Learning Design Support at Penn State

There are many learning design resources available across the Penn State system. Read on for information on central resources, University Park’s college-based resources, and additional campus-based resources.

Looking for specific information? Use your web browser’s find/search tool to search within this page (typically found under the browser’s “Edit” menu).

Central Resources

Education Technology Services

ETS engages in eLearning design and development via partnerships established with individual faculty from across the University. Typically these partnerships are in support of innovative practice, large course enrollment redesign, or grant-based course design projects. ETS focuses energy on three specific types of online courses:

  • Custom eLearning courses that are deemed innovative in nature and can be used to test new approaches that have broad applications
  • Critical large-enrollment courses with unresolved pedagogical challenges
  • Custom eLearning modules in support of grant funded initiatives

ETS currently creates open courseware modules utilizing the Blogs at Penn State platform. These modules are stand-alone elements that can be delivered from within ANGEL or stand-alone. We are also investigating the use of other tools such as Wikispaces to see if they have potential to serve as a new kind of collaborative eLearning platform.

ETS has competencies in instructional design, multimedia creation, audio/video production, and educational technology. Courses are typically enhanced through the creation of multimedia (Flash, audio, video) and are heavily linked to environments such as iTunes U, the ITS Streaming Server, Adobe Connect, Google Docs, and VoiceThread. Content is accessed either via the open web or via a link in the Lessons Tab of ANGEL. ANGEL is utilized as the hub of the course experience and supports communication, grade book, teamwork, chat, assessments, discussions, and drop boxes.

ITS Training Services

ITS Training Services develops and provides training on a variety of tools and technologies including many that are used for teaching and learning. The unit offers training in-person and online training workshops to serve Penn State faculty, staff, and students at all campus locations. You can find workshops on ANGEL, Sites at Penn State (WordPress), videoconferencing, Microsoft Office tools, and more, as well as Faculty Roundtable sessions for sharing best practices around teaching technologies. If you can’t find the training you need, you can request a training session for you and your group when and where it works for you (including online).

Training Services also offers all Penn State faculty, staff, and students free, 24/7 access to lynda.com, an online training library of thousands of video tutorials on hundreds of different software – and soft skill – topics, including ones related to education and educational technologies. The video tutorials are top quality and are each taught by an industry expert, making them an invaluable and extremely popular resource at Penn State.

What’s more, the unit also provides a resource library that can be beneficial to those teaching online and developing online learning. Resources include handouts, video recordings, and eLearning materials to support you in your use of technology at Penn State. Similarly, the iStudy for Success!tutorials are a collection of resources for instructors and their students that teach the skills students need to succeed in school, a job, and in life.

Shared Programs

Penn State University offers a variety of Shared Programs, which are academic programs that operate as one degree offering across colleges or campuses (delivered as consortia or via joint partnership) and span geographic locations. The curriculum is evaluated based on standards applied to all academic programs, and learning outcomes are the same for shared, and stand-alone programs. Shared programs are aligned with the vision, mission and strategic goals of the partners. These programs are designed to leverage campus or college resources to provide seamless, consistent, and efficient student and faculty experiences.

Shared programs are offered to students via a mix of courses delivery modes including face-to-face (residential), video-conferencing, blended, and online. These delivery methods connect multiple locations allowing students at different locations to gain access to the degree program. These programs offer new opportunities for students who may not otherwise have had access to the degree and also provide a larger student and faculty community across the consortia. New shared academic programs have and continue to be proposed in support of University initiatives to develop strategically important programs that are projected to be growth areas in Pennsylvania.

There are two half Instructional Designer positions split between Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT) that support faculty throughout the commonwealth who are part of Shared Programs. The six areas of support focus provided by the Instructional Designers include:

The first of two primary support areas includes instructional design services to assist the timely development and revision of courses identified as part of shared programs. The second primary support area includes a three-pronged approach to faculty development.

The three-pronged approach has been designed to maximize resources and capitalize on the skills and specialty of instructional designers in locations throughout the state while addressing gaps in offerings at each location. The three prongs have been developed to build upon each other and each varies in terms of time commitment, format, audience, and outcomes.

The foundational tier is supported by the World Campus Faculty Development OL (Online Learning) courses, specifically OL 2000 – Essentials of Online Teaching and OL 3000 – Supporting Accessibility for Online Learners.

The practical tier is an eLearning Series provided each fall semester and focuses on the unique opportunities and challenges of faculty teaching within shared programs. It consists of five synchronous sessions that are each followed by asynchronous resources and discussions.

