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Photo: University of Arizona
CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY | August/September 2017
Initial steps in the course design process
were needed in the onboarding processes for staff and faculty. “When we bring other instructional designers and new faculty on, we want to be sure that no one’s lost. That means engaging everyone in a clear design process that shows how wegetfromAtoZ.”
From the very beginning of the planning process, which takes about 30 minutes to work through, the designer now goes over what an effective online course looks like, how it’s
developed, how it differs from a face-to-face or hybrid course and what the timeline is expected to be. For experienced online instructors, this process can be shortened or even bypassed, said Romanoski.
The second module, covering course mapping, is different. That content is often new to almost all faculty. The course map “works as a blueprint for the construction of the course,” Romanoski explained. When the instructional designer and an instructor set out to work on the map, it’s placed on Google Docs for collaboration. Each topic within the course is laid out in terms of learning objectives, learning content and resources/activities. The learner — whether a new em- ployee or a faculty member — can view a course map already populated and watch a video about how to fill it out.
Building a Course
The third module, which covers how to construct an online course, is where those experienced faculty members who seem to know it all can be wooed into reconsidering their online course practices. The team’s graphic designer has come up with a passel of designs for courses that faculty can work from. “We knew we wanted to build something that didn’t look like your standard learning management system,” said Gunder. “We spent quite a lot of time figuring out how to make something that was engaging and beautiful, that wouldn’t break and that would be supportive of faculty
going in and entering their text directly into these spaces.” Romanoski added that faculty members’ response was: “I did not know we could do this with D2L. I want my course
to look like that.”
But visual design is only one aspect of course construc-
tion — the “Building a Course” module comprises five areas of coverage, making it the longest section of the Primer. Instructors can tour lecture best practices, such as the use of VoiceThread for sharing content, producing videos and facilitating visual discussion boards. They can also bolster their skills in creating lessons that will engage learners, us- ing tools in D2L to create assignments, implementing in- quiry- and project-based models and learning how to set up assessments that align with learning objectives.
One dedicated sub-module covers the topic of “instructor presence” to show instructors how to introduce themselves to students, use videos and set up virtual meetings to add a sense of presence. Overall, the goal is to “model the possibilities and encourage people to use them,” said Senior Instructional Designer Josie Strahle.
Requirements Are Few but Mighty
The course modules are optional. No instructor is required to go through them before teaching online. However, there are a few required aspects that nobody involved with ODL can bypass. 4

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