You’ve found yourself in the increasingly common situation of inheriting an existing online course from another instructor. It’s a bit dusty, cluttered, and not your style. So what do you do next?
You’ve found yourself in the increasingly common situation of inheriting an existing online course from another instructor. It’s a bit dusty, cluttered, and not your style. So what do you do next? Here are some quick steps to get started cleaning up an inherited course.
Before jumping right into a redesign, knowing what you’re working with is essential! Your first step is to go through the course in D2L and list out all of the following:
- Modules and sub-modules
- Web Pages
- Materials (e.g., videos, readings, etc.)
- Technology Tools
- …any other course elements not on this list
As you’re taking inventory of the course, take some time to look at it from the learner’s perspective. For example, is the structure and navigation of the course clear? How easy is it to find all of the above elements?
Map Out the Course
Once you have taken stock of the course, the next step is to create a Course Map. In this step, you will list the course- and module-level learning outcomes and connect them to your activities and assessments. This will allow you to gauge how well the existing content is aligned with the learning outcomes and identify and fill in any gaps in the outcomes or the content. If there are no module-level learning outcomes, you must create them now. For help writing learning outcomes or filling in any other major missing pieces in the course, check out UCATT’s Interactive Guide to Online Course Design. For all elements of the course to be aligned, the course learning outcomes should be connected to the module learning outcomes, and the module learning outcomes should be related to the activities, assessments, materials, and tools.
After you’ve mapped out your course, consider how you will organize all of your course elements. The Course Map leads you to think of course design in terms of modules, which is a tried and true way of ensuring that learners can easily navigate a course by housing all information, links, assignments, discussions, quizzes, etc., in one place. Is this how the previous instructor organized the course? Think back to when you were taking inventory and completing the course map. Were you able to navigate the course and find everything easily? If not, then the course could likely benefit from reorganizing.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Once everything has been inventoried, mapped, and organized, you will be able to determine whether you want to reduce, reuse, or recycle any of the course elements. If the course still feels cluttered and overwhelming or the course map indicates that learners will need to spend an excessive amount of time on each module, you may need to reduce the number of outcomes, readings, activities, or assessments. If you have found no issues with a course element, you will be able to simply keep it in the course and continue using it. And finally, if an activity, assessment, material, or tool is not aligned with the learning outcomes, consider how you might recycle it so that it is in alignment. For example, you might decide that you want to keep an essay assignment but revise the prompt so that it directly connects to the learning outcomes.
For more information about evaluating the technology tools in a course, refer to “Clean Up Your Classroom: Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling Educational Technology for a Better Learning Experience.”