Online Course Design and Management

Course Number: DEL 7510
Course Name: Online Course Design and Management (Online)
Course Description:    This course examines design principles and strategies that are developed to increase e-learning, based on scientific theories of how people learn. Course design and course management processes are applied and evaluated in relation to how they support or disrupt learning.
Prerequisites:    None
Level: Graduate
Credits: 3
Format: Online
Program: Master of Science in Distance Education Leadership

Registration Instructions

NOTE: The information below is representative of the course and is subject to change.  The specific details of the course will be available in the Desire2Learn course instance for the course in which a student registers.


Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this course, you should be able to

  • Identify cognitive processes that support learning
  • Identify the cognitive effects of e-learning design and development principles
  • Evaluate an e-learning lesson for its evidence-based use of text, audio, and graphics
  • Develop e-learning storyboards that apply evidence-based guidelines regarding examples, practice and navigation options
  • Create a lesson design that implements adaptive learning techniques
  • Design e-learning to teach domain-specific critical thinking skills
  • Critique a course based on quality design principles

Modality Emphasis
A fundamental understanding of the different learning environment modalities for virtual education is valuable for individuals advancing in the field of Distance Education Leadership. This course is comprised of solely asynchronous components; however, the opportunity for synchronous sessions exists via an ad-hoc seminars or the incorporation of synchronous elements in the module which you may elect to design. 

Unit Descriptions

Unit 1: Fundamentals of Online Learning
In this unit, you will explore the fundamentals of online learning, including teaching and learning online and elements of online courses. The instructional design process as viewed by Morrison, Ross, Kalman, and Kemp will be covered. It is expected that through your research on instructional design models you will discover accompanying documentation about other perspectives on the design process. While processes may have many commonalities, minor variations do exist to support the design model being applied.

The exploration will continue with research on theories and models related to online course design. Concept mapping will be introduced to collect and organize information discovered through your research efforts. You will collaborate with your classmates and construct the concept map to document your findings about theories of learning, instruction, and instructional design. You will also explore instructional design models. The teams for the two concept mapping activities in the course will be determined by the end of the Lesson 1.1. The teams will be the same for both activities and you will have an opportunity to reflect on the contributions of each team member to the collaborative process.

The concepts discussed in this unit are the foundation to future topics covered and discussed in this course. Without this knowledgebase, you may struggle to add to and make connections to existing knowledge and experiences and apply e-learning design and development principles.

Unit 2: Course Design and Preparing for Development
This unit is the lengthiest of the course and has the most amount of reading and media activities. The front loading of reading assignments and media activities is by design, so that at the second half of the course focuses on the application of the theories studied in the first half the course.

In this unit, you will focus on e-learning course design principles and preparing for the development of courses online. The topics will walk you through preparing documentation to supporting your design approach and setting you up for success in the development phase of online course design.
You will learn about identifying learner needs by conducting a variety of analyses. More specifically, needs analyses, task analyses, and learning and contextual analyses will be presented and discussed. The findings from these analyses will inform future decisions you will make about the course design.

Next, you will learn about building the foundation for an individual course. You will look at the differences and similarities amongst goals, objectives, and student learning outcomes. The components that comprise a syllabus will be reviewed and what comprises a quality course outline will be identified. This information will be helpful as you begin to conceptualize the online course module you will be developing later in the course. You will begin that project with an outline of your own that is due at the end of this unit.

In lesson 2.2 we will investigate the Seven Principles of Effective Teaching for online learning in the reading by Graham, et al. One example of a job-aid which exists and can help with conceptualizing the connections which exist with outcomes, learning activities, and tools. This preview takes us into the next topic of designing the instruction. Sequencing and strategies are reviewed in addition to designing the instructional message. This topic area would be incomplete without mentioning course structure and online learner engagement and motivation.

