Collaborative Design of Online Teaching in Education

Collaborative Design of Online Teaching in Education (CDOTE) is a professional development opportunity for faculty members in SFU’s Faculty of Education. Its primary purpose is to support the transition of CODE courses, which were previously designed by Education faculty but run and staffed by the Centre for Online and Distance Education, to instructor-led courses staffed and managed by the Faculty of Education. Non-CODE courses may also be supported for redesign as fully-online or blended courses, space permitting.

The first iteration of CDOTE (September–December 2020) and the second (January–April, 2021) will support courses that instructors want to substantially redesign, not those which need only moderate tweaking nor face-to-face courses for which faculty wish to add a small online component. A course release will be offered for substantial design work.

CDOTE program goals

Move from a CODE model of course design to an “instructor-led” model of course design

Courses designed or redesigned through the CDOTE program will use an instructor-led model for online and blended learning design.  What the FOE considers to be aspects of instructor-led includes:

  • Direct contact and interaction with the instructor.
  • A pronounced teaching presence built into the course design.
  • Active involvement of the instructor in engaging students in learning.
  • Opportunities for the instructor, throughout the course, to redirect or focus student learning.

Engage participants in collaborative course design

The group of faculty participating in CDOTE together will engage in a collaborative design process. The program is designed to facilitate collaborative thinking about course design amongst close colleagues, which will in turn inform each participant’s individual thinking about teaching, learning and online course design. Sharing of design/teaching expertise may also facilitate community ownership of these courses as well as support the teaching of a particular course by more than one instructor.

Facilitate course designs that can be “passed” from one instructor to another

Courses (re)designed through the CDOTE program will entail the creation of a “course master” that will facilitate flexible and multiple offerings of the course. The master will include a Canvas shell that can be passed on to others, and an accompanying design rationale.  Each instructor who teaches a particular offering of the course will take a copy of the Canvas shell and may edit the shell as makes sense using the design rationale to inform those edits. This process is envisioned as similar to, but a more fulsome version of, sharing a course syllabus with a colleague.  The faculty member(s) who originally designed the course can continue to revise and control their own copy of this Canvas shell.

Structure of CDOTE, participant time commitment and workload

Time commitment for the first set of design sessions

Time frame: September–December, 2020
Meetings: 5 sessions, 4 hours each
Frequency: 2–4 weeks apart

Note: dates to be determined based on participants schedules

Time commitment for follow-up implementation sessions

  • Two follow-up sessions, 1–2 hours each
  • Dates to be determined according to course implementation schedules
  • Report back on the implementation of the revised courses; share experiences and advice; and, as advisable, make mid-course corrections/changes

Design session topics

Session 1: Identify core course concepts
Session 2:
Articulate student learning goals or processes
Session 3/4:
Map out learning strategies and activities and determine which online tools and structures will best work to support learning goals and processes
Session 5:
Determine how to appropriately assess student learning

Participant workload during and between design sessions

  • Explore and decide upon: course concepts, learning goals/processes, online learning strategies/tools, assessment practices
  • Canvas shell development from session 3 onwards (Some of this work may include placeholders for multimedia content that will need to be developed with technical support)
  • Read 1-2 papers between each session to support design and development work

Support and benefits for faculty participating in CDOTE

  • A course release for faculty members engaging in substantive (re)design of their courses
  • Guidance and feedback from other participants and CDOTE facilitators on course design and possibilities
  • Introduction to models and tools related to online learning
  • Basic technical support for Canvas shell creation
  • Advice from facilitators regarding where to get more substantive technical support at SFU for the development of sophisticated Canvas designs and/or multimedia content as necessary

Criteria for choosing courses to be revised through CDOTE

Priority will be given to current CODE courses that will be substantially revised to an instructor-led model. Space permitting, other non-CODE courses with a focus on an instructor-led course design that incorporates online teaching and learning tools will be considered for the program (fully online or blended). In all cases, criteria for selection of courses to be considered for CDOTE include both pedagogical and financial considerations:

  • Importance to an FOE program/minor (i.e. required or prerequisite)
  • Importance of flexibility in scheduling or location
  • Popularity of or demand for the course (demonstrated or potential)
  • Demonstrated or potential interest to non-FOE students

Questions about CDOTE?

For questions regarding eligibility for participation in the CDOTE program and course release, please contact:

Dr. Natalia Gajdamaschko

Associate Dean, Academic and Faculty Development


For questions regarding the structure, content and goals of the program please contact:

Dr. Cheryl Amundsen

Lead Facilitator


How to express interest in the program

Send email expressing your interest in participating to Associate Dean, Academic and Faculty Development, Natalia Gajdamaschko ( by May 4, 2020.

Include in your email the following information:

  • Name and number of the course you would like to redesign
  • Semester in which you would like to deliver the course
  • Format(s) the course is in currently:  face-to-face, blended, and/or online
  • Format for which you want to redesign the course: blended or online