design
  • Asynchronous Interactions
  • Synchronous Interactions
  • Program Blueprints/Design
  • Program Evaluation
  • Implementation Strategies for Success 
Specific Course Requirements:

The student must be knowledgeable in the use of the microcomputer, a Word Processing package, the Internet, and related browsers such as Internet Explorer. It is the students' responsibility to ensure that their service provider is capable of allowing adequate connection time to complete assignments and that they have adequate hardware and software to support an on-line learning environment.

Class participation is required. Participation means actively engaging in class discussion, assignments, and activities. Textbook readings are required as well as supplemental materials provided via Internet links and other resources. Participants are expected to take responsibility for course requirements. 

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:
Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Grading Procedures:

Satisfactory completion of all required class activities, research projects, research papers, class presentations and discussions will determine grades for this course. The use of PowerPoint presentations and class participation in the various discussion forums will be emphasized. The exact points of each course component will be included in the instructor addendum. Student grades will be based on an evaluation of both content and format of all of the requirements of this course.

Quality of participation, presentations, projects, and discussion thread. Professionalism, organization, content, creativity, and quality of delivery are also important aspects of the evaluations
All written work must follow the American Psychological Association (APA). All written assignments should meet the format standards set in: American Psychological Association (2000). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (5th Ed.). Washington, D.C. 

Grading Scale:
A90-100 percent of total points
B80-89 percent of total points
C70-79 percent of total points
D60-69 percent of total points
FBelow 60


Assignments and Projects:

Discussion Board Topics based on assigned readings-100 points

  • Students will be expected to show evidence of understanding the materials presented in the assigned readings and lectures. Discussions and other platforms will be used to incorporate topics related to online teaching and assigned readings.

Activities based on assignments-200 points

  • Assignments will be evaluated based on criteria such as correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation. In addition basic communication skills such as clarity, conciseness, and coherence will be expected. Activities must be submitted in complete format to receive total points; incomplete assignments will not be acceptable.

Research Paper related to Teaching Online-200 points

  • Students will research a special area of teaching online which will include a literature review, analysis and synthesis of relevant materials and be presented in a scholarly manner. Instructor approval of topic is required.

Interview an experienced online teacher/trainer-100 points

  • Students will interview an online teacher addressing key teaching online concepts and prepare a detailed report covering the interview and present the information online for the entire class to review.

Attend an Online Teaching Training Session-100 points

  • Attend and write a detailed report/evaluation of an online teaching training session.

Objective Online Examination-100 points

  • This examination will be evaluating the materials from the assigned textbook and supplemental readings for this course. Objective-type questions will be used. They will be available online, timed, and date restricted.

Final Project-200 points

  • Students will prepare an online learning experience as outlined within course materials. 
Class Participation:

Class participation is required. Participation means actively engaging in class discussions, assignments, and activities. Students should read required materials prior to start date of each unit to prepare for unit specific activities. Active and appropriate participation in all discussions and group work is expected. Additional work outside of the on-line environment will be required. 

Late Policy:

All assignments will be assigned a due date when they are distributed. Failure to meet this deadline will result in a loss of five points from the original point value of the assignment for every 24 hour interval an assignment is late. All assignments are to be submitted via D2L. Check the calendar for submission dates and related information. All assignments are to be submitted as stated in the course calendar. 

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on April 28, 2017