Online Course Design Institute

The Online Course Design Institute is an online workshop that provides participants with the tools, time and support they need as they work to build or rebuild effective, student-centered online courses using Carmen as the platform.

Over six weeks, through a combination of online materials, structured composition and regular online conversations, participants will design a course using the backward design process. By the end of the institute, participants will have created the basic structure of an online course in Carmen. Participants will also receive individual assistance with selecting and using online tools appropriate for their course design. Perhaps even more importantly, they will have had a chance to exchange feedback with a diverse group of colleagues from across our university, allowing them to share their ideas about teaching and gather new ideas from their peers.

The online workshop format includes:

  • Three synchronous sessions; all other activities may be completed on your own schedule
  • Assignments, discussion and/or feedback due three times a week
  • Course materials available in a Carmen course
  • Activities completed in accessible ODEE-supported systems



  • During this Course Design Institute, you will gain an understanding of how to design a course based on a foundation of goals and outcomes, and why this is important to both you and your students. 
  • You will have the chance to begin the actual work of planning, working with a community of your peers. 
  • You will leave with the basic structure for your course and the beginnings for materials such as syllabus, assignments, assessment tools and course outline. 


Learning Outcomes

  • Instructors will be able to articulate and align course goals and learning outcomes for a given course. 
  • Instructors will be able to design appropriate, effective and efficient evaluation and assessment tools for their chosen learning outcomes. 
  • Instructors will be able to make discipline specific decisions regarding which content to include in a course and will be able to organize that content so as to help students master the designated learning outcomes. 
  • Instructors will be able to evaluate which pedagogical tools and teaching styles will be most appropriate for the context, goals and outcomes of an individual course. 


Prerequisites to Participate

  • You must be an instructor at Ohio State (any staff, graduate student or faculty member that teaches)
  • The course you are designing is/will be taught at Ohio State
  • The course you are designing is/will be delivered fully online (not hybrid)
  • You must have access to a device that supports remote participation through Zoom (audio/video)
  • You must be able to participate in all six weeks of the Online CDI
  • You must be able to commit 4-6 hours of work each week of the Online CDI


How to Apply

Information about upcoming online CDIs will be posted to the Institute event calendar. 
Please email the Drake Institute to be added to our mailing list to receive information about upcoming sessions.   

Since each Online CDI has limited enrollment in order to maintain a sense of community, we require that you submit a short application to be considered to participate. This application gathers information about the course you will be working on during the Online CDI, as well as your motivation and goals for attending.

Once the the application for the Online CDI has been reviewed, we will contact you to let you know whether you have been accepted or placed on the waitlist.


Frequently Asked Questions

How much time outside of the Online CDI will I need to spend?

In addition to videos and readings, each week of the Online CDI includes work on your individual course. Each week can take 2-6 hours of time. While we recognize instructors are juggling many commitments, you will leave with a more complete course if you are able to devote significant time to creating materials. 

Do I need to have a specific course I will be working on?

Yes. You will develop a single course for the duration of the Online CDI. The course can be one that you have taught before (either online or face-to-face) or never taught before. It can be one that currently exists or that you’ve only imagined. But you will only be able to participate in the Online CDI if you have an Ohio State course to work on using the skills you’ll be learning.

May I work on two courses at the same time?

No. We strongly recommend that you concentrate on only one course so that you do not feel overwhelmed. Furthermore, we will only provide you the OneNote space and Carmen course shell to work through one course design. However, the skills you learn from the Online CDI will be directly applicable to any course you will design or re-design from here on out, whether it be online or face-to-face. If you feel you need support and guidance as you work on another course design, Drake Institute and ODEE consultants would be happy to meet with you one-on-one after you finish the CDI.

May I take the Online CDI if I have already taken a CDI for another course?

No. The concepts and tools used in our traditional CDI are the same for the CDI for online courses. If you have taken the CDI before and you feel you would like additional support for a future online course, please contact us and we would be happy to work with you individually.

Do I need to gather all the texts for the course I want to work on?

No. In fact, we encourage you to put aside all texts and course materials you may have used in the past! The Online CDI provides a space to re-imagine your course from a fresh perspective.

What if I don’t know what the content will actually be yet?

That’s fine! We prefer when our participants are not thinking about content when they arrive. As long as you have an idea of the purpose of the course and what you hope students will be able to know and do by the end of it, you will be successful. Content should naturally flow from there.

May I take this for a course I may not ever teach here at Ohio State?

We accept such applicants for our In-Person CDI on a regular basis. However, due to the nature of this Online CDI, the course must be one that will actually be taught online here at Ohio State.

I am a staff member – may I take the CDI?

Yes, the Online CDI is open to anyone who teaches online in any capacity at Ohio State.

Will I leave with a completed syllabus?

No, but you will leave with plans for and components of a syllabus as well as a complete week/module in the Carmen course shell. Writing a syllabus should be much easier after having completed the Online CDI.

I’m designing a class with someone else. Can we work as a pair in the Online CDI or do we each have to work independently?

Yes, you can work as a pair. Please indicate in the “Additional Notes” section of your application your partner’s name and the nature of your work together.

What if I have conflicts that will prevent me from completing all the weeks?

We have set expectations for participants to complete work by Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week, but have designed the modules such that you can work ahead, or flex deadlines within the same week. We DO require that every participant commit to being able to participate in the online spaces on at least a weekly basis for two reasons. First, the material builds on itself, so missing one module will prevent you from being prepared for subsequent modules. It will quickly become too much to catch up. Second, it is difficult to develop an online community if participants are engaging sporadically. We understand scheduling issues may come up, but we do ask that all applicants confirm their availability.