WHAT WE DO
UF ONLINE’S ROLE IN SUPPORTING INSTRUCTORS AND PROGRAMS
One of the reasons UF Online ranked #1 Online Program by US News and World Report for two years in a row is because since 2014, we have supported faculty in honing strategies and best practices for teaching online that facilitate students’ ability to learn wherever and whenever they are.
We care about the same things you do: offering rigorous and high-quality academic programs, supporting the instructors who develop and deliver online courses, and ensuring students have enriching and supported experiences at UF. For this reason, we maintain a strong and skilled centralized UF Online team that is focused on several areas of support for UF Online students, faculty, and our partner programs across campus.
Some of the supports we provide to instructors and programs include:
- facilitating connections with no cost instructional design support teams,
- providing course development stipends and other incentives to instructors,
- funding academic units via enrollment-based revenue,
- fully funding academic advisors and instructional faculty positions, and
- helping programs obtain approval to offer majors, minors, and certificates via the UF Online pathway,
- …and more.
Reach out to our team anytime to chat about how our team can support you, your faculty, your courses, your students, and your academic program.
Get In Touch
Dr. Evangeline T. Cummings, Director
Academic Strategies & Student Success
Dr. Rhiannon Pollard, Associate Director
Emma Brady, Assistant Director
How can we help?
Find us on Teams
UF Online vs. “Online”
Many residential UF students enroll in online courses, but only a fraction of the online courses offered by UF are UF Online courses. UF Online is an admission-only enrollment path specific to majors that have been approved for UF Online delivery. Courses outside of these majors may offer UF Online sections to fulfill general education or elective opportunities, but UF Online students do not enroll in non-UF Online sections.
UF Online students intentionally applied to join UF Online programs, meeting the same admissions criteria as resident students but seeking the flexibility a fully-online degree offers them while they pursue full-time employment, care for loved ones, travel, or simply enjoy setting their schedules on their own terms.
How We Support Students
How We Support Students
The University of Florida has enabled thousands of Gators to engage in fully-online programs since 2014, thanks to collaboration and partnership between academic units and central offices to offer 24 majors, plus minors, certificates, and courses through UF Online. As of 2023, more than 4,500 graduates completed a UF Online degree and there are over 5,000 students currently enrolled!
Because UF Online students’ motivations and values can be quite different from those of residential students, we strive to meet them where they are by supporting their growth and success with our own dedicated teams and resources within UF Online and across campus.
We care deeply about your students’ academic success, and in addition to having a dedicated advisor throughout their experience, we connect students with services such as tutoring at no cost. UF Online students also have access to core campus resources, including libraries, counseling, software, disability and career services, events, and more.
Each year, UF Online conducts an IRB-approved Student Experience Survey to learn more about who our students are, what is important to them, and how they feel about UF, in their own words. This data helps us continuously improve the programs and services available to UF Online students.
Students in UF Online represent a more diverse demographic than “typical” residential students: they’re often older, working full-time, caregivers, and/or returning to college rather than attending for the first time, and about 50% enroll part-time.
These students have the potential to bring a greater diversity of life experiences and perspectives to the classroom and enrich their communities.
UF Online guidelines and support
Here is a series of teaching-related guidelines, support, and documentation provided by UF Online (much of which is captured within this website).
Tell us about the kinds of that support are most helpful to instructors like you: Instructional Needs Survey
MAJORS, MINORS, & CERTIFICATES
ADOPTING THE UF ONLINE MODEL
Despite their demographic and (often) geographic differences, UF Online students academically are the same as residential students: they identify with the major, minor, or certificate program and the department that offers it. They enroll in your courses, seek help from your advisors, and look to you for mentoring and guidance! UF Online is here to facilitate their overall experience and provide above-and-beyond services, but ultimately their home base is within your program.
UF Online’s Academic Strategies team helps facilitate programs going through the process of adopting the fully-online undergraduate educational model. We serve as your liaisons in moving through UCC approvals and help create and support the infrastructure needed to enable your program to launch successfully. Learn more about the process.
How We Support Programs
As experts on online learning, our team can brainstorm and talk you through the considerations for bringing a new program into UF Online and help you map out a strategy for curriculum and course development, faculty support, infrastructure, student support, marketing and launch roll-outs, and so much more.
When an academic program is “adopted” into the UF Online delivery model, a range of new supports are provided to the college and academic unit:
- Facilitated and supported online course development and production.
- Stipends and other instructor incentives for course quality and faculty professional development.
- Fully funded academic advising support.
- Dedicated, centralized program recruitment and marketing funded by UF Online.
- In-depth data and analysis based on the program’s needs.
- Tuition-based revenue delivered to your program.
- Special request supports for teaching innovations, faculty hires, funding swaps, and more.
Talk to your college Associate Dean to learn more about the UF Online Funding Model.
