Let's Talk Shop: An Inside Look at Course Design & Development

Concurrent Session 6
Streamed Session

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

How do you design and develop quality online courses at your institution? Are you satisfied with your process? What would you change? We’ll answer these questions and more as we give the lowdown on our current process and its evolution. Newbie or seasoned veteran? We’ve got ideas that benefit all.


Edward Queen is a Senior Instructional Designer at the Center for Learning Design within the Whiting School of Engineering. His career in education, which spans over 17 years, began as an elementary school teacher after graduating with his BA in Elementary Education from Purdue University (#BoilerUp). During his 5-year teaching career, he obtained his MS.Ed. in Learning Design and Technology, also from Purdue (#HammerDown). He subsequently worked as an instructional designer at the National Foreign Language Center at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he developed e-learning objects for globally dispersed government foreign language and intelligence analysts. He joined the Johns Hopkins University in August 2010. Since then, he has designed and developed more than 100 online courses and has developed and delivered a wide range of faculty development opportunities. Additionally, he serves as an Instructional Design Track Co-Chair. Ed lives in Lafayette, Indiana with his wife Kelly (also Hopkins staff), three children (two boys and a girl--all teenagers), two golden retrievers (Strider and Hugo), and one orange tabby (Milo). He enjoys reading, playing Overwatch, watching TV and movies, and flying his DJI Mavic 2 Pro drone.
Denille Williams is an Instructional Designer at Johns Hopkins University, Engineering for Professionals. Denille has worked with faculty and students in online education, specializing in the development of online science and engineering courses since 2003. Denille is a Certified Faculty Developer and has an M.S. in Higher Education (Academic Development, Instruction, and Technology) and a B.S. in Legal Studies. Her research interests include adjunct faculty development and promoting active learning in the online environment.

Extended Abstract

Apart from a higher education’s name and reputation, what makes them stand out from the rest of the pack? One key aspect that sets an institution apart from its peers is the quality of its online course offerings. One challenge faced by many institutions is they have excellent ideas for online courses and programs, but often between conceiving a course and successfully delivering it, the course design and development project falls apart completely. The outcome of this breakdown is an adequate course, instead of an exceptional one, or worse yet, the project stalls out completely.

In this session we share our team’s well-defined systematic process for designing and developing high quality online courses. But before we get to the presentation aspect, the session kicks off with a practical interaction--a poll to learn more about you. We will then have a “minute essay” activity in which participants will have one minute to write and share a concise description of their process for designing and developing online classes. Lastly, we’ll ask participants to share questions they hope will be answered throughout our presentation (i.e., why are you here?).

We begin the presentation component by providing a historical context of our institution and the mistakes we’ve made along the way in order to paint the picture of how we arrived at our current process. Next, we define our online course quality benchmarks. We then share the specific details of the process and how instructional designers, instructional technologists, multimedia professionals, and faculty collaborate to produce truly amazing courses.

We also discuss the technology that we’ve selected to effectively communicate and manage course development projects, while maintaining consistent high quality learning products across the team.

Additionally, we share how our existing process was scaled to support faculty in transitioning their courses for remote instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To wrap things up, we’ve carved out time for a final discussion of any lingering questions and answers.

When you leave this session, you will have a starter kit for designing and developing high quality courses. This kit identifies the key contributors, an overview of the systematic design and development process, core technologies to support the projects, and ideas for adapting the process for your specific institution or circumstances.