FAQ | Course Development and Support

Course Development and Support FAQ

The Online Education courses at IU South Bend that are funded by the Center for Online Education are usually courses that have high demand, high enrollment, general education, core courses, or elective courses. The course development grant proposals are reviewed by the Distance Education Review Committee. Spring 2008 marked the offering of three inaugural courses under the Distance Education Initiative.

Online Education courses at IU South Bend are offered completely online, distance, or hybrid using several synchronous and asynchronous computer-based delivery systems. Faculty members may offer their courses using a combination of the following systems:

  • IU's course management system Canvas
  • audio recordings of Powerpoint presentations
  • podcasts and/or vodcasts
  • video streaming
  • Adobe Connect

Each semester, faculty are encourages to apply for funding to develop an online course and more information can be found at https://www.iusb.edu/distance-learning/for-faculty/grants.php Faculty members are encouraged to discuss their plans with their department chairs. A stipend is awarded to faculty members who will then work closely with a Center for Online Education staff. The Center for Online Education will be offering Q&A sessions to coincide with the proposal submission deadline. For additional information, interested parties may request a meeting with the Center for Online Education Director or Online Education and Technology Specialist.

The application form asks for a clear description of the online course, including what technological tools will be used to develop and deliver the course. A syllabus should be included. Several signatures are required in the application form: the faculty member developing the course, the department chair or director, and the school dean.

All applications will be reviewed by the Online Education Review Committee. After the committee has deliberated and selected the faculty awardees, each faculty member will meet with a sub-group to discuss his/her plans and expectations for the course. A development plan will be created and a formal agreement will be initiated. The plan will highlight the scope of work, the kinds of technological tools that will be used (including who will be assisting the faculty and in what capacity), and a development timeline. The formal agreement will be signed by the faculty member, the Department Chair or Director, the School Dean, and the Director of the Center for Online Education. The developer will receive half of the stipend after the formal agreement is signed and the other half once the course development is complete. All successful applicants will be required to attend the Online Education Seminar which is a combination of face-to-face sessions as well as online activities and interactions. Faculty members who have already attended a similar training may not be required to attend the seminar.

The amount of time needed to develop an online course is similar to the development of any 3 credit course. If it is a course that you already teach, most of what you need is already prepared. The only additional component is actually deciding how to use your material in an online format. We have support available to help you adapt the course content to online delivery. This is a great opportunity to learn new computer skills with personal instruction.

Yes, you can use this money to revise an existing online course as long as a substantial revision of the existing online course is being requested with the support of this grant.

Online education may fit some course content and teaching styles more smoothly than others. Online education may be more challenging for highly interactive, hands-on teaching and learning, such as in science labs in contrast to traditional lectures. However, online education has been applied in creative ways to conduct, for example, online testing and group discussions. We encourage you to find out how others (by contacting one of the peer mentors) within your discipline or across the university are applying online education in their teaching. You may also want to discuss your pedagogy and practice with the Center for Online Education staff.

One of President McRobbie's educational priorities is to increase online education programs throughout Indiana University. At IU South Bend, our goal is to make education as accessible as possible. Online education courses make it possible for rural residents to complete some of their course work from home without a long drive to campus. It also makes education much more available to students with disabilities, working students, and students with family obligations. In addition, students who are taking face-to-face classes often take some courses online that they can complete from home or from residence halls. Students can reduce commuting time while completing their degrees efficiently. The development of more online courses will assist the university in meeting its retention and graduation goals by making classes flexible and more widely available. Today's students are requesting for online courses, and we want to offer them several opportunities to realize their academic pursuits.

Staff from Information Technologies (IT), Instructional Media Servies (IMS), and Center for Online Education provide various kinds of support. Center staff offer both pedagogical and technological support to faculty awardees and works closely with IT and IMS. The faculty workroom in NS 235 has some of the latest hardware and software (such as Camtasia) that allows a faculty member to record their voices with their Powerpoint presentations. These recordings can be uploaded as a resource within Canvas. Center staff will help faculty design their courses using several technological tools, including the different features of Canvas, and develop other web-based materials. IMS has digital cameras and camcorders available. IMS assists in the recording of podcasts and vodcasts, and other kinds of video and audio recordings. IT assists with streaming video presentations produced by faculty through IMS or acquired with permission from publishers. Faculty can also use Adobe Connect to hold synchronous online classes, with the capability to archive these classes for later viewing by students who were either absent from class or seek a review. Other emerging technologies are under review.

Stipends have been established to support the development of new courses. The intent of the financial incentive is to motivate the development and implementation of new courses for our distance learning offerings. Therefore, those who are developing new courses, or who are significantly revising existing courses (to reach more students, to explore new or emerging technologies, or to significantly revise the pedagogical approach) should consider how this funding might support their work.

Similar to any salary paid to faculty, stipends are processed as direct deposits. In this case, the award is made in two installments: half after you've completed the development seminar, and half two weeks into the semester that the course is offered. Alternatively, faculty members receiving a stipend may request a departmental budget account be established to hold the funding. If this approach is chosen, the entire amount is added to the account when it is established. The account must be kept separate from other departmental accounts, and the funding must be used expressly for development and implementation of the distance learning course for which the award was made.

As stated above, the funds cannot be added to an account established for another purpose. It is expected that these funds will be dedicated to developing the online course.

As long as the department can show that the funds were spent as a means to support the development and/or implementation of the online course, then yes, the department can do these things. Keep in mind that if your department seeks any additional stipends, the review committee will seek an accounting of how previous stipends were spent. Such data will be expected to be included in the new application.

Collaboration on course development is encouraged. Just like any other team-teaching endeavor, the members of the team will be responsible for establishing guidelines for distribution of the funds.