The innovative tier is the TLT REACH (Re-imagine, Engage, Align, and CHange) Initiative. The program provides faculty with a support team to design and develop a highly innovative web-enhanced, blended, or online course. The goal for this initiative is to produce a resident course that is rich in student engagement and interaction, effectively utilizes communication technologies to bridge the distance factor, and is shareable and reusable.

Contact: Amy Kuntz, aer13@psu.edu

The Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness

The Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness is part of Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute, within the office of the Vice President for Research.  The Clearinghouse provides research, content development, instructional design, evaluation, and implementation of education and training resources for all branches of the military service.   Our primary goal is to support and enhance military families’ readiness and resiliency throughout and beyond their military experiences, although some of our work also serves individuals and families within the general population.

Currently, our Learning Science Team consists of three instructional designers, two multimedia specialists and three graduate interns, who employ a number of software packages, including Articulate, Captivate, Canvas, Adobe Premier, Camtasia, Java and others to design and develop high quality, evidence-based learning resources.

Contact: Denise Turso, dlt113@psu.edu

Penn State World Campus

The World Campus uses various tools to create content for the Web, with the main tool being Dreamweaver. Examples of other tools in use are Captivate, Flash, and Presenter. Regardless of how the content is developed, the delivery of the course is produced through an internal system called Evolution. Evolution is a custom toolset built to support World Campus practice. World Campus staff maintains it internally.

The main focus of Evolution is to reduce the barrier between the design and delivery of a course by eliminating unnecessary and overly complex systems. Evolution separates the content (text, images, multimedia) from the layout (css and navigation between pages). It is a browser-based tabbed interface that allows designers to:

  • Customize the layout and style of Web pages
  • Manage users and content
  • Add navigation and software tools to courses

Most courses are developed using Dreamweaver to create raw HTML files that are stored on the World Campus courses server. The files may contain text, graphics, animations, video, audio, etc.; however, there is no styling or navigation in the source code. Dynamic course navigation and styling are done through Evolution. By selecting a color option, a layout option, and “shell” option, designers can quickly transform plain pages into highly stylized pages with backgrounds, banners, navigation, and menus.

Evolution also allows designers to index the content files in a course and create a table of content either at the lesson or the course level. If a page is added, moved, or deleted, the indexing feature will immediately re-index the pages, generate a new table of content, and update the navigation on all pages. This greatly improves efficiency when modifying content pages and lessons.

Additionally, Evolution improves efficiency within the Central Tool Management feature that automates the generation of internally created peer evaluations and student home pages. These are two tools that are frequently used in online courses to build community and evaluate team members. Another tool that can be added using the Central Tool Management function is the CK Editor, a text editor that is similar to Adobe Contribute in that it allows designers and faculty to edit Web pages in a browser interface and update the files on the server.

User management is also controlled using Evolution. Users are given student, instructor, or staff access to the World Campus server. Access to the CK Editor is assigned through Evolution thus maintaining the flexibility many academic units require in terms of determining which courses can and cannot be edited by faculty.

Evolution is tied to the course ANGEL space by creating a hidden link under the Lessons tab. This link opens a new browser tab with the Evolution interface. Once in the interface, designers can move from course to course by changing the URL.

Evolution has not changed the way designers collaborate with faculty to design new courses. They still spend approximately two semesters working with faculty to create content and assessments. They continue to direct the work of the design team (including multimedia specialists, production specialists, programmers, graphic artists, and quality assurance specialists) and manage the development of the new course. However, Evolution has greatly reduced redundancies and has automated many of the standard procedures used by the World Campus to prepare repeat courses for each offering, thus saving time. Additionally, it allows the flexible design that departments require. Instructional designers can now dedicate more time designing new courses and exploring new technologies.

Contact: Chris Millet, chrismillet@psu.edu

College- and Unit-based Resources at University Park

College of Agricultural Sciences

The College of Agricultural Sciences eLearning department works directly with faculty at University Park as well as other Commonwealth campuses. We provide one-on-one support to  subject matter experts (SME) that are developing technical content for online education. Specifically, our Instructional Designers help to create courses based on authentic learning objectives and meaningful assessments. We also help instructors understand and use Canvas (Penn State’s learning management system) and the best practices to support student learning.  Due to the unique agricultural and scientific contexts, our online courses contain a variety of multimedia, including high-resolution photography and high-definition video. In addition, our courses utilize technology tools like interactive charts and embedded knowledge checks to increase student engagement and comprehension. Agriculture students need a personalized view of precise environments and we strive to make the learning process as relevant as possible.

