marten-bjork-rH8O0FHFpfw-unsplashCD501: Foundations of Online Course Development is our 6-week certificate course covering today’s best practices in online course development. Upon completing CD501, you will have the knowledge and competencies needed to confidently create an online course – from the ground up, in any subject area. While CD501 does focus on higher education course development, the same approach can be used for creating well-designed commercial courses as well.

Join Dr. Brooke Shriner as she shares the science behind creating effective online courses, combining the latest research with her nearly 15 years of experience developing online curriculum for a variety of institutions. This course is approachable for distance educators of all backgrounds, from experienced course creators to those brand new to the task. Dr. Shriner teaches through storytelling and has crafted a unique student-focused approach that online learners appreciate and kindly praise.

Course Overview

Week 1: Overview, Guiding Philosophy, and What Makes an Online Course Great

In Week 1, we will consider the benefits of being a competent, well-trained online course developer. We’ll also lay the philosophical foundation that will allow us to make course-related decisions easily, quickly, and confidently. We’ll hear from online students who tell us just what makes an online course great, and we’ll end with an overview of what this class will cover – from selecting a textbook, to writing discussion prompts, from building community to grading systems, we’ll discuss it all!


Week 2: Bloom’s Taxonomy, Learning Objectives, and Course Descriptions

As we move forward into Week 2, we ask ourselves “How will our students learn in our course? What do we we want them to do in their brains as they acquire knowledge, skill, and competency?” We land on Bloom’s Taxonomy to help us answer that question and many more. Then, we use Bloom’s 6 Cognitive Tasks to help us craft meaningful learning objectives and powerful course descriptions that will speak to directly to our students’ goals and motivations.


Week 3: Course Length – Why it Matters and Choosing a Delivery Method

Just like an architect can’t begin their design until they know how large a space they have to work with, an online course developer can’t lay out their plan unless they know how long their course is. In Week 3, we’ll cover course length and how to conceptualize courses of varying lengths (5-weeks, 8-weeks, quarters, and semesters). Of equal importance is delivery method. Asynchronous? Synchronous? Hybrid? We describe each modality, how to choose between them, and how to leverage the strengths of each to bring the course to life for online learners.


Week 4: Selecting and Creating Engaging Course Content

Our fourth week focuses on course content – choosing a textbook, assembling coursepacks, and sourcing/creating audiovisual material. We answer questions like “How much content is too much? How little is too little?” And, of course, “What makes good course content?” We also spend some time discussing interactive materials and gamification and we end with a special section on creating content for commercial (non-higher ed) endeavors.


Week 5 – Constructing Meaningful Assignments, Discussion Prompts, and Exams

What is the purpose of assignments? Are they evaluations? Gatekeepers?  Or…are they learning moments? Opportunities for exploration? A place to try on new ideas and grow from mistakes? In Week 5, we answer these important questions in service of creating meaningful assignments, discussion prompts, and examinations for our distance learners. In a bonus lesson this week, we hear from a professional “ghostwriter” who provides a solid strategy for creating assignments that students want to do.


Week 6 – Pacing an Online Course, Grading and Rubrics, Creating Community, and Utilizing LMS Options

Pacing an online class so that students feel challenged yet not overwhelmed is both a skill and an art. In Week 6, we’ll develop that skill and practice that art as well as deep dive into the history and best practices regarding grading and the use of rubrics. We’ll end our course with a lesson on good course starts and ends, community building, and how to use the options within an LMS to facilitate a positive student and instructor experience.

Upon passing CD501, you will receive a certificate of completion for your continuing education records. Not only that, but as you work through the assignments in this course, you’ll bring your own online course to life, one you can be confident will meet the needs of your distance learners. The trend in higher education today is to separate course development from teaching, so training in both domains (through our OT101 and CD501 courses) will position you well for teaching and course creation job opportunities.

Course Start Dates

CD501 runs multiple times throughout the year.

  • June 17, 2024 (Enrollment Open Now!)
  • September 23, 2024


For individual learners, CD501 costs $498. Premium members of AdjunctWorld automatically receive a 25% discount (taken off when you are signed in under your Premium account), for a cost of $373.50. We very often run additional coupon codes in the weeks leading up to each course start date. Check your email inbox for marketing messages from AdjunctWorld or email Brooke for any special offer we might be running.

We do offer group and school pricing. Please email Brooke for more information.


To register for CD501, you must have an account with AdjunctWorld. If you do not, you can create one (it is free!). Once you are signed in, you can register here. You can choose your preferred start date from the drop down menu at the top of the page. The upcoming course start date will be there by default. If you’d like a later date, please choose one. If one is not available email Brooke.


(You will be prompted to sign in to your AdjunctWorld account, or create one, prior to registering.)

Below, you will see some answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about CD501.

I’m excited to have you join us!

Brooke Shriner, PhD
CD501 Course Creator and Instructor


CD501: FAQs


What is CD501? CD501: Foundations of Online Course Development is our 6-week certificate course covering today’s best practices in online course development. Upon completing CD501, you will have the knowledge and competencies needed to confidently create an online course – from the ground up, in any subject area. While CD501 does focus on higher education course development, the same approach can be used for creating well-designed commercial courses as well. The course is completely online, asynchronous, and hosted on the Moodle LMS. It is instructor-led and interactive.

How much does it cost? The cost is normally $498 But we very often run coupon specials and email those out to AdjunctWorld members in the weeks leading up to the course starting. (Note: Premium Members always get an additional 25% off, deducted automatically at checkout!).

Do I have to be online at any certain time? Nope. This class is completely asynchronous. That means there is no time you have to be “in class”. There are no “live” components. There are, however, assignment due dates each week. As long as assignments are turned in by the due dates, you can structure your time as you see fit and as works in your schedule.

How much time will this take me? Our course graduates say they spend roughly 5-7 hours each week on the class.

What does each week of the 6-week class consist of? Assigned readings (no textbook to buy!), videos to watch, a discussion board assignment, an individual assignment, and a 10-question quiz. I join you in the discussions every week and provide guidance, support, and feedback on the assignments you turn in.

Who is this class intended for? Everyone! If you want to develop online courses and haven’t yet, if you are needing to create a course soon, or if you have been developing online courses for years, this class offers information, inspiration, community, guidance, and practice…in addition to documentation of your professional development, which you can highlight in your application materials. On our reviews and testimonials page, you’ll see comments from folks who have been teaching online forever and those who are hoping to start – and everywhere in between!

What makes this a “certificate” course? To successfully complete this course and earn your certificate, you must participate as an effective online educator would. This means you must be timely, thoughtful in your discussions and contributions, successful with your assignments, and demonstrate good communication and facilitation skills. In so doing, you prove that you have learned and internalized the best practices taught throughout the course. Thus, the certificate represents your readiness to develop quality online courses. There is a minimum point value you must earn to receive the certificate.

Can I read some student reviews? Certainly! Here is a link to our reviews and testimonials page.

Who teaches the course? What are his/her credentials? Right now and for the foreseeable future, I teach the course. I also wrote the content for it and developed it. My name is Dr. Brooke Shriner. I am a licensed clinical psychologist by profession and I have been teaching psychology online at a variety of academic institutions for over 12 years. Currently, I teach online for five institutions of higher education in addition to teaching CD501. I taught professional development in distance education courses for a company called The Learning House, Inc. for many years and, in a separate role – of subject matter expert – at this same company, I developed and wrote the content for nearly an entire online undergraduate psychology program. In my role at AdjunctWorld, I’ve been finding and uploading jobs, interacting with our community and supporting their job search efforts, and creating online professional development courses for over 8 years.

Do I need any special equipment or do I need to purchase a textbook? Nope. Just your computer. I provide all of the learning content. No textbook required.

I’ve never created an online course before. Will I fit in? Certainly! CD501 provides a supportive, encouraging atmosphere for prospective online course developers.

I’ve been creating online courses for years. Will I benefit from CD501? I’ve been told by many of our students who have productive online education careers that our courses are helpful in providing some fresh perspectives, ideas, and documentation of recent professional development which supplements their application materials.

Will I learn how to set up a class in a Learning Management System (i.e. Canvas, Blackboard, D2L, etc.)? CD501 focuses on the “big picture” of what it takes to successfully bring an online course to life for distance learners. It does not necessarily cover the nuts and bolts of setting up a class in any particular LMS. However, the course is hosted on Moodle, so if you have never had any exposure to that LMS, taking CD501 will give you a little of that exposure.

What is the Net Promoter Score for AdjunctWorld courses? Calculated from net promoter question responses on our OT 101 Course Evaluation and as of Feb 17th, 2020 (with 166 ratings), OT 101’s Net Promoter Score is 90.