This week kind of threw me for a loop.  The week opened with teacher presence and then, right back into course design?  

After some thought, I realized it actually makes a lot of sense.  Keller’s ARCS model addresses motivational concerns through the design process itself. The categories break down motivation into components which allows us to systematically address each component within the design of the course itself.

There is an excellent visual of the ARCS model on page 5 of this handout. There is a really neat “Got ARCS?” checklist that I found really helpful for conceptualizing how this model can be used to problem-solve engagement and motivational issues with an existing course.

The MOOC courses that we are auditing are such a wonderful example of design because without the instructor being “live” with us, they really do rely on the design of the course to keep students engaged and motivated.  

At this point, I feel as though I’ve done a thorough dissection of the course.

  • Week 3 – identified how elements of the course were influenced by the principles of learning theories
  • Week 4 – reflected on the instructional design of the course
  • Week 5 – used SMART criteria to assess the quality of the learning outcomes 
  • Week 6 – analyzed the assessments and the educational technology supports used 
  • Week 7 – examined the course to identify examples of teaching presence, cognitive presence, and social presence along with the educational technology supports used

Finally, week 10, looking at the course design through the lens of student engagement and motivation.  Please click here for my analysis.  

Two areas of potential improvement I’ve identified are relevance and confidence.  


Keller (2006) speaks to the importance of relevance and the need to match learner motives with the course content.  As I went through the specific components of Equine Welfare and Management, I identified relevance as an area of improvement in the course.  For example, the course covers in great detail the nutritional requirements of a horse. The kind of detail that would likely be taught in a veterinarian course or some upper-level biology course, I actually found myself tuning out.  For the horse owner, understanding how a horse metabolizes different feeds is not as relevant as how to ensure you are selecting and purchasing appropriate feed for your specific horse.  My motive is to keep my horse safe.  Knowing that you can bring hay samples to your local feed store, how to interpret a feed analysis, and being confident the feed you put in front of your horse is right for them, is much more relevant to the horse owner. Different horses in different life stages and levels of performance have different needs. Given the audience, I think knowing how to match the right feed to the right horse and making sure the feed was safe, would have held more relevance.  

Confidence (specifically, feedback)

Confidence is another area I feel this course could be improved upon.  Keller (2006) speaks to the importance of students knowing where they stand as being crucial and that learners must be able to proceed with confidence to the next activity. The quizzes do not cover the depth of material covered in the course content.   Going back to Sewell, Frith and Colvin (2010), they identify the importance of assessment being challenging, rigorous and valid. Very quickly, I felt a lack of confidence in the assessment being able to provide me with appropriate feedback with regards to my knowledge of the course content.  

I am very intrinsically motivated to learn about equine management – I live it, I teach it and I love it!  Until completing the ARCS analysis, I missed these areas where the course could be improved.  

Thank you for sticking it out another week with me and have a great one!   


Pacansky-Brock, M. (2016, May 31). Unpacking the problem of unmotivated online students.

Pappas, C. (2015, May 20). Instructional design models and theories: Keller’s ARCS Model of Motivation.

Sonders, C. (n.d). Equine Welfare and Management. [MOOC]. Coursera.