Course Design

Instructional designers at the FCTL provide the following course design services to the University community:

Course Development for Blackboard

The FCTL instructional designers will work with faculty, staff, and subject matter experts from all over UMB to develop and implement courses in Blackboard. Using evidence-based practices, the instructional design team will provide expertise, guidance, and assistance in the following areas of online course development:

  • Learner interaction and engagement
  • Educational technology integration
  • Alignment, activities, and assessment 

A detailed explanation of the FCTL course design process appears below.

Global Dissemination via EdX

Do you need to reach learners beyond the UMB sphere? Many grants and research projects include dissemination components. In collaborations with your project team, the FCTL will create outward-facing educational materials or complete courses to support specific dissemination goals. Areas where the FCTL are ideal collaborators include:

  • Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
  • Small Private Online Courses (SPOCs)
  • International Faculty Collaboratives (COILs)

The FCTL Course Design Process

For schools, departments, or programs seeking to transition courses online or create new online courses, the FCTL begins by establishing the scope of course development services required. The FCTL creates a memorandum of agreement on the scope of work and responsibilities for its completion.

Next, we meet with departmental faculty to describe what to expect in the development process. Faculty new to online teaching might wonder about the dynamic of working with an instructional designer on their course. This collaborative meeting helps address their questions and concerns.

Instructional designers (IDs) then schedule individual consultations with instructors to begin the course planning process. Faculty and IDs work together in the preparation of a set of “storyboards” that are helpful for organizing learning outcomes, assessments, learning strategies, course materials, and other key instructional components.

Once this initial planning phase is complete, IDs begin building the course in Blackboard, adding multimedia and interactive features where appropriate.

Prior to launch, the course is tested and the instructors may receive course facilitation coaching.

All course activities, multimedia, and interactive features are made available for student viewing in Blackboard.

Finally, FCTL provides ongoing course maintenance throughout the first course offering and completes a quality review after the first offering concludes. 



Course Design FAQ

What is instructional design? 

Instructional design is the process of systematically and creatively planning and developing learning experiences. Grounded in research about how people learn, the instructional design process applies to both face-to-face and online educational environments. Frequently, though not necessarily, instructional design involves the use of technology to facilitate teaching and learning.


What does an Instructional Designer do? 

Instructional designers (IDs) partner with faculty to design engaging and effective courses. While IDs provide ideas and feedback, faculty control all of the decisions about how a course is structured, the content  presented, and the activities, assessments, and discussion questions to be included.

How can Instructional Designers help faculty? 

At UMB, instructional designers work within the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning (FCTL), offering a core menu of instructional design services. The collective skill set of the instructional design team is broad, but the core services they offer UMB faculty include:

  • Refining course learning goals
  • Brainstorming learning activities and assessment strategies
  • Producing instructional videos and multimedia presentations
  • Ensuring ADA accessibility and copyright compliance
  • Building online courses in Blackboard or edX (MOOCs)
  • Providing online course facilitation training to instructors
  • Managing the course development project timeline

Other Resources


Creative Commons License

Course Design by Erin Hagar and Kevin Engler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Revised 2/1/2021