Composing Professional Emails

Storyline3 Lesson on Email writing lesson Incoming International students

Project Description

This Learning object is developed with Articulate storyline 3. It serves as part of a series of incoming international student training courses to help them ease their first few weeks to a U.S. campus. The learning goal for this learning object is to teach international students with non-English backgrounds to be confident about drafting professional emails in various academic situations on campus.

As a case-based scenario lesson,  learners will be interacting with a character named Lynn in the first section of the training. They will analyze Lynn's needs to draft email and make choices to help Lynn draft her email to her academic advisor. Learners will be introduced with 5 major components of professional emails in this section through feedback and interactions. They will then be assessed on their knowledge of the topic in a practice round.

My Role in this Project

This is an individual design project I worked on during IDT 7120 Tools for Online Learning. I acted as the project initiator, instructional designer, subject matter experts and course builder throughout the first round of design & development. My work in each stage (presented below) was reviewed and revised by the peer instructional designer and the instructor of this course. I also conducted a full cycle of formative evaluation on this project with more peer instructional designers, subject matter experts from the UC academic writing Labs as well as prospective learners. 

Throughout this project, I was able to practice an iterative instructional design model, polish my technical writing skills, authoring tools development with Storyline 3, and improve my skills in communication, project management and instructional design with the Master's project's evaluation. Please check below to review my evaluation plan and the evaluation report as well as the revision I implemented. 

You will also see my revised learning object and the details of my design process from the beginning to end. 

Learning Object

Design Process

Design process step 1 Needs idetifying
Design Process step 2: Action Mapping

Needs Identifying

Stephen, Howser and Cowen’s (2009) study on email demonstrated that students who compose email which their professors see as overly casual, using the techniques previously described, are more likely to receive a negative response from their professors in regard to the specific request of their email, as well as negatively damaging their long-term relationship, which could have led to mentoring and recommendation letters. International students who identify as English Language Learners will be in disadvantages when communicating with their peers, professors, job recruiters while on campus. 

The learning goal for this learning object is to teach international students with non-English backgrounds to be confident about drafting professional emails in various academic situations on campus.


Action Mapping

As the figure below shows, once the learning goal is identified, that is for learners to be able to compose well-structured and error-free email letters in given scenarios in school, I wrote three measurable and tangible learning objectives (behaviors) aligning with the learning goal. Learners will be assessed by the end of the course on the listed learning objectives.

To achieve each learning objective, I designed three specific learning activities from learning about 5-main parts of an email to tips on greetings and closing phrases and proofreading techniques. These activities then translate to correlating content in the Learning objectives. 



Low-Fidelity Storyboard

This scenario-based learning object is initially layout as a storyboard on Twine ( As the low-fidelity storyboard indicates, learners will go through an interactive story with a character named Lynn who is in need of drafting an email letter to her advisor on her class schedule. I found Twine as a perfect tool to show relationships between learner actions and results. 

Create Assessment

The assessment in this learning object will be performance-based and self-evaluated with appropriate guidance. With given choices of several emails-writing scenarios, learners will follow the 5-components of emails to compose one email in the assessment. They will also be prompt to proofread their writing and check with the appropriate subject line, greetings and closing before they submit their written assignment. Learners will then be comparing their submitted email with a sample letter to evaluate their writing skills. 

High-Fidelity Storyboard

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