Master Course Development

Master Courses

  • Master courses are single versions of online courses that all online faculty use
  • Master courses are developed collaboratively by teams of Associate and Bachelor’s faculty with CETLOE’s experts in online learning 
  • Master courses represent consensus among faculty across colleges regarding course goals, student learning outcomes, assessments and content
  • Master courses will be used in all future online sections of the course across all sections and faculty
  • Master courses are built to streamline continuous improvement

Master Course Development Process Overview

  1. New master course projects are selected for development by academic deans and the Associate Provost of Online Strategies
  2. Memoranda of Understanding are signed by participating faculty, CETLOE leadership, and the university administration
  3. CETLOE instructional designers lead faculty teams through an intensive development process outlined below
  4. CETLOE staff and faculty track student engagement and outcomes, working together to engage in continuous course improvement

NOTE: We encourage all faculty who wish to design master courses to also participate in Mastering Online Teaching: Fundamentals of Online Course Design and Delivery. This separate, four-week faculty development opportunity introduces many of the topics and skills CETLOE staff will be working with faculty to integrate into online master courses.


  • Memoranda of understanding signed
  • Weekly meetings between faculty teams and CETLOE staff scheduled
  • Discovery of course materials, technologies, and platforms that are under consideration

  • Develop student personas using collective experience and institutional data
  • Write, refine, and achieve consensus on course goals and student learning outcomes
  • Add course goals and student learning outcomes to CETLOE’s Course Alignment Spreadsheet
  • Design the course’s iCollege module structure

  • Develop course narrative
  • Write and refine course introduction script
  • Shoot course introduction

  • Discuss and reach consensus on how mastery of student learning outcomes will be observed
  • Develop assessment plan
  • Integrate assessment plan into Course Alignment Spreadsheet and Course Narrative
  • Write first batch of assessments

  • Integrate transparency, scaffolding, and support into module content template structure
  • Refine and reach consensus on iCollege module content template
  • Integrate content template plan into Course Alignment Spreadsheet and Course Narrative
  • Curate/create one module's worth of media, including a module welcome video

  • Submit completed content for content modules
  • Where & when appropriate, integrate third party course materials, technologies, and platforms into iCollege
  • Create teaching guide

  • Reach consensus on course syllabus
  • Write course welcome email
  • Develop early in-course engagements and assessments 
  • Schedule automated communications
  • Test course functionality
  • Finalize course and teaching guide

  • CETLOE staff prepare course for launch
  • Instructors who were not part of the development team are trained on how to teach the course and use the teaching guide

  • Weekly check-ins with design team
  • Analysis of assessment & engagement data trends
  • Refinement of design for current and future semesters

Who is on the Master Course team?

Faculty write course goals and student learning outcomes, create assessments, develop and curate content, implement the master course, and engage in continuous course improvement. It is important that 1) all faculty are committed to creating a single master course that represents consensus across colleges, and 2) all faculty agree to participate fully in CETLOE’s development process, as led by CETLOE learning experience designers. Faculty leads from each campus are responsible for keeping faculty on track and committed to the process.
Each master course project is led and managed by one of CETLOE’s learning experience designers. Tasked with keeping the project on schedule, learning experience designers provide project management and design leadership and coordinate content construction and media development.
CETLOE multimedia designers can help faculty create content. Faculty will be expected to work with multimedia developers to create a course overview video and possibly module introductions.
CETLOE Learning Technologists are key members of the master course design team. Learning technologists contribute to teaching guides, offer feedback on course construction, provide implementation training and support, and research and integrate learning technologies.
Master courses are designed to surface actionable data to guide just-in-time interventions and inform iterations. Our learning analysts provide data collection consulting, feedback and outcomes analysis, and teaching guide contributions..