Online course development process
Contact Dennis Hitchcox
The process for online course development is designed to support academic and fiscal planning, to allow flexibility while meeting increasing demand, to train instructors to develop courses to meet standards.
Below is a general overview of the online course development process for division deans, department chairs and faculty. Note that new online instructors must begin training two terms before the course will be taught, but Distance Education can better assist your online program with proper planning. Click on the headings to expand each section.
- Becoming an online instructor
- PCC online instructors are required to complete the Online Instructor Orientation (OIO) before developing or teaching an online course. The training is a five-week Continuing Education (CEU) course with assignments, quizzes, and activities designed to imitate the student’s perspective in an online environment.The training consists of two on-campus lab sessions at Sylvania and about three weeks of online work involving best practices in course design, teaching and accessibility. Faculty will need to allow several hours per week for the online activities. Participants successfully completing the Online Instructor Orientation are compensated for twenty hours at the current special projects rate.Instructors can use Desire2Learn as a supplement to their non-distance, on-campus course (e.g. CLWEB, hybrid), allowing instructors to learn Desire2Learn in a more flexible environment at their own pace. No training is required unless an instructor is teaching fully online. No training is required for using Desire2Learn in campus courses, but many training sessions are available to help instructors get started.
- Steps for planning an online course development
- Deans and department chairs can contact Dennis Hitchcox for access to shared online data regarding their departments’ past and current course developments or training New developments are started using the basic template, and they require the most time and work to develop. An existing developed course will sometimes require a revision when changing textbooks or updating required software.If development is unnecessary or impossible due to time constraints, deans and department chairs should follow the takeover steps in the section following this one. Otherwise, course development will follow these guidelines.
- Plan a training-development timeline using the timetable on the online course request form for the most current possible timelines for development.
- Assign an instructor to developing or revising the course who has either completed the Online Instructor Orientation or would like to complete the training in order to develop a future online course.
- Determine a final deadline, planning at least two terms ahead of the term in which the course will be offered, due to the time commitment of training and course development. For example, to develop or revise a course to be taught Fall term, you should complete the Online Instructor Orientation no later than the spring before or earlier.
- Submit the online course request form, after which the Distance Education department generates a Letter of Agreement (LOA) to be signed by the instructor, overseeing dean and Distance Education. The Letter of Agreement forms an agreement on expectations about policies, compensation and the proposed timeline from all parties. (See the sample documents below.)
- The instructor will be granted course shell access after the Distance Education department receives the signed Letter of Agreement, and a copy of which will be sent for your records. Instructors in the Online Instructor Orientation, will obtain course access during training.
- Begin course development or revision, ensuring that one week’s content is ready in Desire2Learn by the progress check date, as provided in the Letter of Agreement. The course development questionnaire is a helpful reference guide faculty can use as they develop their online course.
- On the date established in the Letter of Agreement, the Distance Education department will perform a final review to ensure that all content is ready and to allow for any last-minute changes. If this goal doesn’t seem reachable, all parties on the Letter of Agreement should be notified, and a new teach term can be established.
- Option for planning an online course takeover
- A “takeover” occurs when a copy of a previously developed, reviewed and approved shell is given to another instructor to teach from. If planning a takeover, the following amendments can be made to the steps listed above.
- No development work is involved in a takeover, so there is no compensation for developing.
- The course being taken over must have been reviewed by the Distance Education department and approved by your dean.
- Departments can develop a “shared shell” to make available to copy for other instructors.
- Since no development work is involved, a new online instructor could potentially complete the Online Instructor Orientation and offer a takeover the following term. However, the ideal timeline for the instructor is still two terms out for a takeover.
- A discipline-appropriate Distance Education mentor will perform a check-over of the course to make sure all the technical aspects are in place and functioning properly. Please refer to the Quick Visual Checklist for guidance on essential updates to make to prepare your course.
- Sample documents
- Access to your courses
- Course access
- There are several possible reasons why Distance Education staff or others may be added to your online course.
- Next steps
- Understanding data retention and content archival
- How long is your course kept online? Who archives the content?
- Continual course management
- What are key deadlines and student engagement points during the term?