Haughton, Noela A; Sandt, Dawn D; Slantcheva-Durst, Snejana I
Anecdotal and research-based evidence suggest a great deal of variation in the quality of online learning environments and in the range of instructional strategies and tools utilized to construct those environments. This study explored the structure of online learning environments as articulated through publicly available online course syllabi. Seventy-eight undergraduate course syllabi from accredited non-profit institutions of higher education were analyzed using a 26-item Online Course Syllabus Criteria instrument. The analysis revealed instructors did not use a variety of instructional strategies in online courses with most relying on “traditional” instructional methods such as readings, discussions, and lectures. There were some notable exceptions in which instructors used new technologies to create more flexible and dynamic online learning environments.