UCSB has a number of online courses offered throughout the year, and especially during Summer quarter. Hybrid and online courses are added to the schedule every year through a Course Approval Request process that includes submitting a set of supplemental materials and review by their department, the Faculty Executive Committee of their College, and the Senate Committee on Courses and General Education. The approval process can take 2-6 months. Online and hybrid courses are designated with a W in the course number (e.g. COMM W146).
Online courses have no required in-person meetings, and distribute all necessary course material, communications, activities, and assessments online. Some exceptions can be made for an online course to schedule in-person exams, but it entails advance notice and coordination with classroom schedulers in the Registrar's office.
Online courses can be asynchronous or synchronous, or some blend of the two. They must also follow suggested evidence-based practices and principles for online teaching and learning, such as Regular Substantive Interactions, clear communication paths, highly structured content and activities, and meaningful assessments. The Course Approval Request process ensures that UCSB online and hybrid courses are of high quality.
Hybrid courses (as defined by UCSB) meet in-person for less than 50% of their scheduled weekly meeting hours, including section. Hybrid courses heavily integrate online materials, communication, interactions, and activities to support learning. Sections and labs are not allowed to be regularly held online.
A course that meets in-person for 51% or more of their scheduled weekly meetings only needs approval at the department level. For example, a course with two lectures and one section per week has about 3.5 total hours of in-person meetings. If the instructor changes to one lecture and one section per week, that is about 2.25 hours of in-person meetings per week and calculates to about 65% of scheduled class time. Therefore, it is more than 51% and only departmental approval is needed.
Note, however, that Hybrid courses effect changes to the classroom scheduling because a physical classroom would not need to be scheduled for at least one day per week. Instructors of Hybrid courses need to make sure that their department scheduler is aware of the schedule change as far in advance as possible.
What to do if you want to develop an online or hybrid course
Follow the steps below if you want to develop an online or hybrid course for UCSB.
Plan and Design
- Plan for it to take 12-24 months to go through the whole process before you launch your class.
- Talk to your department curriculum committee and/or chair to get the go-ahead.
- Departments should ensure that they have the funding to staff the online course for a minimum of two years of offerings.
- There are no limitations on faculty rank in proposing and teaching an online course.
- Talk to the Instructional Consultants at the Office of Teaching and Learning. We will help you figure out the best course design and give you resources or training so you can move forward efficiently.
- If you need funding, the Instructional Consultants will help you apply for the appropriate grant. There are multiple grant funds that you can use.
- You can apply for a grant before or after you submit the Course Approval Request
Course Approval Request
- Prepare all of the supplemental materials needed for the Course Approval Request (CAR) process with help from Instructional Consultants.
- Complete the form.
- Write the narrative responses about how you will use evidence-based practices for online teaching and learning.
- Draft a proposed syllabus.
- Attach an in-person syllabus, if there is an in-person version of the course.
- Get department chair and college dean's signatures.
- Work with your department scheduler to submit all of the materials to the Course Approval Request System.
- The scheduler should select 'Exceptional Course Format - Online Course'
- Email the Instructional Consultants and the administrative support person for your college's Faculty Executive Committee to let them know you have submitted the materials.
- Wait 2-4 weeks for the committee to review your materials. Respond quickly and completely to any of their questions (talk to the Instructional Consultants for help as needed).
- You can begin to develop your course while you wait for their responses.
- Once the FEC approves your request, they will send it to the CCGE. Wait another 2-4 weeks for their review. Respond quickly and completely to any of their questions (talk to the Instructional Consultants for help as needed).
- After the CCGE approves your course, it will be provisionally approved for two years.
Teach the Course
You are required to teach the course for at least two years, at which point you will need to submit a set of evaluative materials to the CCGE to request that the course be offered permanently in the online or hybrid course format.