Brainpower! How to Create a Synergetic System for Course Development

Concurrent Session 1

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

The road to quality course development is paved through the collaboration and "brainpower" of many. Join us as we share the journey of one university's evolution in creating systematic, structured partnerships, focusing specifically on faculty training and preparation, support, quality assurance, and meaningful feedback.  


Melissa is currently the Director of E-Learning at Walsh University, a private Catholic University in North Canton, Ohio. She is a professional educator with 28 years of experience in various roles in both K-12 and higher education. She has served as a teacher, instructional coach, adjunct instructor, Senior Instructional Designer, and now Director of E-Learning. She has a passion for curriculum design and instruction and creating collaborative systems that help build capacity in faculty members to develop quality online course content.

Extended Abstract

There is no doubt that the global pandemic has wreaked havoc on our educational institutions. In a blink of an eye, courses hastily transitioned online with little to no time for faculty training and preparation, much less quality control. In fall 2020, over 80% of higher education institutions relied on fully online or emergency remote learning. (CHLOE 6, 2021) Nevertheless, while the pandemic forced an emergency move to online learning that in some cases resulted in dismal progress, education has been transformed in lasting ways. Higher education institutions have increased their online course offerings, and faculty members who never imagined they would teach online are now interested in doing so. The great majority of Chief Online Officers predicted growth rather than flight from online learning when asked about the long-term impact of the pandemic on online enrollment (CHLOE 6, 2021). With this distinctive rise in remote learning, we must create effective systems at the institutional level to ensure well-planned and developed courses.

Course development is a collaborative process between the learning design team and the content expert, all working toward the common goal of engaging students in a dynamic online educational experience. The foundation of this partnership is built on the respect and value for the role each person plays in the design process. With varying levels of technical skill yet proficiency in their respective subject areas, how can faculty and the design team collaborate to develop high-quality and engaging courses? How does the design team share their expertise in a way that considers the busy schedules and increasing demands placed upon faculty, particularly during this pandemic? What does faculty training look like and how is it delivered? What systems can higher education institutions create to ensure that their online courses represent the university's proper rigor and the rigor necessary to meet accreditation guidelines? How can meaningful feedback be communicated to promote collaboration and enhance professional relationships? All of these questions and more will be discussed in this session.

Join us as we discuss how the "brainpower" of many is involved in quality course development and share one university's journey in creating systematic, structured partnerships for online course development. Participants will walk through the steps outlined in the design process, focusing specifically on faculty training, support, and effective feedback along the way.  


Level of Participation

While this is an education session, participants will be actively involved in the conversation around creating partnerships and systems for quality course development. They will post a meme representing their online experience during Covid in a collaborative space, share current practices using a live poll, participate in "Turn and Talks," and draft a goal based on the evaluation of their current practice. Participants can track their goals throughout the year in a collaborative space that allows them to visualize progress and share what is working for their institution as they continue to grow and evolve.


Session Goals:

Individuals participating in this session will evaluate their current system for course development and identify needs. They will discuss steps in creating a systematic process and describe strategies to do so. Lastly, participants will be given a handout that they can use to create an action plan by formulating a goal for moving forward based on the evaluation of their current practice.