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Phone:                                              845-569-3457

Hours of Operation:            Mon-Fri 8:00a – 4:00p (Closed Weekends)

Online Course Development Services

Our office supports the blended-hybrid and online programming goals of each academic division through our online course development services. Through this service, we closely collaborate with a contracted subject matter expert to develop high-quality online or hybrid courses that are in alignment with institutional, state, and accreditation standards. As these courses are designed collaboratively under separate contract from a teaching contract, the “Master Course” that is created through this process is dually owned by both the course developer and the College. As such, the Master Course can be shared openly with other faculty members at the College for their instructional use.

The role of the Course Developer is to serve as the subject matter expert in the design of a “Master Course.” They contribute their expertise in their field and within their School/Division to build the course curriculum and core course documents, in alignment with the course description and student learning outcomes. Typically, they also have online teaching experience and/or training that informs the course development experience.

The Course Developer will be responsible for building the online course, including but not limited to:

  • building a “Course Blueprint” to ensure alignment of course activities and resources with student learning outcomes;
  • selection of supporting learning resources (e.g. textbook, open resources, etc.).
  • development of core and supporting course documents (e.g. syllabus, calendar, welcome letter, etc.).
  • creation of online activities (e.g. discussion forums, writing assignments, forms of assessment, etc.).
  • development of multimedia (e.g. eLectures, audio/video overviews, etc.).
  • completion of the “Online Course Review Tool” after content is developed
Course Developer Vs. Instructor – What’s the Difference?

For Faculty who develop online courses, it can sometimes be a challenge to distinguish between their role as Course Developers and their role as an Instructor. Most simply put, the Course Developer builds a high-quality course that can be taught by any Faculty Member. Then, the Faculty Member assigned to teach the course implements and facilitates the instruction of this content.

After the course is developed and someone is assigned to teach it, the adopting Instructor may customize certain course elements based upon preference and the needs of their students. The Course Developer must be flexible and keep this in mind during development.

The Instructional Design (ID) Team in the Office of Digital Learning and Instructional Design Services is made up of experts who have significant experience and knowledge of learning theory, online teaching methodologies, the learning management system. They provide a creative take on how to integrate the subject matter expert’s content with technology to bring the course to life, all while keeping the needs of diverse learners in mind. Course Developers will work closely with the Instructional Design Team during the duration of the project to ensure the quality implementation of the curriculum into the online space.

The role of the Instructional Design (ID) Team is to serve as a consultative resource to the Course Developer, in terms of implementing the curriculum in to the online learning space effectively and efficiently. The ID Team will provide consultation and guidance to the Course Developer with:

  • acknowledging and implementing the best practices of online course design;
  • building a “Course Blueprint” to ensure alignment of course activities and resources with student learning outcomes;
  • selection of supporting learning resources (e.g. textbook, open resources, etc.);
  • development of core and supporting course documents (e.g. syllabus, calendar, etc.);
  • creation of online activities (e.g. discussion forums, writing assignments, forms of assessment, etc.);
  • development of multimedia (e.g. eLectures, audio/video overviews, etc.);
  • Completing the Online Course Review Tool exercise

The ID Team will also serve to:

  • Provide final feedback post-submission of the Online Course Review Tool;
  • Create and maintain a “college version” of the shell you developed (“Master Course”);
  • Add other standardized elements to the Master Course (e.g. MSMC links, resources, etc.);
  • Finalize and ensure proper gradebook structure in the Master Course;
  • Copyedit the Master Course (ensuring proper font sizes, colors, images sizes are used, as well as proper navigation, organization, and aesthetics);
  • Ensure copyright compliance;
  • Ensure basic accessibility standards are met

As outlined in MSMC’s Distance Education Policy, the Course Developer will receive a contract to develop a hybrid or online course. The contract outlines:

  • Course Developer Expectations/Services;
  • College Services (support during the project);
  • Ownership of Content (Intellectual Property);
  • Associated Compensation;
  • and more

A sample contract can be viewed here.

