The Bama By Distance online course development/revision process is a collaborative effort between a content expert (faculty) and the Instructional Technology and Academic Services (ITAS) team to deliver a high quality online course that supports a University of Alabama distance degree program.
The process begins with an initial experience initiated by an ITAS Senior Instructional Designer. From there faculty collaborate with members of the ITAS Instructional Design and Media Services teams to develop their course. After all content is developed and the course is built, reviewed and approved for delivery, the ITAS Tech Support team makes it available to students.
To find out if you are eligible to partner with ITAS to develop your online course or program, contact the Program Manager who serves as the liaison for your University of Alabama academic unit
What is an online course?
Online courses developed in collaboration between University of Alabama faculty and the ITAS Team are delivered in Blackboard, the University’s course learning management system. In this environment students access course materials, conduct course activities, interact with other students, participate in discussion and collaborate on projects. In addition, students interact with their professors and complete examinations in a secure online environment. The ITAS Team works closely with faculty to assure that online courses are engaging, interactive and support the same academic goals as courses delivered on campus in Tuscaloosa.
The Course Development Process
Once a course is identified for online development with the ITAS team, the process begins with an initial experience. During the initial experience, a member of the ITAS instructional design team will reach out to the course development content expert and arrange a time to meet for further discussion. During this discussion, the ITAS design team member will share information about available course development resources, processes and policies. In addition, the content expert will be asked to share their ideas and goals for the course.
Following the initial experience, an ITAS instructional designer will be assigned to the content expert to begin building the course online.
As content experts are introduced to the course development process in the initial experience, they will learn more about the course outline and the role it plays in the development of their online course. In a nutshell, the course outline is a draft of the course content which will be used to create the framework for the full development of the online course.
The development of the course outline encompasses establishing course-level learning objectives and creating the title and learning objectives of each module, resulting in a “big picture” outline view of the course. The activities and assessments intended to reinforce and assess student-learning are added to finish up the outline and provide the ITAS instructional design team with sufficient information to begin to build course materials in an interactive and student-centered manner.
As the outline for the course is completed, content experts are assigned an Instructional Designer to work with to begin building the manuscript for the online course. The content expert will be invited to a Google spreadsheet to begin inserting content that the Instructional Designer will later use to build the course. Once the manuscript stage is complete, it will be reviewed by the CCS ID team and the academic department. Following approval of the manuscript, production of the course will begin.
The schedule for online course development for future semesters is available on the online course development schedule page. The schedule, along with other information, is shared with content experts during the initial experience of the course development process. Dates for future semesters are approximated and subject to change, however, the schedule is a useful tool for departments and faculty interested in planning for the future.
Quality Matters is a faculty-centered, peer review process that is designed to certify the quality of online courses and online components. QM has received national recognition for its peer-based approach to quality assurance and continuous improvement in online education. The ITAS Team uses the QM Rubric as a guide to ensure quality in all online courses.