College of Ag eLearning courses are designed and developed solely in Canvas. To support social collaboration, students participate in asynchronous learning opportunities through Discussions, Adobe Connect, and Zoom. Integrated labs, case studies, and project-based assessments provide rich and effective learning. Our course portfolio includes Associate, Undergraduate, and Graduate degree programs, as well as Graduate certificate options. We offer these online courses to both residential and virtual students through the Digital Learning Cooperative and the World Campus. Please visit http://agsci.psu.edu/elearning/programs for more information about online degree and certificate programs.

Contact: Akbar Khouzani, axs197@psu.edu

College of Arts and Architecture

The eLearning Institute in the College of Arts and Architecture works with the seven academic units within the College to design, develop and delivery online and blended course for the College. Their staff consists of 9 full-time and part-time employees including a director, manager of instructional design, two instructional designers, media specialist, instructional technologist (Drupal Programmer), program coordinator, and support staff. In addition, the Institute collaborates with numerous faculty across the College through faculty fellowship appointments used to develop/revise courseware.

The Institute utilizes a standardized instructional design and development model designed to meet the needs of their faculty. The driving purpose of their process is to ensure that every online course offered by the College of Arts and Architecture is of the highest possible quality. This includes courses created by the e-Learning Institute, as well as those developed by faculty in partnership with the Institute.

Course are developed primarily utilizing an e-Learning Management System (ELMS) which is a series of custom modules organized to help manage the design, development, and delivery of their online courses offered at online at UP or through the eLearning Cooperative and/or the World Campus. This approach allows the College to create custom, yet standardized versions of their online courses.

The design and development process guides all parties involved in creating a sound, reliable course ensuring student and faculty satisfaction. This process has been informed by the expertise of the instructional design staff of the Institute, representing more than 30 years of lessons learned in the design and development of distance learning. This proven process has been customized to fit the unique needs of the College of Arts and Architecture and provides a reliable method for creating high quality e-learning courses.


  • Results in instruction that is effective, efficient, and consistently repeatable.
  • Establishes a framework that subsequent courses can follow, contributing to sustained effectiveness and quality.
  • Provides a greater return on investment for significant development costs.
  • Ensures that courses are developed and delivered in a timely manner.
  • Provides a mechanism of checks and balances.
  • Ensures that any course developed may be offered more broadly through delivery units such as the World Campus and The E-Learning Cooperative.

Typical team make-up within the Institute includes:

  • Lead instructional designer
  • Graphic and media specialist
  • Faculty subject matter expert (Faculty Fellow)
  • Instructional technologist

In addition, the College is piloting a quality assurance plan, which is intended to review the quality of the design of each of its online courses. This e-learning continuous quality improvement process (e-LCQI) is a process by which data is collected from a number of sources including students, peer faculty, and learning designers. The ultimate goal is to inform the decision making process for making enhancements and improvements to existing online courses.

College of Communications

The College hired an instructional designer in January 2011. Most courses are currently developed and supported in conjunction with the World Campus. Portfolio of online courses is about 40 percent general education, 60 percent to meet increasing enrollment demand from resident instruction University Park population. A small number of courses are offered in order to support a communications major delivered at four Commonwealth College campuses. The College will be working toward building an infrastructure to support faculty in developing and designing their own courses. Longer term goals include developing undergraduate and graduate level programs, not just individual courses.

Contact: Shannon Kennan, skennan@psu.edu or Anne Hoag, amh13@psu.edu

College of Earth and Mineral Sciences

The Dutton e-Education Institute works in partnership with the College of Earth and Mineral Science’s five academic departments to cultivate the capacity to design, create, and sustain online courses and programs that embody the best practices of e-education. The Dutton e-Education Institute’s personnel includes a director, assistant director, lead program faculty, faculty instructors, learning design specialists, programmers, multimedia specialists, and administrative support staff. To date, the College offers 19 online degree and certificate programs. The College has developed more than 130 online and blended courses that attract 1,500 adult professionals annually in addition to our resident students.

To make the best use of College and Institute resources, to gain efficiencies, and to capitalize on individual strengths, Institute personnel typically use a team approach to course development. While team makeup varies depending on the type and scale of a given project, a learning design team generally consists of the following individuals: Faculty author(s), lead learning designer, programmer, media specialist(s), and an assistant learning designer.

To develop and deliver online courses, the project team uses Drupal, an open source, Web-based content management system. They also employ several education-specific Drupal modules developed by the College of Arts and Architecture’s e-Learning Institute. Canvas, the University’s course management system, is also used in course delivery, typically for its communication tools, grade book, course roster, calendar, drop boxes, and quizzing tools.

