Designing online courses
This document is part of a larger collection of documents on online instruction from the Center for Teaching, Learning and Mentoring's Instructional Resources KnowledgeBase. See more online instruction documents from that collection.
Design model for development of online courses
As with face-to-face courses, quality online courses require careful planning and sound pedagogy. It can be challenging to know where to begin and how much is enough. Instructors (and their students) sometimes struggle with too much course content and activities, since it’s so easy to link to rich, wonderful, interesting online resources.
The Designing Online Courses Quick-Start topics provide a framework for planning and designing a quality online course. Each topic provides research-based best practices and instructional design strategies and resources. Review the following important topics to learn more:
- Course planning — consider big ideas and essential questions, how Backwards Design helps align and focus courses, as well as organization and navigation.
- Learning objectives and alignment — focuses on practical strategies for building measurable objectives that provide the framework for learning materials and assessments.
- Assessment and measurement — includes great resources and examples of diagnostic, formative, and summative assessment strategies.
- Instructional materials — provides many examples and resources about online lectures, digital media, open educational resources, and copyright and accessibility considerations.
- Course activities and learner interactions— introduces the Absorb-Do-Connect framework and provides examples of different types of interactions.
Note: These topics are organized and aligned with the Quality Matters Standards. What is Quality Matters? It is a faculty-centered, peer-review process designed to certify the quality of online and blended courses. UW-Madison is an institutional subscriber to Quality Matters so that faculty and instructional staff can use the nationally-recognized Quality Matters Rubric as a guide to develop and evaluate their own online course design. The Deep-Dive Topics for each of these brief topics provide more information about each standard. To access all of Quality Matters resources, including the rubric and course review tools, UW-Madison employees can create a Quality Matters account.