Introduction

These guidelines introduce VCU faculty to the process of designing online courses in consultation with ALT Lab/Online@VCU. It will help those of you who are new to online teaching and give you tips and processes that will guide the design of your course, as well as explain best practices and pitfalls to avoid.

Online teaching and learning can increase student access to your discipline not simply by offering a learning environment regardless of a student’s location or schedule but by using technology and design to offer students multiple ways to encounter, practice, and assess knowledge and skills. The design process helps ensure that content delivery, activity and assessment strategies, patterns of engagement, and course organization and navigation all work together to create a dynamic and effective online learning community.

We will begin with how to develop the scope of your course by developing objectives and defining roles in the course development process.

You will then learn how to develop a course grid, organize your content, and create a storyboard and outline of your course as a foundation for the content. Interactivity and navigation are important parts of any online course and can significantly increase user-friendliness and engagement of learners. Content development will stem from your objectives and will be developed further to help understand the best way to organize and deliver your content. In addition to the content of an online course, it is important to assess student learning, as well as include an evaluation of the learning experience.

Lastly, these guidelines will cover the different options for developing learning objects and how to choose the most appropriate applications for your online course.

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