From a workflow standpoint, students spend the majority of their online course experience in the course’s Drupal environment, switching to Canvas only for specific tasks like assignment submission or to participate in a graded online discussion. Hyperlinks between Drupal and Canvas makes this transition easy. Likewise, many courses link from the Drupal environment to Web 2.0 technologies, such as blogs and Adobe Connect, as part of the learning experience. Examples of EMS online courses are located through the College’s open educational resources initiative (http://open.ems.psu.edu), where faculty authors make courseware freely available to informal learners worldwide.

To address the need for online course quality assurance in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, the Dutton Institute has developed a large repository of faculty development resources, located at http://facdev.e-education.psu.edu/. The site includes popular resources  “Managing Your Online Course” (a checklist that walks faculty through the course delivery process, step-by-step, a faculty peer review process for online teaching, and a course blueprint that is used in the initial stages of course development.

Contact: Ann Taylor, Director, atb3@psu.edu

College of Engineering

Currently the College of Engineering, through The Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education, employs three instructional designers. However, only one is currently dedicated to development of online courses. The Leonhard Center has plans to eventually add multimedia personnel, but thus far they have not required these skills. One differentiating factor within the College of Engineering is that they have access to dedicated assessment resources locally and are very adept in research design, instrument development, and data collection.

Content creation is done via custom HTML. A third party tool, SoftChalk LessonBuilder, is utilized for the rough structuring of course content and is then cleaned manually. LessonBuilder itself contains a good collection of Flash interactive activities that are simple enough to build quickly (labeling, ordering, slideshows, timelines, etc.), which have been very useful for the Entrepreneurship in Engineering courses. They do have plans to eventually move to a CMS environment like Drupal, but in the interim the number of classes being created is manageable with custom work.

They make heavy use of embedded videos in both the entrepreneurship course and the global ethics course. About half are videos they shoot themselves, either interviews with others or the faculty member introducing lessons. The other remainders are resources from other places that address complex course topics. Content is published as a packaged file and loaded directly into ANGEL. After this point changes are complex, because this approach necessitates the deletion of the previous version and the uploading of the new file. ANGEL is used for roster management, grade book, announcements, and low-stakes quizzing. Currently they feel as though ANGEL groups cannot support the kinds of collaborations that their students require, and thus they are constantly looking elsewhere for solutions.

College of Engineering: Office of Continuing and Distance Education

The Office of Continuing and Distance Education (C&DE) within the College of Engineering uses a variety of processes and tools for developing online courses for many Engineering Departments. All of the online courses we currently offer follow the University academic calendar, none are available as independent self-paced delivery. Following the defined academic semester calendar is a requirement for all of our courses because many of them are offered in a blended learning environment that includes resident students attending classes with distance-ed (DE) students participating through live video conferencing, live streaming video, or on-demand streaming video. The courses are delivered through ANGEL with the resident and DE students having access to the exact same instructional materials. Much of the instructional development and delivery is done in real-time as the instructor’s lectures, labs, and demonstrations are delivered live as-well-as recorded for asynchronous on-demand access. Typically courses are designed to allow for students to time-shift their study and course deliverables within a given week.

To facilitate this feat of blended learning, the C&DE office delivers the courses from a variety of environments including:

  • dedicated technology classrooms
  • several portable technology rack systems for delivery from remote classrooms
  • a dedicated development studio
  • professional quality AV field production
  • professional quality AV post-production

Many courses, even when delivered live in the form of blended learning, still require pre-production and development to create instructional resources that are used by both resident and DE students. These resources include detailed instructor notes and mathematical equations, live and simulated laboratory assignment, virtual tours, demonstrations, and special presentations. All the video components of each course are recorded and delivered in high definition. This production process allows us to greatly enhance the instructional experience, for example showing slow motion video of material deformation or a time-lapse corrosion process recorded in a lab.

The C&DE office also develops on-line courses for delivery to audiences without the blended learning classroom. These are typically delivered in the summer when a resident version of the course in not offered. Most include a mix of streaming video, html, flash animation, lab experiences, and student projects. Even though content delivery is pre-packaged, an instructor facilitates the course interaction with students and is responsible for feedback and evaluating student performance. These courses are recorded in our development studio or during non-scheduled time in our technology classrooms.

The C&DE technology classrooms, development studio, and portable rack systems generally are equipped with:

  • high definition Polycom video teleconference system with multiple cameras
  • digital Polycom and/or wireless microphones
  • tablet PCs for interactive instructional presentations and web access
  • large screen and/or projected video displays
  • wall mounted interactive SmartBoard
  • document camera
  • streaming media encoder workstation

Below is a link to a brief 5 minute video of faculty member’s comments and testimonials regarding the course development services offered by the office of Continuing and Distance Education in the College of Engineering. The video is about 6 years old, but much of it is still relevant.