The development of instructional material may not be as simple as some may believe, as the aforementioned items all impact the who, what, when, and where of this material, its presentation and how it is developed. Lastly, learner assessment and feedback mechanisms must be a part of the design for one to know and gather evidence on student performance and whether learning outcomes are being achieved.

Each of these areas is important to consider for individual course designs and also of courses being designed under your supervision.

Unit 3: Course Development
In this unit, we will discuss course development and the primary tools used to deliver and facilitate online learning experiences. Learning management systems (LMSs) will be touched upon again, as we review evaluations and features of various LMSs and how they support the development and delivery of online courses.

Educational and instructional technologies are also noted in this chapter, as these tools are important for the actual production or delivery of instructional materials and assessments. Careful consideration when selecting tools can streamline or complicate the design process greatly. Understanding what tools are available and how they might be applied will better enable you to make appropriate selections and collaborate with other parties as needed to integrate technology into your online course design and management processes.

Unit 4: Course Management
Course management takes on many definitions in the field and clarification is often required for the context in which it is being used. Many individuals believe course management to be only what is done within the course by the facilitator once the course is live. While how the course will be managed can relate to design considerations, it does not stand alone in the grand scheme of online course design and management.

Course management in the context of this course extends beyond the facilitation perspective. Evaluation of courses is discussed as well as the preparation and planning which must go into the initial offering of online courses and the sustainability of those offerings. Course management includes the quality assurance mechanisms in place to ensure adherences to established standards and principles of quality course design and delivery. These standards and principles exist to support all stakeholders in the process.

Leaders in distance education must be aware of the breadth of topics which can fall under the umbrella of online course design and management in preparation for how these concepts may impact their responsibilities. It is recognized that varying degrees of control might exists, however, a sound understanding of each area of consideration is valuable knowledge to have.

Unit 5: Issues and Trends in Online Course Design and Management
This course is designed to increase your autonomy as an individual working with online course design and management, to improve your knowledge, skills, and abilities in this area of the distance education leadership field, and to enhance your ability to remain up-to-date in this topic area on a recurring basis. Autonomy, however, does not mean that you will be operating in silos. It is important as educational practitioners and leaders that we continue to expand our knowledge and our 'virtual toolkit’. We must make an intentional effort to collaborate and communicate with other stakeholders in the process as course design, development, and implementation can be a wide-reaching areas which greatly impact the students and course facilitators. Having a good understanding of the theories and models which exist and the ability to establish an approach to the management of courses is crucial to our success. Being aware of and knowledgeable about the resources available to help carry out the design, development, and management of courses, in addition to the tools which support collaboration and communication are valuable characteristics of professionals in the field. With the rapid pace of change in resources, determining which resources are credible, relevant, and worthwhile is yet another desired skill. You are encouraged to take the evaluation and retention of resources into consideration throughout your coursework and professional pursuits.

Unit 5 provides a high level review of resources important to staying current on issues and trends in and directly related to online course design and management. In addition, this information will help you as you reflect in your professional development journal and look forward to your aspirations in the field.

Grading Information

Assignment Possible Points
Weekly Discussion Posts (20 @ 15 pts. each) 300 points
eJournal (12 @ 10 pts. each) 120 points
Course Design and Management Activities (6 @ 40 pts. each) 240 points
   Concept Map Activity I  
   Concept Map Activity II  
   Module Peer Evaluation Activity  
   eLearning Storyboard Activity  
   Course Quality Evaluation Activity  
   Course Management Approach Essay  
Online Course Module (Outline, Draft, and Final) 300 points
Professional Development Journal Reflection 40 points
Total: 1,000 points

Grading Scale
A 940 - 1,000 points
A- 900 - 939 points
B+ 870 - 899 points
B 840 - 869 points
B- 800 - 839 points
C+ 770 - 799 points
C 740 - 769 points
C- 700 - 739 points
D+ 670 - 699 points
D 640 - 669 points
D- 600 - 639 points
F 0 - 599 points


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