IP&T 560-001: Instructional Product Dev

IP&T 560-001: Instructional Product Dev

Professor's Contact Info:



twitter: @peterjacobrich



to help you become conversant in web basics, and to improve your coding skills to the point where you can create practical products.

Learning Outcomes

By the completion of this course, you should be able to:

  • understand and explain basic web fundamentals;
  • design and develop an e-learning program;
  • build a personal learning environment; and
  • engage with a community of coders.


There are no prerequisite programming skills for taking this course. However, I recognize that there is a wide variety of prior experience among the students in this course, from beginning novice to folks that have already taught programming courses themselves. To ensure that each student is challenged to the best of her/his abilities, you will be required to learn using materials that extend your current knowledge, whether you're a novice or an expert programmer.  I treat this course like the Parable of the Talents. Thus, whether you are a novice or an experienced coders, I expect you to challenge yourself and increase your talents.  I've had several students in the past learn languages and frameworks I myself do not know, and they've done great things with them. 


Because you are all extremely capable and responsible students, your principal learning will occur outside of class. You will choose a series of learning materials (e.g., online tutorials, a book, a video series, etc.) to guide your learning of a Web programming/scripting language of your choice (HTML, Javascript, CSS, PHP, MySQL, JSON, XML). BYU has given you access to many of the best learning materials through the library's web site. My philosophy is to provide you with an opportunity to engage in a learning environment in ways that will [hopefully] extend beyond this course. To that end, I am going to ask you to look beyond the course to build a personal learning environment that includes:

  • A repository of learning materials for your chosen tool/language
  • An online developer's community,
  • A library of code that you can re-use in later designs,
  • Connections to professional instructional designers,
  • Learning materials that will extend your learning beyond this course.

The theme for this course is taken from Doctrine and Covenants 88, "That all may be edified of all." In order to achieve this goal, most classes will proceed in the following way:

  1. Devotional (5 min): A little bit of inspiration always helps when programming.
  2. Foundational Principle: 10  minutes devoted to a mini-lesson on a foundational principle of programming.
  3. Tips and Tricks (15-30 min): I'll usually show you a cool "trick" using HTML, CSS, or Javascript.
  4. Individual project development (30-40 min): Work on your project and get 1-on-1 help from me and others in the class.

This means that the majority of class time will be spent working on your individual project. You should complete tutorials using your chosen learning materials during the week (outside of class) and will come to class to get 1-on-1 help with your project.

Attendance Policy

You will be required to be present at least 85% of the time. This means you can miss two classes during the semester.  Please speak with me beforehand if you need to miss more than this.

Participation Policy

Coming to class is how you get one-on-one help with your coursework.  Please come and be part of the community and help others out along the way.

Grading Policies

    I believe in being in charge of your own learning. At the same time, people need guidance to direct them to what it important (that's why we have both free agency and the scriptures, right?). To that end, we're going to collaborate on your grade throughout this course. The first few weeks of class are dedicated to ensuring everyone masters a basic set of skills around the Web—HTML and CSS.  Thereafter, you'll need to create your own "learning contract." This contract will include a description of 10 steps toward learning the skills to complete your chosen project.  As you complete each assignment, you will need to post both your assignment and an evaluation of that assignment to your personal learning environment.  In other words, you get to grade yourself.  I have found that BYU graduate students are, for the most part, pretty good evaluators of their own learning. However, I have the last say (I've been known to increase or decrease the grade from what the student has listed).  As a guide to grading yourself, you should ask the following questions:

  • To what extent did I complete the agreed-upon product?
  • Was it delivered on time?

Note that effort and the amount of time is important, but insufficient.  If you spend 30 hours one week but you still fail to deliver the agreed-upon product, please recognize that your effort was great but the product was still incomplete, and your grade should reflect that reality.  Contrariwise, if you deliver the product, but then realize you could do more, you should not grade yourself down for not doing the "more."  


