It’s About Time: A Guide for Building Online Jewish Studies Course

March 11, 2010
In this post, Peter Margolis, shares his knowledge and experience by outlining what a Jewish educator should do in order to create an online or a "blended" learning Jewish studies course.He reminds the educator that teaching is more important than technology, and while technology is obviously not un-important, it properly plays a supporting role. In order to build this course, the following are needed: a content expert, a course management system (CMS) and an instructional technologist or an instructional designer.
These guidelines cover the initial course design and creation process.
Creating an online or hybrid course involves only three types of activities:
  • Organization and Planning – set your goals and objectives, create your “design plan”, (list teaching tools and methods), locate and save every content item associated with your course. This step constitutes the most difficult part of creating your online course.

  • Analysis - Analysis involves examining the design plan of your course and “interpreting” the teaching tools into the idiom of your CMS.  This requires several meetings with an instructional designer or an instructional technologist.

  • “Nuts and Bolts” - With your new CMS course shell, you must now obtain comprehensive training from an instructional designer, an instructional technologist, or a highly experienced mentor. You should be prepared to invest several hours of effort to master the CMS functions you identified as being essential to your course. Much of the process of building your course involves uploading content materials into your CMS and then linking them into the appropriate lesson. These are not difficult tasks to master. 


The process of building your online course is a collaborative consultation between you, an Internet service provider, and online learning professionals. It is an ongoing creative conversation that combines your expertise in your subject with judicious and manageable use of educational technology. Educational technology gives you some wonderful new tools, but ultimately it is your enthusiasm and passion that make your course successful.
Updated: Jul. 18, 2010