Prototype Selection Criteria

As we’ve developed courses over the last several years, we’ve come to understand and greatly value the importance of incorporating a prototype lesson into the course development process. Since including the prototype phase into our standard process, it has enabled us to provide instructors with a fully functional ‘look and feel’ for their courses. We began implementing the Prototype Lesson several semesters ago, and while it was highly beneficial it was always the most challenging lesson to get up and running. Mostly because we would select a lesson and begin working on it only to find out there were several reasons as to why the lesson we had selected ended up being the wrong one.

During a meeting to review our process, I asked whether or not we could come up with a list of criteria for selecting a prototype lesson to hopefully better inform our decisions. As luck would have it, the person who asks the question gets to be the individual who answers it. I started by reviewing our most recent selections of prototype lessons and the issues that we encountered as we tried to develop the prototype.

I created a basic list that would try to address the major points to consider for selecting a prototype lesson. Unfortunately this is not a step-by-step list to follow, but rather points that need to be addressed and considered during the selection process. (This is a preliminary list that is to be revised and improved upon as we continue to work with prototype lessons.)

Criteria for selecting a prototype lesson


  • Determine the course pacing for the lessons Determine if there is a similar structure to the content for each lesson Select a lesson that would best represent a similar or consistent structure


  • Identify which lesson is the most media intense Is this the same lesson that adheres to the consistent lesson structure?
  • What types of media need to be obtained (Video, Audio, Images, etc.)
  • Are these types of media readily available?
  • Do copyright laws restrict the media elements?
  • Do they have a Creative Commons license?
  • Does permission need to be obtained for any of the media elements?
  • Do any of the media elements need to be created in-house? Outsourced?
  • What is the estimated time frame to obtain/complete the media elements?


Determine the assessment strategy for the overall course. Is there an overarching assessment or are there assessment opportunities for each lesson?

Are the assessments consistent between each of the lessons?

What is the level of interactivity for the assessment strategy?

Are there any special items (media) required to create the assessment?


What is the best format for the lessons (text or audio recordings)

What technologies are available for the implementation of the instructional and assessment strategies?

How will grades be recorded?


Are their additional contributors to the course content? (Guest lectures?)

What is the acceptable time frame for the completion of a prototype lesson?

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