Online Education

A Division of the Office for the Advancement of Teaching & Learning

Course Design Consultation

Course Design can help you maximize efficiency, effectiveness, and engagement in your online or blended course. It is the process of analyzing learning needs and course goals, designing appropriate course structures and content strategies, developing the best materials and assessment methods, and delivering the course through various technologies and multimedia tools geared to enhance instructor presence and student interaction.

A Course Design Specialist is an education professional who knows how to apply the principles of course design to student learning and then evaluate the appropriate technologies and solutions to facilitate specific learning outcomes. Our Assistant Director of Online Education, Dr. Joannah Portman-Daley, is also a specialist in course design and she will work with you individually and/or with your department on the process of planning, designing, and delivering high quality online or blended courses or programs. The process is iterative and can begin at any point.

Meeting with a Course Design Specialist

We encourage all instructors to meet with a Course Design Specialist as they prepare to create online and blended courses.

Joannah can help you:

  • Apply the appropriate pedagogy for your specific learning environment – online or blended
  • Assist in developing learning objectives and determining how to align those objectives with appropriate assessment strategies to measure the desired learning outcomes
  • Design effective ways of motivating and engaging students in activities designed for learning in the online or blended class
  • Increase student collaboration through online communications tools and group activities
  • Become familiar with some of the technology tools currently available at URI and select those that are most suitable for your course delivery and learning outcomes
  • Understand best practices in teaching online, including the three keys to increasing student achievement:  connection to the instructor, to the content, and to other students
  • Utilize tips from experienced online faculty to save you time and increase student learning


Questions to consider before your first meeting

  • What major topics does your course cover and what are the learning outcomes?
  • Is the course broken down into distinct modules? If not, can it be? What do/would those modules look like?
  • What is your reason for wanting to teach this course online or in a blended format?
  • What questions or concerns do you have about teaching in the online environment?
  • How comfortable are you with Sakai?
  • Which Sakai tools do you use? Which ones would you like to learn more about?
  • How do you want to communicate with your students? How do you want your students to communicate with each other?
  • How do you currently deliver content?
  • How do you evaluate students in the course?

Email Joannah at

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