Office of Distance Learning

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Developing and Managing an Online Program

Departments proposing new degree or certificate programs should begin by contacting Dr. Jennifer Buchanan, Assistant Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement. The process for developing new degree programs requires an exploration stage and an implementation stage.

Go to for further information or download the Online Degree Proposal (Existing degree to fully online) at


Office of Distance Learning (ODL) instructional development faculty assist in drafting the documents that drive the development process. This procedure should be initiated at least two semesters before the first course is to be offered.

Please note that while ODL provides guidance in completing and submitting the following documents and forms, it is not our role to approve or disapprove courses for delivery. All forms referenced below are in PDF format unless otherwise indicated. Please contact an ODL Instructional Development Faculty member at 644-4635 to receive guidance and assistance with the entire distance learning application and approval process outlined below.

Program Development Steps

Step 1: Proposal

The ODL proposal details the educational need for the online offering and indicates support of the Dean, Chair, and/or Faculty offering the program. Contact Annette Jones for a proposal application.

Step 2: Letter of Agreement

  • Letter of Agreement (LOA)
    The LOA establishes development and support roles between the college offering the program and ODL. Signatures are required from the Department Chair, Dean, the Director of ODL, and the Vice President for Planning and Programs. The LOA should include
    • a three-year budget estimate of enrollments and program costs. Contact Laurita Jones for a current budget spreadsheet.
    • a timeline of the course rollout schedule (select the offering tab in either of the spreadsheets above for a course rollout schedule example template).

Step 3: Approvals

  • Curriculum Request
    The Curriculum Request Application is used to record and track approvals for new courses and/or delivery mode changes (such as online). Once your department/college has approved an online course offering, use the Curriculum Request Application (requires login) to submit the required documentation, which must be in place in order for courses to be properly coded for online delivery and collection of approved distance learning fees. For information about submission deadlines, see the University Curriculum Committee site. Visit our Curriculum Application page for support articles on making curriculum requests.
  • Additional University-Required Forms
    The Office of Faculty Development and Advancement's Academic Resources page contains links to policies and procedures for developing new degree and certificate programs, offering an existing program in an online format, and other related information and contacts.

Step 4: Auxiliary Budget Application Request

The FSU Budget Office guidelines stipulate that auxiliary accounts collecting distance learning fees must operate through ODL. The budget office requires

ODL budget operations include preparing the application for an auxiliary budget and monitoring the progress of the application approval process.

Step 5: Auxiliary management, mentor appointments, and course listings

When the application is approved, ODL fiscal staff help clients manage expenditures and provide monthly budget snapshots of income and expenses. ODL academic coordinators and HR staff assist clients with mentor appointments, management of distance learning auxiliary accounts, and course listings within the CSM.

Auxiliary Management
See the page Auxiliary Budget Management for detailed information.

DL Auxiliary Appointments

Course Listings:
See the page Creating and Editing Course Sections for detailed information.

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