Program Planning

Need assistance in planning your Online and Distance Education program?

Developing an Online and Distance Education program is a collaborative process involving program faculty, the department, the college and DELTA. DELTA leads a structured consulting process that accounts for all prerequisite guidelines and requirements to determine the scope of the program: course series, certificate, degree completion or full degree.

If you would like to begin planning your program, please contact Tim Petty at or 919.515.2393.

Online and Distance Education Program Planning Process

Each Online and Distance Education program begins with faculty, department and college leadership planning and commitment to an Online and Distance Education program model of teaching and learning.

Successful online and distance education programs:

  • meet the educational needs of key or underserved constituencies.
  • do not replicate other courses/programs available elsewhere in the UNC or community college systems.
  • exemplify a commitment to quality assurance objectives and outcomes, and fit within the strategic vision of the university, UNC system, and the state of North Carolina.

Faculty, department and college representatives meet with DELTA representatives to define a timeline as well as the logistical, leadership, funding, technology training, course design and website requirements for the project.

Additionally, the Online and Distance Education program planning process often consists of the following components:

  • needs assessment of target student population
  • program objectives
  • description of degree, certificate or subject specialization
  • DE program endorsement by faculty, department and college
  • faculty participants
  • support and training
  • curriculum requirements
  • proposed schedule of course offerings
  • admission requirements
  • program format of cohort-based, site-based or online
  • technology support needs
  • proposed starting semester
  • 4-year estimate of annual admissions, enrollments and SCH projections

All efforts covering these issues will culminate in an implementation plan and a request to establish an Online and Distance Education degree program as set forth in UNC-General Administration Policy Manual section 400.1.1.1[R] Appendices F and G.

DELTA also assists in future review and approval processes including Curriculum Committees, UCCC or ABGS, Substantive Change Review Team, SACS notification and/or review, UNC-General Administration, Guidelines for Alternative, Online or Distance Education Delivery of Approved Degree Programs 400.1.1.2. Review approval process resources.

Program Planning Resources

The following websites provide the requirements and course lists for the General Education Program (GEP) and an overview of various approval processes: