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Instructional Design

Developing an online course is significantly different from preparing to teach a face-to-face course, both pedagogically and technologically. Each course that is approved for support by the Office of Online Program Development and Support will be assigned an instructional design lead. This instructional designer will be the point of contact to help faculty develop his or her course materials, to troubleshoot issues, and make updates, for as long as the course is offered online.

Please view the following video to learn more about how eLearning can support your online course development.

The ADDIE model:

  • Analysis - an instructional designer (ID) meets with the faculty developer to determine what is needed.
  • Design - the ID works with the faculty developer to develop learning elements, or objects, and modules for the course, resulting in a prototype.
  • Development - once the prototype has been approved the ID works with the eLearning team to develop the rest of the course materials.
  • Implementation - the course is uploaded and tested as part of a quality review.
  • Evaluation - at the end of the first course offering students are surveyed to obtain feedback. The ID shares that feedback with the faculty developer and modifications are discussed.  


Students are the focus of our development because they are not only the customer but they are also the main users of the course. It is our goal to keep their experience in mind when designing, developing, and testing our products. We also utilize an end of the course survey to obtain an evaluation of their experiences, which is used to improve the design of your course, resulting in better course evaluations for faculty.


Project management is an important part of any project. eLearning Services manages the course development process from beginning to end. For faculty, this means you can focus on your course content and not have to worry about managing a development team.

  1. The first step in managing the development of an online program is to develop a common framework, so that every course in an online program has the same navigation, support information, department contact information, etc.  To reach this goal the faculty who are teaching in a specific online program come together to discuss and agree on the course framework elements. An eLearning instructional designer (ID) will facilitate this process.
  2. Second, each faculty developer will be assigned an ID to manage his or her course development process. The ID will be in charge of bringing together the necessary resources needed to develop a quality product. These resources might include: a graphic artist, sound engineer, transcriber, video producer, etc.
  3. The third step is managing the individual course development timeline. The ID will work with the faculty developer to create and a timeline to insure the course is ready in time. This timeline is signed by the faculty member, ID, and mailed to the department chair.
  4. Finally, the course is reviewed for quality by staff other than the ID to make sure your course meets Quality MattersTM standards for NIU.


We don't believe in letting technology lead the design of online courses. We look at the course objectives, successful strategies in teaching the materials, and then help you pick the right technologies for your course.


eLearning provides access to several instructional tools you might not have heard about before, such as Adobe Connect, Opensim a 3D virtual campus, even a Minecraft campus. Theses tools are hosted on NIU servers. Visit to learn more and explore examples of our work.

For more information please contact Aline Click at