Each DataCamp course has an associated GitHub repo. We use the README in each course repo as the course blueprint or course spec, as we often call them. The course spec is used to plan a course during the course design phase and is used as a reference during course development. The following gives a brief explanation of the Course README and its section. Each section is linked to a longer and more in-depth article on that step of the course spec.
Step 1: Brainstorming
The initial step of the course design process is to have the instructor think about all the things their course could be. This step is meant to get ideas written down and not necessarily all of the ideas written in this step will be included in the final course.
- What problem(s) will students learn how to solve?
- What are the learning objectives of the course?
- What technologies, packages, or functions will students use?
- What terms or jargon will you define?
- What analogies or heuristics will you use?
- What mistakes or misconceptions do you expect?
- What datasets will you use?
Step 2: Who Is This Course for?
During course design, it is crucial to determine the level of the course. Is this course for beginners or more advanced students? Does this course require statistical knowledge? To determine course difficulty, instructors choose two of our learner profiles to set the course difficulty level, which in turn, helps define the scope of the course.
Step 3: Course outline
The course outline describes the flow of the course on a lesson by lesson basis. In the course outline, instructors are required to write a learning objective for each lesson along with the functions that will be used in the interactive exercises to achieve that learning objective.
Step 4: Capstone exercises
Capstone exercises are the final exercises of each chapter and should showcase how far learners are likely to get during a chapter. Capstone exercises help determine the scope of a chapter and help us identify potential technical issues early on in development, which helps keep our course launches on track.
During this step, instructors will build a full lesson (one video exercise plus 2-4 interactive exercises) using DataCamp's course editor, Teach. This step allows both the CM and the CD to review the instructor's work and determine possible pain points early in the process to ensure fluid course development.
Step 6: Revisit course outline
This step is to encourage instructors to revisit the outline they've built as they will have a clearer idea of the possible scope of a DataCamp course. This is the ideal time to revisit the outline and update it if necessary.
Step 7: Write course description and list course prerequisites
This step is for marketing an instructor's course and partly for setting the difficulty level of a course. The instructor is responsible for writing an engaging course description that will live on their course's landing page. Good course descriptions lead to more students beginning that course. Prerequisites are necessary to set the difficulty level of a course, which can significantly affect the ratings of a course. For example, if a course is advertised with no prerequisites but is aimed at students with intermediate-coding skills, students who are just beginning their coding journey are likely to get frustrated and give the course poor ratings.