Course Design Institute (CDI and OCDI)

The Online Course Design Institute (OCDI) is a four-week program designed to help online instructors develop or improve an online course.

Applications are currently being accepted. Space is limited.
Please complete the application.

OCDIs are open to all UWSP instructors. Participants who complete all work and participate throughout the OCDI are eligible to receive $200 in professional development funds that will be transferred to a departmental account. Eligibility is not dependent on the receipt of other CITL funding. OCDIs are capped at 12 participants, and are offered three times each year, during April, July, and November. We suggest that participants work on courses they will be teaching the term immediately following the OCDI so that the course design is fresh. This schedule is designed to allow participants to begin working on courses for the upcoming term and have an additional month to complete development before the term begins.

During the institute, participants learn online course design methods, receive online pedagogy instruction, learn about common learning technology used in online instruction, build a network of online instructors and CITL staff, design/map their online course, and build the first module in Canvas, and also receive feedback and support from CITL staff throughout the institute. Participants are expected to join synchronous meetings and to complete course design work each week. Synchronous sessions for each OCDI will be scheduled based on participant’s availability. We will attempt to schedule sessions to accommodate as many participants as possible. Alternatives will be made available if we cannot accommodate all participant’s schedules.


OCDI Session Application Deadline​ Approval Decision Date​ Work Completion Date​
​April March 1​ ​March 20 ​April 30
July June 1
June 20
July 31
​November October 1
October 20
​November 30
Zoom OCDI screenshot

OCDI Goals:

  1. Identify methods and pedagogy for online course design
  2. Apply technology tools for implementation of student engagement experiences and to support course learning outcomes
  3. Select online course design strategies that best address their own course development
  4. Design and build the first unit of their course
  5. Build a network of support for online teaching

course design institute

How it works - CDI and OCDI

Sessions are offered to design or re-design face-to-face courses (Course Design Institute – CDI) or online courses (Online Course Design Institute – OCDI). Watch for upcoming information about your opportunity to register for CDI and OCDI.

CDI and OCDI introduce participants to a process called "Backwards Design," a concept put forth by educators Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe in their book Understanding by Design. While it is tempting to begin designing a course by deciding what content to cover, "Backwards Design" suggests that instructors start by identifying specific, student-centered goals and objectives before they choose any other elements of the course.

In the sessions, one of the first things we ask instructors to do is to define their goals and objectives-what they want their students to know or care about and what they want their students to be able to do upon successful completion of their course. Then, instructors design specific assignments and assessment tools that "align" with their course goals and objectives. Finally, instructors identify teaching strategies and discipline-specific content such that all elements of their course are "aligned" with the foundational aims identified at the outset. By the end of the CDI or OCDI, each of these components is arranged into an "Integrated Course Plan" that is designed to best enable student learning.