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Course Development Process

NOTE: The proposal window for Spring 2025 course offerings is now CLOSED.  The proposal window for Summer 2025 or Fall 2025 courses opens August 1, 2024.

This process connects faculty with instructional designers and resources to support developing high quality, engaging courses. Read more about the process below as well as expectations and notifications for course developers.  See this chart of MTSU Course Types for detailed information about the type of course you are developing, and the development process.

How MTSU Online Reviews and Prioritizes Course Proposals

A course development proposal most likely to be accepted for (re)development is for a course that:

  • Is part of a fully online, or soon to be fully online degree program
  • Is in demonstrated high demand by online students
  • Is a key elective for students seeking to complete a degree online
  • Is significantly outdated relative to the field of study
  • Has a strong justification from the proposer and a strong endorsement from the department chair

Developing a NEW “Asynchronous Online” or “Synchronous Online” Course

(Click the arrow to expand the section.)

NOTE: The proposal window for Spring 2025 course offerings is now CLOSED. The proposal window for Summer 2025 or Fall 2025 courses opens August 1, 2024.

  1. The faculty developer of the course completes and submits a Course Development Proposal Form (a dynamic form). Consult your department chair first to make sure the chair is aware and amenable.
    1. NOTE:  Courses must be approved by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (UCC) or Graduate Council before being proposed for online development.
  2. The proposal form is automatically routed to the relevant department chair for review and approval, and then automatically routed to Trey Martindale (Associate Vice Provost for Online Learning).
  3. Carol Hayes ([email protected], MTSU Online Faculty Services Coordinator) will initiate an Online Course Development Agreement Form (also a dynamic form) that will be automatically routed to the faculty developer, then department chair, then MTSU Online for approval. This form specifies the developer duties and obligations, and facilitates developer compensation.

Due Dates

Planned Semester Delivery
(Semester in which NEW course will be initially taught)
Proposal Window
(Time during which proposals are accepted)
Proposal Decision
(Developers will be notified no later than…)
Course Review Due Date
(Date by which course development must be completed)
SummerAugust 1 – October 1 (prior to planned semester delivery)November 1March 1
FallAugust 1 – October 1 (prior to planned semester delivery)November 1March 1
WinterFebruary 1 – April 1
(prior to planned semester delivery)
May 1October 1
SpringFebruary 1 – April 1 (prior to planned semester delivery)May 1October 1
Example:Course XXXX 1234 is being developed for first online delivery during Spring 2023 Proposal must be submitted via Dynamic Forms by April 1, 2022 Proposal will be evaluated; approval notice sent no later than May 1, 2022 Course must be reviewed and moved to departmental approval phase by October 1, 2022

Compensation for developing a new online course:  

  • 1 credit hour — $1000
  • 2 credit hours — $2000
  • 3 or more credit hours –$4000

Non-standard courses such as internships, practicum, etc., are compensated depending on the nature of the course, up to a maximum of $1,000 per course.

  1. Once the development proposal has been approved, an MTSU Online Instructional Designer (ID) is assigned to the faculty developer by Carol Hayes ([email protected], MTSU Online Faculty Services Coordinator).  The Faculty Services Coordinator notifies the developer and the ID of proposal approval.
  2. The ID contacts the faculty developer and begins consultation process.
  3. The faculty developer completes the course blueprint document and works with ID to build D2L blueprint course shell.
    1. Course blueprints must be 100% completed and submitted to ID 4 weeks before Course Review Due Date (see Due Date chart above).
    2. If course blueprints are not completed, the development process will be discontinued.  
    3. Limited extensions may be approved by MTSU Online leadership on a case-by-case basis.
    4. If course development is still desired, a new proposal must be submitted at the next appropriate proposal window.
  4. The faculty developer completes a course assessment using a validated quality rubric
  5. The ID completes a course assessment using a validated quality rubric.
  6. The ID and faculty developer discuss the two assessments and resolve any differences or issues.
  7. The ID notifies Faculty Services Coordinator, who then notifies the department chair that the course is ready for review by the department chair. 

This section describes the process to be followed when a new online or hybrid course has been developed.  New online and hybrid courses are not listed in the distance section of the semester schedule until this process is complete, and new courses may not be added to a semester schedule less than four weeks prior to the beginning of a semester. 

