ITaP team helps professor create online course, improve traditional course, too

Tony Hazbun, associate professor of medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology in the Purdue College of Pharmacy, stands in a hallway in the Hansen Life Sciences Research Building. Tony Hazbun, associate professor of medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology, Purdue College of Pharmacy.

When the College of Pharmacy asked Tony Hazbun to create an online version of his immunology course, he saw it as an opportunity to learn more about online instruction – not something that would change the way he taught his traditional course.

“I knew that it was going to take a lot of work to record all of my lecture videos,” says Hazbun, an associate professor of medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology. “But I wasn’t sure what else needed to be done, or the best way to do it.”

Partnering with instructional designers from ITaP, Hazbun says he not only saved a significant amount of time but also received helpful guidance on how to revamp his course for an online audience. 

“The instructional designers were able to walk me through the whole process,” says Hazbun. “They were able to give specific feedback about the design of my course, whether it was the length of the lecture videos or how to organize the online discussion boards.”

On Friday, Sept. 14, ITaP instructional designers and educational technologists will host a “Rapid Course Development” faculty professional development event, designed to help instructors create online courses and materials. Three one-hour sessions will focus on how to use templates to rapidly create a course in Blackboard Learn and how to launch an online course, with an hour-long open work session where instructors can work alongside instructional designers in an informal setting. Registration is recommended. People can attend one or all sessions. Another rapid course development workshop will be held in December.

Hazbun says his immunology course – both the face-to-face and the online versions – require students to process a lot of information. Working with instructional designers, he was able to trim some of his lectures down to break them up into shorter, easier-to-watch videos. The designers also helped him create discussion board assignments so that students could interact with each other.

“But I was still concerned that the students weren’t going to grasp the information the same way they would in class,” says Hazbun. “That’s when (an instructional designer) gave me the idea of having a self-check assessment at the end of each lecture.”

Those “self-check” assessments, also called low-stakes quizzes, help reinforce the important points of each lecture and have proven popular with students. By the end of the online course, Hazbun felt that his online students out-performed his traditional class.

“The self-check quizzes were so effective, I’ve added them to my traditional classroom,” says Hazbun, “I make them available for students to use as a study guide for exams, so that it helps give them an area to focus on when studying.”

Hazbun says the experience he had working with ITaP’s team helped ease his introduction to online teaching and ultimately helped make his traditional course stronger, too.

“If another faculty member were to ask me my advice about starting an online course, I’d recommend working with ITaP,” says Hazbun. “I would have wasted so much time trying to figure things out on my own.”


Did you know?

ITaP’s Teaching and Learning Technologies supports and enhances teaching and learning at Purdue by offering:

  • One-on-one consultation with educational technologists, who can help you choose the appropriate solution for your teaching and learning needs.
  • Faculty Professional Development, hands-on opportunities designed to help instructors learn best practices for using specific technology.
  • Course design, with the help of our team of instructional designers, who work with colleges and faculty to develop, redesign and review courses.

Contact to get started or to learn more.

Writer: Dave Stephens, technology writer, Information Technology at Purdue, 765-496-7998,

Last updated: Sept. 5, 2018