OLC Capstone CIOS F233: Desktop Publishing: Adobe InDesign

Course Details

Course Name: Desktop Publishing: InDesign

Instructor Name: Heidi Olson

Course Description: Desktop publishing combines the personal computer and graphic design software to create printed documents. This course will focus on using desktop publishing software to effectively communicate messages in printed form.

Course type: elective

Target Audience: online semester-length, elective for Certificate and Associate degree-seeking students or adult learners.

I’ve come to think of course design as being a lot like planning a family vacation. As you begin thinking about taking time off you have to make preparations. You have to pick a destination and the type of vacation you desire (goals), decide if you have obligations to fulfill (objectives), pack your bags (develop your materials), consider activities that the entire family will enjoy and will fulfill the objectives (activities and assessments) and, upon your return, you reflect on what worked and what didn’t and make a mental note for planning your next family vacation (evaluation and improvement).

Goals and Objectives

Goals - where you want to be; broad, general statement(s) providing a framework for where you and the student are headed; the end state.

Objectives - what is to be learned about the content; clear, specific statement of the skills and knowledge that a student should be able to demonstrate and indicate how a student will prove mastery. Objectives must be written in a way that uses an active verb and that can be measureable.

Before you take your vacation you have to decide the goal for vacation. Will it be: relaxing, adventurous, educational, a chance to volunteer, an obligation to see family or friends. For example, let’s say you choose an adventurous vacation like rafting down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon and your goal is to “leave no trace.” You now have your goal.

Objectives should be measureable and you should be able to come back to them at the end of the “trip” and assess whether you were able to do as you set out. So let’s say our objectives are:

  • Repackage meals to minimize waste.
  • Camp in existing campsites.
  • Take pictures of flowers and mosses instead of picking them.

You might also have some personal goals:

  • Write in my journal every day.
  • Identify five bird species.
  • Apply sunscreen to avoid getting sunburnt.

Each of the objectives is clear and precise. They each lead back to the goal of “Leave no trace.”

CIOS 233 Goals

This course is a comprehensive survey of desktop publishing using Adobe InDesign, the leading page layout application. You will create sophisticated layouts for a variety of uses, including brochures, newsletters magazines, reports, business cards, signs, and many others, for print and digital output and distribution. Through a variety of readings, exercises, conversations, and assignments, you will gain an understanding in the basics of graphic design theory and become familiar with the and introductory application of the Adobe InDesign interface.

CIOS 233 Course Objectives
  1. Set up and design various print and electronic documents such as a business card, postcard, flyer, brochure, and/or other publications, that is appropriate for the intended purpose.
  2. Apply basic design principles to create compelling products for print production and online distribution.
  3. Demonstrate application of the correct selection of tools and features in the Adobe InDesign Interface in the design of documents.
  4. Evaluate the quality of the design of a document to achieve the designer's intended purpose and its intended publication medium and be able to give constructive feedback for improvement.

Individual Module Objectives are more clear and concise. They should align with the Course Objectives as shown in the example below for Week 2. Students are exploring the InDesign software and creating a business card. They will be asked to self-evaluate and to give feedback on a few examples that I will provide.

Week 2: Tools and Panels in InDesign
  1. Set up, design and export a business card combining text and graphics provided for you. (CO 1, 2, 3)
  2. Identify and apply the basic tools and features of Adobe InDesign needed to create a business card. (CO 1, 2, 3)
  3. Evaluate the quality of the design of the business card and provide constructive feedback based on your evaluation of design elements. (CO2, 4)
  4. Identify items to support your understanding of good design practices. (CO2)

Once you have that basis, you can begin to add in your assessments and activities that will allow your students to prove to you that they have met your objectives. Using the Outcomes matrix as a guide is a good way to help you make sure that your activities and assessments are aligned with your objectives. The matrix will help you see if you have any gaps. It will also help you determine if you’ve have a variety of assessment types that will appeal to a variety of preferred learning styles.

Instructional Strategies

It is a given that at some point in your course you’ll have to provide a mechanism for your students to obtain information and to then do something with that knowledge. You need a structure to deliver information and for your students to practice and learn that information. Do you currently lecture and have students discuss topics? To you ask students to collaborate on group work?

Much like there are many ways to experience a family vacation, there are different strategies you can take to create an atmosphere for the teaching and the learning experience for students.

