URI Online: Program Development Process

Developing an online program for delivery through URI Online requires close collaboration between the program coordinator, faculty teaching the online courses, and the URI Online team led by Jill Firtell, Assistant Director of Online Program Development.

URI Online has specific procedures and timelines that need to be followed to coordinate the many efforts involved in developing, launching, and offering an online program. This may be different from the way you and your faculty are used to developing new programs. The URI Online team guides and supports your program throughout every step in the process.

Online Program Process Flow from Inquire to Plan to Develop

Inquire: Pre-Proposal Planning

Meet with Jill Firtell, URI Online Assistant Director of Online Program Development, to discuss your program ideas (jfirtell@uri.edu). In this meeting, Jill will review and answer any questions about the process for proposing and developing an online program with URI Online.

Plan: Program Proposal

Departments proposing a new URI Online programs must:

  • Obtain a marketing analysis demonstrating expected student demand for such a program and the employment opportunities for graduates. URI Online can help you with some approaches. 
  • Submit a seed grant proposal to the Provost’s office for approval and funds to help you get started. Signing and submitting the seed funding proposal application confirms that participating faculty understand the expectations, process, and requirements for developing courses and program coordinators understand and agree to URI Online’s expectations of them and to federal, state, and accreditation regulations related to online programs. 
  • Follow the established Faculty Senate curriculum procedures for approval of the program and all its associated courses.

Develop: Course Development, Marketing, and Launch

  • The program coordinator and URI Online Assistant Director, in consultation with the Instructional Design team and marketing, set a program launch date.  Adherence to that date is critical as several efforts will converge on that point.
  • Based on that date:
    • The program coordinator, faculty, and Instructional Design team establish a schedule of course development, incorporating information on course offerings.
    • Marketing develops a communications plan.
  • The program coordinator and URI Online Assistant Director meet regularly to ensure that the plans are on track and to identify and resolve any emerging concerns.

Course Development

All courses in the program will have master courses developed using the accelerated (7-week) schedule and following the URI Online course development process.

Courses are developed by faculty by engaging in an Online Design course – an 8-week, intensive professional development course with a goal of supporting faculty in designing a coherent online program including an external Quality Matters review (Online Design Syllabus). Program success depends on all parties meeting their respective expectations and agreements and staying in close communication throughout.