Collaborative Faculty Curriculum Design Can Lead to Creative Excellence

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Brief Abstract

In this session, you will learn how an online course can be collaboratively designed and written by a team of faculty to manage the workload, drive creativity, and produce a positive result with limited time and budgeting. For our example, we share the COMM498 capstone course proposed, designed, and developed by many people over time and the quality outcome from our team design experience.


I am currently a Professor and interim Associate Dean in the School of Arts, Humanities, and Education at American Public University Systems. My previous roles were department chair (8 months) and faculty director (7 years). I have been an educator for 25+ years, with 13 years in online higher education. I love what I do and the transformative power of education, where we make people's dreams come true by helping them become even better, reaching their personal and professional goals.
Dr. Bjorn Mercer is a Program Director at American Public University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Missouri State University, a master’s and doctorate in music from the University of Arizona, and an M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix.

Extended Abstract

Courses in our department are written by individual faculty members, with feedback provided by faculty who also teach the course after the course is produced to improve its quality over time. Course development takes a significant about of time and work, in addition to the design process that may include others on the team.

As part of our developing many courses to flesh out a new bachelor's degree in communication, faculty members each developed many courses, and resources were heavily committed. As a result, we implemented a creative approach based on crowd-sourcing to develop the final capstone class collaboratively and divide the workload, reduce the impact on any one individual, and produce a result better than we could have accomplished with one person developing the course alone.

In this session, we will present our team approach to developing curriculum, illustrating our own results in the development of our COMM498 class. You will learn from the voices of each team member who contributed and wrote parts of this course, as well as general take-aways from the students who completed the course at the end of their Communication degree journey. You will gain ideas and insights about how courses might be developed with a team approach to improve overall quality and reduce the workload of course development, and we will share our model through the presentation.