Developing an Online Course

In accordance with the AFT 2121 Contract and Title 5, City College of San Francisco requires instructors to train to teach online and to be approved for each course that is developed for online delivery. Below is more information. 

Training Cycles

The Office of Online Learning and Educational Technology typically have 1-2 training cohorts per semester (with a smaller cohort in Summers, pending funding). See the cycle dates for future semesters below. 

  • Spring 2024 Cycle
  • Fall 2023 Cycle
  • Summer 2024 Cycle
Process for Developing an Online Class

The Office of Online Learning and Educational Technology Department support faculty in the development of all credit and noncredit online classes offered at CCSF.

Faculty can develop a new online class (e.g., a class that has never been online) or an existing online class (i.e., a takeover) as part of the online training offered by OLET. 

There are several steps in the development of an online class.

  1. Faculty must talk with their Department Chair to identify a course for online development. It is strongly recommended that faculty develop courses that fulfill CCSF graduation requirements, meet CTE requirements, or transfer to the California State University and/or the University of California systems.  Also, courses that are severely impacted are more likely to succeed online. Without Department Chair approval, the course cannot be developed. Make certain that the course supports the College's Mission Statement. 

    Note on takeover classes: Faculty can apply to teach a class that has already been developed online. Reassign units are also different for takeover classes such that faculty may not be eligible for payment for developing online classes that have been previously developed. 

  2. Faculty need to be Canvas Ready, meaning that they have some level of proficiency with using Canvas in their class. To be Canvas Ready, faculty must either have successfully taught an officially online course at CCSF, completed the Temporary Distance Learning Training at CCSF, or completed the self-paced Introduction to Canvas Course and sent the badge to

After becoming Canvas Ready and getting approval from the Department Chair, faculty should complete the Form/Application to Develop an Online Class. Locate the link on the right-hand side. 

  • Faculty can only formally apply one time and for one course per training cycle.
  • Faculty are expected to work with their department chair to fill out the application questions since some questions need department chair insight. 
  • After faculty submit their application, their Department Chair will be notified to formally approve the submission. Approval moves the application to be reviewed by the Distance Learning Advisory Committee. 

The Distance Learning Advisory Committee (DLAC), an Academic Senate Committee, reviews and recommends faculty applications to develop an online course. Recommendations are made to the Office of Online Learning and Educational Technology (OLET). In consultation with appropriate administrators, OLET manages the award decisions.

We encourage faculty to check DLAC meeting dates to see when their application will be reviewed and to learn more about DLAC. The DLAC reviews applications during the academic year.

The Office of Online Learning and Educational Technology manages the development of online classes per the AFT 2121 contract, Exhibit N. We also work with departments who receive grant funding to develop online classes. 

Developing an online course represents a long-term investment by the College and is directly tied to department instructional budgets. With limited resources, award decisions are based on several priorities including: faculty status, department needs, the College mission, programatic requirements, and the overall College budget. Additional consideration includes the number of faculty already trained to teach a particular course online, stand alone courses not tied to a program, programs/courses not yet active, number of awards per degree/certificate, length of time to complete a program, courses in programs that are already attainable online, and labor market demand.

An applicant who receives an award is sent a notification letter, an acknowledgement agreement including information about applicable re-assigned/in-load time, and Exhibit N from the AFT Contract. The applicant's department chair and dean are included in the award notice. 

An applicant who does not receive an award is sent a notification letter with an explanation including a recommendation to work with their department chair on future applications.

Before teaching an online course, a faculty member must participate in District mandated training. New faculty are required to successfully complete the Introduction to Online Teaching and Learning (IOTL). Faculty developing additional online courses are required to successfully complete the Advanced Online Teaching and Learning (AOTL) for each new course. The IOTL and AOTL are faculty designed and taught trainings based on the latest research in online learning and California Community College State Chancellor's Office initiatives. 

IOTL: As online pedagogy has improved, so have retention and student success rates. The Introduction to Online Teaching and Learning (IOTL) models many successful online teaching techniques. During the class, you will have an opportunity to discuss these teaching techniques with peers and experience them from the student perspective. The IOTL is fully online and asynchronous. However, it is not self-paced. The course runs for 5 weeks and takes an estimated time commitment of about 10 hours per week.

AOTL: This training consists of resources and a list of tasks to support you throughout the course development process. We will track your progress through a series of Checkpoints and will provide you with the support you need to design and develop a high-quality online course that is aligned with the best practices of the CVC Course Design Rubric for Quality Distance Education. This is not a self-paced course. There are due dates to comply with in order for us to approve your course in time for the upcoming semester.

At various stages of development, the new course is reviewed by CCSF's Alternative Media Specialist for accessibility/508 compliance and by the OLET for deliverability. Additionally, the class is required to meet the College-wide Curriculum Committee requirements for the delivery of a distance learning class (information about these requirements is included in the training).

Final approval is done in collaboration with the developing faculty member, the Department Chair where the course is housed, the Distance Education Coordinator (faculty), Distance Learning Teaching Specialist (faculty), and the Educational Technology Chair. Most faculty find that the process takes one to two semesters.

Before a class can be offered online, it must meet the CCSF Curriculum Committee Distance Education Addendum Requirements. Once the class has been approved for development, the Educational Technology Department works with the developer to ensure curriculum requirements are met.

Those applying to develop an online class do not need to complete the Curriculum Committee requirements until after the application is approved and they are in the training.