Getting Started

Getting Started
Course Approval


This section provides instructions to begin the course development process.  Only full-time faculty may develop/redesign MTSU Online courses.  Before completing the Online/Hybrid Course Development Proposal Form, please consider the following.

  • The course you wish to develop has not been previously developed for distance delivery.  Contact MTSU Online Faculty Services at 615/898-5332 for a list of courses developed by faculty in your department.  Development fees are paid only for courses which have not been previously designed for online or hybrid delivery.
  • The course you wish to develop is an existing MTSU on-ground offering and has been approved by the University Curriculum Committee or the Graduate Council.  Special Topics courses are the exception.
  • Determine your readiness for online instruction by asking yourself these questions:
    • Will I be able to:
      • Project my presence in an online or ITV environment?
      • Cope with delayed feedback?
    • Do I know what I am trying to achieve with my instruction?
      • What knowledge, skills and attitudes need to be taught?
      • How much content I need in my instruction?
      • What resources and strategies I can/will use?
      • How I'll structure the content?
      • How to assess whether students have met the objectives of the course?
    • Do I have good writing skills?
      • Can I communicate clearly and effectively through email
  • You have reviewed:
  • The course completion deadlines (see below) have been considered in the development planning and scheduling of the new course:  
    • Spring Semester – October 1;
    • Summer and Fall – March 1.
    • You are aware that new online and hybrid courses are added to a semester schedule only after the peer review/approval process has been completed and no later than four weeks prior to the start of the semester.  

Getting Started

Please follow the instructions below to begin the online or hybrid course development process.

1.  Proposal Form

Complete an Online/Hybrid Course Development Proposal Form, and submit it to  The course designer’s signature and that of her/his chair (dean if developer is the chair) are required on this form.  When received, the information is posted to the MTSU Online course development database.

2.  Syllabus

Submit a course syllabus (may be a draft) to the course designer's department chair/school director using the required, accessible Syllabus Template.  Check Desire2Learn (D2L) for the most updated version. 

3.  Online Course Development Agreement

After the Course Proposal Form is received by MTSU Online, the Online/Hybrid Course Development Agreement is emailed to the course developer.  The course designer should sign the document, as soon as possible, and forward the original for all required signatures.  The agreement outlines course development and instruction expectations as well as the terms for compensation.  Courses may not be scheduled for delivery, and payment for course development cannot be made until this agreement is on file at MTSU Online.  Also, development fees cannot be paid if course development is completed prior to the approval of the agreement.

4.  Online Faculty Mentor (OFM)

An Online Faculty Mentor (OFM) is assigned to each course designer upon receipt of the Course Proposal Form by MTSU Online.  The OFM should contact the course designer to make introduction and to schedule a meeting to discuss course design.  First-time course designers are required to meet (before course development) with their assigned OFMs to discuss course design.  The OFM serves as a course development resource and conducts a peer review of the course when it is complete.  The course designer may use the expertise of the assigned OFM as little or as much as needed during course development, the review/approval process, and initial course delivery.  The name of the assigned OFM is sent in the email with the course development agreement.

5.  Online/Hybrid Course Guidelines and Peer Review Form

Course designers should review the Online and Distance Education Guidelines and the Peer Review Form prior to beginning course development.  The Guidelines highlight administrative, department, faculty and student responsibilities related to online development and instruction.  The Peer Review Form serves several purposes in the course development, review and approval processes.

    • Course designers are encouraged to review and to use the Peer Review Form as a course development/redesign guide. This form contains the baseline elements required to successfully complete an online/hybrid course. Incomplete courses are not accepted for peer review.
    • This form is used by the course designer to conduct a self-evaluation of the completed course.
    • The form is also used by the assigned OFM to conduct the peer review of the completed course.
    • The department chair/school director reviews the completed Peer Review Form as part of the delivery approval process.

6.  Required Desire2Learn (D2L) Training

Desire2Learn (D2L) is the learning management system supported by MTSU and in which online and hybrid course content is housed.  To become familiar with development and instructional tools, first-time faculty course designers are required to complete the following training sessions:

  • Introduction to D2L;
  • Grading and Assessment;
  • Communication Tools I (dropbox, discussion forum; group);
  • Communication Tools II (rubrics, with a demonstration of the competencies tool);
  • Communication Tools III (email, calendar, chat, blog, LiveRoom, checklist, classlist, etc.).

A D2L shell in which to complete training and/or to begin course development is automatically established after registration for a D2L workshop or scheduling a one-on-one consultation.  Faculty may, however, complete training and/or begin course design using an existing development shell.  If a new D2L development shell is needed, faculty may request it by completing and submitting the Course Development Request Form.
D2L shells are created for every course every semester.  Semester shells, however, must not be used for course development.  If a semester shell is deleted or cancelled, course content will be lost.

When training is complete, the trainer will sign the MTSU Online Course Development Training Confirmation Form, and the course designer will forward it to Distance Education Faculty Services (Box 54).

Even though training is not required of experienced course designers, they are encouraged to discuss the design or redesign of their courses with MTSU Online instructional designers due to continual innovations in software/hardware and multimedia used in online course development/instruction.

7.  Training - Instructional Designer

Prior to beginning course development, first-time course designers are required to meet with their assigned MTSU Online Instructional Designer to plan and to discuss the design of their courses. 

8.  Optional Training Provided by FITC Staff

Introduction to Turnitin Education Suite (an educational suite providing faculty assistance with evaluating student written works and is now accessed through the Desire2Learn (D2L) dropbox tool)

Course Approval

Instructions for course approval are included in the email with the online/hybrid course development agreement and OFM assignment.  Detailed information may be found in the Course Approval section of this website.

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