Tool 7: Estimating Curriculum Project Staff Time

Staff time spent on curriculum development will vary significantly from project to project. The amount of time depends on a variety of issues:

  • The scope of a project
  • The amount of research and content in place to support the development (versus the research that needs to be carried out or content that needs to be identified)
  • The competing workloads of those involved in the project
  • The number of people who need to be involved in the project (curriculum coordinator, writers, reviewers, editors, graphic artists and illustrators, photographers, video or media production people)
  • The scope of the pilot process and more.

By putting together a preliminary estimate of staff time involved - both "in-house" and contractual - you’ll start your project with a much more realistic idea of what’s involved.

Use the MSUE Curriculum Project Staff Time Worksheet (Microsoft Word file format) to estimate the amount of staff time needed to complete your project. Following is a listing of roles needed for the completion of various kinds of projects. Use this information, along with information from The Ideal Make-Up of a Curriculum Development Team, to complete the worksheet. Note that there may be significant overlap across the various roles. For example, a project manager may also serve as the content specialist and writer.

  • Program Staff Team Manager: Refer to Job Description: MSUE Curriculum Development Design Team for a complete listing of responsibilities.
  • Writer(s): Puts the project on paper. Integrates the human development and content focuses into an experiential learning package for print, video, Web and other media.
  • Specialist(s) (such as human development and content): Through writing and review, integrates the human development and content research base into the curriculum.
  • Other design team members: Provide additional curriculum development expertise as needed (for example, input into curriculum goals, review of early drafts, assistance with piloting, marketing and training).
  • Coordinator: Helps the design team understand and carry out the curriculum development process.  Provides overall vision and management.
  • Editor: Edits the curriculum to organizational standards. Time needed depends on:
    • Length and complexity of manuscript
    • Author’s ability to write to the reading level of intended audience
    • Number of authors involved (multiple writing styles may need to be unified into one)
    • Number of meetings and revisions
  • Graphic artist and illustrator: Designs overall project and creates illustrations needed. Time needed depends on:

    • Length of manuscript or scope of project
    • Number and detail level of illustrations, photos, pieces of original artwork to be developed and amount of reference material provided
    • Level of production and complexity of media involved - for example, Web or CD-ROM-based media may require more time
    • Number of meetings and revisions
  • Video producer: Serves as producer to guide the video development. Time needed depends on:

    • Length, scope and format of the project (such as talk show, documentary, news or magazine style, drama)
    • Complexity of shooting (number of locations, people involved)
    • Level of production desired (editing, final production and special effects)
    • Number of meetings and revisions
  • Programmer or digital curriculum specialist: Serves as producer to guide the software, Web or multimedia development. Time needed depends on:

    • Length, scope and format of the project
    • Complexity of the project (for example, will it incorporate audio and video, do these resources already exist or do they need to be created?)
    • Level of production desired
    • Number of meetings and revisions
  • Clerical-technical or student support: Assists with project coordination, piloting, marketing and other tasks.

Last Updated: July 29, 2009; Last Reviewed: April, 2009
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