Welcome to the Development Cycle page. This page describes the development cycle that the Instructional Design group in the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Design (CTLD) offers to MSU Denver instructors.

CTLD offers two course development cycles:

  1. Spring Cycle – Starts mid-January and concludes either May (for courses taught that summer) and end of July (for courses being taught that fall)
  2. Fall Cycle – Starts mid-August and concludes at the end of December (for courses being taught the following spring)

At a glance, participation in the course design cycle includes:

  • An investment of ~100 hours of your time to develop content, learning objectives, record multimedia, assessments, etc.
  • Weekly meetings to discuss, plan and work on your project
  • In addition the CTLD ID Group will partner with you to:
    • Provide ~150 hours of Instructional design, media, and project management support
    • Conduct pre- and post-course audits focusing on accessibility, MSU Denver’s online course design standards , as well as performing a Quality Matters informal peer review and recommendations
    • Create multimedia presentations/lectures to accompany chapters, core concepts, as well as instructor introduction and course overview videos, in order to enhance your presence throughout the course
    • Collaborate with you to develop an alignment map for all learning objectives, instruction, and assessments/assignments
    • Chunk material into Learning Modules and add graphical representations to enhance the student user interface
    • Develop a communication strategy to enhance a sense of community and engagement with students
    • Provide technical support, training, as well as collaborate with you on pedagogical and andragogical considerations and best practices to enhance the design of your course
    • Support your efforts to adopt, adapt, or create Open Educational Resources (OERs)

While the above is a general list, we partner with faculty members on each course design project to collaboratively design a development strategy that uniquely fits their needs. Additional details are available below.

The Course Development Cycle

Participation in the course development cycle is intended for either existing courses that will undergo review and revision or brand new courses that are being developed for the first time. Course development cycles occur twice a year (fall or spring semester). The purpose of the course development cycle is to increase the quality of online courses in aspects of instructor presence, alignment of materials with course goals, accessible course content, and more. The “quality” of a course is determined during final audits at the end of the cycle (PROCES, Quality Matters, accessibility, and quality control). PROCES is a set of course design standards developed by a committee of MSU Denver faculty. A copy of the standards can be provided to instructors at the beginning of the development cycle.

Within a development cycle you can expect on-going support from an assigned Instructional Design team including experts in both instructional design and instructional media throughout the process. The development cycle begins with you attending an initial kickoff meeting with your ID and IDM to discuss goals, responsibilities, and a schedule for the project. Throughout the cycle, you as the subject matter expert are responsible for sourcing, creating, and selecting content for the course. The ID and IDM provide support for you throughout this process. Generally, you can expect to attend a one-hour weekly meeting with your ID and spend at least 5 hours a week on developing your course. Some tasks include the following:

  • Refining/writing course learning objectives and module learning objectives
  • Developing activities, assignments, and assessments that align with the learning objectives
  • Sourcing (searching, creating, editing) instructional materials (texts, videos, podcasts, etc.) and uploading to SharePoint
  • Completing a shared design document that provides appropriate introductions and context for chosen instructional materials
  • Meeting with their IDM to plan and record media
  • Editing content based on feedback from ID and IDM reviews of materials

Please refer to the Instructional Design and Instructional Media sections lower on this page for details about the responsibilities of the ID and IDM.

The ID and IDM for each project will work closely with you to set a development schedule for tasks and materials to encourage the project to be completed by the end of the cycle. Unfortunately, due to demand, the development of a course cannot be extended past the development deadline.

At the end of the cycle, each course will go through several audits including accessibility, Quality Matters, PROCES standards (MSU Denver specific), and quality control. You will also have the opportunity to view the course in its entirety and provide feedback. The ID for each project will shepherd the course through reviews and serve as a main line of communication to you during remediation of content. While IDs will provide recommendations based on review feedback, the final decisions about content remain with you.

When the cycle concludes, the ID will copy the newly created course into a Canvas shell of your choosing. In addition, you will also receive a detailed final report summarizing the course development.

Please Note: Course Development Agreement Completion 

Instructors participating in a course development will sign a course development agreement with the Office of Online Learning for the duration of the development cycle. Final courses will be reviewed by the PROCES committee to determine if the developed course meets the required criteria (QM standards, PROCES standards, Accessibility criteria, etc.).

Instructional Design

The CTLD offers a wide variety of collaborative course design services as part of the development cycle. The Instructional Designer (ID) assigned to the course will serve as project manager and design expert, supporting you with your project. You will have a set amount of the ID’s time to “spend” on instructional design services (covered more in the paragraph below).

Responsibilities of the ID include:

  • Setting a development schedule for content (scheduling, reminders, summaries)
  • Advising on alignment of objectives, materials, activities, assignments, assessments, and more
  • Suggesting opportunities for scaffolds, simulations, knowledge checks, interactive and creative learning activities, and more
  • Searching for free, accessible resources/content to either replace current textbooks or supplement course materials
  • Open Educational Resources Support (OER): Finding and developing resources, consulting on resources with the instructor, editing resources to tailor them to the course, and other methods of implementing OER in the course
  • Reviewing all content for accessibility and copyright and, in some cases, remediating content to meet ADA, Section 508, and WCAG 2.1 guidelines
  • Setting up the Canvas course using content and materials provided by the instructor
  • Guiding the course through all end-of-cycle reviews and serving as expert for PROCES, Quality Matters, Accessibility, and Quality Control
  • Writing the final course report

While some of the tasks are built into the cycle (development schedule, accessibility, end-of-cycle reviews), each project will have a budget of tokens (one token = one hour of time) for services. This empowers you to be in charge of how to spend project time, and prioritize efforts to fit your needs.

The use of the project tokens will be determined in conference with you. There is a broad range of tasks that you may choose to take advantage of. This includes support with reviewing course learning objectives to ensure they are clear, specific, measurable, and aligned to the course. Other course development services include supporting you in developing content, instructor presence, activities, learner interaction, and assessments. IDs are also available to provide Canvas training or resources (tutorials, how-to contact support) so that you will feel confident maintaining the course for years to come.

Instructional Media

Each course is also assigned an Instructional Media Developer with an additional media token budget. You can work with the IDM to develop a variety of multimedia items for your course.

Some typical course media options include:

Instructor Introduction Video

A 2-3 minute video introducing yourself to your students, covering such topics as your background, education, hobbies, what you like about the course, and more.

Course Overview Video

A 3-5 minute video that introduces students to the course. This video typically covers the course topic at an introductory level, an overview of the course structure, course expectations, and more.

Module Overview Videos

Several 2-3 minute videos where you welcome students to each module and introduce them to the main topic of that module, as well as expectations and objectives.

Lecture/Content Videos

A video (usually 7-10 minutes or longer, broken into multiple parts) covering content from the course. Lectures typically consist of a visual aid with a voiceover or the instructor presenting and explaining material in front of a camera.

Assignment Walkthrough/ Tutorial Video

A video that gives a step-by-step walkthrough of an assignment or task. Videos may include graphics and accessible language to further highlight content.


Some examples of graphics may include instructional infographics and decorative module banners within the course.

DIY Training

The IDM may also offer Do-It-Yourself training, where the IDM provides one-on-one training services (such as lighting, home recording, accessible PPTs) with you. There are also a limited number of travel kits (stand, mini microphone) that you may borrow for at-home recordings.

Media Remediation

If you have multimedia from a previous course that you’d like to include in your new course, the IDM can work with you to review and remediate issues such as: accessibility concerns, outdated sections, audio/video issues, etc.