Transforming Online Course Quality Using a Streamlined Redesign Process

Concurrent Session 4

Brief Abstract

Are you looking for a solution to streamline online course redesign? This presentation describes one university’s approach to online course redesign using a master course model. Redesign strategies focused on enhancing the quality of course content, learning activities, navigation, and consistency across courses to improve the student learning experience. 


Dr. Siemens currently serves as the Director of the Center for Online Learning at Fresno Pacific University. In this role she works with program directors and faculty on new online program development initiatives. She also oversees instructional design support services, professional development activities for faculty, and student services for online education programs. Her accomplishments include developing a professional development program and faculty learning summit with a focus on academic technologies. She is passionate about creating high quality online learning experiences for students. With more than 20 years in higher education, Dr. Siemens has extensive experience developing and teaching online courses. She is also an Associate Professor in the School of Education where she teaches online courses in the Educational Technology and Liberal Arts programs. Previously Dr. Siemens served as program director of the Educational Technology graduate program where she administered program development and program evaluation and assessment. Her current research interests include professional development models, innovative online programming, learning analytics, and economies of scale in online program development. She is particularly interested in exploring how to maximize online program development efficiencies while maintaining high quality learning experiences for online learners.

Extended Abstract

With the demand for online courses at a steady incline at many universities, administrators are faced with the challenge to establish and communicate standards of quality in online education not only to their accreditation agencies but also to their faculty and students. When Fresno Pacific University launched its Online Initiative for growing its online programs, the Center for Online Learning staff was tasked with supporting faculty to redesign their online courses and provide a support infrastructure for effective online course facilitation.

Enhancing quality in online courses is a multi-phased process that includes course development, design, review, and faculty training. Using a master course model to online course redesign provides a systematic approach to addressing key elements of quality – such as learner engagement, ease of navigation, and support of student learning. In a master course, the course developer is guided to redesign and develop the online course within an instructional structure that supports the presentation of well-designed content and activities. A course planning template further supports the development of clear learning outcomes, the sequencing of activities, and the creation or selection of supportive learning content. An instructions template helps course developers write clear instructions for how students should engage with content and complete activities.

This session discusses unique implementation strategies of a streamlined approach to online course redesign. Participants will learn how to implement key infrastructure elements for a successful course redesign such as how to set up an online course template, prepare a course planning guide, how to utilize an instructions template, and how to prepare an instructor guide.

The presenter will also highlight online course quality implementation strategies, keys to faculty success, and institutional challenges to online course redesign. Perceptions from students and instructors regarding the effectiveness of the course redesign process will also be shared, specifically how well the course redesign:

  • Reflects the institutional and program mission
  • Supports teaching and learning
  • Addresses student engagement
  • Meets the preparation and support needs of the instructor