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Instructional Design - Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs about the Course Development Agreement (CDA) Process

As questions come in applicable to any Ferris State faculty considering or working on a CDA, the eLearning Team will add them here. 

 Q:  What does “Shared Ownership” mean?

A:  Both Ferris and the Course Developer own the course and retain the right to use the materials created therein.  See Appendix B of the Ferris Faculty Agreement linked here for the complete details as apply to CDA related works as well as all intellectual works created by a faculty member.  If the Course Developer also wants to use copies of their works created during the CDA process such as to teach at another university, they also retain the right to do so as described in Appendix B.  Ferris fully supports the scholarship and creation of intellectual property of its faculty.

Q:  What happens if I use self-recorded lectures when developing the course and then someone else teaches using my course shell, such as an adjunct?

A:  The self-recorded lectures are considered part of the course, even if they have the original developer’s likeness and voice on them.  They should be fully credited as such in the same manner any other copyrighted material would be cited.  Consider that often we use YouTube videos to share areas of content that we would not otherwise have access to on our own--a Course Developer creating recordings are treated as that expertise.  I also recommend keeping the videos shorter and specific to each topic rather than in a longer one incorporating multiple topics as we often do in a face to face course.  It’s easier to re-record a 5 minute segment that needs updated rather than a 15 minute one.  In my personal work, I include my name, title, contact info and date created on a title slide as well as often the last slide directing people to address questions to me.  I have shared my work with many an adjunct in that way, much as my own work has often built on earlier work of others.  For the person teaching using someone else’s materials, it is also recommended that they create updated recordings following the outline of the recording in the course.  This helps them know the curriculum they are teaching fully so that they can address questions asked by the students.  Also students look for their instructor to be the expert and tend to give lower satisfaction ratings if they think they are not being taught by one.  Another option to save the adjunct work is to select key lectures by the course developer and call them, “Guest Lectures,” and then re-record the others.  In a re-recording, credit must still be given to the original creator. 

Q:  How do I create a course that is sustainable if my field includes constantly changing software or other rapidly evolving materials?

A:  This is a concern in many disciplines, for multiple reasons.  Technologies change, textbooks change, new things and processes may exist now and be commonplace that didn’t even exist 5 years ago.  Some updating and changes will always be necessary in any field, some fields more than others.  That said, there are a few key areas of course design that can be used to support course evolution due to contextual changes.  First, any quality course starts with quality learning outcomes.  A well-written learning outcome does not name any specific item but rather focuses on the cognition and skills the student will require through a given process.  For example, “Students will be able to describe how current manufacturing processes are affected by economic decisions using appropriate language for their audience” could be used for decades to come.  Second, in the design of the modules and supporting pieces, creating assessments derived from the outcomes and focused on evaluating the students’ thinking also helps longevity of course activities.  Writing the directions to be “device and tool agnostic” also helps, i.e., writing an assessment for “document creation” that incorporates standard business formats is easier to maintain than directions that require using a specific program.  Third, the organization of the material itself can be modularized as much as possible so that when certain items change, the updated one can simply be swapped out for the older one.  Perhaps I need my students to analyze a data set and produce the descriptive statistics.  In my assignment presentation, I can write the directions of what they have to do.  I can include in a separate item in that same area the recorded tutorial where I show them how to do this in SPSS, my current version.  Three years from now, perhaps R is now easiest for my students to access and use and is accepted in my field.  I do not have to change the directions requiring them to analyze a dataset and produce the descriptive statistics--I simply re-record an updated tutorial showing how to do this in the version of R the students will be using.  There are many small things such as the chunking, naming conventions, etc… and more that can make the difference in course sustainability over time being manageable.