  1. The department chair reviews the course design and content. The chair reads the assessments by the faculty and by the ID, and reads any comments resolving differences or issues between the assessments.
  2. If the chair approves, the chair completes the chair review form (a dynamic form) that is automatically routed to Carol Hayes. If the chair does not approve, the chair will indicate this on the chair review form and MTSU Online will follow up with the chair and the developer.
  3. Carol Hayes adds the approved course to the Approved Distance Courses inventory. Carol emails the Scheduling Center that the department or school may add the course to the targeted semester schedule.
  4. Carol completes a pay document to compensate the faculty developer. Carol emails the faculty developer that the pay document has been completed.
  5. The home department (not MTSU Online) adds the course to the semester schedule. The home department schedules rooms as required for hybrid courses or optional meetings for online courses. 
  6. The faculty developer receives compensation usually within eight weeks of course approval. The course is then offered in the target semester.

Note: the faculty developer is responsible for the course during the three-year agreement. Duties include:

  • updating the blueprint course shell each term as necessary
  • familiarizing other professors with instruction of the course and assisting in updating welcome page, contact information, and calendar
  • sharing and uploading course for sectional instructors
  • working with department to obtain textbooks and other course materials;
  • working with the department to schedule the course

Redeveloping an EXISTING Asynchronous Online Course

(Click the arrow to expand the section.)

 NOTE: The proposal window for Spring 2025 course offerings is now CLOSED. The proposal window for Summer 2025 or Fall 2025 courses opens August 1, 2024.

  1. The faculty developer of the course completes and submits a Course Development Proposal Form (a dynamic form).
  2. The proposal form is automatically routed to the department chair for review and approval, and then to Trey Martindale (Associate Vice Provost for Online Learning) for review and approval.
  3. Approved proposals will be routed to Carol Hayes, MTSU Online Faculty Services Coordinator, and then forwarded to the MTSU Online Director for review to determine compensation (see below).
  4. Once compensation decisions are determined, Carol Hayes will notify faculty developer and assigned MTSU Online Instructional Designer (ID) and initiate contract.

Due Dates

Planned Semester Delivery
(Semester in which REVISED course will be taught)
Proposal Window
(Time during which proposals are accepted)
Proposal Decision
(Developers will be notified no later than…)
Course Review Due Date
(Date by which course development must be completed)
SummerAugust 1 – October 1 (prior to planned semester delivery)November 1April 1 – for courses offered with a mid-May or June start dateMay 1 – for courses offered with a July start date
FallAugust 1 – October 1 (prior to planned semester delivery)November 1July 1*(*for those with summer work approval)
WinterFebruary 1 – April 1 (prior to planned semester delivery)May 1November 1
SpringFebruary 1 – April 1 (prior to planned semester delivery)May 1December 1
Example: Course XXXX 9876 is being redeveloped for Spring 2023 Proposal must be submitted via Dynamic Forms by April 1, 2022 Proposal will be evaluated; approval notice sent no later than May 1, 2022 Course must be reviewed and moved to departmental approval phase by December 1, 2022

Compensation

  • Compensation for redeveloping an existing online course will be determined in consultation with MTSU Online, with a maximum amount of $3,000 per course. Compensation will vary depending on the amount of work needed to update a given course.
    • Tier 1 Redevelopment – Full Redevelopment ($3000)
      • Faculty developer must meet with their assigned MTSU Online Instructional Designer.
      • Faculty developer must complete the course blueprint document.
        • Course blueprints must be 100% completed and submitted to ID 4 weeks before Course Review Due Date (see Due Date chart).
        • If course blueprints are not completed, the development process will be discontinued.  
        • Limited extensions may be approved by MTSU Online leadership on a case-by-case basis.
        • If course development is still desired, a new proposal must be submitted at the next appropriate proposal window.
      • Course must meet all FERPA, Accessibility, and Copyright requirements.
      • 50% or more of the course content is being redeveloped.
    • Tier 2 Redevelopment – Partial Redevelopment ($1500)
      • Faculty developer must meet with their assigned MTSU Online Instructional Designer.
      • Faculty developer must complete the course blueprint document.
        • Course blueprints must be 100% completed and submitted to ID 4 weeks before Course Review Due Date (see Due Date chart).
        • If course blueprints are not completed, the development process will be discontinued.  
        • Limited extensions may be approved by MTSU Online leadership on a case-by-case basis.
        • If course development is still desired, a new proposal must be submitted at the next appropriate proposal window.
      • Course must meet all FERPA, Accessibility, and Copyright requirements.
      • Less than 50% of the course content is being redeveloped.
  • Redevelopment of other non-standard courses such as internships, practicum, etc. are compensated depending on the nature of the course and the amount of work needed to update the course. Maximum compensation is $1,000 per course for redeveloping these non-standard courses.

