Academic program development

Frequently Asked Questions

Any academic department or school may propose a new collaborative academic program by submitting an Online Academic Program Initial Request Form after getting approval from their campus Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (EVCAA). The initial request form should be emailed to Natalie Harvey Administrative Assistant, Office of Collaborative Academic Programs at

The Office of Collaborative Academic Programs (OCAP) will coordinate the process of creating the program. View the Academic Program Approval Process for a detailed process for developing collaborative, online academic programs.

The collaborative approach adopted by Indiana University, the strategic objectives and the operating principles for IU Online can be found at IU Online: A Collaborative Model for Online Education at Indiana University.

This report also outlines the key roles of Office of Online Education (OOE) and select features of IU Online Class Connect (IUOCC) related to collaborative online programs.

MOA is an acronym for Memorandum of Agreement. The online degree creation process is divided into four steps. When OCAP receives an initial request form for an online degree proposal, OCAP contacts the EVCAA’s of various campuses seeking interest in participating in the degree. EVCAA’s consult the Dean(s) of the school(s) that will house the proposed program and determine if the school/college has the capacity to participate in the proposed program. EVCAAs then sign the Memorandum of Agreement 1 (MOA 1) which documents the interests and responsibilities of the participating campuses.

After the EVCAA’s have signed the MOA 1, OCAP contacts the Deans of the School that will house the program and request names of faculty members who will be representing their campus in the degree creation process. Faculty then collectively create the curriculum for the proposed degree. This forms the body of the MOA 2.

In MOA 3, the EVCAA’s and Deans collectively decide the schedule and other administrative aspects of  the program. By signing the MOA 3, EVCAAs and Deans commit to participating in the online program for the duration of the program.

For more information, view the academic program approval process for developing collaborative academic programs.

In MOA 3, EVCAAs (or their designees) and school deans agree on the governance process for each program. Smaller programs may have just one steering committee. Larger programs may have separate committees which have different responsibilities (a faculty curriculum committee and an administrative committee, for instance). Very large programs may have a program coordinator whose compensation is determined by the academic leadership of the participating campuses. In every case, each campus has equal representation and has an equal say in how the degree is managed. OCAP provides extensive support and guidance to those managing each program.

Faculty governance over the curriculum is built into the development process via MOA 2. In MOA 2, faculty collaboratively agree on learning outcomes and the courses that meet those outcomes, as well as other aspects typically under faculty purview (admission standards, minimum GPA, assessment of student learning, etc.). Once the degree is launched, faculty continue to have control over the curriculum. The faculty representatives from each campus collaborate to approve any changes in the curriculum (e.g., addition of new courses) and ensure that the governance processes of their own campuses are followed when such changes are made. Faculty are responsible for assessing student learning in the program, including reporting results and using the results to improve the curriculum.

In MOA 3, the academic administrators develop a set of expectations for which campuses will offer which courses. Some courses may be taught by every campus; some may be taught by only one campus. This is decided in MOA 3. In every case, however, IU campuses must follow IU policies for hiring qualified faculty members to teach in the program. In programs with specific requirements related to licensure or accreditation, MOA 3 may specify the kinds of credentials that are needed to meet those requirements. Otherwise, the expectation is that course instructors will meet Higher Learning Commission standards for qualified faculty.

After the MOA 2 committee has agreed on learning outcomes and curriculum, faculty who will be teaching in the program will work with eLearning Design and Services to design the online courses. eDS instructional designers and developers provide assistance and expertise that let faculty create high-quality, highly-interactive courses to meet the learning goals that faculty have for students. For more information, visit Teaching Online at IU.

IU uses the collaborative process for new online degrees to ensure that all campuses have the opportunity to participate. No campus is required to participate, and no campus can keep another campus from participating in the collaboration. The academic affairs leadership of the campuses have agreed that the process should not unnecessarily delay campuses who are ready to move forward. Any faculty members with questions about the timeline should speak to their campus’s academic leadership. Remember, though, that any one campus cannot change the timeline unilaterally—campus EVCAAs (or designees) must together agree on extensions to the timeline.

In determining whether to participate in an online degree, each campus’s academic leadership (academic affairs, school deans, department chairs) are encouraged to take into consideration whether there is sufficient market demand to attract new students. Every collaborative program seeks to grow enrollment by serving students who seek the flexibility provided by a fully-online degree. Some may be students who are brand new to the campus; a few may be current students who might not otherwise be able to finish their degree in a timely way. Though growth is not guaranteed, the Office of Online Education will include this program in its extensive marketing campaigns to attract new students to the program. We are not serving our regions or the state of Indiana very well if all we are doing is moving current on-campus students to online programs.

The responsibility for offering online courses for a degree is shared by all participating campuses. Each campus will be offering just a fraction of the courses required for the degree at any one time. Each campus will need to balance the responsibility for offering online courses for the collaboration with its responsibility to offer courses for its on-campus students. The decision to require on-campus students take online classes is campus specific and must be made by the Dean of the School in consultation with the EVCAA.

Indiana University, following national standards, does not differentiate courses by mode of instruction. If an online course has the same course number as an on-campus course, the courses are equivalent and must be treated as such.

The Office of Online Education (OOE) is leading a collaborative effort with campuses to provide 21st-century services for online students. A variety of student services are available, including: Admissions and recruitement, career services, financial services, math and writing support, orientation and onboarding, and success coaching. Learn more about support for IU Online students

There is also information on student services in MOA 1 and MOA 3 in developing collaborative academic programs. If you have specific questions about how online students who are enrolled at your campus will be served, please discuss this with the office at your campus that usually provides the service.

The Office of Collaborative Academic Programs (OCAP) routinely updates the list of collaborative programs under development.  The document, Collaborative Academic Programs Under Development, outlines the milestone for each collaborative program in the development process. For additional details, please contact Hitesh Kathuria, Assistant Vice President for University Academic Affairs and Director of the Office of Collaborative Academic Programs (OCAP).