Don’t Get Lost! Journey through Online Course Development with Help from the Online Course Mapping Guide

Concurrent Session 3

Brief Abstract

The Online Course Mapping Guide is an ongoing project that aims to provide faculty and instructors with a resource for online course development, beginning with a curriculum analysis and resulting in a course map that displays the alignment of all components of a course.


April is a Senior Instructional Designer in the Digital Learning Hub at UC San Diego's Teaching + Learning Commons. She has worked in higher education for over 10 years as an educator, curriculum specialist, writing consultant, and educational technologist. In her current role, she supports faculty in the development of online courses and encourages extending the classroom to make education accessible and achievable for all learners.
Brent Hartley is a Learning Experience Designer at the UC Irvine and has been provided instructional design services to the University of California since 2014. As a Learning Experience Designer, he assists faculty with the planning, development, and implementation of web-enhanced, hybrid, flipped, and fully online courses. His professional interests include researching new ways to teach with multimedia, active learning in the online medium, improving student learning experiences holistically, and utilizing technology to improve teaching and learning.

Extended Abstract

Creating a course map is essential to online course development because course maps demonstrate alignment and a path for your course. The process of mapping a course provides a complete view of the course with the learner in mind. The Online Course Mapping Guide suggests working backwards, beginning with identifying the desired learning outcomes first. This often means taking a much bigger step back to evaluate the overall vision and purpose of the course in the context of its program, field of study, and professional outlook. Having a vision and defining student learning outcomes for the course is the first step in backward design before planning activities and instruction.

Why Map your course?​

- Create manageable units of learning.

- Determine effective assessments that align with learning outcomes.

- Ensure learning builds and scaffolds appropriately.

- Determine appropriate learning activities and learning materials.

- Provide clear expectations for your learners.

- Design a roadmap for your course.

- Evaluate the bridge between courses.

This discovery session will demonstrate the Online Course Mapping Guide website, a project that stemmed from faculty’s request for teaching resources and a recognized gap in online teaching experience. This discovery session will visualize the journey of course-mapping from building a vision to reaching the final destination of alignment. The guided exercises on this site will help instructors identify course competencies and create learning outcomes that provide a foundation for their course. Then, journey onto mapping a course using a backward perspective, fleshing out assessments and interactivity before laying out the course learning material. Along the way, faculty and instructional designers will pick up key concepts and visualize the path for their course with a more manageable, digestible, and clear direction.

The audience will pack their bags with guided exercises, downloadable takeaways that will keep them on the right path, and sample course maps to draw inspiration from. This discovery session will also allow for conversation with peer instructional designers and faculty who teach online to discuss common roadblocks typically faced in course design and how a well aligned course map may help prevent pitfalls faced by those who are new and experienced in online education.