Redesigning Courses for Online Learning & 3D Printing Course Notes part 3


The SECTIONS model outlined in Tony Bates’ Teaching in a Digital Age provides valuable opportunities for course creators to reflect on the various elements required for successful course creation. Since the pandemic began and virtual teaching became a reality for our teachers, the need for these considerations has become obvious in the public school setting. That experience helped provide me with some of the skills that I need to successfully design the 3-D printing course in Schoology.

Students – One of the first considerations for course design is how will students manage to access the content, and whether or not they have what they need to be able to interact with that content successfully. This could mean the appropriate hardware, software, or internet access. The participants of the 3D printing course will need access to the Internet. In order to fully participate in the 3-D printing course, they will also need access to a computer or iPad and a 3D printer. The course will be most effective for them if they have a Dremel 3D45, however, the content can apply to nearly any model of 3-D printer that we may have in any of our district libraries. As the audience for this course is teachers and campus support personnel, having access to those items should not be a problem. Also, as all of our teachers use Schoology to access their curriculum and teachers in grads 3 and up use it to share content with students, navigating Schoology will be natural for them as course participants.

Ease of use – one important consideration of course design is the ease of use. If participants are struggling with how to access and manipulate the course content, they are less likely to continue to successfully engage in an elective course. Therefore, my hope for the 3D printing course is that the materials are easily accessible and used. It is for that purpose that I did my best to build in some predictability, that is I used similar course elements such as discussion assignments and brief assessments. Also, while all of the resources will be linked in the LMS Schoology, they will be from various resources. For example, I may use playlists on YouTube, and tutorials on the Tinkercad and Thingiverse websites, or lesson samples shared from someone in Google Drive. Learners may need to create accounts on Tinkercad and Thingiverse. They will be able to access the Google drive lesson samples without logging in at all. To eliminate frustration, I will include a section of the course that will demonstrate to participants where the help section for each of those websites is.

Cost – The cost of this fully online course about 3D printing for the participant will be nothing. The only cost to the participants will be the supplies they choose to use for their projects. However, as the school district pays for some additional featured elements such as lessons from Nearpod and videos from content providers such as Discovery and Learn 360, there will be some cost to the district. As the course is designed for professional learning to support student achievement within our school district, this is an ethical use of the subscriptions.

Teaching functions, including pedagogical affordances of media – after reviewing Meyer’s multimedia design principles, I can see some areas of my 3-D printing course that have strengths and other areas that have weaknesses. One of the strengths is that information is chunked into user-paced segments. One area of growth might be to include additional narration with images in a friendly tone than simply having text.

Interaction – There will be various types of interaction throughout the five-week 3D printing course posted in Schoology. Weekly Zoom meetings will be available for the first few weeks of the course to allow participants to check-in, share their learning, and ask questions. There will be some interactivity with computer-graded material such as Playposit questions in videos, a Quizlet vocabulary game, and a couple of self-graded quizzes. Participants may interact with each other in discussion, however, there is not much collaborative work in this course. Generally, the work in the 3D printing course will be individual as the hope is that each participant will practice hands-on with the 3D printer. The collaboration will come into play during the discussions. I will include a less structured discussion area where participants can ask for feedback on their projects and exchange ideas.

Organizational issues – There are very limited organizational issues associated with the 3D printing course. My main concern is that I want this course to be fun, engaging, and enriching for participants. I do not want it to be seen as a burden. I do have concerns about the amount of time it may take a teacher or campus support person to participate in the course. Therefore the course will be available for the entire school year.

Networking – I have a hope that participants will see this course as a networking opportunity to help support their learning. They can reach out to each other for support as they are working on their course creation and in the future when they are working with 3D printing with their students.

Security and privacy – Luckily the materials I have selected to host in this course are available completely free for our participants. Therefore, I do not need to be concerned about violating copyright laws or intellectual property. I will not share creations by the course participants unless they give permission. Also, students will be made aware when they enroll that their discussions are able to be seen by all participants in the course. Participants will submit assignments privately through the assignment feature in Schoology. Finally, any feedback regarding assignments or projects will completely be between the instructor and the participant.

I am hopeful that the SECTIONS model by Tony Bates will help to elevate my skill level in the course design of this 3D printing and all online courses thereafter.

After working on this 3-D printing course, I have several ideas of some existing courses that I may modify into online courses. They will likely not be as extensive as this 3-D printing course, as they will be modifications of existing professional learning sessions that I currently host.

I already have in place several online resources for two sessions that I love to teach called Creativity with Tech for Elementary. One session centers on the creation tool called Adobe Spark. The other focuses on a creation tool called Book Creator. What’s wonderful about both sessions is that the designers of these tools provide pre-made professional learning slides that may be modified. I generally use these as a place to start and customize them based on my audience. Both tools, Adobe Spark and Book Creator, are rich creativity tools that teachers can use with versatility for instruction. Generally, I deliver face-to-face or virtual 2-to-3-hour one-time sessions. The good part about this is that I get to spend time with teachers generally in small groups discovering a new tour. The downside to these sessions is that what we frequently don’t have time or opportunities for follow up. It would be fairly simple for me to split up both the Adobe Spark and the Book Creator sessions into five modules. I could build in time for teachers to practice this tool to learn it themselves, go use it with students, and revisit the course for sharing and next steps.

The Adobe Spark course could follow this outline:

  • Introduction
  • Adobe Spark Post
  • Adobe Spark Video
  • Adobe Spark Page
  • Create Your Project

The Book Creator course could follow this outline:

  • Chapter 1 – Introduction
  • Chapter 2 – Book Creator Basics
  • Chapter 3 – Book Creator Project & Lesson Ideas
  • Chapter 4 – Book Creator for Formative Assessment
  • Chapter 5 – Show us your library!

Beyond modifying these two creativity with tech courses, I am also inspired to create book study sessions for my elementary teachers and support staff this book study sessions could be divided by chapter or groups of chapters. Participants could respond to discussion posts, or Flipgrid video discussion posts. After including discussion questions and opportunities for teachers to practice the skills in the book, I would wrap up each book study session with a sharing opportunity of how they have transferred that learning to their classroom.

The list of books that I would like to consider for book study options are:

I know this is a rather ambitious list, so I will just have to do one at a time. I am excited about the possibilities with my teachers and their students.


  • Bates, T. (2019). Teaching in a digital age: guidelines for designing teaching and learning (2nd ed.). BCCampus.

Note: Links to the LMS are only operational for members of the course. For full access to the course, please create a Schoology account and contact me for the access code.

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