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Welcome to the Digital Learning Team

When you partner with Digital Learning, you join a group of practitioners who are passionate about digital learning, student success and building a collaborative relationship with our faculty and partners across campus. We are excited to work with you to craft an exceptional online learning experience.

Whether you’re building an online class for the first time or refreshing your existing course, click the buttons below to learn more about the process of online course development, the services we offer and the benefits of working with us.

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Hello and Welcome

telescope, blinking stars, and the moon

When you work with Digital Learning, you gain access to a wealth of expert knowledge and input about online learning, as well as innovative technologies and services that give you the freedom to focus on your course content and students. In addition to saving you precious time, we can also help you develop a course that is accessible, inclusive, and meets the highest standards in online learning.

Your online students might be a bit different than the students you’re used to teaching on campus. Learn more about what makes your online students special, and keep their unique needs and attributes in mind as you create your course content.

Learn More: Meet Your Students

While there are many aspects of course design that are the same across modalities (face to face, online, blended), teaching online presents some unique challenges and opportunities. Your Instructional Designer will guide you to explore and reflect on how you can create an online course that takes advantage of all that digital learning environments have to offer.

Learn More: How to Be a Better Online Teacher

While we know that you are an expert in your field, we don’t also expect you to be an expert in online course design. That’s where we come in! Our online learning experts know that online course design is not one-size-fits-all, and we will customize the process to best fit your course and needs. Communication, project planning and persistence are keys to ensuring that the course design process is productive and completed on time.

Learn More: Building a Collaborative Instructor-Instructional Designer Relationship

Reflect

What are the strengths you bring to the online course development process?

First Steps

Prepare For Success

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Your Instructional Designer will work with you throughout the development of your whole course, from initial concept to final delivery. All Digital Learning Instructional Designers are experts in making online learning experiences meaningful and efficient for both for you and or your students.

Learn More: Online Course Development Team

Online course development involves many hours of work and often requires the input from other collaborators and service providers. Our team offers solid project planning that will help you set realistic goals for course building from start to finish with all of the milestones and steps necessary to make the best use of your time.

Learn More: Online Course Development Timeline Estimates

Whether your course is going to be delivered online, in person, or with a mix of the two, you will need a solid foundation to make your course development as efficient and effective as possible. By taking some time to focus on the core concepts of the course and your goals for the students, you can create a much more cohesive course.

Learn More: Understanding by Design

The initial course design process is just the beginning. There is always room to improve, and we provide support and guidance to you as you look past your first design into the semesters to come. Our Continuous Improvement process is focused on the nationally-recognized Quality Matters program, a set of standards that serve as a national benchmark for online course design, and the principles of universal design for learning. In order to understand to which quality standards courses are held, explore the QM standards.

Learn More: Quality Matters Standards

Reflect

As you take your first steps in the course development process, how are you primed for success and where do you anticipate challenges?

Course Planning

Framework for Effective Design

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Outcomes are statements to your students about exactly what they should be able to do after each module and what concepts they should expect to have mastered by the end of the course. It is important to be clear, specific and measurable as the outcomes will create an alignment framework for assessment of the students.

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Your outcomes can guide you in your construction of topics. Knowing what big concepts and skills you will cover in each module will help you create multiple opportunities for students to build their knowledge and master the skills they will need.

Learn More: Course Planning Sheet

Once you have your outcomes and topics in place, you can use them to create an assessment plan. In an assessment plan, you build the ways students will demonstrate their knowledge working backward from the final assessment. This approach will also give you a quick way to ensure that what you said in your outcomes is being demonstrated in your course.

Learn More: Are you in Alignment?

With your assessment plan in place, you can begin to build the ways in which your students will interact with the content, with each other, and with you throughout the duration of the course. Activities are opportunities for students to practice the course-specific and soft skills they will need to demonstrate competency and to make meaningful connections with the course content, you and each other. As you design your activities, keep a mind toward how much time your students will be spending.

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Materials curation ranges from identifying textbooks and OER opportunities to planning to planning video opportunities. Through the process of identifying existing materials, you can plan out what needs to be created, who can help with that creation and how much time will be needed.

