Types of distance courses
Courses eligible for online development
Development assistance
Course designer responsibilities
Development fees
Development timelines
Development process-brief description
Generic design


Welcome to online course development at MTSU!  MTSU is committed to providing high quality distance/alternative educational experiences for its students, and is endorsed by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC).  Faculty members have the opportunity to develop and teach a variety of alternative delivery courses, and the following information will help determine the type of course to develop and offer to your students.

Types of Distance and Alternative Delivery Courses

MTSU faculty members have the opportunity to develop and to teach:

  • MTSU Online;
  • MTSU Hybrid.

Alternative delivery courses which do not require approval through the University College process:

  • synchronous online;
  • videoconferencing;
  • web-assisted;
  • web-enhanced.

Definitions for each course type are available.

Only existing MTSU courses approved by the University Curriculum Committee or the Graduate Council may be developed for online delivery and must not have been developed previously by another faculty member.  Please contact Distance Education Faculty Services at 615/898-5332 for a list of approved courses developed by faculty in your department.  

Development Assistance

Faculty course designers are provided the following resources to assist them throughout the development process:

  • Online Faculty Mentor (OFM);
  • Instructional Design Specialist;
  • D2L/Technology Training.    

Online Faculty Mentor (OFM)

All faculty course developers are assigned an Online Faculty Mentor (OFM) to assist them throughout the process and to conduct a peer review of the course upon completion.  

Instructional Design Specialist

Course developers are required to meet with the MTSU Instructional Design Specialist to assist in designing the course per best practices and to enhance course pedagogy.

D2L Training

Faculty new to online course development (including full-time and full-time temporary) are required to complete training on the MTSU-supported learning management system, Desire2Learn (D2L), prior to course development.  


Course developers are expected to serve as the lead designer for their courses for the term of the three-year contract.  Responsibilities include:

  • updating the master shell each semester as necessary;
  • each semester meet with professors new to the instruction of the course to familiarize sectional faculty and to assist in updating the welcome page, contact information, and calendar;
  • uploading approved course content into each section being taught;
  • working with department to obtain textbooks and other course materials for sectional faculty;
  • working with the department to schedule the course.
  • Note:  These services should be provided by the lead designer even if he/she is not teaching a section of his/her own course during the semester.
  • At the end of the three-year contract period, course designers must substantially redesign their online and hybrid courses and will receive a redesign fee (see development fees for additional information).  If the original course developer is unavailable or unwilling to redesign the course, the department chair may assign a new lead developer.  The peer review/chair approval process also applies to course redesigns.

Development Fees

Development fees are paid based on the number of credit hours created.  Redesign fees are also available.  Additional information is available at the link in this paragraph.

Development Deadlines

Development of a new online course must be complete and the course ready for the peer review by these deadlines:

  • Spring Semester – October 1;
  • Summer and Fall – March 1.

Brief Description of the Development Process

Course developers complete the following steps to develop and deliver an online course:

  • Complete and submit a Course Development/Redesign Proposal Form;
  • Submit a draft Syllabus using the accessible syllabus template within D2L;
  • Review the Peer Review Form;
  • Sign an Online Course Development Agreement;
  • Meet with assigned Online Faculty Mentor (OFM);
  • Meet with Instructional Design Specialist;
  • Complete D2L training;
  • Complete development of the course using the resources mentioned above;
  • Due to FERPA, SACSCOC and other regulations/issues, instruction of course content must be limited and student educational records must not be shared in e-publisher websites or other third party vendor sites unless a contract with the institution is in place.  Course designers should contact the FITC to determine if interface with D2L is possible and if a contract is in place for the specific vendor being used.
  • Conduct a self-evaluation of the completed course;
  • Assigned OFM conducts a peer review;
  • Department Chair reviews course and the peer review form in order to approve course for delivery;
  • Scheduling Center is notified that approved course may be added to the semester schedule;
  • Development fee is paid.

    At least two semesters should be allotted for completion of a new online course.

Generic Design

Because department chairs/school directors have the option to assign instructors to teach online and hybrid courses they did not develop, courses must be developed with that thought in mind.  Course designers serve as lead designers of their approved courses and are responsible for updating course content and sharing it with sectional instructors.              

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