Expectations of Excellence
Our goal of robust student learning is the backbone of our mission. We work with academic units and support teams across UF’s campus to cultivate an approach to teaching and learning online that prioritizes high-quality coursework and lab environments and thriving, engaged learning communities.
Courses offered within UF Online are typically developed in partnership between faculty and teams of instructional and media designers -- we will help you find your support team! Learn more about course quality expectations and instructor incentives under the “For Instructors” tab.
Teaching With UF Online
WHAT’S DIFFERENT ABOUT TEACHING A UF ONLINE COURSE?
UF Online has high expectations of course quality and student experience, and that’s why we go out of our way to support faculty in developing or refreshing courses that are intentionally designed for online delivery within UF Online. These courses are engaging, flexible, innovative, accessible, inclusive, and held to high standards of academic integrity.
Our team is here to help you identify the instructional supports that will best serve your needs for developing or updating your UF Online course.
Use the button above to connect with Emma and Rhiannon at UF Online to talk through your ideas for your course, ask questions about processes, get help identifying instructional design support, and so much more.
- Developing a UF Online course
Courses offered within UF Online are often developed in partnership between faculty and teams of instructional and media designers, at no cost.
To facilitate consistency in quality and student experience across a diverse spectrum of teaching approaches, we have compiled a list of baseline expectations for UF Online courses. When you work with instructional design experts, they will be aware of these expectations and UF’s quality standards and will help ensure your course meets or exceeds the guidelines.
How do I get started with instructional designers (IDs)?
Depending on your needs, location, time constraints, and other individual factors, we can help you identify instructional design and multimedia teams that will be most likely to provide you with the online course development experience that is right for you, at no cost to you or your department.
We are also expanding our network of embedded instructional designers within academic departments and colleges to enable just-in-time, localized support from individuals within your own unit.
Send us an instructional support request to talk to our team about getting help that works for you.
What if I want (or need) to develop a course on my own?
While we encourage all UF Online instructors to take advantage of the significant resources and support offered by instructional designers, we understand that needs and availability vary widely, and we’re happy to help you do-it-yourself if that is what works for you.* Use the “Get Support” button above to talk to us about how we can help.
Coming soon! Do-it-yourself templates and resources for Canvas that you can copy, borrow, modify, share, and use to help you jump start your course development using supportive frameworks.
Tell us about the kinds of that support are most helpful to instructors like you: Instructional Needs Survey
- Adding a section of your existing course to UF Online
If you’d like to add a UF Online section to a course you already teach online, or are seeking approval for a UCC request for a new course, please reach out to our team at email@example.com or use the “Get Support” button above.
For one-off or individual student requests, we will typically approve but do require notification. If you’d like to continue offering your course to UF Online students, we will meet with you to discuss how we can support you with instructional design and/or media team collaboration.*
- Incentives for instructors
UF Online is piloting an expansion of our support and incentives for instructors designing and delivering high-quality learning experiences for students. In 2023, in collaboration with the Center for Teaching Excellence we are offering new investment in instructor professional development and course quality initiatives --- activities that provide sustained returns for instructors, courses, and which ultimately benefit students. These pilots will be evaluated for continued delivery.
Professional Development Activity Stipend Amount Developing a quality course for UF Online delivery* $1000-6000 per course Earning a Quality Online Course Designation $1000 per course Completing the Design a Great Online Course workshop $500 per instructor Completing the Build a Great Online Course workshop $500 per instructor Completing the Teach a Great Online Course workshop $500 per instructor Earning the Great Online Teaching Certificate $500 per instructor Other professional development for online teaching (non-UF; case-by-case basis) up to $500 per year per instructor
*When you develop in partnership with instructional designers, your course will easily meet quality standards! Send us an instructional support request for help getting started.
- UF Online is funding and managing these incentives; please get in touch with us for assistance or questions. The Center for Teaching Excellence is not responsible for incentives and cannot assist with stipend payments.
- Stipends will be paid by UF Online directly to the instructor’s college not less than quarterly for disbursement to the individual. Stipend amounts may be reduced during UF payroll processing due to fringe and tax withholding.
- Instructors are not required to contact UF Online to request stipends for completing professional development activities. Upon completion of a CTE program or Quality Online Course Designation, our team will be informed and will notify the instructor and college contact of a pending distribution.
- These pilot incentives are expected, though not guaranteed, to continue through the active period of the Florida SUS 2025 Strategic Plan for Online Education.
- Maintaining your UF Online course
All courses need maintenance over time as they are taught! This is even more important if more than one instructor is teaching in the same Canvas course.
Course Readiness Processes
If you’re teaching a UF Online section, you can expect to receive emails checking in on your Canvas course starting about a month before classes begin each semester. These emails will verify the basic requirements of the course, including that the instructor is listed in the UF Schedule of Courses and that course contents are uploaded, published, and available to students on a specific timeline. If you need help with any aspects of your UF Online course at that time, reply to those emails and ask for assistance! Someone will be happy to help.
