University of Florida

Timeline for Course Development

The following is a suggested timeline for the development of a distance education academic course.

We recommend beginning the process a year in advance, the increased developmental work load demanded by distance education can be distributed over a period of time to reduce the burden on all concerned - particularly the instructor.

Before the timeline begins

For new courses, a needs assessment is conducted by administrators to determine the demand for academic courses at a distance by specific audiences, and the course is approved.

For all newly approved courses, or a modification of an existing course, a production team (e.g. instructor, instructional designer, technology specialists, etc.) is identified through consultation with COLT or other UF units to discuss development of the course and the most appropriate medium (or combination of media) for delivery. Certain services, such as custom multimedia or interactive materials may require more than the six month time frame outlined below. These should be identified and a development schedule set up accordingly.

Six Months

Instructor develops course syllabus and written outline of course, including course objectives, lesson modules, learning activities and assessment methods; instructor and team begin preparation of course materials.

Five Months

The instructor and team develop an introductory module according to delivery technologies selected; plan for subsequent modules is solidified and “high tech” learning objects are identified (e.g. video segments, Flash animations, interactive elements) with plans for who will be responsible for their development.

Four Months

Continue development of all remaining modules, check progress of any materials sent out for development to other areas.

Three Months

Meet with appropriate technology experts (i.e. video producer, Flash designer, etc.) to edit and/or approve multimedia resources. If course will have a lab at a Research and Education Center (REC) or other site, such sites are identified and lab instructors or site facilitators are contacted.

Two Months

For Fall and Spring courses this would be June and November, respectively. Most of the content of the modules should be completed. Evaluation instruments should be created and incorporated into structure of the course. The production team in full should meet to ensure that the course is on track and that most of the major elements and resources are complete or close to it.

One Month

Presentation media, course materials and technology arrangements are completed; instructor meets with production staff, becomes familiar with any facilities, equipment and special techniques to be used.

Two Weeks

A run-through is done on the delivery system selected for the course; all equipment, course management system, collaborative software etc. to be employed are tested. Any course materials sent to students; site facilitators (if applicable) contacted to resolve any questions or concerns.

One Week

Last minute details attended to, problems or delays addressed; everyone on production team prepared for beginning of course.