Rapid Deployment of an existing face to face course to an online format

Purpose of this document

This document contains the steps required to take an existing face-to-face (f2f) course and put it online in some minimal but meaningful way. The purpose of this document is to provide the necessary steps for an instructor to move a course to an online format when f2f is not a viable option. This is a rapid deployment instruction set for emergency situations; it is not a substitute for close support and training from an instructional designer (ID). It does not produce a full-featured online course but it does allow for continuity of instruction (operations) in challenging times.


  1. The instructor has little or no experience creating online courses.
  2. The instructor has access to a reasonably current computer and browser and has an Internet connection faster than dialup.
  3. ID resources (support people) are not available.
  4. An empty Desire2Learn (D2L) course shell is available to the instructor and to the students enrolled in the class. This is typically the responsibility of the D2L site administrator for the individual campus.

Outcomes (online course functionalities created by the instructor in D2L)

It is helpful to consider those functionalities common to f2f courses and find ways to implement them on fully online courses. These include welcoming students and making announcements, communicating with students, allowing for student-based discussions, making instructor-generated handouts available to students, sharing links to existing web resources, collecting assignments and papers from students, and sharing progress (grades) with students in a secure environment. This document covers each of these.

 Specific outcomes follow.

  1. A welcome introduction for students (News on the course homepage)
  2. A Discussion structure to facilitate communication with students and among students (Discussion)
  3. Content files, including course syllabus and instructor generated files (Content)
  4. Links to existing Internet resources (Content)
  5. A mechanism by which students can electronically turn in assignments (Drop Box)
  6. A grade book so students can see how they are doing (Grade book)
  7. A list of addition online resources (going beyond the minimalist online course)


  1. The resulting online course will be quite minimal. It will not have all the functionality of a f2f course nor the functionality and sophistication of an online course created in more relaxed circumstances.
  2. This document leaves out the pedagogical justification, background, etc. It is a bare bones, how-to document. Even the layout/format of these pages is keep simple.

Steps (Instructions)

  1. Basic D2L information. Read Me First
  2. Create a welcome News item
  3. Create structure for discussions
  4. Link to existing online resources (Content)
  5. Create and link to electronic resources (Content)
  6. Create folders so students can turn in electronic files (Drop Box)
  7. Create a grade book (grade book)