Online course development
Faculty members interested in offering a course online should first discuss and seek approval from their department chair/school director and/or college dean, as applicable, through the academic unit’s established curricular processes.
Courses new to the KSU course catalog should consult the established curriculum process and curriculum deadlines on the Curriculum Services website.
New online course development or major revisions to an existing online course require the approval of the department chair, school director, and college dean.
- New Course Development. Development of an online course that is either new to the university course catalog or currently exists in the university catalog as a traditional face-to-face course will be offered online for the first time.
- Extensive Course Revision. Revision of an existing online course that includes either change equal to or greater than 50% of the course learning materials or substantial changes to course structure, course goals, and/or learning outcomes such that the essential nature of the course is changed.
When developing an online course, academic units should consider the following:
- Coordinating resources and developing high-quality foundational courses for all instructors, especially courses that are shared between multiple programs or part of the Kent Core.
- Coordinating between the Regional and Kent campus departments to ensure students can access online courses where appropriate.
Delivery Modes for Distance-Education Course Sections
The delivery modes for distance-education course sections at Kent State include web-based, room-based video conferencing, and PC-based conferencing (see additional details on the Curriculum Services website).
Web-based courses are taught via the Internet and can be asynchronous or synchronous. Content is presented in multiple formats, including text, recorded or live-streaming audio or video, and interactive presentations. Communication tools include live chats, discussion groups, and e-mail. Some web-based courses have hybrid online/on-ground delivery and may require students to come to campus for several class sessions. In Banner, the following codes define a web-based course section:
- V1: Course is 100 percent online, requiring no face-to-face or online live sessions (asynchronous).
- V2: Course is 100 percent online, with one or more concurring online live sessions (synchronous).
- V3: Course is a blend of substantial online sessions (asynchronous or synchronous) and one or more required 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.
Requesting University Support
Faculty or administrators of academic units may submit a request for assistance with new course development or extensive revision to an existing online course via the university's online course support service catalog.
Requests for university-supported course development assistance are prioritized according to the availability of university resources. Priority is given to fully online degree program courses and strategic individual initiative courses (high enrollment, high D/F/W, Kent Core, Transfer Module).
University-supported course development assistance may require a signed Agreement Letter establishing the terms and conditions of course development and expectations for faculty course developer participation.
Faculty requesting compensation for online course development should discuss and seek approval from their department chair/school director and/or college dean.
Limited funding for online course development during the summer term when faculty are not on contract may be available from the Office of Continuing and Distance Education (OCDE).
Requests for OCDE funding should be submitted by the department chair/school director and/or college dean. Priority consideration for OCDE funding requests will be given to degree program courses and high enrollment, high D/F/W, Kent Core, and Ohio Transfer Module courses.
Timeline and Scheduling
Developing a course for the online environment requires a significant investment of time. A rough estimate for a 3-credit hour course is ten working hours per week of development time over a 15-week term. It is strongly recommended to begin course development no later than one semester before the next scheduled delivery date of the course.
Requests for university-supported course development assistance should be submitted a minimum of one academic term before the requested development term. (See the table below).
Preceding summer term
Preceding spring term
Distance / Distributed Learning Agreement
Kent State University policy requires a signed Distributed / Distance Learning Agreement (DDLA) for all new online course development or extensive revision of an existing online course before the start of course development.
The Distance / Distributed Learning Agreement (DDLA) is a university document that establishes the intellectual property rights of online course materials, the resulting work, and the terms of compensation for online course development and the extensive revision of online courses. The DDLA is not a substitute for an approval process that is part of an established curricular process.
University-supported online course development requires a signed DDLA of Type II or Type IV.
Course Design Standards and Quality Assurance
The quality of online courses is critical to student success and to meeting federal regulations tied to students’ federal financial aid.
The Office of Continuing and Distance Education has created the following resources to help guide the creation of high-quality online courses:
- Kent State Online course design standards are based on the Quality MattersTM rubric, federal regulations, and university policy.
- Kent State Online course shell template based on the Quality MattersTM rubric.
Kent State University is both a member of Quality MattersTM and of the largest QM state consortium in the nation, the Ohio QM Consortium. As such, low-cost training for QM's foundational workshop, Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR), is available to interested faculty and academic units.
- Faculty can use the QM rubric as a guide when they design their online courses.
- Faculty can self-review their online course using the Self-Review tool on the QM website.
- Faculty may request an informal QM review of their course by a trained QM Peer Reviewer from the Office of Continuing and Distance Education.
State Authorization at Kent State University works with programs and departments to ensure state and federal law compliance when offering any out-of-state activity (such as online courses, field experiences, recruiting or marketing, and professional licensure certifications).
Professional Licensure and Certification Disclosures
If your program leads to a professional certification, please visit the State Authorization website for access to the form that must be completed, a link to the Code of Federal Regulations, and additional information.
A professional licensure program is an academic program that is designed, marketed, and/or advertised to meet the educational requirements for a specific license or certification and is required for employment in an occupation.
Course Maintenance and Support
In instances of succeeding assignments to teach distance education courses, faculty are expected to demonstrate a level of technical competence that would enable them to prepare and teach the course.
Online course support from distance learning support staff is available for all colleges and campuses:
- University's course support service catalog
- Online support unit
- Distance Learning support staff.
Additional faculty resources:
- KSU Online Teaching website
- KSU Canvas website
- Information Technology Technical support website
- In-person/virtual training for Canvas