Working with a Learning Designer

Most online courses at Penn State are developed with the assistance of a learning designer. The College of Earth and Mineral Sciences has an entire institute, the John A. Dutton Institute for Teaching and Learning Excellence, devoted to this process. The Dutton Institute works in close partnership with the College's five academic departments to design, develop, and manage all of the College's online courses, certificates, and degree programs.

You can learn more about us on the Dutton Institute website.

Every faculty member who authors or teaches an online course is paired with a member of the Dutton Institute learning design faculty. These individuals are education experts who specialize in pedagogy and technology. Your learning designer will collaborate with you in the creation of your online course, ensuring that your course design is informed by tested learning theories, research, and practices.

Your Dutton Institute learning designer can advise you of potential pitfalls and ramifications such as:

  • the need to connect new assessments to your gradebook;
  • the impact of making your online course available to your students before the semester begins;
  • the relationship between the current assessments and stated learning objectives;
  • the cautions and issues related to merging course sections;
  • how changes to content pages may impact the course syllabus;
  • how to make sure additional readings are available on e-reserves;
  • the impact of modifying scaffolded activities.

For more information, see The Online Course Development Process.