Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Process for Online Course Development


Below is a general overview of the online course development process for division deans, department chairs and faculty. Note that PCC requires new online instructors to receive training before developing a course and teaching online the first time, so course development procedures/process plans/ timelines should include time for entry-level training. Distance Education can assist you as you plan to add courses and new online instructors to your online program. Deans and department chairs can contact Dennis Hitchcox for access to data regarding their departments’ past and current course developments or training.

Steps for planning an online course development
FDCs and Deans can request development for new online courses, duplicates, revisions or sharing of existing courses. New developments are started using the current D2L template, and they require the most time and work to develop. An existing developed course may require a major revision when changes occur that require the adoption of new materials and/or media be used. If an existing approved course exists, deans and department chairs should follow the takeover steps in the section following this one.
In general, course development will follow these guidelines.
  1. Plan a training/development timeline using the development circumstances on the how long is this going to take page. Figure out how long it will take to complete training and development activities, taking into consideration the potential online instructor’s availability. A potential online instructor is an instructor who has completed the Fundamentals course and can be assigned to teach an online course.
  2. Assign an instructor to developing or revising the course who has completed the FOOT and would like to complete the rest of the training in order to develop a future online course.
  3. Establish the term when the course will be offered, making sure to include the time commitments for 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.
  4. Submit the appropriate course request form for your needs, 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 for all parties. It triggers enrollment in training, if needed, and mentor activities around planning for design.
  5. The instructor will be granted course shell access after the Distance Education department receives the signed Letter of Agreement, a copy of which will be sent for your records. Instructors in the Online Instructor Orientation will obtain course access during training.
  6. The trained online instructor will begin course development or revision as soon as possible ensuring that one week’s content is ready in Desire2Learn by the progress check date, as provided in the Letter of Agreement.
  7. 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.
Becoming an online instructor

PCC online instructors are required to complete entry-level training (Fundamentals of Online Learning and Online Instructor Orientation — FOOT and OIO) before developing or teaching an online course. These training modules include assignments, quizzes, and activities designed to provide a student’s perspective of learning in the online classroom. Design activities and an online teaching simulation are provided as part of OIO. Continuing Education Units (CEU) are provided for participants who complete the training. Participants successfully completing the Online Instructor Orientation are compensated for twenty hours at the current special projects rate.

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 (when this is not possible, a dean may waive this requirement).
  • Departments can develop a “shared shell” to make available to copy for other instructors.
  • Since no development work is involved, a potential online instructor, who has completed the FOOT course could potentially complete the Online Instructor Orientation and offer a takeover the following term.
  • A discipline-appropriate Distance Education mentor will perform a QM review of the course to make sure all the technical aspects are in place and functioning properly. The accessibility advocate will perform an accessibility review. If all standards are met, a recommendation will be made to the overseeing dean, who will approve the course for delivery.
Options for CLWEB or Hybrid Teaching

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.