  1. Once the development proposal has been approved, an MTSU Online Instructional Designer (ID) is assigned to the faculty developer by Carol Hayes. Carol Hayes notifies the developer and the ID of proposal approval.
  2. The ID contacts the faculty developer and begins consultation process to discuss goals and establish timelines and benchmarks for development activities.
  3. The ID completes a course assessment using a validated quality rubric.
  4. The faculty developer completes a course assessment using a validated quality rubric.
  5. The ID and faculty developer meet to discuss the two assessments and resolve any differences or issues.
  6. The ID notifies Carol Hayes, who then notifies the department chair that the course is ready for review by the department chair. 

This section describes the process to be followed when re-developing an existing online or hybrid course.  Online and hybrid courses are not listed in the distance section of the semester schedule until this process is complete, and new courses may not be added to a semester schedule less than four weeks prior to the beginning of a semester. 

  1. The department chair reviews the course design and content. The chair reads the assessments by the faculty and by the ID, and reads any comments resolving differences or issues between the assessments.
  2. If the chair approves, the chair completes the chair review form (a dynamic form) that is automatically routed to the Faculty Services Coordinator. If the chair does not approve, the chair will indicate this on the chair review form and MTSU Online will follow up with the chair and the developer.
  3. The Faculty Services Coordinator adds the approved course to the Approved Distance Courses inventory. Coordinator emails the Scheduling Center that the department or school may add the course to the targeted semester schedule.
  4. The Faculty Services Coordinator completes a pay document to compensate the faculty developer. Coordinator emails the faculty developer that the pay document has been completed.
  5. The home department (not MTSU Online) adds the course to the semester schedule. The home department schedules rooms as required for hybrid courses or optional meetings for online courses. 
  6. The faculty developer receives compensation usually within eight weeks of course approval. The course is then offered in the target semester.

Note: the faculty developer is responsible for the course during the three-year agreement. Duties include:

  • updating the blueprint course shell each term as necessary
  • familiarizing other professors with instruction of the course and assisting in updating welcome page, contact information, and calendar
  • sharing and uploading course for sectional instructors
  • working with department to obtain textbooks and other course materials;
  • working with the department to schedule the course

Developing a SYNCHRONOUS FLEX Course

(Click the arrow to expand the section.)

 NOTE: The proposal window for Spring 2025 course offerings is now CLOSED. The proposal window for Summer 2025 or Fall 2025 courses opens August 1, 2024.

  1. The faculty developer of the course completes and submits a Course Development Proposal Form (a dynamic form). Consult your department chair first to make sure the chair is aware and amenable.
    1. NOTE:  Courses must be approved by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (UCC) or Graduate Council before being proposed for online development.
  2. The proposal form is automatically routed to the relevant department chair for review and approval, and then automatically routed to Trey Martindale (Associate Vice Provost for Online Learning).
  3. Carol Hayes ([email protected], MTSU Online Faculty Services Coordinator) will initiate an Online Course Development Agreement Form (also a dynamic form) that will be automatically routed to the faculty developer, then department chair, then MTSU Online for approval. This form specifies the developer duties and obligations, and facilitates developer compensation.

Due Dates

Planned Semester Delivery
(Semester in which NEW course will be initially taught)
Proposal Window
(Time during which proposals are accepted)
Proposal Decision
(Developers will be notified no later than…)
Course Review Due Date
(Date by which course development must be completed)
SummerAugust 1 – October 1 (prior to planned semester delivery)November 1March 1
FallAugust 1 – October 1 (prior to planned semester delivery)November 1March 1
WinterFebruary 1 – April 1
(prior to planned semester delivery)
May 1October 1
SpringFebruary 1 – April 1 (prior to planned semester delivery)May 1October 1
Example:Course XXXX 1234 is being developed for first online delivery during Spring 2023 Proposal must be submitted via Dynamic Forms by April 1, 2022 Proposal will be evaluated; approval notice sent no later than May 1, 2022 Course must be reviewed and moved to departmental approval phase by October 1, 2022

Compensation for developing a Synchronous Flex course:  

