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Online Course Development

All statewide online courses must be developed at least a semester before being offered following the process below. Course development funding is available for new online courses following the process below:

  1. The department head requests a course to be developed as online. Requests should be submitted at least a full semester before the course is offered to allow sufficient time for development.
  2. AIS will review the course request with the following considerations:
    • The course has been approved by the department head for online development and delivery.
    • The course is not currently offered online.
    • The course is part of a program designed for students anywhere. (e.g. not location specific)
    • The course fullfills requirements for an online program or general education.
    • The course has appeal to students at Statewide Campuses and/or Out-of-State.
  3. If approved, AIS will add the course to the online schedule and send a course development agreement to be signed by the Department Head, Instructor, AIS Vice President, and Instructional Designer.
  4. The assigned Instructional Designer will schedule an initial consultation with the instructor/developer and create a development timeline.
  5. The instructor begins course development, working with the assigned Instructional Designer. Course developments must be completed before the semester begins. All online courses must meet the USU Course Quality Standards
  6. Upon completion of the course development, the Instructional Designer signs the development agreement and funds are transferred to the home department or center.

How much time is involved?

To develop 1 credit hour of completed course content:

Traditional/Instructor-Led Training: (includes: lesson plan, handouts, workbooks, PowerPoint visuals) 
Instructor/Subject Expert = 20 hrs.
Instructional Designer = 5 hrs.
Total = 25 hrs.

E-Learning (Basic/Passive): (includes: content pages, some graphics, simple audio, simple video, simple test questions).
Instructor/Subject Expert = 25 hrs. 
Instructional Designer = 50 hrs. 
Total = 75 hrs.

E-Learning (Interactive/Complex): (includes: Basic E-Learning, interactive exercises, liberal use of audio/video/animations, complex assessments).
Instructor/Subject Expert = 50 hrs. 
Instructional Designer = 100 hrs. 
Total = 150 hrs.

Course Development Process

Development begins with a meeting between the course instructor/developer and the Instructional Designer. The Instructional Designer will help plan a development schedule, assist with the development, and define the technology or training necessary to complete the development. Instructor/developers should plan to spend 25 hours of development time per course credit for a full course development, or 12 hours per credit for redevelopment. Courses may be cancelled if the course development is not completed before the semester begins.


Once the course development is complete an Instrutional Designer will conduct a final review and sign-off on the course. AIS will then transfer course development funds to the associated department for payment processing. Transfer rates will be calculated using the current course development default transfer rates or the course development transfer rates as negotiated in a separate agreements (e.g. Memorandum of Understanding) with the department. Payments to instructors are processed by the home department and must follow ESC guidelines.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who owns the developed course? As per USU Policy 587 (reference 3.5 & 3.6) USU designates online course development as a Commissioned Work and as such acquires and retains title to all USU IP related to the online course as developed.  Decisions related to the use of the online course will be under the direction of the academic department to which the course is assigned.

Why does USU retain the title to the developed content? By retaining the content, departments can continue to offer courses after an instructor leaves or stops teaching a course. This is essential to providing consistency for online students who need specific courses to complete their online programs. Additionally, retaining content, allows a department to develop a course that can be re-assigned to other faculty as needed.

Can another instructor use the course I developed? The department may assign another instructor to use previously developed course content for a USU course. The instructor may adapt and personalize the content to fit their individual needs.

What happens to lecture recordings or media content I have developed? Decisions on the re-use of developed content (e-media and other recorded content) will be made by the academic department in consultation with the original content developer and new instructor. AIS will encourage new instructors to re-record any media containing an original instructor’s voice or image.

Can developers/instructors use the course content outside of USU? Once the course has been developed the developer/instructor may retain copies of the content to be used at another institution provided they receive permission from their academic department.

How often can a course be redeveloped? Online courses are eligible for course redevelopment funding from AIS every 3 years. Exceptions to this policy must be agreed to by the academic department and AIS. AIS will also provide support to new instructors who may wish to personalize previously designed online courses but not complete a full redevelopment.  Redeveloped courses go through the same process above and are subject to the same USU IP designation.

For additional questions concerning online course development, please contact Kevin Shanley, Director of E-Learning & System Support, or 797-8177.