Course Development Guide


Welcome to the course development process! This guide is intended to provide you with basic information about the process of developing a course with the support of an instructional designer (ID). Please take the time to read this document carefully.


(For First-time Online Teachers)

If you are teaching online for the first time and would like to learn more about it, please take advantage of our Faculty Learning Opportunities page. We have short Webinars & Workshops on how to use the LMS, how to use online tools in teaching, and on course development best practices. We also offer longer online courses that will introduce you to the fundamentals of online learning.


Course Map

As part of the design process, you will be collaborating with your ID to complete a course map. The course map may be a table or a list or a chart, listing each week’s objectives, materials, and activities. A sample is attached at the end of this Guide, to demonstrate.

The course map is a document that will help you to keep track of your content (including weekly lectures, assigned reading, and activities), and see quickly whether they support your learning objectives. The course map is completed first, in the development process, and will become an outline for course development.


Roles and Responsibilities

Because a well-designed online course takes time to plan and build, we ask that faculty set aside at least one full semester, prior to teaching, to develop a course. At TLT, we believe that the best results for online course design are achieved through a partnership between faculty and instructional designers. At the start of the process, the faculty member will be partnered with an instructional designer. As faculty, you are responsible for providing all the course content. Course content may include lectures, course policies, discussion prompts, and instructions for activities and assignments. Please do not be late in meeting your deadlines, as this will slow down the course development process.

Your instructional designer is here to support the development of your course. Your ID is responsible for tasks such as:

  • consulting and brainstorming with you on how to best present your materials
  • collaborating with you to build the course site
  • advising on production of multimedia materials
  • teaching you the use of the Learning Management System when necessary


Course Development Timeline

Time Commitment and Deadlines

To have your complete course ready to launch on time, we will all need to meet deadlines for deliverables. We suggest that you set aside about 5 hours per week to prepare your content and materials, throughout this process. Faculty engaging in the process for the first time are often surprised by that requirement, but experience tells us that this is the best way to make the class as good as can be for both you and your students.

It may seem surprising that you need to complete steps as early as 20 weeks in advance of launch but remember that we need to have time to coordinate, brainstorm, build materials, and be sure that they work. Your course will run much more smoothly, and students will be much happier, if we make steady progress and can test everything in a timely manner.

Stages and Corresponding Dates

Here is a summary of the course development stages with date estimates attached. More details appear further in this document. Reach out to your ID if you require clarification about terminology or dates.

  • Kickoff (Week 1)
  • Early Planning (Week 2-3)
  • Detailed Planning, by Unit, and Course Build-out (Week 4-18)
  • Quality Assurance Check (Week 19)
  • Faculty hand-off and training (Week 20)
  • Live Shell and Schedule Follow-up (Week 20)
  • Course launch

Detailed Course Development Stages

What follows is a rough outline of what you will need to complete in a given course development stage. These items will be discussed in detail as we move through the process. This is just a starting point.

1. Kick-off Stage – (Week 1)

  • Review of any existing instructional materials
  • Complete course intake sheet (expected enrollment, course profile, LMS, etc.)

ID deliverables: intake and kickoff paperwork

Faculty deliverables: completed course intake sheet

2. Early Planning Stage - (Week 2-3)

Course map, including:

  • Course Learning Objectives
  • Module (Weekly) Learning Objectives
  • Complete list of weekly materials, activities, and assessments
  • Weekly student hours, i.e. how long will it take your students to complete readings, viewings, activities and assignments each week? Target range is 7-9 hours per week.

Outline of dates for weekly activities and assessments.

Grade breakdown of points and/or weights by assignment.

ID deliverables: course map template if needed, course document templates if needed, brainstorming and advice

Faculty deliverables: completed course map, course schedule, grade breakdown, create template course shell

3. Detailed Planning, by Unit, and Course Build-out (Week 4-18)

During this stage, you will produce course content with your ID’s advice and assistance, and, if teaching online, you and the ID in cooperation will build that content in the course shell. We recommend one week of production time per week of course content.

Dates for the table below should be filled in at the Kick-off meeting.

Course content by week:


Faculty Deliverables with ID advising:

Faculty & ID Cooperative Deliverables:


Week 1 content

Module 1 built


Week 2 content

Module 2 built


Week 3 content

Module 3 built


Week 4 content and syllabus draft

Module 4 built


Week 5 content

Module 5 built


Week 6 content

Module 6 built


Weeks 7

Module 7 built


Week 8 content. Course Essentials items, final course syllabus

Module 8 built. Course Essentials built


Week 9 content

Module 9 built


Week 10 content

Module 10 built


Week 11 content

Module 11 built


Week 12 content

Module 12 built


Week 13 content

Module 13 built


Week 14 content

Module 14 built


Week 15 content

Module 15 built

4. Quality Assurance Stage – (Week 19)

  • complete course due

ID deliverables: completed QA checklist with any revisions still required noted

Faculty deliverables: completed revisions, any captions reviewed for accuracy, class reviewed in Student View.

5. Faculty hand-off and training – (Week 20)

  • Training session, if necessary
  • Hand-off document

ID deliverables: in-person or online training in LMS tools, hand-off document

Faculty deliverables: attendance at training session, read hand-off document

6. Live Shell and Schedule Follow-up – (Week 20)

  • Final revisions, as needed
  • Schedule a follow-up meeting once the course has been taught, to plan any revisions

ID deliverables: fully built and revised course

Faculty deliverables: request live course and copy from development shell

7. Course launch



We will need to meet at times, during the course development process, either in person or online. Meetings are intended to work through details related to particular stages. Faculty will bring any content necessary, and the instructional designer will consult with faculty on how the content should appear in the course site and develop a plan for coordinated build-out.

Below is a list of suggested meetings; dates should be agreed on at the Kick-off meeting. Additional meetings may be added as necessary. Please have all your materials for each meeting prepared in advance.

Suggested Meetings

  • Planning 1: Objectives, Assignments, General Time-line
  • Planning 2: Course Mapping
  • Midway Check-in: Any adjustments
  • Quality Assurance: Plan final revisions based on checklist
  • Faculty Training


Contact Information

You can contact the Office of Instructional Design at any time, if you have questions about course development.

Phone: (848) 932-4700 (ask for one of the Instructional Design team)



Sample Course Map, Week 4



Course Learning Objectives

Module Learning Objectives





Write persuasive, evidence-based essays on a variety of topics.

Write an effective thesis statement.

Write an organized and detailed paper outline, including topic sentences and citations of evidence.

Part 2: Chapters 4-7, They Say, I Say, Graff & Berkenstein (your own thesis and arguments)

Sections W-4 and W-7, The Little Seagull Handbook (organization and topic sentences)

Sample Essays 1 and 2

Thesis exercises:

  • Identify thesis statements in Sample Essays 1 and 2, and evaluate them based on what Graff & Berkenstein say make an effective thesis or argument.
  • Write a thesis statement for Part 2 of They Say, I Say in your own words. (peer reviewed)

Outlining exercise:

  • In Groups: Outline an assigned chapter in this unit’s readings, including topic sentences for each major section or idea. Evaluate another group’s outline based on the guidelines for outlining in The Little Seagull Handbook.

Turn in a detailed outline for Paper 2. The outline should start with your thesis statement. Each major section must start with a topic sentence.  Include as many citations of evidence from your sources as you have so far; this will help identify what sections still need more research.