What's a Storyboard? Walking Faculty New to Online Education through the Course Design Process

Concurrent Session 2
Streamed Session

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Brief Abstract

Would you build a building without a blueprint? Then why would you develop an online class without a Storyboard? This presentation provides an overview of NYU’s course development and course revision process and detail how the “Storyboard” is a pillar in our methodology and should be in yours as well!

This session received high reviewer ratings and is runner up for Best-in-Strand.


Laura Dicht is an Instructional Designer at NYU Tandon School of Engineering. She works with faculty to storyboard and develop online courses. She has worked to create classes for the Computer Science and Civil Engineering departments. Before Laura's current role, she spent several years as a teacher in South Korea and China. She has also worked as an online ESL instructor. While in graduate school, Laura gained experience in curriculum design, pedagogy, and multimodal learning. Laura holds a Master's in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University and a Bachelor's in Journalism from Boston University.
Stephanie Jasmin is an instructional designer at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Stephanie is working on the team to help develop online and interactive courses. She has five years of higher education experience in the area of online course development, program development, and client support. Prior to joining the team, she worked for John Jay College of Criminal Justice as a client services manager, and developed their support for their online course support. Stephanie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Pace University, and a Master’s in Public Administration from John Jay College. She is interested in exploring the intersectionality of politics and the new wave of technology.

Extended Abstract


Emphasis of Presentation: Practical application

Institution Type: All Institution Types

Audience Level: All audiences

Type of Session: Education Session - Dual Presentation

Program Strand: Development & Support



In the emerging field of online course creation, what was once a solo/individual professor creating content for an in-person class has developed into a process involving a team. Ideally this team would include: Instructors, Instructional Designers, and Educational Technologists, all working in tandem to create course content, deliver videos, and technology based activities that end in a product that will be not only educational to the students, but engaging as well.  The team at NYU Tandon Online is approaching course development with the needs of the next generation of user in mind. We want to guarantee both our current and future students a top quality learning experience which  is engaging, interactive, and provides the most up-to-date course content. Storyboarding has been at the focal point of our course development process.

To bridge the communication between the members of the team we bring in the Storyboard. A storyboard is a valuable tool in the course creation process, it acts as the “Blueprint” for an online course. It allows a visualization of the plan and helps to highlight any holes that are present. The storyboard is an opportunity for faculty to plan out their online course and transmit ideas in an organized fashion to the instructional design team. But a big obstacle is the lack of knowledge about how to storyboard a course. For this reason, NYU Tandon Online’s course development process is highly collaborative. Many times faculty do not know what is feasible in an online course or have trouble expressing their creative ideas. After viewing the  storyboard the Instructional Design /Educational Technologist team is able to make suggestions that will enhance engagement and learning for the students. If all storyboarding procedures are followed, the course development process is much more clear and streamlined for all parties involved.

In this presentation, NYU Instructional Designers will detail unique course design procedures included in the storyboarding process. We will describe what a storyboard is, how we use it in our course development process, and how we introduce it to faculty. We will provide examples of storyboarding documents and detail how faculty engage in storyboarding a course. We will describe typical issues that may arise during course development and detail ways a clear storyboard is helpful in avoiding these issues.  We will also discuss how a storyboard is helpful when incorporating feedback, editing and revising a course. The course development process does not end when a course is created. We live in a dynamic world and fields, Computer Science, for example, are constantly evolving. This means that our courses need to be revised often to stay relevant to provide students with the most up to date subject matter content. A clear storyboard can pinpoint the specific sections of a course or module that need to be fixed or revised.

One of the biggest obstacles NYU Tandon Online instructional designers face is faculty reluctance to thoroughly storyboard their courses. This presentation will focus on strategies for gaining faculty buy-in emphasizing that the storyboard is a necessary tool to support the course design process, not simply more work for faculty. We will also provide faculty feedback we have received on the course development and storyboarding process and detail how this feedback has contributed to adapting our current methodology to one with high success rates.

This presentation will provide the following:

  • An overview of NYU Tandon Online’s instructional design “storyboarding” process

  • Examples of storyboarding templates used by NYU Tandon Online

  • A comparison of course modules created using a detailed, thorough storyboard, a storyboard with just the basic components, as well as module examples created without a storyboard

  • Helpful tips and best practices for selling faculty members on the idea of more work upfront = less work in the long run

  • Suggestions for ways in which a storyboard can be incorporated into an institution’s course development, course feedback, and course revision process

Engagement with the Audience:

  • Interactive Handouts: storyboarding template examples

  • Small group activities and partner exercises

  • Interactive live survey tool

  • Q & A session

Tags: faculty; teachers; instructors; staff; faculty development; professional development; staff development; online; blended; professional; models; development; support; approaches; satisfaction; workload; effectiveness; training; accessibility; online community; remote; transformation; formative feedback; online course development; rubrics; engagement; teaching; pedagogy;  faculty roles; feedback;  quality instruction; faculty well-being; universal design for learning (UDL); mentoring; mentorship; organization; workflow; competencies; team teaching; STEM; collaboration;  project management; instructor evaluation;  faculty management; peer review; analytics; automation; facilitator; instructor experience; reflective practice; multi-disciplinary; diversity; teaching presence;