Course Development Steps and Guidelines

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Step 1: Prepare to Go Online

Contact the eLearning Department if you are interested in developing an online or media-enhanced course, or if you would like to add a Sakai component such as e-mail, blogs or forums to one or more of your on-campus courses.

The eLearning Department is located in building V, room V-103, on the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus. For more information, e-mail the eLearning Department or call 407.708.2424.

Step 2: Learn About Sakai and Quality Matters

Faculty members must familiarize themselves with the Sakai software by completing a Sakai Training Workshop and earning a certificate of completion. You will not be given editor access to any distance learning courses until you have done so.

If you are teaching online courses, you must also complete the Quality Matters Workshop to familiarize yourself with the rubric used to review online courses at Seminole State.

General training workshops will be posted periodically on the DL Workshop Calendar. Special sessions can be arranged for groups of five or more people requiring training at the same time. Speak with a member of the eLearning staff or e-mail the eLearning Department to schedule a workshop for your group.

Step 3: Configure a Sakai Development Course

The eLearning Department must create a training site, developer ID and password for each faculty member before he or she can access Sakai for training purposes. If you have signed up for a Sakai workshop, a training account will automatically be created for you to use during the session. You may also request a new development course via our Sakai site request page.

Step 4: Configure a Course Home Page (optional)

If you want to create a separate home page for your course that is accessible via the Internet, you can request an individual faculty sub-Web on the Seminole State server. We do not recommend requesting a sub-Web unless you have a large amount of information that you want to make publicly available on the Internet. If you only have one online course and you want to make the syllabus, course description, etc. available outside of the password-protected Sakai environment, consider posting the information on your departmental website instead.

If you decide that you need a separate sub-Web, you must submit a CTS Service Request via the TIM system to have one created for you. If you are unsure about whether you need a sub-Web, e-mail the eLearning Department or call 407.708.2424 for guidance.

All course home pages must conform to the Seminole State's online design criteria. Refer to the College's Web Development Guidelines for tips on creating effective pages.

Step 5: Create Your Sakai Course Content

Once you have established a Sakai training or development site, you may begin to experiment with the course design features that are included with the software and customize the course to fit your needs and the needs of your students. It is up to you to determine what should be included on your site.

When creating your site, you may want to include things like classroom lecture notes, handouts, PowerPoint presentations and quizzes. You may also want to integrate course companion websites and CDs, which often accompany course textbooks, into your site.

Another thing to consider is the addition of licensed, pre-developed course content packages to your site. Several publishers offer these packages and have optimized the content for use with Sakai and other online learning applications.

If you need help locating such materials or adding them to your online course(s), e-mail the eLearning Department or call 407.708.2424. We will be happy to conduct research on your behalf and put you in contact with the appropriate personnel.

Remember, planning ahead is essential! There are time and cost factors related to online course licensing and development that must be considered when creating a new class for student use.

Step 6: Design Your Course Site

While Sakai course content is left to your discretion, we ask that you abide by certain guidelines when designing the look and style of your site.

  • Sakai color templates: Seminole State offers several Sakai color templates to choose from. If you would like to have us apply one of these templates to your course as the default color scheme, or if you would like help developing custom icons, graphics, colors or templates, please e-mail the eLearning Department or call 407.708.2424.
  • Collegewide publication standards: Seminole State has developed Collegewide publication standards in an effort to present a professional, unified image to the student population. Online courses are considered Seminole State publications, since they represent the College to a global audience. Therefore, they are subject to the same conventions as any institutional textbook, journal, etc. Refer to Seminole State's Web Development Guidelines for tips on creating effective Web content. You also should refer to copyright information sources, such as the University of Texas System's Crash Course in Copyright and the Copyright Office at the Library of Congress, for help with copyright issues.
  • Graphics: If you would like help creating custom images, banners or backgrounds, e-mail the eLearning Department or call 407.708.2424. We will be happy to develop and/or supply graphics for you.
  • HTML content pages: All HTML content pages must adhere to good Web design standards. Refer to Seminole State's Web Development Guidelines for more information.

The eLearning Department is the clearinghouse for all online courses at Seminole State. Our staff periodically reviews each Sakai course site to evaluate its functionality and to ensure that it is meeting Collegewide standards. We may ask you to make changes to your page if it is found to be deficient in any way or if it violates College policies or standards.

Step 7: Make Your Course Available

Once your course content is fully developed and ready to run for a given term, please alert the eLearning Department by submitting a Sakai Production Site Request.

Step 8: Wait for Your Course to Populate

Sakai course population refers to the uploading of student data to create student accounts within a Sakai course. Each student account is accessed using a unique login ID and password.

The eLearning Department updates the Sakai global database on a daily basis throughout each term. All Sakai courses are auto-populated with student enrollment information at the beginning of the term and modified automatically when a student adds or drops the class.

Instructors may not access or change students' passwords. If a student has difficulty with his or her password, refer him or her to the eLearning Department.

Step 9: Continue to Enhance Your Course and Troubleshoot Issues

Sakai course development is an ongoing process, and the eLearning Department is committed to helping you make the most of your site. For example, if you are considering adding PowerPoint presentations to your course, we can help you determine which method of doing so is best suited for your needs. We can also help you determine the best way to make downloadable files available to your students.

If you run into any problems, we will help you troubleshoot and resolve the issue. The eLearning Department is not limited to Sakai support; we can also assist you with other distance learning media and delivery options.

If you have any questions, suggestions, problems or concerns related to online learning at Seminole State, please e-mail the eLearning Department or call 407.708.2424.

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