  • $2000

  1. Once the development proposal has been approved, an MTSU Online Instructional Designer (ID) is assigned to the faculty developer by Carol Hayes ([email protected], MTSU Online Faculty Services Coordinator).  The Faculty Services Coordinator notifies the developer and the ID of proposal approval.
  2. The ID contacts the faculty developer and begins the consultation process.
  3. The faculty developer collaborates with the ID to complete the course blueprint document.
  4. A blueprint course shell (an empty instance of a course in D2L) will be created by the ID that serves as a template for the active semester course. The blueprint course shell will include the following:
    1. Homepage featuring
      1. Welcome message
      2. Links to syllabus, course schedule, and textbook information (with cover photo)
      3. Faculty profile – photo, contact information, and availability (student hours, best forms of communication to reach the instructor).
    2. Content
      1. Overview page providing a course description and listing course objectives
      2. Getting Started area that includes syllabus based upon MTSU Online accessible template, course schedule, and textbook information (with cover photo)
      3. Meet Your Faculty – short introduction from faculty with photo
    3. Gradebook and Feedback
      1. Use of the D2L Grades area, aligned with syllabus grading criteria, for documenting student learning and feedback
  5. Course blueprints must be 100% completed and submitted to ID 4 weeks before Course Review Due Date (see Due Date chart above). Course blueprints are used to meet quality assurance standards such as alignment and regular and substantive interaction (RSI) as required by the U.S. Department of Education. See the following resources for additional details:
  6. At the end of development, the faculty developer and ID complete a review using a quality measure, substantiating standards have been met.
  7. The ID notifies Faculty Services Coordinator, who then notifies the department chair that the course is ready for review by the department chair.  

This section describes the process to be followed when a syncronous flex course has been developed.  New courses are not listed in the distance section of the semester schedule until this process is complete, and new courses may not be added to a semester schedule less than four weeks prior to the beginning of a semester. 

  1. The department chair reviews the course design and content. The chair reads the assessments by the faculty and by the ID, and reads any comments resolving differences or issues between the assessments.
  2. If the chair approves, the chair completes the chair review form (a dynamic form) that is automatically routed to Carol Hayes. If the chair does not approve, the chair will indicate this on the chair review form, and MTSU Online will follow up with the chair and the developer.
  3. Carol Hayes adds the approved course to the Approved Distance Courses inventory. Carol emails the Scheduling Center that the department or school may add the course to the targeted semester schedule.
  4. Carol completes a pay document to compensate the faculty developer. Carol emails the faculty developer that the pay document has been completed.
  5. The home department (not MTSU Online) adds the course to the semester schedule. The home department schedules rooms as required for hybrid courses or optional meetings for online courses. 
  6. The faculty developer receives compensation usually within eight weeks of course approval. The course is then offered in the target semester.

Note: the faculty developer is responsible for the course during the three-year agreement. Duties include:

  • updating the blueprint course shell each term as necessary
  • familiarizing other professors with instruction of the course and assisting in updating welcome page, contact information, and schedule
  • sharing and uploading course for sectional instructors
  • working with department to obtain textbooks and other course materials
  • working with the department to schedule the course

Developing a NEW HyFlex Course

(Click the arrow to expand the section.)

HyFlex is a course design in which a student has the option of attending class sessions in the classroom, participating synchronously online, or participating asynchronously online. Students can change their mode of attendance weekly or by topic, according to need or preference.

HyFlex course developments require the creation of a complete asynchronous course as well as synchronous course that can be experienced in the classroom or synchronously online (videoconference, etc.).  For more information, see these additional resources on HyFlex course models.

 NOTE: The window for proposing to develop a HyFlex course is January 1 – March 1.

  1. The faculty developer of the course completes and submits a HyFlex Course Development Proposal Form (a dynamic form). Consult your department chair first to make sure the chair is aware and amenable.
    1. NOTE:  Courses must be approved by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (UCC) or Graduate Council before being proposed for HyFlex development
  2. The proposal form is automatically routed to the relevant department chair for review and approval, and then automatically routed to Trey Martindale (Associate Vice Provost for Online Learning).
  3. Carol Hayes ([email protected], Faculty Services Coordinator) will initiate an Online Course Development Agreement Form (also a dynamic form) that will be automatically routed to the faculty developer, then department chair, then MTSU Online for approval. This form specifies the developer duties and obligations, and facilitates developer compensation.

Due Dates

Planned Semester Delivery
(Semester in which NEW course will be initially taught)
Proposal Window
(Time during which proposals are accepted)
Proposal Decision
(Developers will be notified no later than…)
Course Review Due Date
(Date by which course development must be completed)
Summer
Fall
Spring*HyFlex courses will not be offered during Winter sessions
January 1 to  March 1 (a minimum of 12 months prior to planned delivery)April 1April 1 following year
Example:Course XXXX 1234 is being developed as a course to be offered in summer/fall 2024 or spring 2024 Proposal must be submitted via Dynamic Forms by March 1, 2023 Proposal will be evaluated; approval notice sent no later than April 1, 2023 Course must be reviewed and moved to department approval phase by April 1, 2024

Compensation for developing a new online course:  

  • $3000 if no asynchronous course exists.
  • $2,000 if asynchronous course has already been developed and approved through MTSU Online within the last 3 years.

NOTE:  HyFlex course developments will be capped at 6 per year.

