Getting started on developing a continuing education course or event can seem daunting at first. Once you know where to start, though, all the other steps will begin to feel much easier. Below is some advice that will help you get started in developing your first continuing education course, event, or other type of program. If you are a UAB faculty member, you have many resources available to you through UAB Professional Studies. We can help you determine what topics would be a good fit for you, what type of continuing education program you should develop, how best to design your course, and how to promote it. Contact us at 205-934-7217 or to schedule a consultation or to learn more about other services available to UAB faculty.

1. What do you know? What do you love?

It may seem like the questions you would ask a high school senior as they are contemplating their future career, but these questions apply to continuing education instructors as well. Choosing a topic you are already knowledgeable and passionate about can help decrease the time investment you will need to make in developing your course and event, as well as keep you motivated as you work on it. Take a moment to create a list of a few potential topics that you may be interested in. This list will come in handy during the next step.

2. What does the world need?

While choosing something you know and love is an important first step, making sure that it matches a need is just as important. Use the list of potential topics you created and do some research. Are there many others already covering the topic? If so, can you address it in a new way or add something new to the conversation? Are there enough people that could benefit? This is a very personal question, as some people may want to develop courses and programs that reach a very small niche market. There is certainly nothing wrong with that approach as long as you are not expecting a larger audience that does not exist. We can help you with this step by providing access to market research.

3. Do you already have content you can use?

It may come as a surprise to you, but you may have a good amount of content already created that could be repurposed into a continuing education course or event. Consider the academic courses you teach. Is there an element of those courses that could be broken down or expanded? Have you been working on research that can be used? Are you doing one-on-one training events that could be turned into completely online or blended programs? How about an online course that could be turned into a face-to-face workshop? Even bigger - how about a series of related topics that could be turned into a full conference? Chances are good that you will find many possibilities when you start looking at what you already have in a new way. Need some inspiration? Check out some of the continuing education programs that have already been developed.

4. Are there new services you could provide?

Continuing education can be more than a course or event. Many instructors are choosing to create new services using UAB Professional Studies' learning management system, Canvas, and online registration/enrollment/curriculum system, Destiny Solutions. You can use these tools to provide training as part of a sponsored program or to further research, deliver best practices to alumni or even create a community that includes UAB students, alumni, and industry experts addressing current topics. Imagine creating a program that made it possible for people to participate in a vital research program without stepping foot on the UAB campus or a program that brought together people from around the world. New services can help create revenue streams and enhanced learning opportunities for your academic students.

5. Got ideas?

If your mind is now full of ideas, inspiration, and plans, it is time to give us a call at 205-934-7217 or email us at to schedule an initial consultation. We can help you finalize those ideas and create a plan for putting them into action. We can also help you determine the viability of the program(s) and choose what course format would work best.