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Self-Guided Online Course Design and Development

Image: Design "Is there a more systematic and efficient way to plan my new course?"

"How can I make a meaningful connection with my students?"

"What do I want my students to learn?"

"Which activities will help me create a robust and interactive online learning environment?"



The 5 Steps of the Design Phase will help you answer these and other common questions as you create the foundational documents and plan for your new course.

[ Click ON THE steps BELOW to expand detail ]
iconStep 1: Organize Course Information

Use the Course Design Plan as you complete Steps 2 through 4. The Course Design Plan makes it easy to map out your entire course week by week and define what you want your students to learn. It also helps plan the best online activities, chose the most relevant materials, and design the most appropriate assessments for your new online course. This completed document will play a major role in helping you finalize your syllabus and guiding you as you build your course in Phase 2.

iconStep 2: Develop Learning Objectives
Use your Course Design Plan to define what you want your students to learn. This information is captured as course and module learning objectives that will help you design your course (activities, content, materials, assessments). By designing your course around what you want students to learn, you will be more efficient as you build out the rest of your course creating only the activities and content necessary for success. You will also ensure that your students know exactly what you expect of them increasing the chances that they will be successful in meeting your expectations.
iconStep 3: Plan an Assessment Strategy

Use your Course Design Plan to design assessments that will directly measure whether students have learned and can meet course learning objectives. Ensure alignment of assessments with the objectives you created in Step 2. Keep in mind the unique nature of online learning and recognize that in person assessment methods do not always translate well to the online environment.

iconStep 4: Design Instructional Materials and Activities

Use your Course Design Plan to select the best kinds of activities to meet the objectives you have defined, design and/or choose supporting course materials, and plan opportunities for students to interact with each other, with you, and with the content you have selected.

  • Choose Activities and Materials:
    • Videos, Lecture Capture, Voice-Over PowerPoint, Screen Casts, Podcasts
    • Discussion Posts
    • Individual and Group Assignments
    • Journals
    • Blogs and Wikis
    • Collaborative Activities in Google Apps
    • Electronic Course Reserves through the UConn Libraries
      NOTE: Course Reserves are in transition. See the Library site for status and details.
  • Review Sample UConn Online Courses requested in Step 1
  • Insert your instructional materials and activities into the Course Design Plan provided in Step 1.

iconStep 5. Review and Evaluate

During this phase, use the Quality Matters Workbook to evaluate how well you have met the following standards:

  • Learning Objectives (Standards 2.1-2.5)
  • Assessment and Measurement (Standards 3.1-3.5)
  • Instructional Materials (4.1-4.6)
  • Course Activities and Learner Interaction (5.1-5.4)

If you haven't yet, request the Quality Matters Workbook by emailing

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