[Engineering the Future of Learning http://www.engr.psu.edu/cde/video/Engineering_the_Future_of_Learning.asx]

Contact: The Engineering Continuing and Distance Education office, 814-865-7643

College of Health and Human Development

The College of Health and Human Development develops online courses to be offered through the World Campus. Our staff consists of two instructional designers, one multimedia developer, and an instructional design assistant. We currently offer approximately 28 courses and two programs, including the Master of Health Administration and the Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies.

Courses consist of text-based lesson with embedded graphics, videos and animations. We house our content in Drupal, an open-source content management system, and utilize educational models (ELMS) that were developed by Penn State’s College of Arts & Architecture. Students access content through a link on ANGEL. We still use ANGEL as our primary means of delivering courses, and depend on its commonly-used features to maintain confidentiality in grading. Specifically, we use discussion forums, drop boxes, email and the gradebook. In addition to Drupal and ANGEL, we have incorporated Penn State supported technologies including Yammer and Voicethread in many of our courses.

College of Information Sciences and Technology

The Office of Learning Design (LD) within the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) creates and maintains a portfolio of over 270 sections per year in over 80 courses. LD has created courses and course modules for resident, distance, blended, undergraduate, graduate, certificate, and corporate audiences. LD currently offers five award-winning programs: Masters of Professional Studies (MPS) in Information Sciences, MPS in Homeland Security, MPS in Enterprise Architecture, BS in IST, and BS in SRA (Security and Risk Analysis). LD is currently working on several additional programs. Depending on the course, a combination of five Instructional Designers (ID), two Instructional Production Specialists (IPS), and up to twelve undergraduate student-interns or part-time wage employees are part of the design and development team. One ID is the lead for each course. This ID typically meets bi-weekly with faculty (SME) and follows a timeline for new course rollout or course revision. IDs also assist course committees–-consisting of a few faculty–-with developing course goals and topics in an ongoing effort to limit gaps or overlaps in the ever-changing content of the IST courses. LD works closely with the IST Education Strategy and Planning office, which coordinates hiring faculty, enrollment management, and admissions for the MPS program.

LD currently does not use a separate Content Management System (CMS), but instead places all content in Canvas. The reasoning behind this was that if one system (in contrast to two) worked for us, then why not go with it. Content may include content pages, syllabus, media, graphics, forms, links, peer evaluations, peer reviews, virtual labs, electronic reserves, lecture videos, other embedded video, PowerPoints, PDFs, etc. The syllabi are open to the public in Canvas and are placed on the World Campus course catalog so prospective students can view them. Canvas is used for quizzes, drop boxes, discussion forums, teaming space, peer evaluations, peer review, surveys, and the gradebook. Course Templates are set up for each online course. Each semester the Course Template is copied into each live section. Ongoing efforts are made to incorporate consistency across all IST online programs, especially in navigation, naming conventions, syllabus items and order, and similar assignments (e.g. introduction to the course). Resident Instruction (RI) instructors are able to copy all or part of the course template for use in their RI sections. Online Instructors use BigBlueButton (default in Canvas) or Blackboard Collaborate for online office hours, meetings, and presentations from distance students or guest speakers. Students also heavily use online meeting tools for team meetings. Most courses include real-world problems and team assignments. Some include hands-on virtual labs, particularly the cyber security courses.

IST Learning Design has been conducting IRB-approved research in the Canvas UX space in collaboration with other units. More here: https://sites.psu.edu/canvasux/

Office site: http://istlearningdesign.psu.edu/ or https://ist.psu.edu/directory/office/online_pro/learning_design

Contact: Amy Garbrick, agarbrick@ist.psu.edu

College of the Liberal Arts

The College of the Liberal Arts Outreach and Online Education Unit provides course design, development, and delivery support to college faculty for courses offered online through the eLearning Cooperative or the World Campus. The college currently has approximately 50 courses in their online portfolio. Instructional Designers work with faculty using the Course Development Partnership Model, which guides faculty in the course development process through a blended format of group meetings, online seminars and one-on-one consultation, and includes course reviews reflecting the Penn State Online Quality Standards.

Typical team make-up within the unit includes:

  • Faculty Authors
  • Lead Instructional Designers
  • Instructional Design Assistants
  • Graphic and Media Specialist
  • Programmer

Once completed, students access the courses through ANGEL, which is also used for quizzing, email, discussions, grading and other course management tasks. From ANGEL, students link to the course content that is housed separately in the College’s eLearning content management system (https://elearning.la.psu.edu/laonline) built in Plone.

