Only a Fool Goes it Alone in Online Course Development

Why is collaboration important? Who are the key players? And what are their roles?


I’ve never been good at asking for help. Between being a natural problem solver and having a bit of a stubborn, er, independent streak, I’m a person who tends to want to do it all myself. But after more than a decade developing online courses, there’s one lesson I’ve learned time and time again: only a fool goes it alone in online course development.

Collaborative Course Development

It’s never been easier to build your own online course. Today’s course development tools are user-friendly, and plenty of blogs outline easy-sounding steps for how to plop in some content, publish it, and watch the students roll in. I have no doubt that a motivated person can indeed put something together and launch it. If you’ve done this successfully, more power to you. (And, if you’re pleased with your results, let me buy you a drink so we can swap secrets!)


In my experience, however, building an online course is a collaborative process. There are multiple phases from conception to launch, and I want the most capable party to do each of the specialized steps. I mean, if I were assembling a team of people to build a house, I’d select a skilled plumber to do the plumbing and an experienced electrician to do the wiring instead of somebody’s uncle who unclogged his toilet and reset his breaker once.

Online Course Development Team Members

On some projects, team members wear multiple hats. On other projects, more than one person fills each role. Each project is its own beast and the course development team should be crafted to tame it.

Here are the key players to recruit for your online course development team.

Project Lead

Vision Setter