How long does it take to develop an online course?

We’re often asked what sort of time-frame can be expected for developing an online course at UTD. The short answer is that if you work with the UTD eLearning team to develop your online course, two full semesters are required for development. For example, if you begin development at the start of Summer 2019, your course will be available for Spring 2020.

Below is a breakdown of the estimated number of hours it takes to develop the typical items for an online course.

Activity Number of materials Estimated Time for each Total time
Syllabus 1 4 hours 4 hours
Development of learning objectives 30 10 min 5 hours
Textbook selection 1 1 hour 1 hour
20-minute lecture 18 4 hours 72 hours
20-minute preproduced video 3 1 hour 3 hours
Assignment 3 4 hours 12 hours
Test 2 4 hours 8 hours
Self-quiz 10 30 min 5 hours
Development of discussion board questions 10 5 min 1 hour
Review materials 68 13 hours
Upload materials 68 5 hours
  Total   128.5 hours

(This table, along with more course development information, can be found on our website.)

72 hours for lecture recording? Is that a typo?

Not at all. Recording lectures is often the longest part of online course development. It might sound like a 20-minute video would only take roughly the same time to record, but faculty who have never recorded a lecture often find that the process is more time-consuming than they expected. It is a different experience recording a video versus giving a live lecture, so retakes and do-overs are quite common. Getting the lectures right and re-doing parts that need polishing quickly adds more minutes and hours to the overall process.

So why does it take two semesters?

There are many elements to building an online course besides the lecture recording. Faculty need to develop assignments, plan out their lectures, and develop other important educational elements such as learning objectives. These tasks are on top of all the other responsibilities a faculty member has in any given semester.

On the eLearning side, lectures need to be edited, reviewed, and produced before the start of the semester. The instructional designers (staff members who assist faculty with online course development) need to then build the course itself using the lectures and the provided materials. Finally, the course needs to be reviewed and adjusted as seen fit. Like with faculty, instructional designers are often developing several courses a semester.

To recap, the timeline looks something like this:

First semester:

  1. Faculty member meets with designer and goes over course
  2. Faculty member records lectures over the course of the semester
  3. Student workers edit and produce recorded lectures
  4. Faculty member develops and provides course materials

Second semester:

  1. Student workers continue to edit and produce lectures (if necessary)
  2. Instructional designer builds course with provided materials and lectures
  3. Faculty member reviews course and suggests potential changes or fixes
  4. eLearning team reviews course for quality

Who do I contact to get started?

You will need to contact your department to get approval and learn more about the process. If you have already contacted your department (and have not been contacted by us), you can email us at for more information.


Making changes to a deployed test

eLearning allows you to make certain changes to a test after it is deployed in your course. For example, if you discover that the answer to one of your questions was listed as C when it is actually D, you can still go in and make the update while the exam is deployed. This post will walk you through the necessary steps to either delete and regrade a question or simply edit it.

In your eLearning course:

  1. Click the arrow beside your deployed test, then select Edit the Test.
    1. Alternatively, you can select the arrow beside the exam’s grade column in the Grade Center, then select Edit Test.
  2. Find the question you would like to update, then do one of two things:
    1. If you would like to delete the question, simply select the arrow beside the question, then select Delete and Regrade.
    2. If you would like to edit the question, simply select the arrow beside the question, then select Edit. Make the necessary changes, then click

More information can be found by clicking the More Help link in the Edit the Test page.


Summer 2019 Courses; Add TA/Other Users; Merged Courses; Early Access

Summer 2019 Courses – Summer 2019 courses are now accessible to instructors in eLearning.  Courses are currently unavailable to students; however, they will become available to students on the first day of the semester (May 23rd).

REMINDER: Adding Users to Your eLearning Course

Below are forms to have users added to your eLearning courses. We strongly recommend that all requests be submitted before the Summer 2019 semester begins.


INSTRUCTIONS: How to Add a TA to your eLearning Course

– Request submitted by the Instructor-Of-Record via Orion

– TA must have already completed FERPA training to be added your eLearning course.

FORM: Add a User (Other than a TA) to Your eLearning Course

– submitted by the Instructor-of-Record or Department Head
– requires justification

– will be submitted to Registrar for consideration for approval


Merged Courses

– Courses that are cross-listed in Orion have been merged in eLearning.

– The Merge Course Tool is available for Summer 2019 courses.  TUTORIAL: How to use the Merge Course Tool


Opening an eLearning Course Early – If you are interested in making your Summer 2019 eLearning course available/accessible to your students prior to the first day of the semester, please complete/submit an ELEARNING COURSE EARLY ACCESS FORM.
PLEASE NOTE: Courses can be opened up to one month prior to the semester start.  So the earliest date for courses to be opened is April 23rd.   


As we sprint into the second half of Spring 2019, here are some ways the eLearning team can assist with your teaching needs.

  • Do you need training?

Please click here to request hands-on training sessions on eLearning, Qualtrics, Clickers, Echo360, WebEx and other educational technology tools.


  • Are you looking for tutorials/ instructions?

Please visit this page or visit our YouTube Channel to view videos and handouts on specific eLearning tasks like how to add content, how to administer online tests or how to grade student work, etc.


  • Would you like to enroll in an Online Teaching Certification Program?

Please click here to learn more about the Online Teaching Certification Program we offer to faculty and post-doctoral teaching associates. The program helps participants design and build an online/ hybrid course.


  • Do you need help with your course(s)?

We host two open labs every week where a member of the eLearning team will be available to answer your questions/ assist you with specific issues.

  • Every Friday from 10 AM – noon at JSOM 2.224. If you are on campus you can walk in during lab hours. You don’t need to register. You can bring your own device or use one of our lab computers.
  • Every Wednesday from 2 – 4 PM via WebEx. If you are not on campus, this is a better option to discuss the issue with us. You will need to use a desktop/ laptop and join the WebEx session during lab hours. Please visit this page for instructions on how to join.


  • Do you have questions/ issues/ enquiries?

Please email a detailed description to This will generate a ticket for your reference and a member of the eLearning team will get in touch with you.

For more information please visit our webpage or email us at

RESCHEDULED: eLearning Maintenance OUTAGE – March 31 (Sun), 1-6am

The upcoming eLearning maintenance outage, originally scheduled for early morning this Friday, has been rescheduled. The new date for this 5hr outage is Sunday, March 31, from 1-6am.  During this time, eLearning will be UNAVAILABLE. If you have any questions, please contact

Blackboard to End Support for Bb Grader Mobile App

Blackboard, the provider of eLearning, has announced that support for the Bb Grader mobile app will end on March 29, 2019. After this date, the app will no longer be available for download from app stores.

Current users of the Bb Grader app can transition to the Blackboard Instructor app in order to continue accessing eLearning on mobile devices. Technical requirements for the Blackboard Instructor app, as well as download links, can be found here.

Please note that both the Bb Grader and Blackboard Instructor apps are meant for faculty and staff use. Students can continue to use the regular Blackboard app as normal.

Grade Submission Issue Resolved

The issue related to submitting midterm grades to Orion has been resolved. If you have any questions or continue to experience any issues, please don’t hesitate to email us at

Thank you for your patience.