Introduction to Developing Online Instructional Content

Please view some examples of online content on the Content Examples page. All of the examples provided are from existing EP Online courses and are listed by program. The methods used to create the content are explained below the link to each content page. While you are encouraged to look at several different examples, you do not need to view each content page.

Best Practices for Developing Online Instructional Content

Use of Existing Materials

We learned from the first presentation on this page that delivering content in the online format often means that you will need to adapt or change your existing materials for use in the online environment. Many instructors come into course development with a large portion of their course materials in PowerPoint format. In many cases, the material in the PowerPoint presentations can and should be used with a few modifications. You will be provided with a standard EP PowerPoint template that you can use to reformat your existing presentations and create new ones.

Chunking Content

In addition to reformatting the look of your existing presentations, you will also be asked to break down large presentations into smaller "mini-lectures" for delivery in the online environment. The process of breaking down content into smaller, more manageable pieces, is called "chunking." Watch the presentation below to learn more about chunking and why it is important tecnique for developing content for online learning.

Creating Effective Presentations

Whether you are creating an audio narrated PowerPoint presentation, a screen capture recording, or a tablet lecture, every presentation should be carefully designed to ensure that the concepts discussed both meet the stated learning objectives and are delivered in a way that maximizes the learning process.

Make a Great Recording: Prepare, Script, Rehearse

Here is the example script that was introduced in the video. Feel free to download this example and modify the template to create your own presentation scripts. Example PPT Narration Script

Tips for Working with PowerPoint

A large portion of instructional content in online courses is often created using PowerPoint with audio narration. As you may know, PowerPoint is a visual tool meant to supplement an oral presentation. An effective PowerPoint presentation is not meant to stand alone without a speaker guiding viewers through the concepts or points of the presentation. Placing a PowerPoint presentation in a course without audio narration by the instructor is equivalent to going into a classroom, loading a PowerPoint presentation on the screen, and walking out without saying a word to the students. A PowerPoint should never contain enough material that it can just be read by the viewer without having guidance from the presenter. This isn't the most effective way to deliver information, nor is it the best way to use the software. If you have large amounts of text that the student needs to read, rather than be lectured to, you should put that information in a text document or as text in the course module, such as the text that you are reading right now. However, if you have information that you would like to deliver as a lecture, PowerPoint is a good tool to develop a presentation to highlight talking points and present concepts.

Now that we know when to use PowerPoint and that each PowerPoint should include audio narration, let's take a look at some of the best practices for using this method. Please download and read through the following guide: Creating PowerPoint Presentations with Audio Narration. This guide contains helpful tips and techniques on creating online lectures using PowerPoint. You may also want to save this guide in a place where you can easily reference it later as you develop your online instructional content.

In addition to the guide, we have also created a checklist that you can use to ensure that the presentations that you create meet the standards of best practice. Click the following link to download the checklist: Presentation Checklist.