Development of four courses for online delivery was recently funded through the Institute for Distance and Distributed Learning’s Provost Course Development Fund. This fund provides financial support to develop new online courses, or to considerably remodel or revitalize an existing course.

Development of online versions of the four courses taught in the 2012-13 academic year includes

Applications for funding for online course development are currently being accepted through Nov. 15. Course development will take place during the spring 2013 semester, and then be delivered for the following summer or fall semesters. The funding schedule and application materials are available on the institute's website.

Awarding of funds for online course development is determined after the evaluation of a grant application submitted by faculty and endorsed by the program and department head.  The application is reviewed for approval and priority for funding is given to those courses that are a part of or in the process of applying to the university’s Enterprise Fund program. Second priority is given to developing online undergraduate Curriculum for Liberal Education courses and online upper-division courses required for any given major or minor.

Priority is also given to courses in underrepresented departments, service classes, classes with large enrollments, and classes with lab components. When those priorities have been satisfied, support will be given to the development of undergraduate general electives. Additionally, the course must also be offered a minimum of three times over the next three years in order for funding to be granted.

“To be considered for funding, applications must meet criteria that are designed to optimize return on the investment of funds, time, and energy, to assure quality in the design for online instruction, and to support and assist faculty to be successful in online teaching,” says Lujean Baab, assistant director of instructional design, development, and support for the Institute for Distance and Distributed Learning.

Additionally, faculty members who are awarded funding agree to work with instructional designers from the institute in a process supported by professional development and culminating in a quality assurance peer-review and departmental review for approval.

The Institute for Distance and Distributed Learning, a unit within the Division of Undergraduate Education, advocates, empowers, and validates the distance learning activities at Virginia Tech. Through these efforts, the university extends its campus to communities throughout the world and provides an open campus environment that allows students to opportunity to learn anytime, anyplace, while simultaneously gaining access to the world and the world gaining access to them.

Written by Astleigh Hobbs of Pearisburg, Va., a senior majoring in psychology and English in the Colleges of Science and Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.