Emory College Online - Course Development Process

Emory College Online courses allow Emory undergraduates, as well as transient students, to make degree progress by completing rigorous Emory College undergraduate courses, regardless of the student's physical location. 

Permanent Emory College faculty members may apply to develop an Emory College Online course.  Selected faculty members are given the opportunity to engage in a structured and highly supported course development process.

Emory College faculty have developed a range of courses across all disciplines to be offered online.  Most Emory College Online (ECO) courses are offered during the summer term, though departments may also choose to deploy online courses during the fall or spring term.  The typical ECO student is a matriculated Emory undergraduate, although some visiting students do enroll.  Emory College Online courses are academically rigorous online versions of regular Emory College courses. 

Emory College Online courses have a strong virtual component with approximately one half of the contact time occurring during regularly-scheduled synchronous sessions (meaning that all students and the instructor log on to the course together through a virtual meeting platform).  The remainder of the course content is presented asynchronously (meaning that students access the material on their own, within a given time range).  Online courses at Emory run within the regular terms (fall, spring, or summer) and follow all standard Emory College academic policies and procedures.  Each course has an enrollment cap of 20-22 students in order to encourage high student engagement. 

Over 45 different ECO courses have been developed in the past 5 years. (Click here to open a list of Emory College online courses and faculty developers.) Demand for online courses is strong, and enrollment in online courses makes up 30-40% of the total summer enrollments at Emory College.  That percentage is expected to continue to grow, giving both students and faculty increased flexibility in the summer.  Student outcomes and course evaluations indicate that online courses compare favorably with Emory's face to face offerings.

All Emory College permanent faculty members are eligible to apply to develop an online course.  Faculty receive course development funds and enroll in a year-long structured course development process, during which a faculty cohort completes the eight-week Emory College Online Teaching Strategies (ECOTS) online course during the summer.  The ECOTS course is followed by regular monthly (virtual) meetings of the faculty cohort during which they discuss their course development process and progress.  Instructional designers are available to support and guide faculty through the course development and continuous improvement process. 

For more information about the development process, please see this infographic.   

A call for course proposals is generally issued in February of each year and the ECOTS course is offered every summer, but we are happy to consult with faculty about the process at any point. We are currently accepting proposals for online courses to be developed in 2019-2020 and taught for the first time in summer 2020.  We are accepting faculty proposals using the course development proposal form through March 22, 2019. 

Q: When did Emory College Online begin?

A: The program began in 2015. It started with six courses in that first summer.

Q: How many courses are offered as of 2019?

A: In summer 2019, 48 courses will be offered online.

Q: Are Emory College Online courses MOOCs?

A: No. Emory College Online courses are small, rigorous Emory College courses with a high percentage of synchronous contact (times when all students and the instructor meet together online using a web conferencing tool).  The synchronous sessions and small class sizes promote a high level of student engagement and accountability.  The courses are all part of the approved Emory College catalog, and Emory College academic policies and Honor Code apply. Students pay regular Emory College tuition, and faculty are compensated at their standard rates.  ECO courses are simply Emory College courses taught in an online classroom. 

Q: What is the format of an Emory College Online class?

A: Online classes fall within the regular academic terms (fall, spring, summer). Most online classes are offered during the the first or second six-week summer session, though some are also offered during the fall or spring semesters. All courses are hosted within Canvas. Faculty and students meet synchronously for three to four hours weekly (during summer terms) using a web conferencing technology (Zoom) to engage in learning activities; other course content is delivered asynchronously (i.e. students access the content independently). Students also work independently on reading, researching, writing and other types of assessments. The set amounts of synchronous and asynchronous contact time are derived from SAACs standards and have been approved by the Curriculum Committee. 

Q: What types of courses are well-suited to offer online?

A: Emory College is most interested in developing online courses that:

  • Fulfill a General Education Requirement (GER)
  • Fulfill a Writing Requirement (WR)
  • Are current high-demand or over-subscribed courses
  • Are required courses within majors
  • Are courses that will appeal to students with sophomore, junior, and senior standing

Q: How are faculty selected to develop online courses?