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Accessibility isn’t just what we do when we have students in our courses that need extra help. Making your syllabus and materials accessible means that there are multiple ways for all of your students to gain the information they need to be successful. Creating an accessible syllabus is an important first step to take. If you’d like to learn more about this, our office offers regular Accessible Syllabus Workshops - please check our Event calendar for upcoming workshops.

Learn More: Create Accessible Materials

Reflect

As you plan, which course components do you anticipate will need the most time and support?

Module Building

Create Your Online Course

rocket in the desert

Before diving into uploading all of your materials, creating tests and designing interactions, you will need to take a moment and make sure that your course map accurately reflects the course you had in mind. This step will help you avoid extensive revisions in the learning management system that eat up precious design time.

Learn More: Course Planning Sheet

Knowing the basics of your learning management system (LMS) can help you as you work to move your course to the online format. Doing a quick dive into the basics of the LMS can identify skills and resources that will make working your course plan into the online format much more efficient.

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When all of your foundational pieces are in place, your outcomes have been reviewed, and you have your materials, activities and assessments laid out, you can customize your online course design set. This design set will serve as your roadmap as you navigate the build of the course and can ultimately function as a quick visual overview of the course for your students.

Learn More: ThingLink of Wildcat Design Set

Reflect

As you build your modules, what types of engagement are you utilizing and how could you make your course more interactive?

Multimedia Production

Select Storytelling Approaches

rocket launching in the desert

Using multimedia materials such as video, audio and illustration in your course can create engaging educational content that maximizes the impact of course materials and improves the learning experience for students. Talk to your Instructional Designer about selecting the best type of creative media to incorporate into your course.

Learn More: Multimedia in E-Learning

You can save time and energy by working with our Multimedia Production team to strategize create clear, cohesive and engaging student-centered online course content. Our creative professionals can produce professional studio lecture videos, demos and lab videos, on-location videos, podcasts, graphics and more.

Learn More: Multimedia Production

If you’d prefer to record your own course videos in your office or home, please review some time-saving best practice tips to make your self-recorded videos as effective and engaging as possible. You also have access to some templates that will help you spend more time focusing on content, not design.

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Reflect

What type of creative media and style of media production would make the most sense for your course?

Instructional Technologies

Add Engagement Tools

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The digital learning environment offers unique opportunities for student interaction, engagement and access, and the UA supports a variety of cutting-edge instructional tools that can help you and your students collaborate, create community and practice skills. Our Instructional Technologies team and campus partners provide campus-wide support for many digital technologies.

Learn More: Instructional Technologies

As an Adobe Creative Campus, all UA faculty, staff and students have free access to Creative Cloud accounts. We encourage you to take advantage of this by incorporating Creative Cloud into your online class. We have a full time Adobe Support Specialist who can help you transform your course to actively advance digital literacy skills regardless of discipline.

Learn More: Adobe Creative Cloud

Technology tools that engage students in thoughtful learning don’t have to cost a bunch. Our team has curated an impactful selection of no-cost resources that make it easy to find and try new technology in your course.

Learn More: Fantastic Freebies

Interested in learning more about the tools we support? Attend one or more of our training workshops, offered throughout the academic year. Check our calendar for more details about upcoming events.

Learn More: Events

Reflect

Which tech tools would make the most sense for your class, and for which will you require support?

Continuous Improvement

Review and Improve

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Whether you have just finished creating your first online course, or you are about to teach a course that has run for several semesters, there are some basic items that need to be reviewed and updated every time it is offered. Making sure that your course is ready in advance will save you time once the course has started and provide a welcoming online environment for your students.

Learn More: Course Start Up Checklist

The Course Design Inventory (CDI) is a tool you can use to review for course design best practices that support student success. We use the CDI to offer both accolades and recommendations so that you and the course design team receive feedback that is action oriented and grounded in research.

Learn More: Annotated Course Design Inventory

If you’re interested in taking your course to the next level, consider participating in a QM Internal Review. A collaborative team from across the university conducts internal reviews for online courses each semester. The internal review uses a shortened version of the Quality Matters (QM) rubric and awards an internal review badge to recognize those courses that meet the standards.

Learn More: Quality Matters Reviews at the University of Arizona

Your course can also receive official, national QM recognition by completing the full review process. You can take advantage of reviews at a substantial savings due to our membership with the Arizona QM Consortium.

Learn More: Quality Matters

Reflect

Which three to five enhancements could you implement the next time you teach your course?