Online Course Development Policy, 5/1/08

Online Course Development Policy and Process ___________________________

Version 1.2

1 May 2008

I. Overview


The Online Course Development Policy and Process is part of a comprehensive faculty support, professional development, and online course quality system designed to support Continuing Education's mission and commitment to educational leadership through quality, innovative outreach programs that serve the lifelong learning needs of the citizens of Montana and beyond. Inherent in this commitment to quality programs is a responsibility to support, in a systematic fashion, the professional development needs of faculty relative to online teaching and learning.[1]


II. Scope and Purpose of this Document

  1. This document is designed to specify online course development or redevelopment, intellectual property arrangements, and relevant support for faculty at the University of Montana, Missoula.
  1. This policy and process supersedes all practices that may have applied to this matter.
  1. We recommend that this approach go into effect at the beginning of the Summer 2008 term. All development projects that start after that point-for courses that will be offered for the first time Fall 2008 and beyond--will follow the process outlined here.
  1. This is not a document prescribing the process by which new courses are added to the UM catalog. This only covers courses that have already been approved for inclusion in the UM catalog and in most cases have already been taught on campus.

III. Definitions


  1. Online learning includes the transmission and exchange via the Internet of any outcomes-based learning and instructional material to an audience that is physically separated from the source of the instruction. Online learning is typically assumed to be asynchronous, but that is not exclusively so.
  1. Online courses are those courses delivered wholly online with little or no location requirements. Online programs constitute full degree or certificate programs delivered with little or no campus-based requirements.
  1. Blended (or Hybrid) learning typically refers to the intentionally designed combination of face-to-face and Internet-mediated learning, although it could refer to a blending of other modalities (such as interactive TV and online). This can apply to courses or programs.


IV. Course Development Support


  1. Technical Support

UMOnline will provide training and technical support for all online and blended course developers. This takes the form of face-to-face workshops, web-conferencing sessions, one-on-one training sessions, online resources, such as an online course for online developers, and the like.

  1. Instructional Design Support

UMOnline will also provide comprehensive instructional design leadership and consultation services for online course developers, using a variety of methods: one-on-one consultation, small-group workshops, an online course for online developers, web conferences, a UMOnline blog, facilitation of Community of Practice groups, and email and phone support.

  1. Direct Development Stipends


We recommend that unless the department or academic unit is covering the cost of course development for the faculty member, UMOnline will provide a stipend accordingly:

    1. Faculty course developers will be offered a $500 per credit hour stipend for online courses, payable at the completion of the development process. (See Section VII for expectations re: the course development process.)
    1. Blended (hybrid) courses will be prorated to the number of credit hours offered online.
    1. Faculty developers will not need to apply for these monies. They will receive this stipend by virtue of their course development proposal being accepted.


  1. Grants


    1. Additionally, up to $1500 per course developer per term may be available to support the development of quality online courses and provide professional development support in the area of online course design and instruction, such as:
  • Attending a relevant online or face-to-face workshop or conference.
  • Purchase of ancillary materials associated with the online course (rock-kits for a geology course, for example).
  • Purchase of additional software or hardware for the instructor relevant to the online course (a web-cam for a course using limited synchronous sessions, such as online office hours, even a laptop computer.)
  • Participation in a Community of Practice group with a small group of colleagues for the purpose of collaborating to inform practice relative to online teaching and learning. The outcome of the group's work could include revised instructional practices, development of authentic assessments, a completed research project, etc.
  • Membership dues in a relevant organization, or subscriptions to relevant publications.
    1. To apply for grant funding, an instructor would complete a simple proposal that expresses the need for the funds and the direct value to the course or indirect value of improving the instructor's capabilities in online course design and delivery. An instructor could apply for funds up to two times per year, in association with course development projects.[2]
  1. When multiple individuals work on a course development project, the stipend will be shared, though each will be entitled to apply for grant funds individually.


V. Course Redevelopment Support


From time to time, it may be necessary to significantly update an online course. Unless otherwise covered by the academic unit, UMOnline will provide modest financial remuneration for the course redeveloper, in addition to instructional design and technical support, as specified.  Course redevelopment stipends will only be considered for significant redevelopment efforts on courses originally developed by someone else. Updating and redevelopment of one's own course is considered typical academic procedure and is not subject to financial compensation.

  1. Stipends for redevelopment will vary based on the degree of updating needed, but can go up to $250 per online credit hour. The assessment of the appropriate stipend will be based on the joint analysis of the UMOnline Instructional Designer and the faculty member who is proposing to redevelop the course, prior to the initiation of the project. The extent to which the course needs re-development to adhere to the Principles of Quality for Online Courses document will be a major consideration. The Director of UMOnline will make the final decision as to what to offer the faculty member for redevelopment.
  1. Additionally, course redevelopment entitles the faculty member to apply for grant funding to support his or her online course development and teaching efforts.
  1. When multiple individuals work on a redevelopment project, the stipend will be shared, though each will be entitled to apply for grant funds individually.


VI. Intellectual Property

All online courses developed for delivery as a University of Montana course are subject to the policies found in Section 14.100 and 14.260 of The University of Montana-University Faculty Association collective bargaining agreement as well as Montana Board of Regents Policy 303.7.

To wit:

  1. The course and all work produced in connection with the course, including student tuition derived from the course, are the sole property of The University of Montana-Missoula (UM-M). 
  1. With regard to teaching the course, the faculty member authoring the course will have a first right of refusal; however following this refusal, the University may hire another qualified instructor to teach the course.
  1. If the course is "sold" for use by another institution, the faculty member will receive fifty (50) percent of all non-UM-M source revenues derived from the course, less actual UM-M course preparation and other related costs.

For purposes of this Agreement, non-UM source revenues derived from the course shall exclude all UM student tuition and fee revenues and UM course preparation and other course costs.  The latter shall include, but not be limited to (i) the $500/credit course design and development fee subject to this Agreement: (ii) all course materials paid for by the University.

  1. If more than one faculty member participates in the design of any course, the percentage of that participation must be designated in writing prior to signing the agreement. Course development support and any non-UM-M source revenue will be divided among faculty members according to the stated percentage of participation.

VII. Process Overview


Departments or individual faculty members (with department approval) may propose new online courses for development. Courses that align with planned online programs and/or with a high-demand (fulfilling a general education requirement) will be given priority over courses unassociated with any online program and/or with a low probability of filling.

  1. The faculty member (course developer) submits proposal for online course.
  2. Department Chair, Academic Dean, and Director of UMOnline review and approve proposal.
  3. Course developer is sent confirmation of approval and MOU specifying expectations for the development project, copyright sign-off, and stipend amount
  4. Course developer becomes part of the Course Development Cohort for that term, and works with UMOnline Instructional Designer and other course developers through the development process, including a peer-based quality review process.
  5. Prior to the course going live, the course is reviewed by the Instructional Designer and (if desired) by the department chair.
  6. The development stipend is released to the course developer.
  7. Course is made available by the course developer/instructor at least five days before the start of the term.

[1] This proposal is one part of a multi-tiered strategy to achieve Goal 1 in the UMOnline Strategic Plan: Substantially modify and improve the online faculty professional development and training support program to ensure high-quality course design, instructor preparedness, and learner engagement.

[2]  The proposal process would be replaced with an application process for the "Certificate" option, which is part of a multi-year faculty support plan, which is currently in development.