NOTE: I am open to your contract changing throughout the semester (in fact, I almost expect it).  As you become more familiar with you language(s) and your project, you will likely need to change steps accordingly.  This is fine, but you'll need to change your step before it's due.  Changing what's due after it's due is, well, a bit disingenuous.

Grading Scale

A 93-100 B- 80-82.9 D+ 68-69.9
A- 90-92.9 C+ 78-79.9 D 63-67.9
B+ 88-89.9 C 73-77.9 D- 60-62.9
B 83-87.9 C- 70-72.9 F 59 and lower


Personal Learning Environment:

    You are required to develop a personal learning environment that connects you to a larger community and to resources that you will use throughout and beyond this semester. You will need to find and fund your own hosting solution (please include the url where you plan to store your "steps" so that I and others can view them). Your PLE should include: (a) steps, (b) design and development resources, (c) project design specs, and (d) learning materials.

Basics quizzes:

During the first few weeks of class (weeks 2-4), I will issue a quiz that tests your basic knowledge of web development.  Although I want everyone to increase according to their talents, I also want to make sure that there is a basic level of knowledge you leave the course with.  These quizzes will open and be due on Saturday for weeks 2 and 4 of the semester.

Learning Contract:

You will spend the majority of the semester fulfilling the individual parts of your personal learning contract.  This means that you'll need to identify what you're going to learn prior to learning it.  I realize this may be difficult, as you''ll be unfamiliar with the languages you're learning.  However, I have provided several books that you can access for free through the HBLL website.  If you don't know where to start, pick a book (e.g., Head First HTML), look at the lessons provided, and use that as your steps.  You will have a few weeks before steps are due to see what type of resources you like best (I'll share several with you during this time).


Steps are the principle mechanism that you will use to grade your progress.  These are due by Saturday at midnight of each week, starting the 4th week of classes.  There are two types of steps that you will engage in throughout the course—Practice and Project.  

Practice steps demonstrate the new skills that you've learned each week.  They need to be original uses of the code and not just copied examples from the curriculum you're using.  These will be required for the first 7 weeks.  You will probably need to keep learning new things beyond the 7th week, but after that time you will no longer be required to show how to apply your newfound skills outside of your project.  In your learning contract, you will spell out what you want new skills you will learn for your practice steps.  

Project steps show progress on your individual project.  These will be required starting in week 6 of  your learning contract.  The purpose of project steps is to show the development of your learning product.

 To demonstrate that you have completed a step, you need to:

  1. Post the completed code to your PLE
  2. Include an evaluation and what grade (out of 10) you think you deserve
  3. Post the link to your post within Canvas (this is how you turn it in.  I won't see it otherwise).
Design Blueprints:

An important aspect of design and development is done prior to even touching the computer. You will need to begin planning your instructional product immediately. You will post blueprints of your design to your PLE so that others may view and critique them. Your blueprints should be as specific as possible so that others can provide helpful feedback. When you post your blueprints, make clear your: purpose, approach, flow, and function. Please come prepared to discuss each of these (and any other important issues in your design).

  • Purpose: The goal of your learning product is clearly defined. You indicate who the audience will be and how this tool is intended to help them increase their knowledge of a specific concept or skill.
  • Approach: Identify what technology(ies) you will use to create this project. In addition, clearly define the paradigm of your learning tool (e.g., game-based, hyperstack, review, simulation).
  • Flow: Your blueprints show a story-board of how users will progress through your learning product.
  • Function: Blueprints indicate the way different aspects of the program will work when clicked on or through other interactions (e.g., 'when the splash page appears, users are asked if they want to start a new adventure or continue their training where they left off').

You will need to provide one peer critique throughout the semester.  You must provide this written critique on your peer's PLE.  Please remember to post the link to your critique in Canvas.

