Key Terms for the Online Course Development Process

The key terms listed below are referred to during the development process. The key terms are important to understand so that communication between the Faculty Developer and the Learning Designer will be clear and consistent.

Accessibility Check: The process by which the design of an online course is reviewed for use by students with disabilities.

Assessment: In education, the term assessment refers to the wide variety of methods or tools that educators use to evaluate, measure, and document the academic readiness, learning progress, skill acquisition, or educational needs of students. (Retrieved from on 12/04/2015).

Assessment(s): A tool used for assessment (quiz, exam, group project, discussion board posting, presentation, etc.).

Benchmark: A reference point for the readiness of the course.

Check-ins: Regular meetings between the learning designer and faculty developer to evaluate progress of the course development.

Content: Course materials (texts, videos, articles, etc.), subject matter content.

Copy editing: The process of reviewing a course for grammatical errors, citation errors, and spelling errors.

Discussion board: For the purpose of an online course, where discussion (via postings) between students, their peers, and the instructor can take place asynchronously.

Interactions: There are three types of interaction in an online course: 1. interaction between the student and the instructor, 2. interaction between the student and the content, and 3. students’ interaction with one another (Moore, 1993):

  • Instructor-student interaction: the instructor stimulates or maintains the student’s interest, organizes the learning experience, presents information, assesses and provides information on progress, and provides counsel, support and encouragement.
  • Student-content interaction: it is this process of intellectually interacting with the content that results in changes in the learner’s learning.
  • Student-student interaction: students consolidate their ideas, test hypotheses, challenge each other’s’ ideas, debate, answer each other’s’ questions and confirm opinions and attitudes. (Retrieved on 12/04/2015 from

Instructional Technologist: Assist the faculty in adding technical activities to their course, such as videos, multimedia components, and new technologies.

Learning Activities: Activities in an online course the progresses the students learning (i.e., discussion board postings, text readings, watching a video, self check quizzes, etc.).

Learning objectives/outcomes/goals: Statements that define the expected goal of a curriculum, course, lesson, or activity in terms of demonstrable skills or knowledge that will be acquired by a student as a result of instruction.

Milestone (payment marker): For the purpose of the SPS DL development process, this is defined as the point where certain activities in the development of a course have been completed which leads to the releasing certain monies for the faculty developer.

Module(s): The manner in which the course content is divided for students. This can be done by chapters, week intervals, units, etc.This is a main part of how the course content is delivered.

Online course design: The process by which a course structure or framework is created for an online course in order to support the student learning experience.

Questionnaire: For the purpose for the SPS DL development process, this document covers the faculty developer’s background with online instruction, goals for their course, and aids in the building of a relationship between the faculty developer and the learning designer.

Rubric: A document that articulates the expectations for an assignment by listing the criteria and describing levels of quality (from excellent to poor) by which those expectations are met by the student. (Retrieved from on 12/04/2015.).