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Want to Develop an Online Course?

Welcome to NIU eLearning Services support of online course development. NIU eLearning support services include instructional design, multimedia development, audio and video encoding, audio transcription, illustration and graphic design, video production, and quality review. eLearning Services supports the course as long as it is offered online.


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Faculty and instructors interested in developing an online course that is not part of an already approved online program may apply for support from the Office of Online Program Development and Support (OPDS).  Decisions for financial support of online course development are based on projected course demand, eLearning Services capacity, and the budget allocation to the OPDS.  To qualify for consideration of support, the online course must meet certain criteria:

  1. The College agrees the course will be listed as off-campus/online.
  2. The course must have an average enrollment of 20 or more students per offering.
  3. Faculty and instructors must offer the course through Blackboard.
  4. Faculty and instructors need to agree to deliver their course content on schedule to the instructional design team to facilitate a timely development process.  
  5. Online courses developed with NIU eLearning support are expected to adhere to Quality MattersTM standards (
Click here to download an application to develop an online course.

Course Timeline Expectations

Quality online course development is a time-intensive process and requires 4-6 months. For this reason an 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 or instructor, will adhere to an agreed-upon development schedule.

Quality MattersTM at NIU

The University has adopted quality standards for online courses and programs. In 2014 NIU became a Quality MattersTM member, joining 17 other higher educations institutions in Illinois and more than 700 worldwide. NIU eLearning along with OPDS and the Office of the Provost provides support to faculty and instructors in the development and/or redevelopment of online courses and programs to reflect the best practices reflected in current research.

Faculty working with eLearning will be provided a toolset that includes: a license of Adobe Presenter, a headset for teaching through webinar technology such as Adobe Connect or Blackboard Collaborate, and the ability to order high quality royalty free graphics and photos for use in online courses.

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Our Instructional Design Model

We use the ADDIE instructional design model to develop online courses and products at NIU. ADDIE stands for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation.

  • Analysis - An instructional designer (ID) is assigned to meet with the faculty member or instructor - we will refer to this person(s) as the Subject Matter Expert (SME) from now on – assigned to the course to go over the course syllabus and current teaching practices, and begin development of a design document and development schedule.
  • Design - The ID will then work with the eLearning team to develop a prototype for the SME to approve before moving forward with development..
  • Development - Once the prototype has been approved by the SME the ID will coordinate the development of the rest of the online course.
  • Implementation - The course is uploaded to Blackboard and tested by our quality review team and the course goes live. The ID is available to support the SME during this stage. Courses that meet the qualifications are awarded the NIU badge of quality.
  • Evaluation - At the end of the first course offering we ask our SME to provide the students with a survey to obtain feedback on the course design and we begin modification if needed. 

For more information on developing an online course, please contact Aline Click at

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Want to Develop an Online Program?

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 Office of Online Program Development and Support.

Click here to learn more about the benefits of developing your online program with the Office of Online Program Development and Support.

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