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Steps to Online Course Development

Step by Step

The steps necessary to develop a fully online or hybrid course and to secure all necessary approvals are given below.


A new online course will have an impact on department offerings, staffing, and long term goals.


The Curriculum Committee requires a "separate approval" form for distance courses and adherence to the Official Course Outline.

Note that the approval form will also contain the following question: "Instructor presence" is part of the requirement for online and hybrid courses at Butte College. "Instructor presence" means that online or hybrid course content duplicates or exceeds, so far as practical, the instructor's lectures, commentary, and reflections on course materials in a f2f classroom. Describe how this course will ensure adequate "instructor presence."

Important notes:

  • Submission and approval of the Curriculum Committee's distance learning form is NOT the same as approval of your course by the Distance Learning Committee. See the second column on this page for that separate process.
  • It's wise to complete at least some of your Blackboard training before submitting your course proposal to the Curriculum Committee. If you appear before the Committee you'll find that members ask detailed questions about, for example, how your course will ensure instructor-student and student-student interaction (as mandated by the Education Code) and how your course design will minimize the likelihood of cheating.



Be sure to read the District's Intellectual Property Rights Agreement, especially if you've received a stipend.


First, complete the required Blackboard workshops, currently offered on-campus only.

Sign up to attend and complete the following workshops:

  • Orientation to Blackboard
  • Management
  • Communications
  • Assignments
  • Tests and Surveys
  • Grade Center
  • Accessibility

Second, complete the 4-week online workshop, TOI (Training for Online Instructors). [A captioned version of the TOI intro video.]

Register for TOI (it's free!).

Looking for flex credit? Up to 25 hours of flex credit is available for the successful completion of TOI. Note: if you are taking the training for column movement, you are not eligible for flex credit for workshops or TOI.

Looking for column movement or longevity units? 2 units are available for completion of the entire training package (including the required workshops and TOI). The training package is all-or-nothing (it can't be divided into small units).

You must receive approval from the LTPA (Leave, Tenure and Professional Advancement) Committee in advance of your starting the workshops. The Professional Advancement form is available on the Blackboard Training Page.

Once you've completed the required workshops, and completed TOI, your certification will be reported by the Distance Learning Coordinator to HR, and you'll receive your 2 units.



Only DLC-approved online courses can be scheduled and face-to-face courses can't be "converted" to online once students begin registering.

IMPORTANT: For a course to be scheduled in the spring, for example, it must be approved by the Distance Learning Committee in the preceding fall prior to the opening of registration (check the academic calendar for the date). A course approved by the DLC at the end of the fall semester is TOO LATE to be scheduled for the spring.


The longest part of the process; a rule of thumb is to expect to spend roughly 300 hours in developing a 3-unit course.

Planning to use audio or video? Please consult early on with Bambi Mayfield ( of our DSPS office. She can provide transcription and captioning services to make your course accessible. The process is surprisingly simple and, if set up early in the development process, requires little work on the part of the instructor.


IMPORTANT! Before you submit your course for review it must be  "substantially complete" -- once submitted, a static copy of the course is made for review. Subsequent changes you make in your course will NOT be reflected in the copy!

1. Check the Dates & Deadlines page and make sure you submit your course for review in a timely fashion.

2. Fill out and submit the Course Review Request form for online and hybrid courses. The form incorporates the Committee's Course Diagnostic Standards and provides a place for you to designate the course shell to review.

TMI staff will create a static copy of the course and add comments, if applicable, to the Course Review form, and send it to the Chair of the DLC.

3. The Chair will send you a copy of the report and provide further instructions on additions or modifications needed to bring the course into compliance with the Course Diagnostic Standards.

4. If in view of the Chair substantial changes are needed, DLC consideration of the course will be removed from the upcoming agenda and you will need to begin the course review process from scratch (with submission of a new Course Review Request form) once the course has been modified. Warning: Such a delay in approval may mean the course cannot be taught the following semester.


If the Course Review is satisfactory, the course will be demonstrated to the DLC by the course developer, if possible, or by TMI staff.

1. If the course is approved, it may be taught.

2. If the DLC requests modifications, they must be made immediately and the Chair informed of their completion. The modifications will appear on a subsequent DLC meeting consent agenda or approved electronically. Warning: The course cannot be taught until the modifications have been approved by the DLC.

Butte College | 3536 Butte Campus Drive, Oroville CA 95965 | General Information 530.895.2511

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