Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies

Committee Chair

Terence C Ahern

Committee Co-Chair

DJ Hendricks

Committee Member

Ugur Kale

Committee Member

John Oughton

Committee Member

Jiangmei Yuan


The goal of higher education is to educate, train, and motivate people (Hunt, 1998). Typically, best practices and accepted design strategies are used to develop online courses that fulfill the needs of the university, faculty, and student stakeholders. This study examines two methods of instructional design -- the Quality Matters (QM) process, and Keller's ARCS motivational design process -- to understand if instructional design decisions have influence on student motivation in online courses. Quality Matters (QM) offers a well-researched process of designing online courses based on nationally-recognized standards. The QM format provides an ideal objectives-based course design; however, it does not account for the learning experience itself. Alternately, Keller's model of motivational design (2010) provides a series of planning activities course designers can use to capture and retain student attention, reveal or strengthen content relevance, instill student confidence, and create satisfaction with the overall learning experience. Student motivation has been directly linked to attrition (Chen & Jang, 2010). Design decisions can be implemented to enhance motivation, critical to student success and retention. Perhaps the real quality of a course only matters if the course has value and is worthwhile to students.