Getting Started with Online Education

Welcome to the Online Education Resource site! This site is designed to help you develop an online course that meets your teaching and learning objectives. There are many considerations when determining appropriate instructional technologies to support your pedagogical needs and many UCLA resources to help you identify which technologies are best for you. As a starting point, we suggest taking a moment to explore the various options available throughout the site for course design and production. If you are new to online education, begin with an overview of basic online education terminology. If you are a veteran online educator, consider taking a quick glance at the continually emerging literature on technology-based tools and techniques or course design

Getting Started: If you are ready to embark on a course or project, or would like more information on the process, please contact Professor Jan Reiff at the Provost's Online Teaching and Learning Initiative at Professor Reiff can help you identify human and financial resources available at the University to support you in course design, production, and offering, as well as walk you through the relevant University policies regarding online and digitally-enhanced courses.

Sample Courses: For those interested in designing an online or hybrid course, it can be very useful to learn from existing courses and collaborate with faculty who have experience in teaching an online course. Following are two sites that list existing online and hybrid courses, and many include syllabi, course descriptions, and video previews. Contact Professor Jan Reiff ( if you'd like to connect with a team of designers and/or the faculty who can give you a demonstration.

Faculty Interviews: Why Teach Online? UCLA Faculty discuss online course development

Areas of Focus and Consideration

As with planning a traditional course, there are numerous areas of focus for a department and faculty to consider when planning for online delivery, including:

1. Programmatic Focus

  • Goals and Motivation
    • How broadly are you considering: content, courses or entire online programs?
    • What are some of your motivations for producing online content/courses/programs?
  • Audience
    • Have you identified the audience, market segment or enrollment potential?
    • Is the potential market reinforced by local industry or other commercial support (i.e., will employers pay for employees to take the course or program)?
  • Identifying Course or Program Alignment
    • Lower division
    • Lower division GE course
    • Upper division
    • Certification
  • Course Approval Issues
    • Is this a new or an existing course?
    • Does it require Senate or EPC approval?
    • Are there implications for WASC or other accreditation agencies?
  • Credit-bearing
    • Credit-bearing
    • Non-credit bearing
  • Delivery Term
    • Summer-only
    • Regular academic year
    • Extension
  • Student Population
    • UCLA-only
    • UC-only
    • Non-matriculated students

2. Pedagogical Issues

  • Course Models and Formats
    • Fully-online
    • Hybrid
    • Flipped
  • Primary method of instruction (e.g., full-length video lectures)
  • Communication strategies (synchronous vs. asynchronous)
  • Assessment and testing modes
  • Academic integrity
  • Help desk (technical and instructional)
  • Course materials (media, textbooks, readers, intellectual property and copyright)

3. Administrative Issues

  • Student support
  • Accessibility
  • Intellectual Property, Copyright and Ownership

4. Technical

  • Course features (video, gaming simulations, etc.)
  • Platform needs (video conferencing tool, etc.)
  • Availability (geographically disperse audience; remote student bandwidth capabilities)

5. Investment

  • Production costs
  • Development resources

6. Ongoing Commitment

  • Dean or organizational leader
  • Department chair
  • Instructor of record
  • TA availability
  • Student support
    • Levels of support
    • Setting expectations
  • Counseling

7. Outreach

  • Market surveys and research
  • Promotion