Designing MOOCs For Higher Education

4 Phases Of MOOC Development
Khan's Images/
Summary: Deploying MOOCs in higher education doesn't have to be complicated.

4 Phases Of MOOC Development

The 4 phases of development include content development, revisions, filming and post-production, and a final review.

Phase 1: Content Development

In order to ensure the content is in alignment with learning objectives for a MOOC, it is essential for Instructional Designers and Subject Matter Experts to begin with a concept meeting to ensure there is a common vision. It is essential for all stakeholders to agree on common learning objectives. Learning objectives should be clear and measurable with definitive action verbs from Bloom's Taxonomy. Additionally, establishing a workflow of communication and deadlines is essential to ensure that the pacing of the project will run smoothly despite any challenges that may come up. Thus, it is important to organize assets and folders at the onset of the project so that all stakeholders know where to find items. Any cloud content management system to organize assets, such as Box, Laserfiche, or Microsoft's Sharepoint, to name a few, will be useful throughout the duration of the project.

Then, it is important to download and complete session modules according to a course design matrix where there is clear alignment between the learning objectives, vision, learning activities, multimedia, assessments, transcripts, and any applicable slides needed for animation. It is essential to create both formative and summative assessments for each session module that supports the learning objectives. Also, Subject Matter Experts and the Instructional Designers should become familiar with the MOOC platform that they will deploy the course on. There is a wide variety of MOOC platforms to choose from such as Coursera, Udemy, edX, or Canvas, to name a few.

Becoming familiar with the platform is essential for all users so they are able to navigate where materials and resources will be seen from a student's perspective and also how to respond to learners' questions. Finally, Instructional Designers should send out instructor release forms to sign and ask how Subject Matter Experts' credentials should be displayed. Additionally, Subject Matter Experts must be sure to forward all copyright information to the Instructional Designers to ensure compliance with copyright laws.

Phase 2: Revision

There will inevitably be multiple iterations of revisions that will be made during the content development process. It is essential for Subject Matter Experts to review each draft of educational materials based on the initial, agreed-upon timeline. Also, it is essential that Instructional Designers review with Subject Matter Experts how to use consistent naming conventions to files that are consistent to the title of the session of the file, session, and author's name (Ex: Educational Psychology-Session 1-John Doe).

This will help in ensuring that all files shared amongst the team are the same and new iterations of files do not get lost as updates are made. As additional changes are made, Instructional Designers must be sure to effectively communicate with Subject Matter Experts about any adjustments that are made that may impact upcoming deadlines. Upon completion of all content materials, it is essential for Instructional Designers to ensure that all items meet accessibility standards.

Phase 3: Filming And Post-Production

If there are an instructional technologist and a multimedia producer at an institution, it is essential to review filming guidelines with the Instructional Designers and Subject Matter Experts. During this meeting, a common PowerPoint presentation template should be used to ensure consistency in font, style, and size. Then, Instructional Designers should build a common storyboard template that will be used in all sessions. There are many sites that provide templates for storyboards like Boords, Studio Binder, or Printable Paper, to name a few. Next, Instructional Designers should clearly communicate to the instructional technologist and multimedia producer the location of the transcripts and review transcripts closely with each PowerPoint to ensure accuracy prior to filming. Finally, Subject Matter Experts should be advised not to include any specific module numbers, session numbers, or specific sites as some of these may change in the future.

Once the Instructional Designers decide on a common template, it is important to work collaboratively on the vision for each board. Working together will help ensure the accuracy and consistency of the concepts and learning activities that will be integrated into the design.

During post-production, it is important to always refer to the storyboard and transcripts while making any cuts. It is best practice to cut any reference to specific module numbers, session numbers, or specific sites if referenced. Also, it is essential to continue using consistent naming conventions when naming files to prevent confusion about various iterations that will occur with updates. A final technical inspection of the sessions is to be done upon completion of all recordings to ensure there are no mistakes, accuracy of cuts, and alignment with the module sequence and learning activities.

Phase 4: Final Review

During the final review, instructors should be sure to revisit their account before launch to ensure and verify that their author signatures and credentials are correct. Additionally, Instructional Designers should be sure to enable course certification and forward legal releases for instructions, guest speakers, and other teaching participants. Next, the Instructional Designers and Subject Matter Experts should go through the entire course to ensure that all of their learning components are in alignment. Also, Subject Matter Experts and Instructional Designers should create milestone emails to ensure that clear communication is sent to learners about deadlines and where to find resources in the course. Finally, a confirmation email should be sent to all Subject Matter Experts for final approval to launch the course.

Post Launch

After the course launches, it is important for Subject Matter Experts to send occasional announcements to establish engagement between the learners and Subject Matter Experts. Additionally, it is important for Subject Matter Experts to participate in forums and respond to learner support issues to ensure a smooth learning experience. This will allow for continual and meaningful engagement between the learners and Subject Matter Experts.