Online course development

Approval process

Departments/Schools are responsible for developing their curricula and determining which courses may be delivered in distance learning format. For some programs, the curricular authority resides within the Regional College.

New course development or major revisions need approval of the department chair/director and college dean and the Distributed Learning (DL) agreement must be signed.

  • Coordination of resources and development of high-quality foundational courses available for use by all instructors is highly encouraged.
  • Coordination between the Regional Campuses and Kent campus departments to ensure that students have access to online courses where appropriate is highly encouraged.
  • Coordination of course delivery schedules so that sections are full before offering alternative sections is highly encouraged.

Faculty receiving support of any type must sign the Distance/Distributed Learning Agreement.


Developing an online course requires a significant amount of time to design for the online environment. Whether you are an experienced online course developer converting an existing course, or new to distance education and creating your first course from scratch, you should begin preparation a minimum of one semester prior to scheduled release date. View suggested One Semester Ahead timeline.

Design standards

Kent State has developed suggested course development guidelines based on the Quality MattersTM rubric. These guidelines will help us proactively meet accessibility standards and incorporate universal design principles that will help ensure the success of our diverse student body.

Classifications of online courses

There are three classifications of “online” courses: V1, V2, and V3:

  • V1 – 100% online requiring no face-to-face or online live sessions
  • V2 – 100% online with one or more synchronous online live sessions
  • V3 – A blend of a minimum of 50% online sessions (asynchronous or synchronous) and requirement of one or more face-to-face meetings

Note: The online course must be delivered exactly as advertised and listed in the BANNER registration system and KSU course catalog.

Improving/updating existing courses
  • Development of online courses should be considered an iterative process with planned improvements after a course has been taught.  
  • One goal in course revisions should be to make courses fully accessible, which would include captioning video and formatting all documents to be read by a screen reader.
  • Consideration should be given to collaborations that allow faculty to combine their talents in creating an exceptional course that is shared in a department.
Understanding the strategic initiative for Online Learning


  • Quality – Establish Kent State as a leader in quality online courses.
  • Access – Increase access. Follow best practices of development and delivery of online courses to make online courses more accessible.
  • Enrollment – Move beyond our region and increase enrollment with a national/international audience.
  • Readiness – Position Kent State to be nimble in a changing environment.


  • Develop strong Kent State Online brand
  • Offer 10-12 graduate programs to a national audience
  • Offer 50 high quality core/transfer module undergraduate courses to state/national audience
  • Selectively offer undergraduate programs/certificates/continuing professional education online.
  • Upgrade all courses to meet best practices of universal design and accessibility standards.