Addie Subjectives

I am taking a course this semester on the Design and Instruction of On-line Courses at UMass Boston (INSGSD 684). As an assignment this week, the instructor asked us to consider what she calls course subjectives. These are the unwritten questions to consider when you are designing e-learning or on-line instruction. They are in contrast to the course objectives which should be well defined statements regarding what you want learners to do or know after they have completed your training course. The instructor asked us to try to reflect on a list of subjectives developed by Autumm Caines (see These include:

  • What does this course mean to you?
  • Will this course feed learners souls?
  • Is there some aspect or assignment in this course (or that you envision for this course) that particularly tugs on your heart?
  • How will you understand your students’ point of view throughout the course?
  • Are you ready to learn from your students?

When I first saw these I have to admit that I rolled my eyes and chuckled a little bit. As a very analytical person, I considered a few of these to be somewhat esoteric (e.g. Will the course feed the learners souls?). I didn’t know how to deal with the exercise and decided to put it away for a while and come back to it. When I did come back to it with a more open mind, I was able to understand the point of the exercise. To me, subjectives are the unwritten aspects that I should consider when designing a course.   I agree with some of the subjectives that Ms. Caines identified and will consider going forward. Others on the list seem less accessible to me and my teaching style and will not be carried forward. The point is that the concept of subjectives is to develop your own that best fit who you are as a person and instructor. Some subjectives that are important to me include:

  • How will I know I am reaching all the students in the course?
  • How can I allow students to pursue their own interests within the confines of the course?
  • How do I create curriculum that is correct for my learners (i.e. not to simple or complex).

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