Starting to Write an Online Course
Updated: Apr 9, 2018
Post from April 2, 2018
Writing or revising a course (#CourseDevelopment)? I hope to help you put it in a perspective and give you some basics to help with the process.
Every Program has either competencies, outcomes, or objectives to meet. Most Programs has them written and course development will be governed by addressing them. When starting writing or revising the course it is good to start by reviewing Program competencies/outcomes/objectives of the program to see how the course will fit in the Program as whole, and which disciplinary or general/trans-disciplinary competencies you will be addressing. If you are revising existing course previous course evaluations will provide you with important information on what worked and what didn't in the existing course. You might also want to connect with teachers that taught this course for feedback.
Once you know how the course fits in the program and mastering what competencies will drive your course development it is good to map out your course (#Mapping). That is where dividing course on sub-topics (units/weeks/lessons) will be useful. Also, I think it is good to think about graded assignments at this point of time. Allowing appropriate spacing between them, for the size of assignment, and paying particular attention that sub-topics addressed in study process address everything students need to know to complete them. You also MUST pay attention to the type of course you are writing: paced or continues enrollment; group, individual or self-study, as it is important on what type of activities you will be able to use to facilitate learning.
You should continue working on #CourseMapping by addressing the following in each sub-topics in the order described below:
name the unit - think of the name that will catch students attention or/and address the sub-topic;
unit outcomes - what outcomes/objectives/competencies each instructional unit of study guide will address;
key concepts or/and term it will be addressing;
assessment strategies for inquiring knowledge (remember it is not necessary graded);
study process (break down of the course on smaller pieces: activities/objects);
collection of resources (mandatory and optional): links to articles, websites, videos, podcasts, textbook;
determining the length of the unit of instruction.
The #CourseMap will serve you as a guide for writing study guides for each unit, introduction and assignments. This was addressed in my previous post "Lets Talk about Components of the Course". Please always consider pacing of your course, amount of time students will spend on each sub-topic (allow no more than 15 hours per week) including participation in activities and assignments, involvement of teachers in facilitation of learning, availability for feedback, and if possible relation to practice.
Although it is out of the scope of this post, you have to always think about your audience - students, and prerequisite knowledge that you expect students to have before they start your course, while developing curriculum.