Self-Paced Online Training (SPOT)

In Fall 2022, ITS is launching the SPOT program in response to demand for an ongoing, sustainable version of the long-standing Course Design Institute (CDI) and the more recent Flexible Course Design Institute (Flex-CDI). SPOT is a brand new program designed to make available the best elements of the CDI and Flex-CDI to a wider audience and with greater autonomy. 

SPOT participants may include both faculty who are new to online course design and those who already have developed online or hybrid courses. The program includes a self-paced course, consultations with ITS coaches, and self-reviews using the CSU Quality Learning & Teaching (QLT) rubric. 

SPOT Program Expectations

All participants will:

  • Complete SPOT Course modules based on survey, self-review, and consultation
  • Receive feedback and consultations from their assigned coach 
  • Attend relevant workshops and office hours

The SPOT Course

The SPOT course serves as a guided course design experience that allows participants to work through content on an as-needed basis relevant to what stage they are in, to design, redesign, or simply refresh their online or hybrid courses. Modules to be completed are determined based on an initial survey and, for those with already developed online courses, a course self-review. Participants will meet with an ITS coach for a consultation, at which time recommendations are made for modules to work on and course improvements to strive for. 

SPOT course participants  will move through the course through one of two pathways: a Design Pathway or a Review Pathway. 

The Design Pathway:

  • For those who are relatively new to online or hybrid course development. 
  • Program completion is determined by successful completion of assigned SPOT modules, course review by ITS coach based on the core 24 QLT objectives, and final consultation regarding any improvements suggested for the new online or hybrid course. 

The Review Pathway:

  • For those who wish to review an existing online or hybrid course and receive  feedback for making improvements to the course.
  • Program completion is determined by successful completion of assigned SPOT modules and final consultation regarding any improvements suggested for the updated course. 

Regardless of the pathway, the SPOT course content is the same for all participants. In both pathways, there are suggested assignments to keep participants moving along in the course. 

SPOT Course Design

The SPOT course design is based on three pillars of exemplary course design:

  • Quality Learning & Teaching (QLT) rubric: Guidelines for developing quality online or hybrid courses, developed by the California State University.
  • Community of Inquiry (CoI): Methodology to establish social, cognitive and teaching presence in online courses.
  • Universal Design for Learning (UDL): Framework to optimize instructional goals, assessments, methods and materials to meet the needs of all learners.

Each SPOT course module focuses on criteria from a different section of the QLT rubric, with explanations, examples, and related learning activities to support participants in meeting those criteria in their online or hybrid courses. 

SPOT Course Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Apply the core (24) objectives, elements, and guidelines of the Quality Learning and Teaching (QLT) Rubric, Community of Inquiry (CoI) Methodology, and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Framework to their hybrid or online course
  • Review their course through the lens of QLT, CoI and UDL objectives, elements, and guidelines
  • Revise their course based on review findings and consultation with an ITS coach

Badging & Certification

ITS is working to identify a badging system for SPOT graduates; participants will be notified when this is in place. 

If a participant’s college wants an official QLT Course Certification, they will need to have your course reviewed and certified by the CSU Chancellor’s office; use this link to find out more about this process: https://ocs.calstate.edu/certification/process.

We recommend participants who complete the SPOT program to add it as a listing under Professional Development on their CVs.

Future Iterations of SPOT

With the SPOT Program being a new initiative, the first year is running with a limited number of participants; this may scale up as the program is further developed. It is important to note that while it is the goal of ITS to assist as many faculty as possible in developing high quality online and hybrid courses, it is up to the individual colleges to determine who will teach these courses for their departments, and when they will be on the schedule.

Please direct questions about the SPOT Program to the ITS Faculty-in-Residence: Katie Hughes <>