P. Mihnev, T. Zafirova-Malcheva

Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" (BULGARIA)
The paper presents the results of systemic approach in teaching courses design in the elective course “E-learning” for undergraduate bachelor students at the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics (FMI) of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” (SU). The paper considers last six academic years of conducting the course “E-Learning” (since 2011-2012 academic year). In the first two academic years of this period (2011-2013) the course was designed as a general course in the field of e-learning. It included an overview of the field with the main accents on the technical development of e-learning courses. In the last four years the focus of the course is shifted on a systemic approach in teaching e-courses design. The systemic course design approach is based on a version of the instructional systems design approach (ISD) well-known in the instructional design practice. The applied exact ISD version is explained in the paper.

In all the six years the development of e-learning course prototype is one of the most important elements of course assignments, included in the final assessment of students. The main research goal of this paper is to analyse the quality of the developed e-learning course prototypes throughout all the six academic years. We compare students’ course prototypes produced in the two periods 2011-2013 and 2014-2016, when the new teaching course design systemic approach was applied. The comparison was made by using important comparable quantifiable and qualitative characteristics of the produced e-courses’ prototypes. The hypothesis is that there is a positive effect with respect to the courses quality and design after inclusion of courses design systemic approach.

The paper includes a description of the taught course “E-learning” – its structure, learning content, different assignments and its relation to the designed students’ courses prototypes. The applied method of descriptive analysis and comparison of the prototypes of e-learning courses is provided. It is based on the qualitative and quantifiable indicators approved for measuring the quality of e-learning courses at the SU. These quality indicators are discussed in detail in the course. The indicators include both general course characteristics and elements such as course structure, annotation, goals, study programme, assessment description, theme objectives etc. as well as specific indicators – e.g. resources and activities.

Detailed analysis is conducted of the available 48 e-learning course prototypes from the period of the years 2011-2013 (before the courses design systemic approach application), and of 79 e-learning course prototypes from the period of the years 2014-2016 (after the application). On the basis of the results of the analysis an inference is made about the possible influence of the courses design systemic approach on the quality of the developed students’ e-learning course prototypes, which indicate the level of student achievement in the course. The last paper section presents considerations for further improvement of the quality of course “E-Learning” in the light of the analysed results.