Course development involves creating the instructional content, identifying technology tools, and readying your learning environment (Canvas). The resources below document a few best practices in developing an online course.

Resource Time on Task

A common question that many instructors ask is "How long will it take for me to develop or redevelop an online course?" The Rochester Institute of Technology (R.I.T) has created a sample timeline on creating an online course. This tools is a good reference tool, which provides an estimation on creation times for an overall course. However, development time may vary from faculty to faculty, and discipline to discipline.

Resources Time On Task link to RIT website

Course Design Task on Time

Another common question among faculty who teach online is "How much work should I assign in an online course?" A good resource to reference is the 'Assign a Reasonable Amount of Work' document:


UAB is committed to providing an accessible learning experience for all students. If you are a student with a disability that qualifies under Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and you require accommodations, please contact Disability Support Services for information on accommodations, registration and procedures. Requests for reasonable accommodations involve an interactive process and consist of a collaborative effort among the student, DSS, faculty and staff. If you are registered with Disability Support Services, please contact me to discuss accommodations that may be necessary in this course. If you have a disability but have not contacted Disability Support Services, please call 934-4205 or visit

Collaborative Learning

Here is a good resource on how to incorporate collaborative learning in online courses. Review this document to identify strategies on how to engage students online using groups.

Collaborative Online resource download

Universal Design

When creating a course, good practice is to incorporate Universal Design principles. Universal Design is "…is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn" (retrieved from

Refer to the National Center on Universal Design for Learning website for more information:

Syllabus Design Template

An important document for students to have and use in any course is the course syllabus. The syllabus makes it easy for faculty to communicate with their students exactly what is required of them throughout the course. We recommend that you use a dynamic syllabus in Canvas. This type of syllabus is automatically generated based on Assignments and Events within a course.

Dynamic Syllabus Tutorial

Quality Matters Rubric

Quality Matters (QM) is a faculty-centered, peer review process that is designed to certify the quality of online courses and online components. UAB has a QM Implementation Plan and provides support for faculty who wish to incorporate the QM rubric into their online course design. Courses can be submitted for peer review to determine if they meet the QM standards.

Course Template

A course template is a good way to add visual appeal as well as organization to online courses. Check with your departmental Canvas Support team as many departments have developed a course template that can be applied to online courses.

Screenshot of UAB online course template

Instructional Design Team

The Instructional Design Team is available for one-on-one or group consultations, either face-to-face or virtually. 

Contact the Innovative Learning Design Team for additional help with your course development.