Once the Online Course Development Agreement has been executed, the project will begin with a kick off meeting between the Course Developer and the Instructional Designer. In this meeting, we will customize a plan for the project:

  • Refine the proposed project timeline; adjust any related milestones
  • Set weekly meeting dates to ensure consistent communication/collaboration and progress
  • Discuss any preliminary theoretical, pedagogical, or technical questions relating to developing online course materials
  • Introduce the Course Developer to the “Course Development Shell” on eClass
  • Introduce to the Course Developer to other helpful project aids, such as editable templates, samples, etc.
  • Introduce to the Course Developer to self-paced resources that can aid in the creation of online activities (e.g. webinars, eClass tutorials, etc.).

Course Developers will work closely with an assigned Instructional Designer throughout the duration of the project. At certain points, the Course Developer may also work with other members of the ID Team that have specific expertise in certain methodologies or eLearning tools. Frequency of check-in meetings will be discussed and scheduled in advance (normally at the kick off meeting).

View Example Project Phases and Milestones

In addition to the support mentioned above, the following are project aids that all Courses Developers will be provided with:

The Course Development Shell

Course Developers will be provided with a “Course Development Shell” on eClass in order to build the online course. No students are (or will ever be) enrolled in this shell – it is simply for design purposes, only. The course development shell will already have a structured layout that takes into consideration all course design best practices found in MSMC’s Online Course Review Tool. This helps the Course Developer focus on developing the curriculum, without having to pay too much attention to the appearance and layout of materials. The Instructional Designer will provide further support for refining aesthetics at the end phase of the project.

Course Document Templates

To provide standardization in core course documents offered in online courses, fillable course document templates will be provided:

  • Online Syllabus Template – outlines specific College policies surrounding learning online
  • Online Course Calendar Template – provides an example of consistency in scheduling online activities and projects
Course Design Samples

During the course development process, you may wish to view samples of the following for inspiration:

  • Module Overview and Agendas
  • Course Grading and Assessment Schemes
  • Grading Rubrics
  • Activity Overviews
  • Other Learning Objects/Online Activity Outlines
Other Helpful Resources
  • Course Blueprint – used at the beginning of course development; helps align student learning outcomes to planned course activities and learning resources. Serves as a “map” or “guide” for the course developer to follow during the project.
  • Time on Task Equivalency Chart – helps course developer quantify time on task in each module, to ensure the course meets NYS Time on Task for Online Education
  • Online Course Review Tool – a rubric created by Mount Saint Mary College based upon Quality Matters (QM). This tool is used as a reflective exercise at the end of the course development process, to help ensure benchmarks of quality online course design are met. Course developers should familiarize themselves with these benchmarks before beginning the project.
  • Sample Instructor Guides – at the end of the project, the course developer will upload a document a note/provide resources as a reference for any future Instructor who may ‘adopt’ the master course.

Once a course development project has concluded, a copy of the course will be housed within eClass. This is referred to as the “Master Course.” The Course Developer will be added to the Master Course on eClass and will have continued access. The Course Developer may use a copy of the Master Course for their future instruction.

Adopting a Master Course

A copy of the Master Course can be placed in any future eClass course shells taught by any Faculty Member assigned to teach by the academic unit. The Office of Digital Learning and Instructional Design Services is also able to provide guest access to a Master Course for viewing purposes.

This Checklist for Adopting a Master Course will help adopting Instructors ensure certain customizations to the eClass course are made in advance of course delivery.

Future Revisions

Per section 1.4.1 the Online Course Development Agreement: “Routine, basic review of the state of the course shall be the responsibility of the Content Developer and/or Academic Unit, and should take place at least every two years.” Revisions may include:

  • updating course documents, such as the syllabus, to meet current standards;
  • minor edits per a new edition of the text (assuming they are still in publication, but haven’t made significant changes);
  • replacing out-of-date, non-connecting web links that link to or supplement the learning materials;
  • redesign of original works (e.g., course materials or eLectures specifically developed for the Online Course), per developments or changes within the area of study.

The Office of Digital Learning and Instructional Design Services should be made aware of Master Course revisions in progress. The Office can also provide support to the revision process, as needed.

Per section 1.4.3 of the Online Course Development Agreement: “Should it be determined that the course needs significant revisions, and the original Course Developer is unavailable to undertake the revision workload, the Academic Unit is responsible for appointing a subject matter expert to complete any revisions necessary.”