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Jumpstart Cohort

Converting Your Course For Online Delivery

As a UTK faculty member, you have multiple demands on your time, and adding the conversion of a course to an online format may seem overwhelming. That’s why the Office of Online Learning and Academic Programs (OLAP) provides the Jumpstart Online Course Development Program to support you in making your online course a reality. The OLAP team will guide you in your efforts, providing research-based course design, professional video, and other multimedia, and training to support your future online course development efforts. Our goal is to engage with you in a quality-focused, collaborative partnership to develop courses that promote learning for your students.

The time and energy you spend on your Jumpstart experience is an investment in your skillset and your career. It will also improve the quality of education for your students and for the University as a whole.

Join An Upcoming Jumpstart Cohort


What To Expect

You will design or redesign your choice of a course that you wish to convert to an asynchronous, online format. The time and effort required for this task will vary, depending on the status of your existing course material, but here are some estimates for your consideration:


You have 7-to-8 weeks to complete four modules of training content with hands-on assignments that apply directly to the course you are designing (~20-40 hours total time and effort).


You should plan to devote ~10 hours/week during the remaining weeks of the semester to collaborate with your OLAP team in designing and developing your Canvas course.


~120-190 hours for 14-18 weeks (see cohort semester options below).

Partnering with OLAP will support your efforts to produce quality online courses that meet your students’ needs. OLAP’s Instructional Designers, Graphic Designers, Interaction Developers, and Video Producers will offer their expertise to help you realize your vision for your course. Through this partnership, you will combine teaching and learning strategies and leverage technology to produce an engaging online learning experience. Your assigned collaborators will include:

Instructional Design

An Instructional Designer will work with you through the entire Jumpstart process. OLAP’s Instructional designers excel at the process of creating efficient instructional experiences that support learning outcomes, are engaging, and aid student learning. However, know that instructional designers do NOT replace your subject area content and instructional expertise! They instead work alongside content experts.

Visual Design Support

Our Graphic Design team will help you achieve a consistent visual theme for your course. They will consult with you to identify key elements of your content that can be emphasized, explained, and reinforced through visuals, such as a course card, course banner, module banners, icons, and diagrams. Our designers will locate or create images and graphics for your Canvas course site, course lectures and presentations, interactive activities, and videos. They will identify visuals to support your content and match your tone and preferences as an instructor, providing your course with a customized, cohesive look and feel.

Interactive Learning Activities

OLAP’s Interaction Designers specialize in creating interactive activities to engage students with key course content and processes. Our designers will develop an interactive activity for you and will share other tools for providing online, hands-on, experiential learning activities. These may include simulations, adaptive modules, embedded polls, and even games!

Video Production Support

The Video Production team in OLAP brings professional-grade writing, producing, and editing to your development process. They will consult with you as you progress through the Jumpstart program to leverage video in ways you may not have considered and to help you identify a personal process for recording your online lectures. Furthermore, they can collaborate with your Interaction and Graphic Designers to add video content that will greatly enhance the experience and learning of your students.

While all this can seem challenging, courses that have gone through in-depth, intentional design processes have resulted in better student learning outcomes, as reported by a comprehensive survey implemented by Quality Matters and Eduventures Research.

OLAP will support you in designing a flexible online course to serve the needs of all your students, regardless of their individual schedules, life responsibilities, access challenges, and locations. Here’s a brief overview of the process involved:

  1. Gain your department’s approval. Your participation and the specific course you wish to redesign for online delivery must first be approved by your Department Head.
  2. Sign up! Once your Department Head approves your course for redesign through the Jumpstart program, you can sign up to partner with OLAP for the course design/development process! Please email us to indicate your interest in participating in Jumpstart. Be sure to attach the written approval from your Department Head. Please note that courses that are part of an online degree program receive priority for OLAP assistance.
  3. Join a Cohort. As you begin the Jumpstart process, know that you won’t be starting this journey alone. You’ll be part of an online course development cohort – a group of faculty members developing an online course in the same timeframe as you. The Jumpstart program includes one cohort gathering (either in-person or online) to share your progress. The cohort is your place to interact with peers and share your experience as you develop your online course. You will also interact with and benefit from the insights of your cohort peers through discussion board exercises in the Jumpstart training course.
  4. Complete the Online Jumpstart Training. Your course development process begins with an online self-paced (asynchronous) training designed to give you a “jumpstart” on the design of your fully online, primarily asynchronous course. This 4-module course takes between 20-40 hours of time commitment from you, depending on your current course material. To contribute to your course design, you will complete benchmark assignments customized to the course you are designing. These activities will help you rethink your syllabus, create a course schedule, define assessments, and identify ways to engage online learners. Your instructional designer will check in with you during this period to help you think about how to translate in-person activities into an online teaching and learning environment.
  5. Develop Your Course. After completion of training, you move on to developing your online course. This phase takes a minimum of 10 hours per week for the 14-18 weeks of the Jumpstart program. Your instructional designer will help you create the first two modules of your course in Canvas and will train you to develop the remaining modules. They will help you identify how to incorporate online lectures, interactive activities, discussion boards, and other elements.
  6. Develop Multimedia to Support your Content. As you develop your online course, you will work closely with OLAP’s Multimedia Team  (Graphic Design, Interaction Development, Video Production) to supplement your course visually and interactively. If you have examples of desirable multimedia you’ve seen elsewhere, feel free to let them know, and they will come up with something that similarly supports your content and meets the needs of your students.
  7. Check the Course for Quality. When your course is ready, OLAP will perform a quality assurance check, ensuring that the course materials are functional, accessible, and user-friendly (e.g., typos, broken links, closed captions, etc.).
  8. Implement and Evaluate Results for Continuous Improvement. OLAP will also be available to help you with any course issues that may arise when you offer it the first time with guidance in making adjustments that you believe will best support your students. We will check back with you after implementation to discuss what you think worked or did not work so well, and will help you make changes to improve the effectiveness of your course for the next semester that it is offered.


You can join a Jumpstart Cohort during the spring, summer, or fall semester.