Mission: - Step 1
The design of an online course, as in a face-to-face course, should have a clear purpose. This purpose should be consistent with the various missions within the institution (i.e., program, department, school, etc.). It should also be short, and clearly worded. While many creative educators have done excellent work by using an intuitive or informal process, if we are to create, document, and continually sustain course development, we must document how the outcomes meet the mission.
During this step you will accomplish the following:
A. Review the organization's mission statements
Mission Statements: A single course is part of a larger organization; it should be in harmony with the institution's missions (university, school, department, and program). Further, it should also be an extension of your own personal mission. You should also consider who you are writing to--who is the audience of the statement.
B. Write a Statement of Purpose
Purpose: Generally, most faculty already have an idea of what the purpose of the course is, yet it has never been written.
C. Review what you value about education
Values: Values are foundational to the whole educational process. They guide the whole course creation process. Without questioning ourselves and making these explicit, we run the risk of allowing our tacit--sometimes unchallenged--beliefs to guide our practice. Here, there are activities to help the users identify their own values and thus clarify how their course fits into the larger missions. [Note: These activities have not been completed yet.]
D. Gather data and make a decision either to support or refute moving with course development.
Analysis: We recommend that the online course design process be initiated with an analysis of the target learners and the content. This is done to help clarify who the learners are, as well as to probe the content and outcomes for their compatibility for online education; this is in preparation for further steps.
How do these fit with the next step (Determine Outcomes)?
The work done during the next step (Determine Outcomes) will be based directly on what you accomplished in this step (Mission). Further, much of the rest of the process will be reviewed vis-a-vis this step. To have any course (online or not) that is consistent from purpose, to activities, to outcomes, to assessment, a foundation of clear purpose and mission is needed.