The Instructional Design Team at Concordia University strives to provide mentorship and partnership with each academic department in order to assist in creating quality online and virtual courses. Through our instructional design process, each course is built by a subject matter expert and instructional designer, is approved by the program director and receives a quality review by the CELT leadership team.

When building and reviewing a course, CELT keeps in mind a list of top five elements for a quality online course.

Top 5 elements of quality online teaching and design

Regular and substantive interaction (RSI)

Distance education, which is defined by 34 CFR 600.2 as education delivered synchronously or asynchronously via technology to students separated from instructor, requires regular and substantive interaction (RSI) be present. RSI is defined as interaction between instructors and students that occurs either synchronously or asynchronously in a predictable, regular and meaningful manner.

According to 34 CFR 600.2, interactions must include two of the following per course:

  1. Direct instruction
  2. Assessment or feedback on student work
  3. Answering questions relating to course content or competency
  4. Group discussion
  5. Activities approved by the university or accrediting agency

CELT has created a presentation with additional strategies on engaging learners.

Backwards design

The instructional design team and the subject matter expert utilize backwards design for each new course and each revision of a course. The development of each course follows a backwards design process:

  1. Review the course objectives and learning outcomes
  2. Review how the course fits within the program’s curriculum
  3. Develop the final assessment to gauge student learning
  4. Develop the unit learning objectives to build a scaffolding needed for students to develop the skills and knowledge needed to complete the final assessment
  5. Build formative assessments for each unit that connect to the unit objectives
High quality

Quality review is built into every step of the instructional design process. Our goal is to ensure quality courses and exceptional learning experiences for all of our students:

  • Program Directors partner with the instructional design team by providing guidance on the vision for the course and providing final approval of the course design
  • CELT leaders perform quality reviews of each course that is built to ensure best practices for design are being met
  • Instructional designers complete master maintenance and course reviews each semester to ensure functionality and timeliness of each course
Innovative teaching tools

The instructional design team has many tools that are utilized in order to keep online courses innovative and engaging for students. Some of the tools include:

Universal Design for Learning

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)  helps all students effectively engage in the course and learn. CELT has offered virtual presentations in order to provide essential tips and tricks needed to start practicing UDL in your courses. Instructional Designers build courses with UDL standards in mind in order to create courses that are engaging and accessible for all learners.