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New Course Development Guide

This guide was created to help you structure and organize new courses, no matter the format: online, hybrid/blended, flipped, or face-to-face. The order is suggested, but you may find that inverting some of the steps works better for your development process. 

  • Identify Your Students

    1. Identify your students’ previous knowledge and level in their degree plan.
    2. Determine what your students already know coming into your class. Are there any knowledge gaps that would prevent them from understanding what you plan to teach?
    3. Create a student persona. This includes information about:
      1. Attitudes, goals and motivations for taking the class
      2. Behaviors
      3. Challenges
  • Determine Outcomes and Establish Strategies

    1. Develop student learning outcomes that are specific, measurable, and realistic. Refer to Bloom’s Taxonomy to help you write outcomes that are appropriate for your students, given their previous knowledge and skill sets. Some core courses have pre-determined student learning outcomes for assessment purposes. Check with your department for guidance. 
    2. Identify instructional strategies that outline how you will help students reach the learning outcomes. Examples include: active learning, discussion-based learning, task-based learning, game-based learning, case-based learning, cooperative learning, and experiential learning and field work.
  • Break Down Your Content

    1. Determine your course content units and the format and structure for those units.
    2. Outline unit or lesson objectives that are more detailed but align with the larger course objectives.
    3. Consider the sequence of your content. Are some concepts foundational? Do some items need to be learned at the same time as others?
    4. Think about the pacing. Will some units or concepts take longer to master than others?
    5. Consider learning for skill versus acquiring knowledge. If students are learning for skill, you’ll want to give them time to practice.
  • Select Instructional Materials and Instructional Technology

    1. Choose a textbook and any other instructional materials. Check with your department to see if your course has a pre-determined textbook.
    2. Investigate available instructional technology and choose tools that help you best deploy your course content.
    3. Decide if you need to create any of your own instructional materials or multimedia.
  • Choose Appropriate Assessments and Learning Activities

    1. Select assessments that measure the learning outcomes.
    2. Determine the weight of each assessment and the overall grading system for the class. Develop grading rubrics for assessments, if appropriate.
    3. Choose reading assignments and instructional materials for each unit. When making these decisions, consider the student workload and if it is appropriate for the course level.
    4. Identify appropriate learning activities for each lesson. When considering your learning activities collectively, consider creating opportunities for three types of interaction: student-student, student-instructor, and student-content.
  • Create Course Content

    1. Develop a course syllabus that follows university and departmental requirements.
    2. Create any online content, lecture notes, study guides, test banks and multimedia for the course.
    3. Develop an instructor communication plan so that you have thought through how and when you will provide students with feedback and you know which course items will require announcements and class reminders.

Course Development Support

Need help with any of the course development items listed in this guide? Contact the Instructional Technology Office. We’re happy to help!

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