colorful_pattern_backgroundThe following post was written by Susan Gedutis Lindsay, Associate Director for Instructional Design in the Department of Digital Learning.

When you have an idea for an online or blended course to be offered to on-campus students on Inside Berklee Courses, the first step is to propose your idea to the Curriculum Committee. The course goes through a two-part approval process. First, the Curriculum Committee gives it preliminary approval. Then, you will be enrolled in a short online course, “Introduction to Online Learning.” This course, written by a group of Berklee faculty through a Faculty Learning Community, will walk you through all the details of writing an online course.

It also gives you a chance to experience what it’s like to take an online course. You’ll watch videos, post in discussion forums, take various types of quizzes, learn from graphics, and get a preview of the kinds of media development that will be available to you in putting your course together. By the end of it, you will have completed a course overview, course outline, and a sample lesson.

This material is then reviewed by the Online Learning Subcommittee, who will either give the course final approval or request more information.

Once your course is approved to run by the Curriculum Committee, you’ll move into a two-stage development process that will take approximately two semesters, depending on your own work pace.
The first semester is typically focused on preproduction—setting goals, objectives, designing the instruction approach, and writing the content. The second semester is focused on production: the development of videos, audio, interactivity, assessment activities, and other learning tools.

Preparing an online course typically requires a lot of writing. Not everyone is a writer but that doesn’t mean that you won’t create a great course. Throughout the process, you have a support team of editors, writers, instructional designers, and media experts, with whom you’ll collaborate. These folks make up Berklee’s on-campus Department of Digital Learning in Academic Affairs.
Lesson by lesson, you will work with the Digital Learning team collaboratively to:

  • define an end goal and a timeframe
  • present a clear and stepwise progression of tasks, skipping no steps along the way
  • develop rich, interactive media
  • design a means for assessment
  • teach by providing active communication and feedback, from instructor and/or classmates

We’ll be honest with you: Writing an online course and developing it with the online learning team can be a lot of work, though some of it will be fun (we promise) and also inspiring. Expect to spend an average of 20 hours or more per lesson, which includes planning, writing, working with the media team to develop the media, proofing the course once it’s online, and revising. This estimate depends on your working style and can vary quite a bit from author to author.

A final course completion timeline will be determined when all written content for your course is complete. That is when media development begins.

Here’s a visual overview of the course and media development process: