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Course Design Blueprint


Storyboarding is one of the tools which you will use in developing new courses or redesigning for revalidation. This is a great method of being able to visually represent a sequence of ideas or activities to develop your course or module and to map out your learning, teaching and assessment strategies. In a group setting, such as a course team, working on a storyboard gives you freedom to move elements around to ensure you have not overloaded any particular area or the flow and alignment of all the components long before any action is taken with regards to real-world change.

One of the other benefits of visual storyboarding before hand is the ability to detect problems which can sometimes go un-noticed in pages of textual documentation used in validation events.

Below is an example of how storyboarding can work courtesy of Gilly Salmon as part of the Carpe Diem Model, some of which we have reflected in our own Course Design Blueprint model.

Creating your storyboard

The video on the previous tab is a good example to show how this could work in a group face to face model, however there are tools which will allow you to do some basic storyboarding online collaboratively with colleagues. The tool we will look at below is called a Padlet and as a University of Suffolk staff member you have access to an institutional service (make sure you use your institutional email to login).

You can follow the steps below once you are logged in to your padlet to create a storyboard.

Example Block Learning Storyboard

  • The central spine of delivery is intended to be the discussion board with links to most learning activities – forms the hub of a learning community of peers working with their tutor collaboratively 

  • Structured content provided online would include a variety of activities (in terms of format, type and size/duration) to read, review, watch, interact with, participate in, or create/contribute to. 

  • Multiple options available at any point until others are exhausted 

  • Multiple directions of travel through activities as is suited to each student’s circumstances 

Start by mapping your course, what modules fit in which order, you can consider what subjects/themes are studied in each module.  Layout of the modules in their appropriate Block sequence.  Now you have mapped this, can you see where subjects and themes flow from one Block to another.  If they are disjointed, look to change the sequence.

Once you are happy with the course structure, look to map the modules individually.  As the example above, look at mapping using the 4+1 model or which fits your course design.  Again, map activities, whether they are, face to face sessions, online, or assessment activities.  Categorise these and make them standout within your storyboard, this will allow you to quickly see where there might be too much assessment activity too close together for example.

Once you have storyboarded and mapped your modules, take a look at them all, look to see where you might have too much content/activity around a certain theme across modules, can you look to cut this down, or add some additional to create a narrative through the modules.