BYU-Idaho studying at the I-Center

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, online courses have quickly grown, as has the need for improvement in making the online classes the best they can be. More courses are currently in development to provide students a remote/hybrid class experience. These courses will incorporate both an online methodology and a face-to-face learning environment.

The Online Development Council (ODC) has called this project the Course of the Future. Council members have been working through a strategy to make these courses come to life by creating processes for course prioritization, course development, instructor hiring, and instructor management.

“Courses that will be Course of the Future courses will be prioritized by the Online Development Council (ODC). After they are approved for development by the ODC, the campus faculty and curriculum designers will work together to prepare the course to be taught by a remote adjunct instructor,” said Associate Online Vice President Eric Karl.

The Course of the Future initiative has the capability to hire adjunct faculty from 31 states within the United States.

The Course of the Future development began in 2019 as the initial set of standards were put in place, pilot courses were prioritized, and core competencies of the online organization were cataloged through an analysis of how online courses could be improved. Pilot courses were then developed for CHEM 101 with Les Manner and Patty Hendricks and MATH 112 with Matt Lewis and Cindy Goodwill. CHEM 101 has already started piloting during Spring Semester 2020.

The ODC has started implementing a game plan for how they are going to better support students and faculty and allocate resources. This project was presented in President’s Council in June as part of the university’s strategic priorities. The council plans to do the following:

• Continue to refine the high-level strategy for the Course of the Future initiative.

• Continue to refine the course development and improvement processes in support of this initiative.

• Address the overlap between the Online initiative, the C3 Initiative, and the Course of the Future Initiative to ensure all 3 processes are aligned.

• Develop KPI’s to measure the quality and effectiveness of the Course of the Future initiative.

• Develop quality assurance processes to ensure the development and continuous improvement of high-quality learning experiences.

• Start the development of additional Course of the Future courses.

• Create quality practices in pedagogy and delivery that apply to face to face, online, and hybrid courses for both worldwide and local delivery.

Overall, the Course of the Future was created to better serve students at BYU-Idaho, and effort that has gone into planning and development will ensure a high-quality educational experience for the students that take them.

“We are confident that as we continue to roll this initiative out, it will have a very positive impact on campus-based students and will be a source of strength to academic departments and campus faculty.” Karl stated.