Miami Online Services
Online Program Development
Developing an online degree or certificate program is an exciting journey that can benefit any academic department and faculty. Alongside our campus partners, Miami Online is here to partner with you from the program's inception and development to its implementation and evaluation.
Any degree or certificate program offered at Miami University must go through the appropriate approval process, both internally and externally. We collaborate with our partners in the Provost's Office and the Graduate School to address these steps. We also ask that departments sign the Miami Online Program Agreement (MOPA). The discovery phase of an online offering also requires extensive market research to determine the program's place in the market and industry.
Miami Online staff works with program coordinators, chairs, and faculty to create a program development plan, including program mapping, resource gathering, media strategy, determining a schedule of course offerings, and identifying faculty members to develop the courses. Of course, a vast portion of the program design process is course design; see the Online Course Design section below.
Miami University adheres to the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, commonly known as SARA. The Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness (OIRE) supports the state authorization process for the university's distance learning offerings and provides information about programs that may lead to professional licensure. Additionally, all newly approved Miami Online programs are reviewed individually for their specific needs and requirements to ensure state authorization compliance further.
Learn more about state authorization and professional licensure on Miami Online's State Authorization page.
Miami Online staff coordinate with the Provost's Office (particularly the Director of Strategic Digital Marketing and Communication), University Communications & Marketing (UCM), Admission, and external vendors to market online programs appropriately and effectively.
When developing a fully online or low-residency program, there are many things to consider, including the time it will take to move through formal processes. Consider the following components:
- Program approvals: As outlined above, new programs must receive internal and external approval before any development can begin. An existing program converting to an online modality may take approximately one to twelve weeks to receive approval. An entirely new program could take several months to receive approval upon submission to the Higher Learning Commission, the Ohio Department of Higher Education, and NC-SARA.
- Curriculum management: The Office of the University Registrar, in consultation with the Office of the Provost, will provide consultation and advising before and during the course and curriculum approval process. The department must submit any changes to a program or course's curriculum through the Registrar's online forms. Also, consider the Council for Undergraduate Curriculum or Graduate Council's role in your decision-making.
- Budgeting processes: Miami's Board of Trustees must approve any funds allocated to new academic program development.
- Market research: A formal market analysis, typically conducted by a third-party vendor, may take several weeks to complete.
- Resource gathering: What learning materials will you incorporate into your course? Are you using publisher materials, open educational resources, third-party videos, etc.? What learning technology tools will you use?
- Media strategy: How much video or interactive media do you expect to use throughout the program? What is the look and feel of the program?
- Identify faculty and course sequence: What courses will your program include, and when will they be offered? Who will teach online classes once the program has launched? Who will be working with Miami Online learning designers to develop each course?
- Course development and media production: Again, one of the most significant pieces of online program development is the actual course development and media production. See the Course Design section below.
- Program code set-up for admission: We'll assist you in collaborating with the Office of Admission to ensure that your program is coded correctly in Miami's admissions and enrollment platform.
- Enrollment marketing: We strongly recommend a full year of marketing for the program's first admission cycle.
- Orientation materials: What information will students need to know when they start the program?
Online Course Design
With our aim to encourage the effective practice of online learning at Miami University, our office ensures the consistency of the university's academic excellence by focusing on several key areas: quality standards for online courses, program evaluation, faculty development, and state authorization.
Course Design & Development
Our talented learning designers are well-versed in course design and development processes, working directly with faculty to ensure that Miami University's academic excellence translates seamlessly from the classroom to the digital learning environment. We empower faculty to reach high levels of student engagement in an online setting.
Quality Standards for Online Courses
To assess the quality of online course offerings, Miami Online has developed an initial Quality Standards for Miami Online Courses scorecard. This Miami-specific set of quality standards incorporates and builds upon industry best practices and various existing quality review processes (e.g., Quality Matters, Online Learning Consortium's OSCQR). Every course that receives Miami Online's full support achieves a score of 85 percent or higher, surpassing expectations set by industry peers.
The Miami Online Program Agreement (MOPA) indicates that a course must reach full development and meet or surpass quality standard expectations. If an online class does not meet these standards, it cannot be authorized for use in a Miami Online program.
Miami Online's media team supports the creation of high-quality instructional videos to engage students in the online classroom.
The Professional Education arm of Miami Online prepares working professionals for the future by offering meaningful, industry-driven solutions.
Professional Education Course Design & Development
As with for-credit courses and degree programs, Miami Online learning designers work directly with faculty or other subject-matter experts (SMEs) to design and deliver engaging and effective professional development opportunities.
Corporate & Community Engagement
We're always excited to hear from corporate and community partners. Miami Online's Professional Education team can customize our adult and professional education offerings to the specific needs of an employer or organization. Examples include corporate analytics training and the Miami miniMBA.
Supporting Online Teaching and Learning
A variety of technology is utilized in teaching and learning across campus. Faculty, staff, and students have various needs when it comes to using educational technology effectively. Our office serves these needs by coordinating with multiple units across the university to ensure we use leading educational technology, support its implementation and adoption, and support its use.
Digital Learning Environment
A digital learning environment refers to the many tools and resources that effectively conduct learning and teaching in a digital capacity. This environment can include servers, software, systems, and more. Miami Online administers and supports Canvas, Miami's chosen Learning Management System (LMS). Canvas also entails integration with Kaltura (a video repository), Proctorio (online test proctoring), and Turnitin (plagiarism detector), among other external tools.
In addition to our focus on digital spaces, the Learning Technology & Support team, in partnership with IT's Technology Support Services, also focuses on classroom technology and how it can empower faculty and enhance face-to-face courses. For advice on ways to incorporate technology into your on-ground teaching, our Instructional Designers are happy to help.
Committees and Partnerships
Miami Online is a part of the conversation surrounding technology across campus, with a voice at the table on various committees. We coordinate with other support units, such as Academic Directors of Technology (ADOT), AccessMU, and IT Services.
Miami Online dedicates itself to ensuring that online students have access to the same resources and opportunities as our on-campus students, so we've partnered with other Miami University academic and technical support units to ensure that those services can be readily available. In addition, our staff can identify and support students who may be falling behind in their online courses or program.
Before teaching a Miami Online course, faculty complete a training course that encompasses educational technology essentials, effective online pedagogy, and course design and delivery. After conducting a needs analysis, each faculty member receives a personal Online Faculty Development Plan that highlights additional essential knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to advance or improve as an online instructor. Additionally, Miami Online faculty receive personal, one-on-one support from learning designers.
Our office supports the university through numerous training and development opportunities, technology and pedagogy resources, and ongoing research outside Miami Online programs and courses.