Tool 8: Creating a Project Timeline

Creating a realistic timeline is critical for any curriculum development project, especially if something is "driving" getting the project completed. For example, funders usually provide grants only when the initiative being supported has a specific timeline in place; any products being developed typically need to be completed at the end of the funding period. Training can also influence the timeline for the development of new curriculum materials. An annual workshop might provide the most beneficial time for unveiling new material and training the audience in putting the material to work with young people. Whatever is driving your project, create a realistic timeline that can help guide the process of getting the work done.

Use the MSUE Curriculum Project Timeline Worksheet (Microsoft Word file format) to develop the schedule for getting your curriculum developed and produced. As you’ll see, the worksheet lists the important stages of development, along with the key steps involved with each stage:

  • Idea stage and initial research: Identify need for material and define audience; identify design team members and estimate staff time needed; create goals, objectives and learning outcomes; conduct a search for existing materials; design curriculum project budget; create project timeline, including identifying schedule for meetings of curriculum design team; submit ANR Communications Project Request Form for project review.
  • Getting started and draft stage: Identify educational format, appropriate medium and key curriculum components; identify research base and cite references; expand goals, objectives and learning outcomes into project framework; design experiential educational activities to support framework; address audience’s developmental needs, learning styles, multiple intelligences and diversity; address any copyright issues; design curriculum impact assessment component; refine budget and timeline.
  • Review, piloting and production: Design and carry out process for getting feedback from content, youth development and other expert reviewers; design and carry out process for piloting materials with samples from potential audiences; if appropriate, submit final draft to National 4-H Juried Curriculum Collection; incorporate appropriate recommendations from reviewers and piloters; work with editor to have material edited; work with graphic artist and illustrator to have material design and any artwork completed; prepare a complete acknowledgments list; duplicate curriculum and have delivered to MSU Extension Bookstore; refine budget and timeline.
  • Marketing, training and ongoing evaluation: Distribute curriculum to MSU Extension offices; design plan for marketing material; carry out plan for marketing material; design and offer training in using the curriculum; design plan for summatively evaluating curriculum; carry out plan for summatively evaluating curriculum.

As you complete the worksheet, keep in mind that curriculum development is not usually a linear process! Many of the steps that are listed on the worksheet overlap or take place simultaneously.

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