Planning a course outline

The standard practice at NMIT for planning out how a course was going to be delivered and what content and activities were going to be in it was to use a word document like this:

While this did provide tutors a structure for them to work with that included aspects like scaffolding and extra resources, it had it’s down sides:

  • Confusing and slow Word document sharing
  • It defined a very linear and prescribed process
  • It was visually unappealing and uninspiring
  • It felt Learning Designer lead and not collaborative

But most importantly in the initial phase of planning you need to be able to move the different topics and sub-topics around and easily chunk them or recombine them. Something tables in a Word document can not do.

So for the last two years I have been using Trello as a course planner with tutors. It makes it so much easier for us to move content and activities around until both of us are happy.

Here is an overly long video I made on the process:

I have started building my own implementation of this but specifically for Learning Design:

My plan is to have it also (in order of priority):

  • Total up suggested time to do topics
  • Auto-embed YouTube and Vimeo
  • Have a field for showing alignment to Learning Outcomes
  • Tick boxes for the Learning Designer and SME
  • An in place distraction-free text editor that accepts and cleans, copied Word text
  • An in place distraction-free h5p editor

I think as it stands Learning Management Systems like Moodle have become very complicated and heavy for your average over-worked tutor. A tutor shouldn’t need to know how to write HTML, or customize gradebooks and assessment settings. We now have Learning Designers and Instructional Designers who are specialized in that. By having a middle-ware meeting space for the Tutor and Learning Designer it can help differentiate the different roles and more importantly – the tutor can know just focus on what they are best at – planning, writing and teaching their subject.

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