Who We Serve

The Online Program Development and Support (OPDS) Office supports NIU faculty and instructors seeking to develop, launch and/or redevelop NIU programs and courses for online and/or blended instruction.  Its services are offered without cost to faculty and departments based on the available budget and the priority given to the program or course in assisting the University to reach its strategic goals.  Included in the services are customized faculty development in online instruction, instructional design and development of courses using research-validated approaches, promotion of the program to the intended audiences, participation in research on the student and instructor experience in the program or courses, and continual support for refinement and revision of the courses in subsequent offerings.

To allocate resources including budget and personnel in a planned way, OPDS has established an application process so that the Provost and the Vice President of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development can prioritize programs and courses in a timely way.  Part of the application for support is to provide data on the enrollment history and the potential audience for the program or course. Faculty are asked to work with their chairpersons and administrators to prepare the application and to obtain the relevant data.


Departments can also request services to be provided on a fee for service basis. This is particularly useful to meet specific targeted needs such as revision of a pre-existing and independently developed course or training of a new faculty member or instructor.  In other cases, departments with budgetary resources might contract for online course development separate from the prioritized list for OPDS budget allocations.