How this will help:
- Discover tools to help plan an online course using design strategies
If you do any search for “online course design” or read any book on online design, just about every resource emphasizes the importance of planning for online course design. However, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed if you are considering moving a course online, even if you have support from others. Many instructors new to online struggle to engage with the planning for an online course in the recommended timeline (several weeks or months in advance).
If you need help planning, this comprehensive course planning blueprint tool can help you reflect and guide your design process (want something simpler? Keep reading for additional options).
The blueprint is a spreadsheet is rooted in a backward design process. While by no means comprehensive (meaning that you still may have more work to do if there are media or instructional designers involved), it can give you a structure for planning your online course. It can also be a place to have conversations with others with your strategy already mapped out, cutting down on orientation time to your course. Feel free to make a copy of it for your own use.
Our planning blueprint is made up of six parts:
- Course information
Course name, number of students, etc.
- Course goals
4-5 goals for the course overall – not specific to particular lessons.
- Learner analysis
Some questions to reflect on what your learners might be bringing to the class
- Learning Objectives and Content
Breakdown of learning objectives by week, and what content is needed to support it
- Activities and assessments
What are the assessments and activities that support your learning objectives?
- Instructor engagement plan
What will your plan be to engage with students each week?
- Course information
There are other tools available to help you plan, so feel free to find one that may align with your teaching. Ultimately, most design tools are going to walk you through a similar process, so what is most important is to find a tool that resonates with your teaching style.
- Prefer to plan by types of interaction? This planning document documents weeks by interactions between faculty, students and content.
- If you prefer a more narrative process, consider the MIT – Online Course Design Guide. A full walk-through of the design process.
- For a more simplified version of the backward design process, see John Hopkins – Online Course Design Worksheet (Word file)
- If you like a visual design process, consider using concept maps to link learning objectives, content, and assessments. The University of Tennessee Chattanooga has a good resource to get started.
University of Michigan