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Course and Program Design

Led by CETL’s learning experience designers, CETL design teams work with faculty and faculty administrators to create high-quality online courses and degree-credit programs. Often spanning multiple semesters, online course and program design projects require significant and sustained commitment from faculty and often draw upon the expertise of the full CETL team, including learning experience designers, multimedia developers, learning technologists, and learning analysts.

Although every engagement is different, check out the below tabs to see how a typical course construction project might unfold.

  1. Individual faculty or faculty teams secure buy-in from their department chair(s) as well as any needed college, university, USG, or professional accrediting body approvals.
  2. Faculty and their CETL design team discuss project aims and develop a high-level project plan that works for everyone. The project plan includes a timeline of qprogress milestones as well as possible graphic design, video, or animation needs; learning technology integrations; and learning analytics services.
  3. Faculty and design teams sign a memorandum of understanding, so that we’re all on the same page regarding the timeline, responsibilities, amount of work involved, ownership of digital educational materials, etc. 
  4. Faculty and the CETL design team set up regular weekly meetings.

  1. In conjunction with the CETL design team, faculty articulate how various components of the course fit together as well as how the course might relate to students’ academic pathways and career goals.
  2. To gather context, CETL learning experience designers review any available previous documentation related to the project, including past versions of the course, departmental webpages, course or program evaluations, and any other relevant data. When at all possible, CETL learning experience designers also host focus groups with students, interview faculty, and visit face-to-face versions of courses.
  3. Faculty and the CETL design team map curricula, including course goals and student learning outcomes. If faculty wish, CETL staff can map curricula using Coursetune, an online platform that facilitates easy curriculum and assessment sharing.
  4. Faculty share summative assessments that align with course goals and student learning outcomes, explaining how students’ mastery of learning outcomes can be observed. 
  5. Faculty and a CETL learning experience designer agree on initial course sequencing and how to explain to students the connections between and relevance of course components. CETL learning experience designers create the course outline in iCollege.
  6. The CETL learning experience designer refines the course development plan, outlining specific roles and responsibilities regarding content creation and assessment development.
  7. Faculty and the CETL design team agree on the flow for each module, including but not limited to preassessments and surveys; content; formative assessment; scheduled communications and automated, just-in-time responses triggered by learner engagement and performance data; summative assessment; and opportunities for student metacognition.

  1. Faculty and the CETL design team work to build out content modules, following universal design guidelines. If other faculty who aren’t a part of the design process will use this version of the course, we can build a companion teaching guide, if faculty wish.
  2. Faculty and the CETL design team create a Welcome Module that includes a deconstructed syllabus and roll verification activity.
  3. Early course communications are written and scheduled, including those that introduce the instructor(s), explain what the course is about and why it’s important, outline technology requirements, state special fees, etc.
  4. Learning technologists test any technology integrations, complete a final check of course accessibility, and prepare the course for launch.
  5. Pre-launch implementation training is offered for faculty, if necessary.

  1. Faculty and the CETL design team monitor student engagement and performance as well as student and faculty satisfaction. Where students are struggling, just-in-time interventions are created and built into the next iteration of the course.
  2. Ongoing implementation training is offered for faculty, if necessary.
  3. At the end of the pilot and iteration semester, CETL learning experience designers use the CETL Course Review Checklist to make recommendations for future iterations.


We prioritize course and program development projects coordinated through the Associate Provost for Online Strategies (APOS), so stay tuned to calls for proposals. However, other projects are often possible. If you are a GSU faculty member interested in learning more about working with a CETL design team to develop online learning experiences for your students, we’d love to hear what you have in mind. Just complete this form and we’ll be in touch.

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