Creating Your Course
Welcome to your Open Learning course development journey.

You can think of our course design process as consisting of three stages:
  1. Inspiration: Discovering what's possible.
  2. Planning: Designing your course blueprint.
  3. Writing: Creating the course content.

During these three stages you will be working closely with me, your Instructional Designer, and the Writer/ Consultant. Together, we are the Course Development Team.

Our respective roles can best be summarized by this graph:

Roles of the Members of the Course Development Team

  • The Writer is the primary author of the course. He/she is an expert in the subject matter area. It is also a big asset if he or she has experience in online course design. The Writer is often also referred to as the SME (Subject Matter Expert) and the Developer.
  • The Consultant is our chamber of sober second thought. He/she ensures the relevancy and rigor of the course content and offers ideas and resources to the Writer.
  • Your Instructional Designer (that's me), is primarily concerned with pedagogy: how do we teach this material effectively so the student can walk away with a rewarding, relevant and meaningful learning experience?

The Course Development Process

For the SME (Subject Matter Expert or Writer) writing a course can easily take between 4 to 5 months. Here are the major steps your course will go through in that time:
1. Planning Meeting: 10 hours
2. Blueprint Development: 80 hours
3. Course Writing: 85 hours
4. Writing Assessments: 30 hours

5. Providing Copyright Information: 15 hours
6. Final Revisions: 10 hours
Total estimated development time: 230 hours
How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.The same principle applies to developing an Open Learning course.

We have more than 120 people working at Open Learning, many of which are here to support you in your ambitious undertaking.

For example:
  • If you need to get videos, audios, photographs, graphics or computer simulations custom-made for your course, you will likely meet some members of our in-house media team.

  • Our Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is here to help us get the rights for all resources required for the course.

  • Our diligent Editors read everything we create and provide feedback on formatting, semi-colons, and other mysteries.

  • And lastly, our Production team uploads everything into Blackboard Learn and makes the course sparkle.

So let's begin with the first bite: Stage 1, Inspiration.

Stage 1: Inspiration

It may be tempting to skip this first stage and rush right into designing and creating your course.

But I urge you to s l o w d o w n.

You may not be aware of the very significant shifts that happened in the world of online and distance learning over the past decade.

The Inspiration stage is here to give you workable and innovative ideas of what is now possible in the exciting world of Open Learning. I invite you to linger in this stage and to mentally marinate in its opulent offerings. Have fun experimenting with some of the ideas and tools presented in the "Inspiration" tabs (see the menu on the right). Doing so will make the Planning and Writing stages much more fun and rewarding.

Being with the End in Mind:

Have you ever seen a finished Open Learning course?

You may find it very helpful to see what your end product can look like. I will provide you with access information so you can browse our existing, live courses in Blackboard Learn, our Learning Management System. If you have not received this access information yet, please let me know right away.


Screenshot of a Blackboard Learn course home page.

Continue your reading with "Inspiration 2 - eLearning Tools."