As I get ready to design an online course, I first ask myself the question: What do my students need to learn?
Are they measurable?
Be sure to consider which competencies you need to incorporate throughout the course. Often times, several can be grouped together into a cluster. Typically courses will have 5-7 clusters.
Be sure they align well!
As you map out the module, decide which key concepts you will emphasize. Begin to map out the activities and resources needed. During this phase, you will need to decide on academic vocabulary. Lastly, be sure to plan on ways to interact with students and ways for them to interact together.
During this step, be sure to choose learning objectives that are clear and measurable. The objectives should be closely linked to the competencies and you should choose 3-5 learning objectives.
Now you are ready to get to the nitty gritty. As you build a conceptual framework for each module, you want to be very detailed. Consider what activities, assignments, and materials you will create and where you will place them within the course.
The last step is to embed formal and informal assessments throughout the course. I like to do informal assessments often to check student learning. Consider using rubrics to assess student performance. Remember, design plus delivery equals learning!