The relevance and impact of online learning courses have witnessed a massive increase in the modern, digital era. E-learning methodologies have replaced their traditional, classroom counterparts, thus assuming greater significance in the current pedagogic landscape. So much so, that institutions across the world have begun to break through the barriers of uni-dimensional learning and have started adopting the innovative tools and techniques of digital programs.
Also Read: Online Learning VS Traditional Learning
The Challenges of Course Design
Digital programs have the ability to streamline competencies, enhance retention, and contextualize knowledge, but devising a good online learning course is a challenging task. This is because a digital course must have a methodical design, a focused approach, comprehensive coverage, and an interactive base, balanced against the scales of resource efficiency, time management, syllabi integration, and cost-effectiveness.
To deal with this challenge, educational institutions, including schools, colleges, and universities, have come up with a simple and unique solution, which harbors the innate capacity to develop credible digital courses in the shortest possible time. This solution is widely known as – collaborative online program development.
What is Collaborative Online Program Development?
Collaborative online program development essentially means that faculty members, belonging to various backgrounds, streams, and disciplines, sit together and design a basic course shell, which can be used to impart knowledge in a direct, coordinated, and student-centric way. This means that instead of working in silos, faculty members operate in distributed collaboration, so that all aspects of a digital course can be carefully considered, meticulously researched and diligently designed.
While there are a number of benefits associated with such collaborative online program development, the major ones include:
- Ensuring consistency & quality amongst various sections of a course
- Saving individual faculty time and reallocating it for online teaching
- Creating high-quality digital courses, replete with expert inputs
- Making better use of an institution’s human, intellectual & financial resources
- Allowing for course modification based on student review or feedback
- Facilitating extensive, personalized & integrated curriculum coverage
- Promoting content learning while fostering inter-departmental cohesion
Nonetheless, despite all the aforementioned advantages, online course designing remains incomplete if it does not adhere to a pre-defined group of uniform, standardized practices that have gained international acceptance in almost all educational circles. At this juncture, it becomes extremely important to understand what these practices precisely are and what they mean.
Suggested Read: Is Online Education Better than Traditional Education?
Best Practices in Developing Collaborative Online Programs
While collaborating for online program development, it is essential that you follow a detailed, step-by-step approach. This approach should aim to facilitate understanding, promote engagement, enhance knowledge, and assess performance, especially in the higher education sector.
In other words, the paradigm of collaborative program designing should primarily be focused on:
1. Instructional Expertise
First and foremost, make sure that all faculty members with different subject matter expertise are brought together under the same umbrella. Once this is done, clearly communicate the course objectives to them while helping them go through all aspects of the curriculum that you intend to cover. Assign them the task of designing a shared template that caters to their designated sections.
2. Student Inputs
Just as the fundamentals of the curriculum are sorted, begin seeking specific inputs from students, with regard to how they want the course to be designed. Make sure that the online program makes use of visual, textual, and other multi-media elements in such a way that student-centric preferences are imbibed, and excitement about the discipline is fostered.
3. Structured Content
Based on faculty expertise and student inputs, begin crafting the outlines of a course with both technical and clinical precision. Ascertain that each section of the course, designed with the help of different faculty members, complements the other and seamlessly integrates into the overall scheme of syllabi. Strive to maintain structure, uniformity & consistency throughout the course content.
4. Instant Feedback
The good thing about collaborative online course development is that this process allows you to obtain quick reviews and get instant feedback. When a group of faculty members conducts an in-depth analysis, the outcome tends to get a little dreary. However, the feedback mechanisms sustained by digital programs, permit grievance redressal and course correction, quite easily.
5. Quick Resolution
Last but not the least, a collaborative course designing effort offers the exclusive opportunity of resolving quality concerns, if any, as quickly as possible. Issues like course ownership, support training, development compensation, and program maintenance can be comfortably ironed out, thus enabling educational institutions to focus solely on knowledge transfer.
With such a shared and coordinated online course development strategy coupled with a small bit of forward planning, students and faculty can both experience humongous amounts of reflective, instructional, and pedagogic benefits. To put it simply, these practices can raise content quality, deliver personalized modules, and ensure equitable access, across boundaries.
The Way Forward
As times change, multi-faculty, collaborative online program development will become the new way of the world. The education sector, with its technological and transformational prowess, will use such collaborations to channelize faculty expertise, deliver professional curriculum, and create immersive courses in a distinctive and targeted manner. These dynamic, downloadable and shareable programs will further go on to ensure that the 65% institutions that presently teach online courses are able to progress without incurring any strain on their resources, faculty, budget or capital.
In the near future, the digital e-learning market is expected to surpass the cornerstone of $243 billion by 2022. This would mean that the role and importance of online programs are going to undergo a massive change, especially from a developmental, educational, and pedagogic perspective. In such an environment, using collaboration to alter the content and quality of online programs will help them become the only viable medium of enhancing excellence, developing accountability, and providing opportunity.
Our expertise in collaborative course development has led to renowned institutions selecting HurixDigital as their preferred partner in online course creation. We have developed a series of courses for a leading provider of instructional, assessment, and learning-performance management solutions. We enabled authors around the globe to work collaboratively on a single platform and made the content accessible across multiple devices and operating systems. Click here to read more about this case study. Drop-in a line to learn more about how we can build online programs collaboratively.