Teaching with WebQuests Online

Course Outline

Course Description

In this course, you will create a web-based lesson that engages your students in higher order thinking and cooperative learning. The WebQuest model that you will learn will be applicable to a wide range of topics, goals, classroom environments and learners. As you progress, you will learn how to develop attractive Web pages, locate useful information on the Web, work collaboratively with other teachers at remote sites, and evaluate complex achievement by your students. You will also learn about teaching for understanding, and develop a set of teaching and assessment strategies you can use with or without the Internet.


  • Assess qualities to look for in a good Web-based lesson
  • Locate quality curriculum specific Web sites
  • Assess uses for a school or classroom Web site
  • Create a home page
  • Evaluate classroom Web pages
  • Evaluate WebQuests
  • Compare and contrast perspectives of using the Web for learning
  • Analyze the concept of backwards design
  • Compare and contrast search engines
  • Create a WebQuest proposal
  • Create title, task and introduction pages
  • Evaluate title, task and introduction pages
  • Create a rubric
  • Analyze the WebQuest process
  • Design WebQuest processes
  • Locate appropriate graphics for the WebQuest
  • Insert apprpriate graphics in the WebQuest
  • Complete a curriculum specific WebQuest

Curriculum Design & Time Requirements

Teaching with WebQuests is a 13 week 3 credit graduate level or sixty hour professional development course taught online. If you are not completely comfortable using your computer, the course may seem intense at times and it's important to avoid falling behind. Each of the ten modules of the course will be posted at the beginning of the week and must be completed by the end of the week. During the last few weeks of the course you will be refining your final project and there will be no additional modules.

Participants will spend an average of 6 to 8 hours per week on the course through a combination of reading, interacting online with the instructor and other learners, and completing assignments. If you are already comfortable with using web editors and search engines, the course may take less time than the estimate. If your computer skills and experience are below the expected entry level described above, you will

Hardware & Computer Skill Requirements

Students may use either a Macintosh computer or a PC with Windows 2000 or higher. Students should possess basic word processing skills and have internet access with an active e-mail account. Students also are expected to have a basic knowledge of how to use a Web browser, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer, Safari, Mozilla Firefox etc.

Course Materials

The required book for the course is Understanding by Design by Wiggins and McTighe, Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Session Outline

Session 1: Web Based Learning Overview
Objective: Describe characteristics of high quality web-based learning; locate 5 examples of web lesson and resources and explain how they exemplify good teaching and learning.
Contents: Course overview. Introduction to the rationale and various possibilities for using the Web in K-12 settings. Guided exploration of existing lessons, units, activities and resources.
Culminating Assignment: Summarize the content of 5 different lessons and resources you chose to explore from a given list, describe the educational merits and possible benefits of each, and post your summary to the course bulletin board system.

Session 2: Basic Web Development
Objective: Set up a space for yourself on a web server and upload files to it and download files from it. From a given template, complete a personal home page. Use a web editor to control text formatting, horizontal rules, background colors, bulleted and numbered lists.
Contents: What purposes does a personal home page serve? How does personalization help in building learning communities? Exploration of a variety of personal home pages posted by other teachers. Use of Netscape's web editor to do simple editing. How to download a web page, edit it and save it on a remote server.
Culminating Assignment: Using a template provided, complete a personal home page describing yourself and post it on the course web site.

Session 3: The WebQuest Model and Teaching for Understanding
Objective: Describe the components of a well-designed WebQuest and explain the rationale, educational possibilities and advantages of the format. Explain and use a model of the concept of understanding.
Contents: Introduction to the WebQuest lesson structure. Participation in a WebQuest about WebQuests (similar to http://webquest.sdsu.edu/webquestwebquest.html) in which learners take on specific roles in examining five different WebQuests and work in groups with the task of arriving at consensus as to the best two and worst two WebQuests from their varied points of view. Within-group discussion will be conducted via e-mail with a copy to the instructor for each message. Instructor will post the votes of each group on a web page and will guide whole class discussion of the results during a realtime chat.
A significant advantage of teaching with WebQuests is that they can lead to a deep understanding of a topic, as opposed to the accumulation of isolated skills and superficial knowledge. But what do we really mean by understanding? We will examine a six-faceted model of understanding (Chapters 1 - 4 of Wiggins and McTighe.) and discuss several WebQuests in terms of the depth and types of understanding they are likely to elicit.
Culminating Assignment: Post to the course bulletin board a message reflecting how the four different perspectives taken on within the exercise are interrelated and describing which one most closely mirrors your own perspective.

