Online Course Design and Development among College and University Instructors: An Analysis using Grounded Theory

Sally J. Baldwin, Yu-Hui Ching, Norm Friesen


In this study, a grounded theory approach was used to investigate the process college and university instructors undergo to design and develop online courses. Fourteen instructors who created online courses for four-year colleges and universities were interviewed about their experience designing and developing online courses. Results showed that participants begin the process with objectives and/or with existing course outlines, typically taken from online and face-to-face courses. Next, the instructors structure the course and chunk content. The instructors interviewed rarely use formal instructional design principles, but their design tasks show a striking similarity to those formalized in the ADDIE model. Student feedback (evaluation) motivated the instructors in their development efforts after initial course delivery. The study discusses practical implications and suggests opportunities for future research.


instructional design, instructional strategy, learning management system, online learning

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