Going Online? What you need to know


  • At UMaine, online courses are offered in collaboration with UMaineOnline staff to ensure the highest quality faculty and student services. This is a service provided to support the UMaine academic mission.
  • If you have an idea for an online course or want to develop an existing course in an online format, we are here to help.
  • Keep in mind that all new online courses and programs must go through the necessary academic approval processes.
    • Final Course Approval: New online courses, or existing courses being modified for an online format, will need to be submitted and reviewed by the appropriate local college (see your college policy on new courses) and then University governance groups.
    • Expedited Program Approval Option: New programs must be reviewed by the PCRRC. The PCRRC may expedite the review process for conversion from classroom to online/hybrid programs “where no significant curricular changes accompany that conversion,” as proposed by the academic units. When a proposal for conversion to an online program is considered for the expedited process, faculty will be notified, provided with a link to the proposal, and have two weeks to make comments to the PCRRC before it is considered for final approval by the PCRRC.

What next?

Be sure to contact UMaineOnline Instructional Designers for an initial consultation to assist with any questions, and take advantage of our services for online programming.

Syllabus Development – is especially important for online students

If you inherit a syllabus?

  • Work with your supervisor or curriculum coordinator to fine-tune the syllabus to reflect the realities of online teaching
  • If you are supposed to figure it out yourself, check with one of our instructional designers

There is not any one way to teach online. Take into account:

  • Your goals for the course
  • Your teaching style and how we can translate it for online delivery
  • The requirements of the curriculum. Is it writing-intensive?
  • Are there benchmarks for your program that you must present?
  • Are there assignments that require additional technology requirements?
  • Assignments and due dates (weekly, biweekly, monthly?)
  • Your schedule; when will you be online reviewing materials and grading activities in this course?
  • Student contact; how will your students be able to communicate with you regarding questions? (Email, forums, Skype, phone?)

The schedule of online courses typically follows the academic year calendar. If you plan on having a custom schedule, it will need to be approved in advance. Be mindful of breaks and holidays when scheduling online assessments.

When planning an online course it sometimes is easy to add too much content to the course. The University of Maine defines a Student Credit Hour in an undergraduate program as an expectation, on average, of approximately 45 clock hours of student academic engagement per credit hour per course. Student Academic Engagement in a course can take many forms including, but not limited to: class time, testing, reading, writing, studying, discussion group time, laboratory work, internships, practica, practicing, performing, or otherwise working on course content.

Be aware of some convenient services for faculty.

Based on 20 years of experience, the amount of time to develop an online course can have up to an approximate 3:1 ratio for traditional courses to be converted to an online format.

Copyright & Fair Use?

The TEACH Act (Technology Education and Copyright Harmonization Act) amended the copyright law by loosening the restrictions on using copyrighted works in distance education. The revised section 110(2) and added section 112 (f) of the U. S. Copyright Act allow educators to use certain copyrighted works in distance education without permission from the copyright owner and without copyright infringement. In order to benefit, educational institutions and faculty must adhere to the Act’s conditions and requirements. Consult this Teach Act Requirement Checklist when deciding if content can be used under this exception.

Universal Design