Course Design

The Office of Distance & Digital Learning is proud to partner with DSU faculty and academic departments in the development of quality online and other digital learning courses and programs.

Prioritization for course design projects is determined in collaboration with the Office of the Provost, College Deans and Department Chairs, and is primarily focused on online program development.

Individual courses that are not connected to an online program or certificate will be included in the project queue as time and resources become available. All online courses developed are intended to be designed to be master courses with common learning outcomes and summative assessments, and a set of core learning activities that support the intended learning outcomes. Although master courses, faculty have the ability to add elements to the course, as long as the central design is not compromised.

Course Development Application Process

Follow the steps below to begin the course design application process.

  1. Identify the course you are wishing to design for online offering and verify it is not currently offered online.
  2. Complete the Course Development Application.

Upon submission of the application, the request will be reviewed by our office and discussed with the respective Department Chair and College Dean.

Course Development Process

backwards design process

We use a collaborative, team-based approach to the design and development of online and blended courses. To that end, each team consists of faculty (2 or more), an instructional or learning designer, instructional technologist, media developer, project manager, library specialist and the associated Department Chair or designee.

There are four phases to every course development project.

  1. Planning
  2. Course Design
  3. Development & Assembly
  4. Pilot & Review

During the planning phase, the project team is assembled and a timeline for the project is established.

In the next two phases, a backwards design process is used to review course outcomes, determine appropriate assessments, select and create instructional materials, and assemble the course in the learning management system.

Once a course is assembled it is reviewed using the adopted quality standards. Following review approval, it is piloted in one or two sections to gather feedback and data on student success. That information is then used to inform any needed changes to the master course.

Faculty Expectations

Faculty play a key role in the project team. They bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise in their discipline and in the teaching and learning experience. As part of the project team, faculty are expected to be capable and willing to:

  • Partner effectively with other members on the project team, including other faculty
  • Actively participate in the course design and development activities, including:
    • Participate in all meetings and workshops with the project team
    • Keep in regular contact with the design team regarding progress, questions, or concerns.
    • Respond to emails from the team as quickly as possible (within 1-2 business days).
  • Collaborate and share ideas
  • Invest the time required to produce online course materials
  • Appreciate and follow the instructional design process
  • Select and create course materials that consider the needs of various learners
  • Incorporate learning strategies to facilitate active learning
  • Accept feedback, constructive criticism, and new ideas
  • Appreciate new ideas and approaches
  • Meet course quality guidelines
  • Be comfortable using computer-based technology and learning new tools
  • Organize work and manage time effectively
  • Meet project timelines determined at the beginning of the project
  • Possess strong written and verbal skills
  • Comply with plagiarism, copyright, and accessibility guidelines

Instructional Design

photo from learnactive.com

At the heart of course and program development is instructional or learning design – where measurable learning objectives or competencies are defined, assessments (formative and summative) are created to assess these outcomes and learning activities and resources are developed to help learners to obtain the knowledge, skills and/or abilities required. For each approved course development project, an instructional or learning designer will be assigned to the development team.

Our designers use research, theory, and best practices in pedagogy and student-centered learning strategies to develop processes for creating highly effective online and other digital learning environments. Each designer has advanced degrees in the fields of instructional design, learning science or instructional technology.

Did you know … While the discipline of instructional design has been around in one form or another since the 1940s, many in higher education are still unsure what instructional design is and what instructional designers do. Emerging from the US military’s training programs during World War II, instructional design developed as an academic discipline through the work of educational psychologists like B.F. Skinner, Benjamin Bloom, Robert Gagné who expanded our understandings of how people learn. While the theoretical underpinnings of the field were academic in nature, in general the use of instructional design was confined to professional training programs. With the proliferation of personal computers and web-based technology in the 1990s, colleges and universities began to utilize instructional designers in the development of new approaches to teaching and learning—in particular, hybrid and online courses.

How can an instructional or learning designer help me?

Instructional designers can assist you with tasks like outcome alignment, developing innovative assessments, identifying and creating meaningful learning activities and resources, honing your teaching methods or strategies, or leveraging emerging technology in courses.

Our instructional designers help faculty to not only ensure that instructional alignment (connecting outcomes, assessment and learning activities) exists, but also to ensure that the learning environment or overall design of the online or blended course meets established standards and best practices.

<< Schedule a consultation with an ODL Instructional Designer (coming soon) >>