A: In February of each year, we put a call out for proposals to teach online for the following summer. If accepted, each faculty member is required to complete an 8-week online course, Emory College Online Teaching Strategies (ECOTS), during the summer in which they are accepted to the program. The course familiarizes faculty with both the technology used in Emory College Online courses and the best practices in course development and online pedagogy.  ECOTS enables faculty to get a jump start on the creation of their approved online course. Faculty then complete the development of their course during the fall and spring semesters, with support from our instructional designers as needed.

Q: How many students are in each course?

A: We cap course enrollment between 20-22 students to allow for a strong connection between faculty and learners.

Q: How much time is required to develop an online course?

A:  The design and development phase begins with the ECOTS course, which runs during June and July.  During the course, faculty report spending about 10 hours/week on online course development.  The amount of time spent on course development from August-April is dependent on the faculty member.  One hour topical workshops are held monthly for faculty who plan to teach online.

Q: How much time is required to teach an online course?

A: It is likely that a faculty member will spend about 15-20 hours per week teaching an online class. This will consist of synchronous session prep, grading, and other types of facilitation tasks.

Q: Do faculty members need to have previous online teaching/learning experience?

A: No, most faculty who have developed online courses have no prior experience with online education.  The ECOTS course and workshops are designed to give you all of the information you need, and we have a team of instructional designers available to assist you. 

Q: Do faculty teaching online courses need to be in Atlanta throughout the duration of the course?

A: Not necessarily.  As long as faculty members have a strong, reliable Internet connection and the appropriate time available to devote to the course, they may participate in the ECOTS training and teach the Emory College Online course from Atlanta or elsewhere. 

Q: What is the teaching commitment if I am selected to develop an online course?

A: Faculty commit to teaching their ECO course at least twice, including during the first summer following development of the course.  Most faculty find that, once developed, they enjoy teaching the course repeatedly. Like all courses, faculty should expect to refresh their online course content at least every 3 to 5 years. 

Q: What are other benefits of developing an online course?

A: In addition to the flexibility afforded to faculty by teaching online during the summer, faculty report that they enjoy the process of considering their course material from a new perspective.  Many faculty have integrated the online content that they have developed into their face-to-face classes as well, as a supplement to their other material and/or to "flip" their classroom. In addition to course development funds, faculty compensation for teaching online courses is commiserate with that of teaching a face-to-face course. 

In addition to training and supporting ECAS faculty through the online course design process, the Emory College Learning Design Group partners with departments, programs, and faculty to offer the following types of learning design consultations:

  • Design or Redesign high impact programs or courses (course/curricular design and alignment, standards-based assessment, implementation plan and support)
  • Develop Interactive and engaging digital content
    • Major topics in core courses
    • Content that needs to be presented to many different audiences repeatedly
    • Content that doesn't change frequently
  • Facilitate custom course design trainings and workshops to support and promote best practices in teaching at Emory College

Our instructional designers have been involved with a number of high impact projects within Emory College (Chemistry Unbound curriculum implementation, HLTH 100 interactive digital content development, Study Abroad interactive online pre-departure orientations, etc.). We are happy to speak to interested departments, programs, and faculty about how we may be involved with your projects and initiatives.  We will schedule an initial meeting to discuss your goals, the design process, scope, and timeline. 

Sara Jackson Wade Leah Chuchran Liesl Wuest
Senior Associate Director Educational Analyst Educational Analyst
sejacks@emory.edu leah.chuchran@emory.edu liesl.wuest@emory.edu
(404) 727-3301 (404) 727-2415



We encourage Emory College faculty to take advantage of other excellent teaching, learning and technology resources and experts available at Emory:

The Center for Faculty Development and Excellence (CFDE): The CFDE supports Emory University faculty across all units in the areas of face-to-face and online teaching, research, community engaged learning, and professional development through consultations, workshops, and other opportunities.

Emory Center for Digital Scholarship (ECDS): ECDS works with faculty, students, and staff from across the university to provide expertise, consultation, and technical assistance in the creation of digital projects and publications. 

Teaching and Learning Technologies (TLT): TLT, a division of Emory Library and Information Technology (LITS) provides Emory University faculty with support of various technologies, including Canvas, Coursera, Lynda.com, and ArtStor.