Situational Factors

Analyzing Situational Factors


Please read the following scenario and then complete the Analysis of Situational Factors opens in new window table.

See the table below for tips on how to complete the chart. Be sure to save a copy to your local directory so that you may access the document at a later time.


You’re a new instructor and you have been hired to teach a Film Studies Course for 2nd year students. The course hasn’t been offered before at the University so you need to create a blended (both online and in class) course from scratch.The course has been offered for the past five years as a face-to-face lecture based course, however you have been asked to redesign it and offer it as a blended (both online and in-class) course. You don’t have any teaching assistants so you will have to maintain all correspondence, oversee the practical assignments, and complete all the marking yourself. Here is what you have been told about the course.

The course caps at 30 students and the course has a waitlist. Students are mostly 2nd year with a few 3rd and 4th year students. It is and elective course and you’re told students often take the course because the see it as an “easy credit”. Occasionally, you get a mature student (over 40yrs old) and/or an individual auditing the course out of personal interest. It’s not uncommon to get ESL students and students with diverse cultural backgrounds.

The University has provided 6 course learning outcomes that they expect students to be able to perform by the end of the course. The course is mainly theoretical with the expectation that students create a practical assignment (their own short film). The theoretical component of the course requires a lot of class discussion and you envision the practical assignment as a group effort.

Please Select “What do I write here?” to reveal some explanation of what to write in each section.

Situational Factors

Implications for Course Design


  • How many students are in the class?
  • What is the mode of delivery?
  • What learning expectations are placed on this course by the university, profession, and society?

What do I write here?

How does the size of the class impact the mode of delivery and considerations of assessments? The fact that you are doing your own marking might encourage group work in certain cases. When is it appropriate and/or more efficient to deliver something online or face-to-face? What are your expectations? How do they differ from the student’s or the University’s expectations?   

Nature of Subject

  • What is the level of course (first-year, advanced, graduate)?
  • Is this subject primarily theoretical, practical, or a combination?
  • Is it primarily convergent or divergent?
  • Is it instructor- designed or industry- designed?
  • Are there important controversies or recent changes within the field?
  • What are the common aAttitudes and preconceptions toward this subject?
  • Where does it fit in the program?
  • Development based, issues based or competency based?

What do I write here?

Based on information in the scenario, what can you tell about the level and nature of the course? Further, what might you deduce about the theoretical and practical components. In redesigning the course, you might give consideration to the field/industry of film studies and how the practical assignment could reflect the values or common practices of the profession. As an elective course, it is likely that the course is not critical but rather supplementary to students’ academic degree plan. How might this change the nature of the course?

Characteristics of the Learner

  • What does a typical student who enters your program look like?
  • What are their strengths?
  • What knowledge gaps or misconceptions do they have?
  • What percentage of students take the course as: a required course; an elective; pre- or co-requisite

What do I write here?

What do you know about the students who typically take this course. What else might be helpful to know about them? How might you get to know them better?

Characteristics of the Instructor

  • What beliefs and values do you have about teaching and learning?
  • What are your teaching strengths and what might need improvement?

What do I write here?

You would want to assess your own characteristics as an instructor of this course by addressing your beliefs, values, and strengths related both to the content of the course as well as the delivery methods. For example, do you have previous experience with blended courses? What are your beliefs about this delivery method?What do I write here?

Resources at your Disposal

  • What is the technological support for web-based teaching, for multi-media instruction, or for distance learning?
  • What is the classroom configuration and available technology?
  • Departmental (or university) support for field trips or out of class activities?
  • Honoraria for guest speakers?

What do I write here?

Given that you are redesigning this course for a blended environment, you would want to do a thorough review of the resources at your disposal. Is there a Technical Support Centre on campus that can help you with the technical aspects of this redesign? What learning management system does the university use? How will this influence the design of your course?


Now that you have completed an analysis of the Situational Factors for the Film Studies scenario, download a copy of the Situational Factors table and complete an analysis of your own course. Do your best to answer each of the questions listed. Flag any questions you do not currently have the answers to and seek out avenues for addressing them.