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Updating Existing Online Courses

Virtual High School (VHS) is a private, Ministry-inspected online high school offering Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) credit courses. VHS offers over 70 courses from Grades 9–12 that all count toward earning the OSSD. Universities and colleges around the world recognize the OSSD credits issued by VHS.

The Goal

To bring older courses up to date by adding new content, redesigning course layout and style, and creating new multimedia components

The Project

VHS wanted to update four of its existing courses, aligning them to a new style framework and including new content, interactives, and multimedia components. Based on previous experience with the team at Bayfield Design, they set up a plan to have Bayfield Design complete this rapid development project.

Layouts and interactive elements in these courses were completely redesigned. Course content was restructured and rewritten to allow each course module to stand alone, setting the course up for alignment to various curriculums.

The new courses also contain more opportunities for feedback and self-assessment. All multimedia throughout each course is new, including videos, images, and illustrations that are customized for each course.

Two people looking at a tablet and one person writing notes on a notepad.

The Process

VHS and Bayfield Design worked collaboratively to define a workflow to efficiently develop the courses. Bayfield Design and VHS also identified areas in each of the courses that required creative freedom. For example, the Physical Education course involved reimagining teaching for an online environment.

The first step was for VHS to complete a gap analysis to identify content that could be reused as well as key areas that needed improvement. To begin planning the course, we built a scope and sequence, breaking down each unit to plan the curriculum coverage, lessons, and assessments. Then, we looked at each unit in more detail during high-level planning. This included identification of themes, engagement, teaching strategies, multimedia, and interactive features. In the next step, storyboarding, the subject matter experts broke down all the units and identified further details needed in each lesson. The writers and developers then moved to the production phase in the CMS to bring the planning to life. The course pages were created, media was added, interactives were built, and assessments and supporting materials were written and inserted. VHS reviewed the content, and then Bayfield Design delivered the final product through our custom delivery routines.

Colour wheels, colour palettes, and colour relationships.
Earth’s land masses changing shape and position over time.
A map of Canada with the Canadian shield region highlighted.

It is difficult to craft course content in such a way that the topics and investigations remain current, relevant, and engaging. The content we had in our CGC1D course needed to be brought up to date. However, we did not have the capacity to do all the necessary research, writing, and development.

Bayfield Design crafted a new CGC1D course where students engage in issues in Canadian Geography through case studies and through exploring everyday scenarios just as real geographers, consumers, environmentalists, politicians, and global citizens do. Students learn and apply skills that will serve them in their everyday pursuits. The careful instructional design ensures the content is future-proofed and will require very little maintenance in order to remain relevant. The purposeful use of media and interactives speaks well to the a 21st-century learner as it is far more interactive and visually engaging than the course had been before.

Maeghan GerrardCanadian and World Studies Department Head at VHS

The Result

Completely redesigned and reimagined courses incorporating a wide variety of engaging content and elements that can be presented as part of the course or as self-contained standalone lessons

The four courses launched in 2019 and have been actively welcoming new students every day. VHS has received positive feedback from students in these new courses, and teachers have also commented that they are happy with the new and improved experience. It was a pleasure to work with our friends at Virtual High School to make their content development goals our priority.