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Looking to Develop an Online Program?

Application for Support to Create an Online Program at NIU

Departments interested in developing an online program (e.g. a major, a baccalaureate completion program, a certificate and/or a graduate degree or certificate) may apply for support from the Online Program Development and Support (OPDS) Office.  Such support may include:

  • Instructional and graphic design will be coordinated between the department and NIU eLearning Services to build a coherent program brand and style.
  • Instructional design and development will be provided by eLearning Services to build quality courses, following the Quality MattersTM rubric.
  • Customized training in online pedagogy and Blackboard procedures will be provided by Faculty Development.
  • Promotion of the program to the targeted audience by the Outreach Promotion team in Outreach, Engagement, and Regional Development. Promotion includes customized email campaigns to assess prospects for the program and to encourage application of those prospective students meeting the program’s criteria. 

To be awarded these support services the online program must meet certain criteria:

  1. The College agrees the courses will be listed as off-campus/online.
  2. The program has a history of average enrollments of 20 or more students per offering over the past three years.
  3. Faculty and instructors will offer the courses through Blackboard.
  4. Faculty and instructors attend customized training from Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center.
  5. Faculty and instructors agree to deliver their course content on schedule to facilitate a timely development process.  The administrator who cosigns this application will be provided a monthly progress report.

For more details on how to apply to develop an online program, email

Course Timeline Expectations

Online course development is a time intensive process and requires 4-6 months to produce a quality course. For this reason course applications must be submitted to the Office of Online Program Development and Support by December 1 for consideration for a course to be offered in the following summer/fall sessions; and May 1 for a course to be offered in the following spring semester.  If the application is accepted, the development team, including the faculty, will adhere to an agreed-upon development schedule.

Development Services for Accepted Courses

eLearning Services will provide approximately 200 hours of support unless arrangements for additional time are negotiated. Support services include instructional design, multimedia development, audio and video encoding, audio transcription, illustration and graphic design, and quality assurance testing. Online courses developed through eLearning support are expected to adhere to Quality MattersTM standards ( eLearning Services will then support the courses as long as it is offered online/off-campus. 

Once an application has been accepted the Online Program Development and Support team will meet with your faculty to discuss the services we will provide to develop, train, and promote your program. In addition each faculty developer will need to fill out an agreement to work with eLearning Services to develop a quality courses on schedule. Click here to download that agreement.

For more information on developing an online course, please contact the Online Program Development and Support Office -

Customized Training

Faculty and instructors of the course will agree to take the Online Teaching/Development Readiness Self-Assessment survey developed by Faculty Development so that a customized training plan can be developed to fit your department’s needs.  Training for faculty course developers may include a 6-week online course with the outcome being materials ready to be submitted to eLearning for course development.