Course Development


Welcome to the Online Course Creation Manual. You have been tasked with designing and teaching an online course for our program. This knowledge base has been produced to provide you with numerous resources to enhance your course design and instruction process.

Although some topics are specific to designing a fully online course, much of the material presented here is relevant to in-person or hybrid courses as well.

Best practices for designing a successful online course

Moving your course into the digital world can seem like a massive undertaking. You might be wondering about best practices for making the content accessible, running effective online assessments, structuring non-synchronous assignments, or designing a course from scratch. This manual is designed to take you through all the steps to create a successful online learning experience for your students.

This resources will take you through the main stages of course design, production, and delivery:

  1. Creating learning objectives

  2. Creating assessments

  3. Creating instructional materials and activities

  4. Determining structure

  5. Delivering the course

You can use it as a step-by-step guide or a searchable knowledge base to answer specific questions.

This manual will follow many of the design principles outlined in the Quality Matters (QM) Higher Education Rubric (will require registration with QM, free for MSU faculty and staff) as well as backward design principles (Wiggins and McTighe, Understanding by Design). Quality Matters is a non-profit organization that provides resources and professional development for improving online education. Backward design helps determine the content that should be taught in a course by first laying out the competencies you want students to gain. By focusing on these principles during the design process, you increase your chances of student success and learning.

Course design resources