Videos are embedded in the course content and uploaded to the College’s YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/PSULiberalArts),orVimeo (http://vimeo.com/user3650069) unless they must be password protected, in which case they are uploaded to the ITS streaming server. Various other sources are used as needed for course content and/or student work including Google Maps, Google Docs, Penn State Blogs, iTunesU, VoiceThread, and others.

The Smeal College of Business

Smeal’s e-Learning Design and Innovation Group (eLDIG) is committed to excellence in teaching and learning, both in the online face-to-face classroom. The eLDIG team works with instructors to design, develop, and enhance Smeal’s courses. eLDIG’s portfolio includes fully online courses offered via World Campus, hybrid courses (including a number of very-large-enrollment classes), and educational technology solutions and pedagogical support for resident instruction.

Course content is built in a customized version of Movable Type hosted by Smeal. This content is published to a separate course server, which reduces the likelihood of disruptions in the students’ experience. Course content is displayed within the ANGEL chrome, which allows the use of ANGEL tools and gradebook to streamline course delivery. eLDIG is planning to migrate course content to Drupal in the next academic year. In preparation for this move, they have developed a few customized tools in Drupal to enhance the student experience.

eLDIG works collaboratively with Smeal’s programming team to build customized web applications, online games, simulations, and assessment tools, such as a web-based peer evaluation tool. They also partner with the College’s web & multimedia team to record and deliver video solutions that are currently delivered via JW Player and Echo 360 with a plan to deploy a customized version of MediaCore. Additionally, they incorporate university-supported technologies including Yammer, Sites.psu.edu, Lynda.com, Turnitin, Microsoft IT Academy, and Box.com.

The eLDIG keeps up-to-date on research that enables us to better our understanding of how students learn, how learning can be transformed through technology, and ways instructors teach in all delivery formats (face-to-face, hybrid, and online) while evaluating the success of teaching innovations to improve methods and approaches at Smeal through data-driven, iterative design. The team also provides a variety of services and faculty development opportunities to assist instructors with the processes of conceptualizing, designing, developing, delivering, and refining their courses and projects.

Contact: eldig@smeal.psu.edu

Eberly College of Science

The Eberly College of Science Office of Online Education (OOE) supports faculty in the design and delivery of online courses throughout the College. We are committed to upholding Penn State’s standards of educational excellence, by utilizing the skills and interest of our faculty to design high-quality, student-centered online courses. OEE provides support to faculty in the design and delivery of online courses offered both to students in residence and via the World Campus.

The design process (which typically takes two semesters) utilizes standardized instructional design principles (ADDIE, SAM, etc.), but attempts to be flexible and to adapt to the individual needs of faculty. The instructional design team works with faculty to explore various teaching technologies to improve learning in the online classroom, providing support for instructional design, content layout, graphic design, multimedia, student engagement, assessment, etc. (See additional information on the ECoS design process.)

OOE values the collaboration that takes place throughout the University’s instructional design community and appreciates opportunities to share ideas and learn from each other. The recently established e-Conversations sessions bring together faculty and design staff from across the University to better understand the activity of teaching and learning online; broaden and strengthen networks by expanding conversations across disciplines and campuses; identify and confirm successful online strategies; and discover and implement new ideas for online education.

Contact: Sue Repine, skr16@psu.edu

Additional Campus-based Resources


The Abington campus uses the ANGEL platform for e-learning. Other tools are used such as Articulate, Adobe Presenter, Screencasts, etc. and are housed on the local servers and streamed through Angel. In some cases video content is housed on the ITS streaming server then linked in a course via Angel. A few courses over the past year have been built with materials from Equella, then uploaded into Angel. Courses are constructed via a collaborative approach between faculty members and the instructional designer with oversight and ultimate approval coming from the appropriate division head.


The Penn State Berks Center for Learning & Teaching (CLT) staff work with faculty in the design, development, and support of eLearning resources at the college. The team includes a director, instructional designer and instructional multimedia designer.

The Penn State Berks Teaching & Learning Innovation Grant Partnership Program (TLI) provides faculty with in-depth collaborative opportunities with the CLT team to identify innovative solutions to enhance Berks courses. Grants awards may include support from CLT staff and student interns, supplemental compensation, and/or additional resources such as hardware and software for the implementation of an innovative approach. Past Teaching & Learning Innovation grant projects have included:

  • Hybrid and online course development
  • Development of online multimedia-based resources (tutorials, interactive practice, instructional games)
  • Selection and implementation of instructional technologies

Berks faculty interested in developing hybrid and online courses are encouraged to enroll in the Berks eLearning Academy. The program includes a combination of five face-to-face sessions and supporting online activities designed to lead faculty through the process of designing and developing a hybrid or online course. Penn State Berks utilizes a local hybrid course development model that was presented to the Berks Faculty Senate during the 2009-2010 academic year. The Berks Hybrid Course Development Model adheres to the Penn State Quality Assurance Standards, as well as to elements of the Quality Matters Rubric.

