Online Course Development

Please note, before you get started:

  • No course can be accepted until the proposed course is in the Registrar’s master course catalog, or has been fully approved by the University Curriculum Committee (UCC); however, this process can be taking place simultaneously
    • Distance education course development can take place while UCC new course approvals are being considered
    • Please include a copy of your UCC forms when you submit your development forms to us.
  • Existing Special Topics courses are permissible; however, note that just like their face-to-face counterparts, they can only be offered for a finite number of times under the SpTp designation.

Deadlines for Course Content Submission:

  • offered during the Spring term: August 15th
  • offered during the Summer term: January 15th
  • offered during the Fall term: May 15th

*If faculty are working to complete the course on their own, the due dates reflect when the course must be submitted for review. If faculty prefer a designer build the course, the course content in its entirety (discussion questions, test questions, assignment information, course Syllabus and schedule, etc.) is due by the above deadlines.

How Marshall handles all online course development proposals from faculty

The Distance Education Course Committee (DECC) handles all online course development proposals from faculty. This committee reviews new course proposals, conducts the review process for new courses, serves as the academic/administrative unit for online instruction, and works closely with the technical support staff to ensure that you get the help you need. The content of your course is entirely up to you; however, since we use Quality Matters rubric to review courses there are certain requirements of all distance education courses. We also require all faculty to: work with an instructional designer and have all content available before a designer can begin developing your course.

The experienced staff of our Instructional Design Center will be happy to arrange a one-on-one consultation for any topic related to online course development. From specific Blackboard tools to course management strategies to software tips, let us know how we can help.

Contact the Instructional Design Center at

How Online Courses are Evaluated

Completed courses content should be evaluated FIRST by your academic unit. This step can occur by whatever means the academic unit establishes and should focus on the course content. Second, your course will be evaluated by a peer review team from the Distance Education Course Committee. The team will evaluate your proposed course using the Quality Matters Higher Education Rubric.
Note: Instructional Design Staff regularly assist faculty in preparing courses according to the standards of the Quality Matters Higher Education Rubric to ensure that all required elements are present so that reviews can proceed smoothly.

The purpose of the evaluation, in part, is to assure a consistent level of quality in Marshall University online courses. This evaluation process was established because of the unusual level of institutional support associated with course development and because of the public presentation of these Marshall University courses worldwide via the Internet.

Members of the review panel are granted temporary access to your course under the student role for the sole purpose of viewing it using the QM rubric that concentrates on course design and alignment. Evaluation of course content is the responsibility of the academic unit.

The review process takes approximately two weeks. Members of the review panel send the results of their course review to the coordinator of DECC who compiles the review reports. You will then receive a summary recommendation from the coordinator based on these reports.

Ready to submit an application to develop a new online course? Access the Application for the Development of a New Online Course and begin!

Please direct questions or comments to Dr. Monica Brooks, V.P. of Libraries and Online Learning at 304-696-6474 or

The Course Development Process

  1. Faculty should first ensure the course Syllabus or course outline is available to send to a designer who will be working with you throughout the development process.
  2. Faculty should be aware of differences in face-to-face v. online pedagogy and be open to exploring new ways to engage students via interaction or trying new and varied assessments.
  3. Courses should mostly be available in chronological order for students in order to ensure that all course materials are located easily and consistently.
  4. Once you are ready to apply for a new online course, visit our Faculty Resources page to view all of the frequently-used faculty forms.
  5. We will return your application with the course application attached, as well as provide contact information and an overview of the course development process. Please feel free to contact to be paired with a designer who can work through your course development and help you prepare any materials you have available with your Syllabus and/or course outline.
  6. Once the entire course has been developed, you may contact Online Learning once more to request a review of your course.
  7. The course will be reviewed and approved, or returned with comments and suggestions if any key Quality Matters 3-point components are missing.
  8. Faculty who teach online are required to complete a Quality Matters course certification. Marshall pays for the tuition for these courses. To view any upcoming QM certifications, please visit the WV QM sign-up page.

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