Creating an Online Program

The Office of Online Learning (OOL) assists deans, department chairs, faculty and staff consider the elements necessary for launching a successful online program and develop a plan to make it happen. Further, as part of the Delphi Center for Teaching and Learning, OOL pulls in the collaborative groups within the Delphi Center to help design and create online courses, provide faculty training, market the program, and launch the degree.

Review the process for creating an online program below to get started.

Process for Creating an Online Program

1. Initial Call, 2. Kick-off Meeting, 3. Course Development Meeting, 4. Focus WorkshopL Diving into the details, 5. Marketing Plan, 6. To Launch and beyond
  • Click to Show/HideStep 1: Initial Call

    Departments interested in putting a program online should contact Kristen Brown by phone (502.852.8565) or email (Kristen.Brown@louisville.edu). As the assistant director for online learning in the Delphi Center for Teaching and Learning, Kristen oversees the launch of each program. She works with the counterpart team to gather initial data in order to determine the following:

    • Degree/certificate type to go online
    • Existing or new program
    • Goal(s) for going online
  • Click to Show/HideStep 2: Kick-Off Meeting (2 hours)

    Once the basic elements are established, Kristen arranges a 2-hour kick-off meeting with the department chair (or appointed contact), Dr. Gale Rhodes (Associate University Provost and Executive Director, Delphi Center), and Aimee Greene, (Manager of Instructional Design, Delphi Center) with the following meeting objectives:

    • Meet the teams (unit contacts and Delphi Center)
    • Share in-depth information about the department’s goals for going online
    • Assess readiness of department for going online
    • Outline the process for putting a program online
    • Explain the services provided by the Delphi Center for Teaching and Learning
      • Faculty development and training
      • Course development
      • Marketing
      • Prospective student inquiry management
    • Program launch planning
    • Discuss timeline
    • Set expectations
    • Determine next steps
  • Click to Show/HideStep 3: Course Development Planning Meeting (2 hour)

    Meeting Objectives: Assess the number of courses that need to be developed so that a realistic plan can be created to meet the launch date for the program.

    During the kick-off meeting, Delphi Center’s Teaching with Technology instructional design team and the department point person schedule a Course Development Planning Meeting. Aimee Greene, Manager of Instructional Design lead the instructional design team.

    Meeting Items:

    • Review Delphi’s course development services
    • Identify how many courses are already online and how many need to be developed
    • Discuss course format options – synchronous and/or asynchronous
    • Discuss course duration options – recommend 6 week courses for competitive advantage
    • Draft course development plan
    • Discuss Course Review/Delphi Certification quality review process
    • Do any existing online courses need to be reviewed for Delphi Certification?
    • Determine whether the faculty have been identified (to develop and teach the courses)
    • Discuss faculty training options
    • Identify faculty training next steps
  • Click to Show/HideStep 4: Focus Workshop: Diving into the Details (2-3 hours)

    Meeting Objectives: 1) Uncover as many details about the program as possible to determine action plan for program development; 2) Meet the OOL team and department team; 3) Set expectations for partnership.

    Another meeting? Yes! There is a lot to think about when putting a program online. The Office of Online Learning provides support in answering prospective student inquiries, promotes the program on our website and other directories, and manages paid advertising campaigns (if a dedicated marketing budget exists). To successfully do this, the team in OOL needs to know the nitty-gritty of the program.

    Prepping for the Workshop:

    The Office of Online Learning prepares for the meeting by sending a questionnaire to the department point person that captures everything we need to know to help launch the program. Example information captured includes target audience, benefits of the program, admission, practicum and graduation requirements, application and admissions processes, industry partnerships and organizations, and international student options. This is just to name a few.

    Once the department returns the questionnaire, OOL populates the New Online Program Checklist, which is used as the guide for discussion during the workshop.

  • Click to Show/HideStep 5: Marketing Planning (2 hours)

    OOL may recommend that the department invests in a marketing plan that includes paid advertisement. OOL considers various factors when making this recommendation, such as the need and demand for a program, the department’s resources for responding to prospective students, admission requirements and enrollment goals.

    Should both the department and the Delphi Center agree, OOL develops a marketing plan based on a budget that is reasonable for attaining the department’s program enrollment goals.

  • Click to Show/HideStep 6: To Launch, And Beyond

    Once the kick-off meetings have taken place and the initial data has been captured, the OOL team works with the department to establish a bi-weekly implementation meeting schedule. The teams can meet in-person or via phone (preferred) to walk through a structured items list of things that need to be accomplished in accordance to the categories from the New Online Program Checklist. The Teaching with Technology team joins to address course development and faculty training issues.

    After the program launch (first term start) OOL team and department team meet monthly to address ongoing course development, recruiting and advertising, prospective student follow up and other operational topics as needed.

Timing

Existing face-to-face programs typically take 9 – 12 months to put online, though each situation varies depending on the level of readiness within the college, number of existing courses already online, faculty experience teaching online, and other priorities within the unit.

New academic programs take approximately 18 – 24 months to put online, depending on the approval process duration. New online programs must follow the same approval process as campus programs.

General timelines to keep in mind:

  • 6 months = amount of time required by SACS for prospectus submission prior to launching a degree online (anytime a program’s curriculum goes 50% online)
  • 6 – 9 months = typical amount of time for new online course development
  • 9 – 12 months = typical amount of time for taking a new program to market
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