  1. Once the HyFlex course development proposal has been approved, an MTSU Online Instructional Designer (ID) is assigned to the faculty developer by Carol Hayes (MTSU Online Faculty Services Coordinator). The Faculty Services Coordinator notifies the developer and the ID of proposal approval.
  2. The ID contacts the faculty developer and begins consultation process.
  3. Both the asynchronous and face-to-face (F2F) portions of the course must be built using the development documents provided by the assigned ID.
    1. Asynchronous Course Development
      • The asynchronous course must be built first using the course blueprint document.
        • course blueprints must be 100% completed and submitted to ID 4 weeks before Course Review Due Date (see Due Date chart above).
        • If course blueprints are not completed, the development process will be discontinued.  
        • Limited extensions may be approved by MTSU Online leadership on a case-by-case basis.
        • If course development is still desired, a new proposal must be submitted at the next appropriate proposal window.
      • The asynchronous course will be reviewed by faculty developer and the assigned ID using the validated quality rubric
      • The asynchronous portion must then be approved by the departmental chairperson prior to beginning work on the F2F lesson plans.
    2. Face-to-Face Course Development
      • Lesson plans must be developed foreach face-to-face (F2F) course meeting using the lesson plan template provided by the assigned ID.  For example, based on a full-length semester, for a 3-credit hour course that meets 3 times per week, approximately 45 lesson plans must be developed.
      • A F2F course review checklist will be completed by the assigned ID to ensure asynchronous and F2F courses are equitable.

This section describes the process to be followed when a new HyFlex course has been developed.  New HyFlex courses are not listed in the distance section of the semester schedule until this process is complete, and new courses may not be added to a semester schedule less than four weeks prior to the beginning of a semester. 

  1. The department chair reviews the course design and content. The chair reads the assessments by the faculty and by the ID, and reads any comments resolving differences or issues between the assessments.
  2. If the chair approves, the chair completes the chair review form (a dynamic form) that is automatically routed to the MTSU Online Faculty Services Coordinator. If the chair does not approve, the chair will indicate this on the chair review form and MTSU Online will follow up with the chair and the developer.
  3. The Coordinator adds the approved course to the Approved Distance Courses inventory. Coordinator emails the Scheduling Center that the department or school may add the course to the targeted semester schedule.
  4. The department offering the course is responsible for notifying Scheduling about the room designated for the course. The classroom must be able to accommodate the full number of enrollees in case each student chooses in-person instruction. The room must also have high quality video and audio recording equipment to accommodate both the synchronous online viewing of class sessions and the recording of class sessions for the asynchronous course participants.
  5. Coordinator completes a pay document to compensate the faculty developer. Coordinator emails the faculty developer that the pay document has been completed.
  6. The home department (not MTSU Online) adds the course to the semester schedule. The home department schedules rooms as required for hybrid courses or optional meetings for online courses. 
  7. The faculty developer receives compensation usually within eight weeks of course approval. The course is then offered in the target semester.

Note: the faculty developer is responsible for the course during the three-year agreement. Duties include:

  • updating the blueprint course shell each term as necessary
  • familiarizing other professors with instruction of the course and assisting in updating welcome page, contact information, and calendar.  MTSU Online strongly recommends the original developer teach the HyFlex course.  If that is not possible, a communication plan must be provided to other instructors who may teach the course.
  • sharing and uploading course for sectional instructors
  • working with department to obtain textbooks and other course materials;
  • working with the department to schedule the course
  • TutorMe tutoring should be available in all HyFlex courses.

Developing a NEW “Synchronous (Remote)” Course

At the direction of the Provost, MTSU Online reviews courses offered as “Synchronous (Remote)”. To offer a “Synchronous (Remote)” course, follow the steps below as the faculty developer. (Note that for a “Synchronous Online” course, you will follow the process at the top of this page).

  1. Get approval from your department chair to offer the synchronous course.
    1. NOTE:  Courses must be approved by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (UCC) or Graduate Council before being proposed for “Synchronous (Remote)”.
  2. Complete this brief course self-report — the MTSU Synchronous Remote Course Checklist
  3. A MTSU Online instructional designer will review your submitted checklist and your D2L shell and provide feedback to you about elements relating to FERPA, accessibility, and SACSCOC accreditation standards. 

If a course has already been offered as “Synchronous (Remote)” in a previous term, the course does not have to be reviewed by MTSU Online and you do not have to complete the checklist.

Unlike blended and fully asynchronous online courses, compensation is not available for “Synchronous (Remote)” course development. See this chart of MTSU Course Types for detailed information about the type of course you are developing.