Frequently Asked Questions from Applicants to the SDSU Flexible Course Design Institute

Who is designing and leading the SDSU Flexible Course Institute (Flex-CDI)?

The SDSU Flexible Course Design Institute (Flex-CDI) has been designed by SDSU faculty and ITS Instructional Designers with the needs of our own SDSU faculty and students at its heart. The faculty peer mentors who guide participants through the carefully-designed modules are all experts, who have extensive teaching experience in online or hybrid modalities. The Institute’s module designers and peer mentors are your SDSU colleagues who are faculty from the various colleges across the university. What we hope will make this endeavor successful is that it is faculty helping faculty in an effort to do right by our students in Fall 2021.

Who is eligible for the Institute?

Faculty must answer yes to these following requirements:

  • Lecturer, assistant, associate or full professor teaching for SDSU in Fall 2021.
  • Available August 2-13 to participate in the Institute.

I am faculty, but for whatever reason am not able to participate in this training. What can I do?

Faculty who, for whatever reason, are unable to participate in this training will have access to the course materials to browse through. This self-enrolled version of the course will be un-moderated and participants will not be compensated.

The materials from the Flexible Course Design Institute (Flex-CDI) are available as the Flexible Course Design Toolkit: Tutorials & Resource Guides. To preview the content of the course, please see this course link. To Enroll in the course so that it is available via your Dashboard or listed in your courses, please use this Enroll Link. Content from the Summer 2021 course will be added to the Toolkit in early fall.

Additionally, the Center for Teaching and Learning will provide additional support including Canvas quick start guides, course planners, syllabus templates, coffee hours, and discussion boards for collaborative problem-solving via its Canvas Faculty Homeroom. Visit or join the course directly here.

When will I know if I am “accepted”?

Upon completing the registration form and confirming that you meet the eligibility requirements for the Institute, you will receive an initial acknowledgment followed by another message regarding acceptance into the Institute. The email (sent to your account) will contain information about getting started in the course, including details about the“live” kick-off meeting on the first day of your session (and another on the second Monday, if you are a new Flex-CDI participant). If you have not heard from us by May 10, 2021 please email Michelle Peterson, [email protected], to check on the status of your application.

What are the time demands of the SDSU Flexible Course Design Institute?

SDSU Flexible Course Design Institute requires a 20-hour time commitment spread across two weeks for new participants or 10-hour time commitment spread across one week for returners.

Can I do the course at my own pace?

The course is self-paced to a degree, but there are some “marks” for participants to hit so that they are moving through the materials at a steady pace and so that the peer mentors, who will be offering feedback, will be able to balance their workload in providing feedback.  After the “live” kick-off (1 hour), we ask new participants to complete the first four required modules (eight hours of work) by the first week.. and then four additional modules in week 2… plus a final reflection (1 hour).  The first week is a hard stop. Returning participants, who will join the course in week two, complete their one required and three electives as well as a final reflection, across 5 days. If you are not able, or unwilling, to work along at this pace, please consider the self-paced, unmoderated, and uncompensated version of the materials are available as the Flexible Course Design Toolkit. To preview the content of the course, please see this course link. To Enroll in the course so that it is available via your Dashboard or listed in your courses, please use this Enroll Link.

Am I on my own with this training or is there somebody to help me as I work through the modules?

Each participant will be grouped together with a cohort under the direction of a faculty peer mentor who will be available to answer your questions. Additionally, course facilitators, module designers, and peer mentors will participate actively in the discussion boards associated with each module. The Virtual FIT center will also help with additional training on learning technologies/tools.

May I complete more than the required modules?

While your peer mentor will track your progress through the eight modules, you will be able to view the content (readings and videos) for all of the elective modules, including those you do not participate in as part of the Institute.

When do I select my “electives”?

New participants select electives during the first week of the Institute. Returning participants will receive an email the week prior to starting the Institute, with a list of available electives as well as a link to a form for requesting their three elective choices.

I’m mostly interested in learning how to use Canvas, given the recent LMS transition.  Is this the right training for me?

While the SDSU Flexible Course Design Institute includes training in Canvas as ONE of the four elective modules and the Institute will take place in Canvas, learning about Canvas is not the focus.  If your primary concern is training in Canvas, consider the suite of SDSU-run Canvas training options.

How is the SDSU Flexible Course Design Institute (Flex-CDI) different from the training supplied by ITS’s long-standing Course Design Institute (CDI)?

SDSU Flexible Course Design Institute (Flex-CDI) familiarizes participants with the principles of online course design and offers a menu of modular options catered to faculty interest and experience. In contrast, CDI participants complete a semester-long experience which culminates with a fully-designed online course, having completed ALL these modules (and more), in a way that their newly-designed course meets expectations of Quality Online Learning and Teaching (QLT) rubric.

Will this class “certify” me to teach online at SDSU?

SDSU Flexible Course Design Institute is not meant to serve as certification for online teaching either for the instructor or for a course. The Institute familiarizes participants with many of the basics of intentional, from-the-start-of-the-course pedagogy for online teaching AND it will go much deeper into flexible, virtual pedagogy than just-in-time remediation attempts made during the COVID-19 transition-to-remote-instruction; but it does not replace the 16-week Course Design Institute.

What is the compensation for SDSU Flexible Course Design Summer Institute?

Those who complete this voluntary, faculty-led professional development program will receive a stipend. The amount of the stipend will be determined if the participant is considered a new participant ($1,000) or a returning participant ($500). Please note that these amounts are pre-tax and compensation can take as long as 60 days after the completion of the Institute.

When and how will I be paid for my participation?

Payment, in the form of a one-time taxable stipend, is contingent on satisfactory completion of the Institute and will be distributed within 60 days of completion. For additional questions, please contact your department/college financial person or SDSU’s Center for Human Resources. The payment will be part of the faculty compensation for the year and reported on w-2. We are unable to offer advice about how to report pay to negotiate any unemployment benefits.

I am a teaching assistant (TA) and/or graduate assistant (GA). What training is available for me?

Training for TAs and GAs is facilitated by the Center for Teaching and Learning.  Please contact your department chair or graduate director for additional information, or see for updated information on GA/TA training.