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The online curriculum landscape varies widely and covers the entire range of educational options. This section helps new programs make sense of the different types of courses, the ways in which courses can be licensed, their compatibility with your Learning Management System (LMS), and how to evaluate courses.

Build or Buy?: Should your program build your courses, buy them, or a little of both? The answer to this complex question depends primarily on the available resources, the skills of your staff, and your timeline. This topic outlines the pros and cons of both building and buying or licensing courses. If you’re considering building one or more courses, this topic provides some basic information about getting started. …more info

Types of Courses: In many ways, online learning is merely a delivery method or set of tools. Together, these tools provide a flexible means of delivering courses of any kind. There is no one right kind of online course, and describing the range of online courses can be at least as complex as describing the kinds of courses presented in face-to-face environments. This topic explores the two primary characteristics of an online course: its content and the environment for which the course is designed and in which it is subsequently used. …more info

Course Licensing & Purchasing Models: A wide range of options exists for licensing courses, from per semester tuition programs to perpetual licenses to comprehensive service providers. Often programs mix and match license types to maximize cost effectiveness for high enrollment and low enrollment courses. This information here does not replace the need to shop carefully and be sure you understand the models that your vendors present. …more info

Courses and the Learning Management System (LMS): Clearly the courses you license must be able to function smoothly in the LMS. The selection of courses and the learning management system in which they are housed is a critical step in the life of a new program. Deciding on a platform and the content can sometimes be a chicken or the egg question. Some programs choose the platform first and then only select content that will run on that platform, while other programs choose the content first and then limit their selection of platforms that will host the selected content. Yet other programs attempt to make these decisions simultaneously. Regardless of the strategy used, there are issues related to several aspects of both the courses and the LMS, including questions about technical details, content and cost. …more info

Evaluating Courses: Not all online courses are created equally. As is true with any other type of product or publication, there are high quality and low quality examples. Different courses serve different purposes and take different instructional approaches. In ways similar to how a school’s curriculum team reviews textbooks, a team should review online course selections to ensure that the course will meet the program’s needs. …more info

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