Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary
The book provides a good foundation of traditional teaching and learning theory (constructivism, etc.) and learning design (chunking, etc.), as an important backbone and precursor to discussing the planning of online course offerings. This encourages the reader to think holistically about the planning process, that they do not forget foundations of teaching and learning despite the change in format that online learning design brings.
Appropriately, the book then moves into approaches to practice, necessary educational quality control, assessment approaches, and applicable materials/integrations. The benefit of this approach is that it sustains focus on the fundamentals of good training, instead of getting lost in the minutiae of technology.
No glossary or index are provided, but the book bolds several definitions and includes some representational diagrams.
Comprehensiveness Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased
There is a focus on open materials/approaches and a promoted self-reflectiveness vein through the work -- especially as a designer works through the chaotic-but-still-logically-linear/progressive nature of design work, regardless of format -- although I can't consider this bias given the nature of the resource itself: it's an open tool, and a narrative structure, and that is fine. I do feel it is important for designers to remain cognizant of the process of design from start to finish.
Content is accurate, spelling, grammar, etc. are fine, and diagrams are appropriate representations of concepts.
The supplementary material by way of bibliographic references are particularly exemplary, that readers may continue learning and exploring key questions and inquiries centred on online learning.
Content Accuracy Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement
This resource is subject to the same pressure affecting arguably all resources that focus on the development of an online educational endeavour, big or small: and that is that both technology and education systems generally, advance and evolve far faster than we may realistically update our resources, design practices, and operating procedures. That said, it will always serve as an excellent frame of reference and starting point, given its sound footing in educational theory, good practices generally, and extensive, excellent bibliography.
Relevance Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used
The text is remarkably accessible and simple to read, to the credit of the authors, whose vast range of qualifications and specializations held could easily cause the work to devolve into pedantics. It's a friendly and progressive read, acceptable for experienced practitioners as it is for new designers entering the online learning domain for the first time.
A glossary of terms would be to the reader's benefit and only add to the book's clarity.
Clarity Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework
The framework is logically progressive. As mentioned, the grounding in theory is essential, before moving into standard practice items then moving to more 'contemporary' methodologies (social learning, mindfulness, and advanced design, for example). This makes the resource incredibly user-friendly.
Consistency Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.
This text is incredibly modular, given the logically progressive structure noticed in the previous criteria. I am confident that any one or few of these chapters could stand alone as a more focused study, and the robust bibliography for each chapter only contributes to the independent nature of each section.
Modularity Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion
As previously mentioned, the progressive nature of the read makes a lot of sense. A foundation of theory, before moving into current practice, supportive resources, and more abstract/modern approaches, is a logical approach that the reader can easily navigate regardless of their experience level.
Organization Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader
No issues for me -- I reviewed a Digital PDF. Navigation is easy, images are clear and colourful and it is clear that the book has been well-structured for the digital PDF format -- which doesn't always happen.
Interface Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The text contains no grammatical errors
Didn't notice any!
Grammar Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds
There is no insensitive language in the resource.
Diversity's increasingly-prevalent role and presence in all levels of the education world (and indeed, in all formats of instructional design and delivery) now place us at the centre of potential for more expansive research and scholarship on the relationship between EDI initiatives, for example, and the design/delivery of online learning experiences. Both areas -- design and delivery -- are important, given that an increasingly wide range of individuals (and more diverse set of practitioners/experts) exist in the education space and work as both designers/facilitators and learners. The experiences of both in building or accessing or completing or evaluating or disdaining online learning experiences, are valid and should be further explored.
Cultural Relevance Rating: 3 out of 5
Q: Are there any other comments you would like to make about this book, for example, its appropriateness in a Canadian context or specific updates you think need to be made?
I would absolutely recommend the book to practitioners in need of tips, tricks, and supplementary resources, at any point in the process of thinking about or executing the design of an online course. It is digestible, logical, well-structured, and well-backed. An enjoyable read that promotes necessary introspection and deeper thinking.