Online Courses

Online course characteristics and decision-making principles

Courses offered in an online modality:

  • Should be driven by each unit's online curricular plan
  • Should be curated by the College to monitor curricular and instructional effectiveness
  • Can include, but are not limited to, courses that:
    • Would allow students to complete minors and other smaller credentials
    • Provide a gateway into a department or program's curriculum
    • Allow students to complete degrees
    • Could be offered in special sessions (summer, 8-week, 3-week, pre-Fall)
    • Lend themselves to viable means of course assignment assessment
    • Help alleviate physical classroom space restrictions/problems
    • Allow us to be competitive in the marketplace

It should also be noted that the College will also grant rare exceptions to mounting courses outside the curriculum described in a unit's Online Curricular Plan when circumstances and timing demand it.

  1. IUB is a residential campus. Online courses must complement/enhance the residential IU experience. The default instructional mode for College courses is in-person.
  2. Any online courses must be part of a clear curricular plan composed and overseen by its sponsoring department/program. Units decide which courses should be proposed in online modalities.
  3. No online course can be overly dependent on a single instructor to offer it. Units must have contingency teaching plans in place to take over any online/hybrid course in which an instructor might be recused due to scheduling conflicts, sabbaticals, research leaves, illness or some other circumstance.
  4. Online courses must be vetted by a faculty-led Board of Review at the College-level for soundness of the pedagogical design.
  5. Online courses must be designed with well-elaborated, clearly-articulated mechanisms for substantive interaction between instructors and students.
  6. Online courses must be able to meet the same learning outcomes and require equivalent intensity of student engagement as their in-person counterparts.
  7. Units must offer their online courses in such a way as they are reliably accessible to their students. They need to be offered regularly and with proper technological affordances, including secure and accurate methods of assessment.
  8. Online courses must be properly resourced for successful delivery by the unit, the College, or another sponsoring entity.
  9. Any course delivered online by a primary rival institution is a priority candidate to be offered in an online format by the College.
  10. With few and carefully considered exceptions, three- and four-credit-hour online courses taught during the fall and spring semesters (including 8-week sessions) should count toward the instructional faculty's teaching load.

Deadlines for AY 23-24 plans and courses

We will be completing the planning and review process is phases for Academic Year 23-24.

January 31, 2022

Undergraduate online curricular plan 

Units intending to offer undergraduate online courses during Academic Year 23-24 must submit a plan. These plans are to be approved by the unit's curriculum/planning committee before they are submitted to the College.
September 16, 2022

Undergraduate online course proposals—Courses intended to be taught Fall 2023 in an online mode

Any course (or topic of a variable title course) that a unit intends to teach in an online mode during Fall 2023 must be submitted for vetting by the College. Includes courses previously offered online. 
January 27, 2023

Undergraduate online course proposals—Courses intended to be taught Spring 2024 in an online mode

Any course (or topic of a variable title course) that a unit intends to teach in an online mode during Spring 2024 must be submitted for vetting by the College. Includes courses previously offered online unless course was approved as part of the Fall 2023 review.

Online curricular plan

Units wishing to offer online courses in Fall 2023 must submit an Online Curricular Plan to the College's Office of Undergraduate Curriculum, Policy, and Records by January 31, 2022. These plans should be approved by the appropriate curricular/planning committees in each unit before they are submitted to the College.

The College recognizes that these initial plans may, by necessity, evolve. The College also recognizes that there is a wide variance in the resources and curricular requirements among its many departments and programs, and those variances will be taken into account as courses are considered for any given academic year's course offerings. 

The Undergraduate Online Curricular Plan should be roughly five pages in length and must include:

  1. A list of undergraduate courses you wish to offer in an online modality (including online asynchronous, synchronous, or hybrid courses where part of the instruction is provided online) in the future. Each course should be linked to a course representative, who has online pedagogical expertise and can answer questions about the course's design. Units should be mindful if they have the instructional and other resources to offer these courses.
  2. A curricular rationale for each specific course the unit wishes to offer in an online modality after Spring 2023.

Online course proposals

All undergraduate online courses must undergo review by the Undergraduate Online Course Review Committee (UOCRC), a special committee that reports to the College's Committee for Undergraduate Education. The UOCRC will first focus its efforts on undergraduate online courses that will be taught during AY23-24. The deadline for submitting proposals for online courses to be offered in Fall 2023 is September 16, 2022, and the deadline for courses to be offered in Spring 2024 is January 27, 2023. Proposals should be submitted via the Online Course Plans + Proposals App.

  1. Unit administrators are responsible for completing and submitting an online form for each course.
  2. Proposals should align with the proposing unit's Undergraduate Online Curricular Plan.

The following are the questions that unit administrators will be asked to answer when completing the online courses proposal form.

  1. Intended offering details
    1. When will this course be next be taught online?
    2. Indicate the online mode you are proposing.
    3. Class meeting type.
    4. Course modality rationale. Explain the rationale for the course modality choice now and how this new modality meets the curricular needs of your unit as outlined in your unit's Online Curricular Plan.
    5. Role in curriculum. What role does the course play in the curriculum for your unit?
    6. Online frequency. Indicated whether you plan to offer all future iterations of this course as indicated above.
  2. Learning goals
    1. Learning outcomes. List the learning outcomes of the course
    2. Comparison to face-to-face version. How does this course's learning outcomes relate or compare to the face-to-face versions of this course? Please explain any notable differences and/or assessment changes.
    3. Assessing effectiveness. How will the department/program assess the effectiveness of the course? Who will do this assessment and when?
  3. Instructor information
    1. Potential faculty. Who are the potential instructors for the course?
    2. Oversight of instructional assistants. If appropriate, what training and supervision will lead instructors offer discussion section leaders in this course?
  4. Design features
    1. Class design. Briefly summarize how the course's intended design will support students achieving the course’s learning outcomes.
    2. CITL support. Was the online version developed in consultation with either CITL or a trained instructional designer?
    3. Quality Matters. Does the most recent version of the online course meet Quality Matters principles (or similar quality instructional principles determined within the department/program)?
  5. Student considerations
    1. Unit contact (non-instructor). Who in the unit will--besides the instructor--will be available to assist students with questions and concerns about the course and its delivery?
    2. What steps are going to be taken to ensure equitable access to the course and its materials to students?
    3. Learning support. What is the department's plan for providing student support during the course to ensure completion and success?
  6. Supporting documents
    1. Please provide the syllabus for the course.
    2. Course evaluations (online sections). If the course has been previously taught online for the department/program, please include student evaluations of the course and indicate how the course has been revised to address any concerns raised by these evaluations.

Frequently asked questions

Generally speaking, as long as the course is deemed by the UOCRC to meet the College's standards for online courses and the course does not require additional investment in resources, the course will be permitted to continue in an online mode.

Not necessarily. While we envision most courses will adhere to all the principles, there is room for courses to be approved that do not align with all of them. In adjudicating these, the UOCRC will examine the rationale provided in the course proposal and the unit's Online Curricular Plan. 

We understand that it can be difficult to plan ahead--especially when you cannot predict personnel changes. Please do the best you can in designing your Online Curricular Plans and feel free to include notes, as appropriate, to indicate your ideal scenarios and contingency plans.