MTSU Online and Hybrid Course Development
Distance Education Faculty Services
Taking the time to plan the design of an online or hybrid course is critical to its success. New course designers especially should plan to take at least two semesters to plan and develop a new online course. The resources below may be used to adequately plan a new course.
Prior to beginning course development, course designers are strongly encouraged to discuss the design, or redesign, of their courses with the MTSU Instructional Design Specialist (IDS), who is located in Room 348 of the James E. Walker Library in the Learning, Teaching and Innovative Technology Center, and may be reached at 615-494-7671 to schedule an appointment. First-time developers are required to meet with the IDS.
The Course Completion Deadlines below will assist in planning development of an online or hybrid course. Depending on the semester of delivery, all course content must be complete and ready for the peer review by the correlating date in the chart below.
Semester Course To be Offered
Peer Review Due Date
|Summer or Fall||March 1|
Incomplete courses are not peer reviewed. Course designers are encouraged to use the Peer Review Form as a course development/redesign guide. This form contains the baseline elements required to complete an online/hybrid course. It is used by the course designer for a self-evaluation of the completed course and by the assigned Online Faculty Mentor (OFM) to conduct the peer review.
New online and hybrid courses are added to a semester schedule only after the review/approval process has been completed and no later than four weeks prior to the start of the semester of delivery. Exceptions are approved by the University Provost's Office.
Part of planning your course is the determination of the type of delivery method best suited for your discipline and your students. These definitions are provided to assist you with making that decision.
MTSU Online CoursesAll class instruction takes place in an online environment
Accelerated Online Courses
Course Design – It's all about Content and Interaction
Keep it simple; make it better; and resist the temptations to do otherwise.
In each case the interaction should be instrumental to success in the course or task. Become familiar with the array of web tools for interaction and select those that best fit what you are trying to accomplish. Talk with your fellow online faculty, surf other course sites, look at the courseware tutorials.
As you brainstorm approaches to inform your design, you might want to look at two theories of learning and knowledge that seem to be gaining traction nationally - Constructivism and Connectivism.
Given that your goal is to educate students and help them learn better, you obviously do not see your students as passive participants in your course. With this shift from giving information to the passive student sitting on the other side of the screen, to one of engaging the student in becoming a part of the learning environment, the entire conception of online learning and design has been altered.
Constructivism is an alternative approach to how people learn and assimilate new knowledge. Humans are seen as active, knowledge-searching creatures that transform and interpret experiences. They assimilate new knowledge by producing cognitive structures that are similar to the experiences they are engaged in. They then accommodate themselves to these newly developed knowledge structures and use them within their collection of experiences as they continue to interact with the environment. Knowledge is adaptive, facilitating individual and social efficacy. Knowledge is subjective and self-organized, not objective. Knowledge acquisition involves both sociocultural and individual processes.
In applying constructivism to your design, some key questions to ask yourself are:
Closely aligned with Constructivism is Connectivism. Applying Connectivism to online learning comes from "Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age," by George Siemens -
Siemens posits the following principles of connectivism:
Addie Model of Instructional Design
An instructional design model called "ADDIE" (Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate) may be helpful as course designers plan the design of their new online or hybrid courses.
Planning a Distance Education Course
The University of Washington Learning and Scholarly Technologies website shares course planning information which is particularly important due to the challenges of online instruction.
A whitepaper entitled Building from Content to Community: [Re] Thinking the Transition to Online Teaching and Learning was authored by faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University's Center for Teaching Excellence to address issues associated with moving content online.
Instructional Design Considerations
Virginia Commonwealth University's Center for Teaching Excellence provides an Online Teaching and Learning Resource Guide that includes a section titled "Instructional Design Considerations When Converting to Online". The section discusses designing interactivity into course content.
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