The Berks Online Course Quality Grant Program was launched in 2016 to promote and support quality online course design and delivery. The program is offered on a continuous basis for new online courses to be offered at Penn State Berks.

The Penn State Berks Learning Technologies Certificate program introduces new and existing faculty to emerging trends in eLearning and the avenues of support available through partnership with the Center for Learning & Teaching. The program consists of a series of five workshops on topics such as: hybrid and online course overview; instructional technologies including Canvas, clickers, and collaborative online tools; interactive educational resources; and tools for creating custom eLearning resources. To earn the certificate, faculty must attend four out of five sessions and complete a reflection piece. Faculty also have the option to attend individual workshops without completing the certificate.

Penn State Berks faculty utilize a wide range of instructional technologies, with Canvas serving as the learning management system. Through consultation with the CLT, Berks faculty often create custom multimedia-based course content (tutorials, interactive practice exercises, videos, screencasts, games, simulations, and podcasts), explore innovative uses of Canvas, and deploy a variety of instructional technology solutions.

Projects of the PSU Berks Center for Learning & Teaching can be viewed in the Center for Teaching & Learning portfolio.

Contact: Daonian Liu, DZL5300@psu.edu


A collaborative approach for course development is used by the Coordinator of Instructional Design at the Brandywine campus. The instructional designer consults with faculty to support online, hybrid and residential (RI) course development using Canvas as the learning management system. The Coordinator of Instructional Design also assist faculty in identifying and using educational technologies in their teaching and in student learning. Faculty development opportunities are organized and conducted by the instructional designer at the campus. The instructional designer also coordinates additional faculty development opportunities with other units within the University.

Contact: Matthew Bodek, mjb14@psu.edu


DuBois primarily uses ANGEL to deliver online course content, however we do have faculty who host course content on their own website as a delivery medium. However as time passes faculty are using a combination of tools to deliver both completely online and hybrid courses. Tools including Adobe Connect, Blogs, and Presenter are used to support the delivery of online materials and lectures. ANGEL is used to support discussions, online office hours, gradebook and assessment mechanisms, syllabus, and calendar features.

Support for course development is provided through the instructional designer as well as information technology support through the campus IT department. The greatest amount of design and development support has been typically provided up to 5 months prior to the course start into the first two offerings of the course. The online SRTE’s which were adapted at the DuBois campus in Spring 2009 provide a standard assessment to gather student input; however we do additional assessment in online courses to gather student feedback for continuous improvement. Faculty are paired up with a colleague who has taught online as well to receive mentoring. NOTE: We limit the number of seats in the first offering of an online course to 24. Online courses are approved through the Director of Academic Affairs office.

Erie, The Behrend College

The Center for eLearning Initiatives serves primarily to support the development and maintenance of online and hybrid courses at Penn State Behrend. The CEI collaborates with academic programs, produces resources and practices, and facilitates faculty development opportunities geared toward improving e-learning at the college. Course projections over the next several semesters highlight an influx of online programs and projects designed to advance the college’s strategic goal of refining and expanding Behrend’s teaching role. These courses will be delivered via the World Campus, Penn State’s Digital Learning Cooperative, and residentially at Behrend. The CEI works to promote sound pedagogical practices that enhance teaching and learning in all e-learning formats offered at Behrend. Our team consists of two instructional designers, an instructional production specialist, and a web technologist. We utilize a number of tools to support content delivery, multimedia production, and to facilitate a variety of interaction types.

Contact: Jessica Resig, Director, jjr27@psu.edu

Great Valley

The Great Valley campus relies on ANGEL for any eLearning delivery, whether online or blended. Some faculty work independently while others rely on support from the campus instructional designer.


The Faculty Center for Teaching & Instructional Technology at Penn State Harrisburg (PSH) provides online course design & development, faculty professional development, program assessment, administration of SRTEs, technology integration, and pedagogical consulting. The Faculty Center team includes a director, instructional designers, an instructional production specialist, a multimedia specialist, and administrative support staff.

