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OCIA Course Design Model

The Instructional Technology and Design Services team has developed a course design model in collaboration with faculty members for use at Montclair State University called OCIA (Orientation-Content-Interaction-Assessment). Our model supports a social, interaction-embedded approach to course design and development and uses learning modules to structure the course. The OCIA model and course template, elaborated upon further in this page, are guided by the nationally recognized Quality Matters Program (QM) in order to ensure high-quality online/hybrid education. This enables faculty and Instructional Designers to work collaboratively to enhance online/hybrid teaching and learning outcomes.

Each learning module, based on OCIA, contains all the essential elements for learning activities that students can complete within a period of time (generally one week). This structure guides learners through a predictable sequence but is flexible in that it can be customized to fit a range of methods for facilitating and assessing learning.

Our OCIA model includes four main components:

Infographic detailing the four components of the OCIA model: Orientation, Content, Interaction, and Assessment

Detailed Description of the OCIA Model Components


The orientation page sets the learning context for each learning module and includes an introduction, learning objectives, requirements, and perspective.

  • An Introduction
    Include a brief introduction of what you will cover in the module. This is generally a few sentences of text or a brief audio/video recording.
  • Learning Objectives
    The objectives are used to tell the student, in the very beginning, what they will be able to do at the end of the module. It is recommended that each module includes from three to five concise learning objectives.
  • Requirements
    This is a summary of specific tasks and assignments students are expected to engage in or complete. It should include specific deadlines (for example, due by Thursday, February 14 at 11:59pm EST).
  • Perspective
    Perspective is a place to connect the week’s material to students’ prior knowledge, recent events, or other alternative points of view in order to spark interest in the module.


Each learning module’s content page includes the materials students need to engage with concepts introduced.

  • This includes any course materials that students are expected to read or watch that week. It may include video lectures you have created, externally produced media, textbooks, journal articles, websites, etc.
  • Additionally, you can divvy up the learning materials into two categories: Required and Optional.


Each module should Include multiple opportunities for interaction and reflection.

  • You may create asynchronous or synchronous activities each week to help students interact with each other. These may include discussions, collaborations, group work, peer review, web conferencing, virtual office hours, and group activities.


A variety of assessment types enhance each module and allow students to demonstrate that they have achieved the objectives you challenged them to master.

  • Assignments are generally your assessments. The evaluation at the end of each module may be formative, resulting in feedback on informal student work, or summative, resulting in a grade. Rubrics are also a good way to share your expectations for participation, projects, and other assignments.
  • Additional details can be found on our Learning Assessments page.

Montclair State Modifiable Course Template

The Montclair State Modifiable Course Template has been designed following the OCIA model and can be imported from the Canvas Course Commons into your course(s). The template may be modified for multiple weeks by adding or removing modules as you see fit.

A public version of the template is accessible below:

Course Design Consultations

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Our team of instructional designers are available to collaborate with you on many aspects of designing your course(s). We are committed to learning from recent trends in learning science while leveraging the latest instructional technologies to support student learning and engagement. Some aspects of the course design process can take time to develop so it is best to start the process a semester before the course is going to be offered. The better designed the course is in advance, the more time you will be able to devote to facilitating the course.

Schedule a One-on-One Course Design Consultation