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The Senate policy for Distance Education (R) Courses has been updated effective 9/29/23. This webpage is currently being reviewed for accuracy.

Please refer to the Academic Senate's webpage on Educational Policies for Courses for the most updated information.

Create an Online R Course

Partner with the Digital Learning Hub to develop a new online R-designated course offering at UC San Diego. Get support for course design, multimedia development, and quality assurance.


Mostly or All Virtual: 

An online course is a course in which most or all of the course content is designed intentionally for digital delivery and virtual interaction. An online course encompasses the thoughtful design of instruction, assignments, and interactions that promote learning and mastery in the online learning environment. Teaching online involves designing course materials such as instructional videos or lecture notes and ensuring all interactions and assignments directly promote the achievement of the learning goals.

Designed for Online Learners: 

Online courses are designed with flexibility, accessibility, and variability in mind, using a learner-centered approach to meet the needs of various learners in various locations and from varied backgrounds. Online courses uphold a high standard for digital accessibility, academic integrity, and student success.

Must be Approved by the Academic Senate: 

At UC San Diego, online courses must be proposed and then approved by the Academic Senate. Online course proposals must demonstrate an equivalent amount of rigor and effort as face-to-face courses. Once approved, the course code is appended with an "R" to indicate the online mode of delivery.

See the R-course Proposal process below. 

Interested in creating a new online R course?

Submit a request for consultation and support from the Digital Learning Hub.

Fill out the form


"R" course proposals must include the following:

  • A copy of the e-course form (Submitted by the department)
  • Responses to the supplementary questions in the Policy of Distance Education.
  • A letter from the Teaching + Learning Commons, Director of Digital Learning Hub addressing: 
    • The current stage of course development; and
    • If the course design meets the Quality Matters Rubric standards and accessibility requirements (or the path forward to meet these standards).
  • A letter from the provost, department chair, or program director. The letter should address how the proposed R course fits into the curriculum and include plans for incorporating distance education into the unit’s degree program(s).
  • For undergraduate courses developed for UC’s Innovative Learning Technology Initiative (ILTI), a copy of the ILTI proposal.


See UC San Diego’s Policy on Distance Education [effective 9/29/23]

Suggested Steps from Digital Learning Hub:

1. Check the deadlines

Proposals must be submitted by the proposal deadline in order to be reviewed at the next Senate Council meeting.

See the Senate Council Meeting dates.

2. Draft the R-Course Proposal

The R-Course Proposal must provide answers to the questions below. Outline a curriculum map and course syllabus to help support your answers to these questions.

Contact the Digital Learning Hub to request support from an Instructional Designer.


Supplemental Questions in the Policy of Distance Education


What is the justification for offering the course in a distance education format? Why is a distance education format the right medium for this particular course?

  • If both an in-person and distance education version of a course will be offered, what is the justification for offering the course in both formats? How will students be advised in regards to the differences between the modalities and which version to take? 
  • How will the modality improve student learning and access? 
  • How does the proposed course fit into the curriculum?


How will the course content be delivered (e.g. Learning Management System, online textbook/videos, video hosting platforms, lecture formats, etc.)? 


What technologies/tools will be used for student-instructor interaction, student-IA interaction, student-student interaction, and instructor-IA interactions? Indicate: 

  • the frequency of these interactions; 
  • whether the interactions are required or optional; and 
  • whether the interactions are asynchronous or synchronous. 


How will students be evaluated (e.g. quizzes, written assignments, problems sets, final exam, final paper, final presentation)? Describe the frequency of the evaluations and the type of feedback students receive. 


Describe how student identity will be verified, especially for high stake assessments like midterms and final exams. How will academic integrity be handled?


If the course employs IAs, describe how the IAs will interact with the students and provide the student/IA ratio. Describe how the IAs will be trained, and how the IAs will interact with instructors. 


If the course requires assignments that necessitate the use of technological tools that students may not readily have access to (e.g. submission of response videos or group-based video projects), what are the plans to ensure that students have access to the equipment needed (e.g. renting or borrowing equipment from Educational Technology Services)? 

3. Request Endorsement

Send a draft proposal and relevant course information to Teaching + Learning Commons Digital Learning Hub Director, Dr. Karen Flammer, for endorsement.

Dr. Flammer will review the proposal and endorse the course with a letter indicating the current stage of course development and if the course design meets the Quality Matters Rubric standards and accessibility requirements (or the path forward to meet these standards).

Request Endorsement from:

Director, Digital Learning Hub
Teaching + Learning Commons

4. Submit eCourse (Department)

The Department will also need to submit a new course request to eCourse, the electronic system for managing all courses. 

  • Instructors should contact the coordinator in their Department who submits eCourse requests.

  • Obtain a copy of the eCourse request to attach to the R-Course proposal.

NOTE: Final eCourse approval must pass through the Department, the Registrar’s Office, and Academic Senate, and can take multiple quarters. Follow up with the department to check the progress. Once approved, the course can be listed in the Schedule of Classes for registration. See the eCourse Workflow.

For more information about the eCourse process, contact the Scheduling Office 

5. Send Final R-Course Proposal

Send the final R-course proposal with answers to the supplemental questions to Senate.

For Undergraduate R proposals, email Chrystal Randler, Academic Senate Analyst.

For Graduate R proposals, email Ashley Welch, Academic Senate Associate Director.


  • A copy of the e-course submission

  • An endorsement letter from Dr. Karen Flammer

  • A letter of support from the Provost, Department Chair, or Program Director 

  • Additional information for the course including a draft syllabus, curriculum plan, etc.

For support with creating and reviewing a R-Course proposal, contact the Digital Learning Hub