Penn State Harrisburg courses are designed and developed in Canvas. Faculty have many options in supporting their students in asynchronous learning opportunities through discussions, case studies, multimedia, and project-based assessments which provide rich and effective learning. We serve all levels of the Penn State Harrisburg degree programs including Associate, Undergraduate, and Graduate degree programs. We offer these online courses to both residential and virtual students through the Digital Learning Cooperative and the World Campus.

The Faculty Center utilizes standardized instructional design methods and a process designed ensure high quality instruction. This includes courses created for our residential courses and those developed in partnership with the World Campus.

Please visit the Faculty Center’s website at http://sites.psu.edu/facultycenter/ to learn more about our services, request a consultation, or to view our resources.

Contact: Jennifer L. Keagy, Director, jlm394@psu.edu

Lehigh Valley

At the Lehigh Valley Campus, we have faculty who develop online and hybrid courses. This work is supported by an Instructional Designer who reports to both the DAA at the campus as well as to the manager of World Campus Instructional Design. This dual reporting structure gives the LV campus a close connection with the work being done by the World Campus.

The Lehigh Valley Campus is planning on increasing the number of online, hybrid, and videoconference classes it offers. In conjunction with our Academic Affairs committee, we are currently working on a hybrid course development process in order to ensure accurate communication and quality in hybrid course design.

Some of the software we use for online course development includes Camtasia, Adobe Connect, Snapz Pro X, iMovie, Visual Hub, Audacity, iTunes, Mpeg Stream Clip, Word, PowerPoint, and Jing. Online tools include ANGEL, VoiceThread, Picasa, YouTube, Screencast-O-Matic, and iTunes U. We also use iPods and flip video cameras as well as traditional video cameras, webcams and telephones for recording of online content. We also make use of Zamzar.com for file conversion and lynda.com for training and online instruction. We have also been using Blogs @ Penn State to create websites and blogs.

We participate in VLN videoconference programming and also work with our regional campuses on an Eastern Alliance videoconference collaborative.

The Media Commons manager works closely with Instructional Designer to support the technology and rich media content development for online and hybrid courses.

In the future, we hope to make use of Drupal and would like to see the University provide Drupal storage and server management for our campus. We also plan to make use of streaming server and Flash Media server services available from UP or Word Campus. It would also be helpful to be able to use Elluminate, just as the World Campus does for their synchronous collaboration online sessions. We also hope to take more advantage of green screen technology to enhance the video learning experience.

New Kensington

New Kensington primarily uses Canvas for content delivery, communication, and assessment in online learning.  Box, Sites@Penn State, Google, Videoconferencing tools, and Yammer are increasingly being used to house online content, communicate and collaborate.  Faculty are using a variety of tools for lecture capture (including Doceri, some free online tools and purchased packages like Adobe Presenter) and are exploring the possibility of installing a One-button Studio.  Important learning design support resources at New Kensington include the half-time IDS,  the traveling Media Commons consultant, other resources provided by Media Commons, the roaming ID program, lynda.psu.edu, Schreyer Institute, designers associated with Shared Programs, and the support and training opportunities provided by ITS.

Contact: Deborah Sillman, dys100@psu.edu


The Schuylkill campus is relying on ANGEL for any eLearning delivery either online or blended. Some faculty work independently while others rely on support from the campus Instructional Designer.


As of the Spring 2011 semester, faculty at Penn State Wilkes-Barre primarily use ANGEL as their LMS for both distance and face-to-face courses. Faculty typically create their online courses themselves, but an instructional designer is available to assist or consult. A few faculty use their own websites to distribute course materials rather than utilize ANGEL.

Worthington Scranton

The Center for Instructional Design at PSU Worthington Scranton is dedicated to helping faculty, staff, and students with course design, consultation, instructional technology, or general technology questions.  Our faculty actively use Canvas, Zoom, Voicethread, Turnitin, Doceri, i>clicker, and more University-provided software and services for their courses.  The Instructional Design Center supports hybrid, “flipped,” and fully online courses for our campus.  Regular lunchtime “Brown Bag” training sessions are held, and individual consultations are always available.

The Center for Instructional Design hosts an annual Regional Faculty Development Day in spring, with participants from all over the Commonwealth.

Contact: Griff Lewis, Instructional Designer, grl13@psu.edu, 570-963-2654
Worthington Scranton Center for Instructional Design – http://worthingtonscranton.psu.edu/center-instructional-design-home


Suzanne Shaffer, TLT Instructional Designer, supports resident instruction faculty with workshops, resources, and technology related to teaching and learning. Information about resources and training events happening at York can be found at this website http://sites.psu.edu/shafferpsy/

Contact: Suzanne Shaffer, scs15@psu.edu

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