Develop an Online Course

When considering the development of a new online course (or converting a classroom-based course to online), there are two important areas to consider.

A. Administrative approval.

Begin by consulting with your department head (or equivalent) to seek course approval and catalog listings. 

  • Existing credit courses  Learn if your proposal needs to be entered into the U of M ECAS system to approve a change in the delivery mode to partially, primarily or fully online. Once approved, your academic unit staff will enter the revised information into the PeopleSoft system so that the course will appear with its new delivery options.
  • New credit courses Learn how to initiate a formal academic course proposal including entry in the ECAS system. Once approved, your academic unit staff will enter the  information into the PeopleSoft system. Advance planning is required (up to a full year) to ensure that the course will be available for registration in the appropriate term. Course is entered by departmental/collegiate contacts for the class schedule using the ECS tool.
  • Non-credit courses — Registration and catalog listings should be created after the course has been developed. Contact the Destiny One Non-Credit Registration Team.

B. Design and development process. 

Online course development can be broken down into five major phases: (1) Define; (2) Brainstorm and gather; (3) Design; (4) Build; and (5) Evaluate. See the ATSS website for an overview of the design and development process.

Additional notes on the process:​

  • Accessibility Guidelines. The course design should reflect a commitment to accessibility for all learners. It is the responsibility of the web page author to present information in a way that ensures access by a diverse audience, including individuals with disabilities. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, level AA, serve as the Web accessibility standards for the University of Minnesota.
  • Library resources. Librarians can play a key role in locating resources for your course including articles, books, videos, and images. Contact librarians at Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester, or the Twin Cities campus (Instructor and Faculty Support and Subject Librarians).
  • Technologies. Course technologies should be selected and used to support learners' achievement of course objectives. We recommend using U of M centrally supported OIT technologies.
  • Intellectual property. Determine if any content that will be used in this course is owned or copyrighted by other authors or publishers. Agree on who will have rights to intellectual property for the course content. If any content will be licensed to other institutions in the future, decide which individuals, academic units, and offices would have rights to a potential distribution of income.
  • Copright/media assets. You can access media assets through the U of M Libraries. The libraries also have important information for your consideration on copyright and fair use.
  • Seeking instructional design support. Depending on your academic unit, support will be provided in different structures. Your first step should be to consult with instructional support units at the collegiate, campus, or system level that can help you develop your blended and online learning plan. See the directory of academic support contacts. Other options to consider include:
    • The College of Continuing Education (CCE) will partner with other collegiate units when CCE determines that there is a strong demand for a new program.
    • You may also choose to use external contractors.  Check with your collegiate unit’s IT department or your colleagues to see if they have recommendations.

See also:
Time and Cost Considerations
Quality Standards