Going back to our family vacation example, you might incorporate a guided strategy much like you might do for rafting the Colorado River. You let someone else plan the schedule. You may or may not join a group in addition to your family all take the trip. Or you might go it alone and do the planning and preparation yourself. You might decide on a driving trip where you preplan your daily route or you might be spontaneous and have only a beginning and end point. You may choose to family- or friend-hop where you spend time with multiple parties instead of staying in one place. You may volunteer your time to do some kind of community service.

There are advantages and disadvantages to various instructional strategies used in the classroom. There isn’t one strategy that works for all classes and for all students. Some methods are passive activities like lecture. More active methods might be through incorporating service learning or through games or simulations. Examples of student-centered methods include cooperative learning or discussion. Using a mix of strategies will prove the most interesting for your students and for you.

But one thing is for certain, you need to make sure that the strategies you incorporate align with your goals and objectives. The last thing you want to do is to drive around visiting a lot of family when your goals is to relax or to have students learn how to use software by only lecturing at them.

Ask yourself this question. What is the best way you can prepare students with the information that they need to prove they can master your outlined goals and objective? I’m choosing to use a couple of different instructional strategies in my course: Peer Review and Demonstration/Tutorial.

Peer Review

Learning objectives this strategy applies to:

  • Evaluate the quality of a design of a document to achieve the designer’s intended purpose and its intended publication medium.
  • Develop constructive feedback for improvement.

Using peer review to both give feedback to the cohort as well as utilize for one’s own self-evaluation should, in the end, result in a improved design skills. Being able to look critically at a publication and point out the good and poor application of basic design principles demonstrates and provides evidence that students are getting it.


Learning objectives this strategy applies to:

  • Set up and design various print and electronic documents such as a business card, postcard, flyer, brochure and/or other publications, that is appropriate for the intended purpose.
  • Apply basic design principles to create compelling products for print production and online distribution.
  • Demonstrate application of the correct selection of tools and features in the Adobe InDesign Interface in the design of documents.
  • *I’ve chosen to use the Learning Styles as proposed by Richard Felder as this model make the most sense to me when looking at preferences for learning. The theory is meant to be more holistic, in that a good student experience will have students using a variety of methods to learn through a variety of activities and assessments.
  • **The Time Involved for teacher column is divided into time for creating content and time for grading which is calculated on a per student estimate.
Analysis and Improvement plan

You’re back from your family vacation and you have suitcases full of dirty clothes, a camera full of images, a few momentos you picked up to remember the trip and some good and not so good memories. Hopefully, when you’re ask, “How was your trip?” You can honestly say, “That was the best trip of a lifetime and every moment was better than the last.” In reality, you may have had some hiccups. Maybe you planned too many activities in too short of time. Maybe you packed the wrong clothes. Maybe you didn’t get a chance to relax or read the book you took with you.

After you develop your course and again after you’ve taught the course, taking time to evaluate and reflect on course improvement is a step that should not be missed. Perhaps your objectives didn’t meet your goals and your instructional strategies didn’t help your students meet the objectives and goals for your class. Did you provide students with clear directions and resources to help them complete the activities you assigned? Did your assessments allow your students to prove to you that they could fulfill your objectives? Taking time to evaluate what happened can prepare for a better experience the next time around.

There are many tools you can use to perform an course analysis and evaluation. Many provide question prompts or rubrics that have more depth and specifics than you might need. But the main point is to make sure you are taking every opportunity to provide the best experience you can for your students and for yourself.

I’ve been teaching this course for several semesters and each time I end the course I spend time reflecting about what went wrong, where students asked questions, where students did well. I’ve made numerous changes. Last fall, I went through the QM self-evaluation and poked some more holes in my course design. I feel pretty confident that, based on the prompts provided in the OLC course analysis and evaluation, that my course is in pretty good shape.

One of the biggest takeaways I’ve gotten from this series of workshops is that course design really is a collaborative event. In order to verify that your course objectives are clear and measurable, that your assessments align with your objectives and that you’ve able to defend the instructional strategy choices you’ve selected, it really helps to have a second pair of eyes, especially a pair of eyes that is outside of your discipline. Even if you take an honest stab at an course analysis and evaluation rubric, your discipline-expert eyes will be biased and you will miss your opportunity to provide a successful learning experience for your students.

Created By
Heidi Olson


Created with images by PublicDomainPictures - "beach sunset blue"

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.