C. Teaching Practices

C1. Schedule for Course Development

Schedule for Course Development

Completely synchronous, HyFlex, and completely asynchronous courses (these are defined in Chapter B4. Design Principles) will have different development schedules. The required time also depends on your experience with the course, the content, other courses, teaching, etc. However, to make sure you have completed tasks by due dates, you may want to complete Worksheet 1.1: Review Course Requirements. Your timeline for course development will rely on several factors such as:

  • When you are assigned the course
  • How often you have taught the course before
  • Your familiarity with the subject
  • If the course is asynchronous, synchronous, or both
  • If you have help developing the course (instructional designers, educational technologists, etc.)
  • Recent changes to the course and/or program(s)
  • Whether texts are assigned already…

Seek Help Early

If you have the option of support from department administrative staff, Library Specialist, IDs, ETs, TLC staff, or any other supports, arrange this as early as possible.

Also check for administrative support – what can they do for you (copying, getting keys, ordering texts…).


In synchronous courses, you can develop the lectures and activities as you go along (as long as you don’t change the grading scheme). This allows you more flexibility to change things if needed. Below are two basic timelines. Note that neither gives an estimate on the number of hours you will need for each of these and neither provides complete definitions of what you need to accomplish at any stage. Svinicki & McKeachie (2014, Chapter 2) recommend the following for synchronous courses:

  • 3 months before start date:
    • Write objectives
    • Draft the syllabus
    • Select readings
  • 2 months before start date:
    • Create tentative activities and schedule
    • Identify additional syllabus content
    • Arrange for available resources (field trips, guest speakers, demonstrations…)
    • Begin preparing lectures
  • 2 weeks before start date:
    • Finalize the syllabus
    • Visit the classroom or online environment and compare it to your activities
    • Contact the library for reserves
    • Check administrative needs (copying and printing, special activity requirements, etc.)
  • 1 week before start date:
    • Finalize everything

Eberly Center (Eberly Center, n.d.) recommends the following:

  • Long term:
    • Consider where your course fits into the department/major’s curricular goals and course sequences
    • Determine the broad goals of your course
    • Find out enrollment and student demographics
    • Order textbooks and other required materials
    • Ask about/negotiate for TAs (if necessary)
  • Middle term:
    • Revisit where your course fits into the department/major’s curricular goals and course sequences
    • Articulate learning objectives for course
    • Determine the number of class days/hours and identify holidays
    • Identify appropriate readings, films, music, slides, websites, etc.
    • Determine the nature of assignments and activities
    • Consider logistics of collecting and returning student work
    • Organize guest speakers and field trips (if necessary)
    • Ensure the alignment of objectives, assessments, and instructional activities
    • Create a calendar of activities (e.g., topics, sequence, due-dates)
    • Write a tentative syllabus
    • Put readings on reserve (if necessary)
    • Request a Course Management System site (if necessary)
    • Reserve computer clusters and arrange to install required software (if necessary)
    • Check into departmental administrative support (e.g., help with copying, space to meet with students, space to store materials)
  • Short term:
    • Get your roster (including a photo roster, if available) and reevaluate course plan considering enrollment and student demographics
    • Revise syllabus
    • Check status of orders for books, other required materials, and reserves
    • Begin to populate your Course Management System site (if necessary)
    • Meet with TAs (if necessary)
    • Visit classroom

Asynchronous Courses & Blended Courses

Some institutions provide IDs specifically to help you create asynchronous courses. However, they will have a pre-defined timeline, sometimes requiring a full term to develop a course. It is best to contact them early to determine:

  • a timeframe/timeline for course development
  • course templates available
  • what they will do
    • create the course and put in all your content
    • provide just consultation
    • a mix of these
  • available media specialists and/or video rooms

In asynchronous courses, you can create the entire course including lectures before the beginning of the term. The lectures can be created before the course begins. During the term, you would communicate with individual students, respond to student questions, monitor discussions, provide announcements and reminders, and manage assignments. You can also change activities and add or change videos if needed, but this is a bit more cumbersome than for a synchronous course.

For asynchronous courses and in blended courses where you are going to pre-record lectures, your schedule will require more upfront time to:

  • arrange for multimedia equipment (microphones, headset, camera, studio/setting, etc.),
  • learn to use all equipment comfortably
  • practice and review several times
  • identify any editing you may want to do, and learn how
  • learn all needed aspects of the LMS to use it comfortably


For HyFlex courses you will need all the skills for both synchronous and asynchronous teaching and learning. Although typically you will not record your lectures before the term starts, you should learn how so you can substitute and supplement the lecture captures.

IDI & Asynchronous Courses

For asynchronous courses, you have the luxury of knowing what is required of you and your students before the beginning of class.

You also, however, should complete all materials, including activities and teaching materials before the beginning of the term. This will ensure you don’t have to make last-minute changes which would require revisions to your syllabus, additional technologies or equipment or other materials, or changes to the grading system.

IDI & Synchronous Courses

Although you have the option of identifying activities as the course progresses, you might find this involves more thoughts on how this may impact grading or student time and costs (for equipment, materials, technologies, etc.). Activities that are short, such as think-pair-share and discussion, can be modified on-the-go. Longer-term work, such as projects and group assignments, may require more thought, planning, and considerations.


Eberly Center. (n.d.). Timing & Logistics. Carnegie Mellon University. Retrieved November 8, 2022, from https://www.cmu.edu/teaching/designteach/design/logistics.html.

Svinicki, M. D., & McKeachie, W. J. (2014). McKeachie’s teaching tips: Strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers (Fourteenth edition). Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.