Session 4: Finding Appropriate Resources
Objective: For a given topic, use search engines, index pages and other tools to assemble a list of resources for potential use by students while conducting your WebQuest.
Contents: Definitions of search engines, Boolean logic. Techniques for becoming an accomplished searcher. Use of directory pages (such as those maintained by Classroom Connect or Kathleen Schrock). Magazine and newspaper indexes. Yahooligans as an index of sites for elementary children. Balancing quantity of resources to be explored by students against the time to be allocated. Finding and using local and distant experts as resources. Online scavenger hunt.
Culminating Assignment: Complete online quiz on search techniques. Complete scavenger hunt and e-mail findings to instructor. Complete draft links section for individual WebQuest and post to the course web site.

Session 5: Selecting a WebQuest Project
Objective: Given the time, expertise and the computer resources available, and the curricular goals to be achieved, define a doable, appropriate goal and learner task around which to build a WebQuest.
Contents: Examination of the factors that enable and constrain the kinds of WebQuests one might design. Exploration and comparison of short and long-term WebQuests. Exploration of online curricular frameworks from which to pick an appropriate goal. Examination of the WebQuest evaluation rubric to clarify project expectations.
Culminating Assignment: Post a message to the course bulletin board that describes a proposed WebQuest in detail.

Session 6: Beginning Your WebQuest
Objective: Use the WebQuest templates to begin the creation of an original WebQuest. Compose a working title, introduction and task description.
Contents: Review of the procedure for downloading and editing a template. Examination of the qualities of a good Introduction and Task description. Uploading the resultant draft. Specifications of learner tasks and products which exemplify one or more facets of understanding. (Chapter 4 - 5 of Wiggins and McTighe.)
Culminating Assignment: Upload draft WebQuest. Submit comments about at least two other WebQuest drafts from the class via the course e-mail system.

Session 7: Measuring Student Success
Objective: Create a web-based rubric to evaluate student performance of a wide range of complex activities such as multimedia projects, oral presentations, or written work.
Contents: Student achievement at the levels of analysis, synthesis and evaluation levels is not easily measured by multiple choice tests. Description of rubrics as a means to measure complex performance with some degree of objectivity. (Chapter 6 of Wiggins & McTighe). Exploration of example rubrics. Use of rubrics for peer evaluation. Procedure for downloading and editing a rubric to adapt it to a different lesson. Creating and modifying tables in a web editor.
Culminating Assignment: Create a rubric that will be used to evaluate student outcomes for your WebQuest. Post to the course Web site. Comment on at least two other rubrics posted by others in the class.

Session 8: Designing the WebQuest Implementation Process
Objective: Design the process description for a WebQuest that clearly articulates each phase and step of the process, makes optimal use of the technology and time available, and exemplifies an appropriate mix of cooperative and individual learning.
Contents: Techniques of cooperative learning. Designing roles to engineer conflict and create interdependence. Managing a student-centered environment. Webwhacking sites for use in the unwired classroom. Use of off-line resources.
Using the concept of "uncoverage" as a way to describe coherent learning experiences that evoke and develop understanding. (Chapters 7-9 of Wiggins and McTighe.)
Culminating Assignment: Complete draft of the Process section of the WebQuest and post to the class web site. Comment on at least two other Process sections posted by others in the class.

Session 9: Making your Pages Attractive
Objective: Use background textures and color, clip art, animated gifs, buttons and borders appropriately to enhance the aesthetic appeal of a Web page.
Contents: Principles of good page design. Moderation in all things colorful, moving, noisy and unusual. Sources of images and textures. Downloading images from the Web. Copyright issues and solutions.
Culminating Assignment: Modify the appearance of your draft WebQuest and submit to the course web site. Comment on the pages of at least two other course participants.

Session 10: Refining Your WebQuest
Objective: Use a WebQuest evaluation rubric to identify areas of potential improvement in your WebQuest. Conduct formative testing with learners and identify areas of weakness.
Contents: Revisiting the WebQuest Evaluation Rubric. Self- and peer-evaluation. Formative testing techniques. Fleshing out your WebQuest with self-checks, visual organizers, and performance supports. (Chapter 10 of Wiggins and McTighe.).
Culminating Assignment: Use the rubric to analyze your own WebQuest. Submit feedback to two other course participants on their WebQuests. Conduct formative testing with your own students and report the results.

Final Course Culminating Assignment
Post a revised version of your WebQuest that incorporates feedback from peers and learners. Email a reflection on the design process and your plans for future WebQuest lessons to the instructor.


  Assignment Points   Grading Scale  
  Posting of bulletin board and e-mail messages and Web files  10      100 – 93 A
  Module quizzes, discussions & exercises  20       92 – 85 B
  Weekly progress on WebQuest development (Modules 6-10)  20       84 – 77 C
    Completed WebQuest  50            
  Total Points  100    

Student Academic Integrity

Participants guarantee that all academic class work is original. Any academic dishonesty or plagiarism (to take ideas, writings, etc. from another and offer them as one's own), is a violation of student academic behavior standards as outlined by our partnering colleges and universities and is subject to academic disciplinary action.


To register to take TEI's Teaching with WebQuests Online course, go to the Course Registration page.