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New Course Development Quick Guide

A "new" online course  is defined as not currently being listed in the KSU course catalog, or an existing course that has been taught face-to-face but never offered online.

What options do I have for putting a course online?

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 one or more face-to-face meetings

The course must be delivered exactly as advertised and listed in the banner registration system and KSU course catalog.

Do I need approval to put a course online?

Yes, whether you intend to develop an online course without or with university help you must first seek approval if you intend to offer a V1, V2, or V3 online course:

  1. Talk to the chair of your department and/or the director of your school or dean of your college
  2. Seek approval for your online course proposal/curriculum from the faculty curriculum committee
  3. Submit a request to develop an online course to the Office of Continuing and Distance Education

Plan on initiating the approval process two semesters in advance of scheduled release date.

NOTE: Use of the Blackboard Learning management system to offer supplemental materials (syllabus, course schedule, readings, web links, videos) in a 100% face-to-face course does not constitute an “online” course and does not require department, school or OCDE approval. However, your department scheduler will need to “turn on” the Bb Learn component of your course.

What happens after I submit the Online Course Development Request form?

You will receive an email confirmation from the Office of Continuing and Distance Education (OCDE) assigning a Program Manager to your course. You should also receive an email from the Program Manager to set up a course development meeting.

Please allow 3 business days for a response, then contact the OCDE at 330-672-3100 or

How long does it take to develop a course for online delivery?

Developing an online course requires a significant amount of time to plan the curriculum, organize course structure and create content. 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.

IMPORTANT: Before any course development can occur, faculty MUST contact their department scheduler and inform them the course will be delivered in Bb Learn. The scheduler will "set the code" to Bb Learn which will create a blank course shell.

Who will help me during the development stage of my online course?

The type and amount of help you may receive for developing an online course depends on three factors: 

  1. The Distance/Distributed Learning Agreement (which is sent via email in the initial contact from OCDE)
  2. Kent State University distance education strategic initiative
  3. Available grant money from the OCDE
The Distance/Distributed Learning Agreement outlines options for compensation, copyright/intellectual property, and university support.  Courses that are part of the strategic initiative will receive university support by default. When applicable, the Program Manager will assemble a course development team consisting of an Educational Technology Designer and/or Instructional Designer.

NOTE: Individual courses not associated with a certificate or degree program are most likely not strategic initiative courses, with the exception of TAG (transfer credit) courses. In a case where it is not clear whether a course is part of the strategic initiative, please contact the department chair or dean of your school or college.

Are there “official” university design standard for online courses?

If you are developing an online course without any university support, then technically no. However, the OCDE is in the process of implementing university-wide guidelines for creating high-quality online courses based on the Quality MattersTM rubric.

Additional resources for course design can be found in the Course Developer Toolkit on the Online Learning website. Strategic initiative courses will be developed according to the processes detailed by the OCDE in the Online Course Development Guidebook in order to maintain consistency and quality across an entire online degree program.

Can I choose the online course delivery platform?

No. All online courses at Kent State University must be delivered using the Blackboard (Bb) Learn Learning Management system. You have a choice of tools to use within the Bb Learn environment and the ability to use additional Web 2.0 tools outside of it. However, Bb Learn MUST remain the point of entry for the course. Bb Learn contains tools that can be used for fully online, asynchronous and synchronous courses (V1 and V2), as well as Blended (V3) courses and supplemental use in face-to-face courses.

Is it possible to practice developing in Bb Learn course before creating the “real” course?

Yes. Submit a ticket to to request a “Practice Bb Learn course”. Visit the Resources for Faculty page on the Blackboard Learn section of the KSU website for video and PDF tutorials.

Do I need to develop new course materials for online delivery, or can I use the same materials developed for a face-to-face course?

Though the course goals, learning objectives and content materials may remain the same, the lack of immediacy that exists in an online learning vs. a face-to-face environment requires online instructors to deliver course instruction in a different manner than in a brick and mortar classroom.

  • The online environment requires instructors to be more structured, organized, detailed, and explicit in delivery of student expectations, course requirements, learning activities and assessments.
  • Opportunities to create instructor-student interaction and feedback, student-student interaction and collaboration, and student-content interaction must be created in order to maintain active course participation and retain students.
  • Appropriate uses of the Bb Learn LMS and Web 2.0 technology should be explored and implemented to deliver “common” course content such as: course announcements, class discussions, class lectures, text-based readings, audio and video files, assessments, etc.
  • Web links to KSU online student resources and 24/7 technology support must be provided to students.

Additional information regarding online teaching pedagogy can be found in the Pedagogy section on the Learning Space page and on the Teaching Online quick guide.

Help with the course development process can be found in the Course Developer Toolkit page.

Recommended software applications for creating and delivering course content online are listed on the Online Course Development and Delivery Software page.

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