Final Project:

Using a scripting or programming language of your choice, develop an e-learning product with, at the very least, the following elements:

  • Progression from 1 "page" (or section of your product) to another
  • The ability to collect input information from the user (e.g., name in a text-field)
  • The processing of client or server-side data
  • The creation and use of your own functions and variables

University Policies

This is the legal information applicable to every course I teach at BYU.  Although it is the same as any other BYU course, please be familiar with this information and please don't hesitate to contact me if you feel there is a violation of any portion of these policies, whether by a student or myself.  Thanks!


BYU Honor Code

In keeping with the principles of the BYU Honor Code, students are expected to be honest in all of their academic work. Academic honesty means, most fundamentally, that any work you present as your own must in fact be your own work and not that of another. Violations of this principle may result in a failing grade in the course and additional disciplinary action by the university. Students are also expected to adhere to the Dress and Grooming Standards. Adherence demonstrates respect for yourself and others and ensures an effective learning and working environment. It is the university's expectation, and my own expectation in class, that each student will abide by all Honor Code standards. Please call the Honor Code Office at 422-2847 if you have questions about those standards.

Preventing Sexual Discrimination and Harassment

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination against any participant in an educational program or activity that receives federal funds. The act is intended to eliminate sex discrimination in education. Title IX covers discrimination in programs, admissions, activities, and student-to-student sexual harassment. BYU's policy against sexual harassment extends not only to employees of the university, but to students as well. If you encounter unlawful sexual harassment or gender-based discrimination, please talk to your professor; contact the Equal Employment Office at 422-5895 or 367-5689 (24-hours); or contact the Honor Code Office at 422-2847.

Students with Disabilities

Brigham Young University is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere that reasonably accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have any disability which may impair your ability to complete this course successfully, please contact the Services for Students with Disabilities Office (422-2767). Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified, documented disabilities. Services are coordinated with the student and instructor by the SSD Office. If you need assistance or if you feel you have been unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of disability, you may seek resolution through established grievance policy and procedures by contacting the Equal Employment Office at 422-5895, D-285 ASB.

Academic Honesty Policy

The first injunction of the BYU Honor Code is the call to be honest. Students come to the university not only to improve their minds, gain knowledge, and develop skills that will assist them in their life's work, but also to build character. President David O. McKay taught that 'character is the highest aim of education' (The Aims of a BYU Education, p. 6). It is the purpose of the BYU Academic Honesty Policy to assist in fulfilling that aim. BYU students should seek to be totally honest in their dealings with others. They should complete their own work and be evaluated based upon that work. They should avoid academic dishonesty and misconduct in all its forms, including but not limited to plagiarism, fabrication or falsification, cheating, and other academic misconduct.

Plagiarism Policy

Writing submitted for credit at BYU must consist of the student's own ideas presented in sentences and paragraphs of his or her own construction. The work of other writers or speakers may be included when appropriate (as in a research paper or book review), but such material must support the student's own work (not substitute for it) and must be clearly identified by appropriate introduction and punctuation and by footnoting or other standard referencing.

Respectful Environment Policy

"Sadly, from time to time, we do hear reports of those who are at best insensitive and at worst insulting in their comments to and about others... We hear derogatory and sometimes even defamatory comments about those with different political, athletic, or ethnic views or experiences. Such behavior is completely out of place at BYU, and I enlist the aid of all to monitor carefully and, if necessary, correct any such that might occur here, however inadvertent or unintentional."
"I worry particularly about demeaning comments made about the career or major choices of women or men either directly or about members of the BYU community generally. We must remember that personal agency is a fundamental principle and that none of us has the right or option to criticize the lawful choices of another." President Cecil O. Samuelson, Annual University Conference, August 24, 2010

"Occasionally, we ... hear reports that our female faculty feel disrespected, especially by students, for choosing to work at BYU, even though each one has been approved by the BYU Board of Trustees. Brothers and sisters, these things ought not to be. Not here. Not at a university that shares a constitution with the School of the Prophets." Vice President John S. Tanner, Annual University Conference, August 24, 2010

Course Summary:

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