Course Design and Development Team
Distance education courses are designed to create learning experiences for students studying at a distance. This involves more than providing a body of content for our students to absorb. Distance courses need to support the process of learning.
Distance learners have a variety of special needs:
- They may be adult learners, unfamiliar with academic life
- They may have little access to the formal and informal support systems and resources offered to on-campus students, and are likely learning in isolation
Creating learning experiences for distance students means that you will need to develop specific strategies for teaching at a distance which acknowledge the special needs of this group of learners.
Distance education course authors become part of an Open Learning course design and development team. Our team members include specialists in teaching and learning strategies for distance education, the use of appropriate technology, and production. We also have a complete range of production services, including copy editing, graphic design, audio-visual production, and web-page authoring.
The course design process is led by a team of distance learning specialists:
The course design and development process comprises three phases, and course authors should schedule at least two semesters for this process.
If you plan to become a distance education course author, here are the phases you would go through in the course development process:
- During the initial phase, you'll meet the design team to talk about the process of course design and the special needs of distance learners. Selecting appropriate teaching and learning strategies, identifying subject/discipline competencies, and developing course learning outcomes are the first tasks for this project. As the weeks progress, you'll be refining the learning strategies as you target the types of activities and assignments which will achieve the outcomes, plan for feedback, and begin the selection of appropriate technology for the course.
- In phase two, you'll be designing the framework which will guide your students through the learning for this course. Selecting and/or developing learning resources (and the media necessary to achieve the course goals) is the major task for this phase. Creating a sample "segment" or unit of the course for feedback from the design team will provide you with a model for developing subsequent units.
- In the final phase, the course will continue to be refined based on the input of the design and development team members. Here, you'll work closely with the production staff, copy editors and artists. You will complete any media components of the course (including an introductory video), and be ready to send the course into final production in time for its scheduled first offering.
During the semester in which the course is first offered, you'll meet with the course design team for a preliminary evaluation. At the completion of the semester, learner feedback and team review will provide the basis for course revisions, and prior to each offering, you will have the opportunity to further refine the course.
If you are a University of Guelph faculty member who would like to explore the possibilities of creating a distance education course, contact:
Associate Director, Educational Design, Development and Technolgies
519 824-4120, ext. 53731