Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

J. Nicholls Eastmond


J. Nicholls Eastmond


Michael Freeman


Joan Kleinke


Richard West


Andrew Walker


One method for improving the appeal of instruction is found in Christopher Alexander’s work on architectural design patterns. In this qualitative research study, student comments on teacher/course evaluation forms were analyzed to generate six instructional design patterns. The teacher enthusiasm pattern encourages teachers to show (a) increased scholarship and enthusiasm towards the subject matter, (b) genuine concern and enthusiasm towards the students, and (c) mastery of and enthusiasm towards the act of teaching. The balanced curriculum pattern recommends that teachers (a) determine the appropriate depth or breadth of subject matter and communicate it to the students, (b) create a balanced schedule of activities, assignments, and tests, and (c) provide a variety of subject matter topics, instructional strategies, and media delivery technologies. The clear and appropriate assessments pattern directs teachers to (a) communicate the learning objectives related to each assessment, (b) ensure assessment methods are appropriate measures of the objectives, and (c) use fair criteria in grading and administering the assessments. The authentic connections pattern asks teachers to (a) help students understand the connections between the subject matter content and the world of work, (b) promote interpersonal connections between students through instruction and group work, as well as facilitate teacher-student connections by dealing with students honestly and fairly, and (c) encourage students to look at connections that go beyond workplace application and help students become better people. The flow of time pattern recommends that teachers (a) help students plan out their schedules for various time periods, and (b) synchronize the flow of instructional events with the flow of events occurring in the students’ personal lives. Finally, the negotiation and cooperation pattern encourages teachers to apply the processes of negotiation and cooperation to solve problems related to (a) the students’ lack of a sense of freedom, power, or control, (b) the conflict within the students or within the social order of the class, and (c) the general absence of a self-supporting, self-maintaining, and generating quality in the instruction. These six instructional design patterns may be used by teachers to increase the appeal of instruction in higher education settings.