Course Quality Reviews
By 2025, 100% of online courses taught within the State University System--and here at UF---are expected to have received Online Course Quality Designations via an approved, standardized process per the Florida Board of Governors’ Strategic Plan for Online Education. As this date approaches, UF Online is mobilizing efforts in collaboration with the Center for Teaching Excellence to ensure instructors are engaging in professional development and online courses are reviewed using the UF+QM Standards rubric.
Two Year Maintenance Plan
Generally speaking, most courses will need a “refresh” every two years or so. While we hope you are keeping up with maintenance each time you offer your course, it’s a good idea to review how well your course aligns with baseline expectations for UF Online and UF+QM Standards at least once every two years. UF Online is pleased to provide stipends for courses that earn a Quality Online Course Designation.
In addition to mid-semester surveys delivered within Canvas, we conduct an annual Student Experience Survey that addresses course experiences and other aspects of their academic lives. We use this data and share relevant feedback with UF Online programs and faculty to help with continuous improvement processes.
Did you know? All instructors at UF who teach any online sections of courses are required to participate in:
- professional development for online teaching through the Center for Teaching Excellence, and
- the Online Course Quality Designation process.
Students in UF Online chose to be part of a fully-online educational experience, whether out of necessity or personal preference. These students may have full-time jobs, caregiving responsibilities, and other obligations that make learning just one of many priorities in their lives.
It is important to keep this in mind as an instructor and to avoid making assumptions based on teaching and learning experiences you may have had with residential students.
*UF Online courses must meet the baseline expectations for UF Online which are aligned with UF+QM Standards.
Grow with UF Online
Get involved and grow with us!
As the #1 online bachelor’s program in the US for the second year in a row, we’re at the cutting edge of innovation and quality in online higher education. You—UF faculty—are a critical part of this endeavor and we would love to collaborate more with you.
Incentives for Quality Teaching
UF Online has significantly expanded instructor access to course development stipends and is pleased to provide incentives for professional development for online teaching for all UF Online instructors. Visit the “Teaching with UF Online” page to learn more about how we can support your efforts to develop and deliver excellent online courses.
Join our Faculty Advisory Committee
We are looking for instructors who can provide regular feedback and input into UF Online academic operations. If you are interested in joining the network of instructors who help guide our work and the support we provide to you, please raise your hand and let us know!
Join a Faculty Learning Community
Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) are peer-led groups of faculty, staff, and graduate students who engage in an active, collaborative, year–long program structured to provide encouragement, support, and reflection. Learn more at the Center for Teaching Excellence website.
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)
Faculty who are interested in doing course- or teaching methods-based research are invited to partner with UF Online educational researchers on SoTL work for academic publication. Send us a message anytime to discuss.
Instructor Book Club
What are you reading? Let’s get together and talk about it! Instructor-led book clubs are a great way to get involved in a learning community around specific areas of interest. Reach out if you have a book suggestion or want to join our next cohort! Zoom option available.
Undergraduates as Researchers
Have you ever thought about how you might get online undergrads involved in your research? Faculty can offer course-based undergraduate research experiences (CURE) or get involved in mentoring UF Online undergraduate researchers in other ways.
Become a Quality Reviewer
When you complete the UF+QM course reviewer training, you become a Reviewer. This community of course reviewers is a critical piece to ensuring online courses at UF are meeting (and often exceeding!) the standards set out in the UF+QM rubric. It’s a win-win for faculty interested in learning what makes a great online course: at the same time, you get peer feedback on your own course and a chance to see and give feedback on what others are doing.
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU
Tell us your wild ideas, ask for funding, brag about your course, anything you want. We’re here for it.
Rhiannon Pollard, PhD
HOW CAN WE HELP?
FIND US ONE TEAMS
DOES YOUR COURSE HAVE SPECIAL CHALLENGES?
DO YOU NEED EXTRA SUPPORT?
UF Online Academic Strategies accepts proposals for teaching innovation funding, staff support, consulting, course production, and other related needs on a rolling basis!
Please reach out anytime with your ideas and we will be happy to discuss them in detail.
Inspiration for Teaching Innovation
Instructional Design Spotlight
Get inspired! Check out some of the amazing courses designed through partnerships between faculty and instructional designers at the Center for Online Innovation & Production (COIP).
Exemplary Online Course Awards
UF Online courses receive Exemplary Online Awards recognizing innovation in online teaching and course production in a variety of categories. Nominations are open through December each year!
UF Online Course Awards
Coming soon! UF Online will begin recognizing courses nominated by our central team and students for Model Course Awards and Praiseworthy Awards. Instructors/developers will receive $500.
Explore a Demo Course
Our academic team partnered with COIP to design this Course Experience Demo, allowing students, families, and curious faculty to explore an example similar to a typical UF Online course.