Distance Education Program and Courses FAQs


Q: Why is distance education important to UNL?

A: Distance education is an important trend in higher education as it provides access to an UNL education to students who cannot come to campus. In addition, online courses assists on-campus students by providing them with flexibility in their schedules. The NU Board of Regents has called for distance education to be a part of the core activities of the University. The importance of distance education is evident in every UNL planning document.

All of UNL's academic colleges have developed a wide range of distance education courses and/or programs to support their students' unique needs. CASNR's undergraduate certificate in Meat Culinology, CBA's M.B.A. degree, CEHS's M.A. in Textiles, Clothing & Design and Architecture's Master's Degree with a specialization in Interior Design are just a few examples of the variety of distance education programs being offered by UNL's academic colleges.

By offering courses for undergraduate students, graduate students and high-achieving high school audiences, UNL's distance education programs are designed with the diverse population of students important to UNL's future in mind. Back to Top


Q: I would like to teach online. How do I get involved?

A: After visiting with your department chair regarding your interest in developing an online course, contact your Instructional Design Technology Specialist, who will support you throughout the development process. If you are interested in developing a complete distance program, begin by discussing  your ideas with your department chair and college. The Excecutive Director, Marie Barber, of the  Office of Online and Distance Education can also help you determine next steps, arrange for market research, and consult on other important questions. Back to Top


Q: What support services are available to faculty?

A: The Office of Online & Distance Education offers assistance in planning and delivering distance courses and programs. The Innovative Instructional Design Team sponsors ongoing Faculty Development opportunities and networking opportunities such as faculty demonstrations and luncheons, a Summer Institute for Online Teaching and college specific activities. In addiiton, the instructional designers will provide individuall consulting and support throughout course development and delivery. Back to Top


Q: How long does it take to develop a distance education course?

A: There is no standard time frame for developing a distance course, but it may take as long as one year or as little as one semester. You will need to consider the complexity of your content, amount of materials you already have available, the variety and types of technology you wish to use and production schedules. An Instructional Design Technology Specialist will be assigned to work with you on the design process. Back to Top


Q: How many students will be in my online courses?

A: Your online course can be designed for very large audiences or smaller, more interactive classes. The maximum enrollment for your course will be determined with your department chair during the course development process. Back to Top


Q: How do I arrange for an exam to be proctored?

A: The Office of Online & Distance Education has established proctoring processes so you do not have to spend time coordinating this function. Go to the "Proctoring" tab under "Course Set Up" for more information. In addition, if you are using Maple TA to set up your exams, please go to the Web-Based Assessment help page. Back to Top


Q: I want my students to complete research assignments. Do distance students have access to the library?

A: Yes. UNL Libraries provide extensive online services. Associate Professor Charlene Maxey-Harris is the Library's Distance Education and Online Coordinator. Back to Top


Q: Are there any special copyright issues I need to be aware of when developing an online course?

A: Copyright laws apply to many instructional materials used in distance education just as they do when similar materials are used in a traditional classroom setting. Exceptions for classroom and distance education are similar but not absolutely the same. The Office of Online & Distance Education Instructional Design Technology Specialist assigned to your course can work with you to ensure that copyrighted material is used appropriately in your distance education course. Back to Top


Q: Who owns the intellectual property associated with distance courses?

A: As is the case with courses taught in a traditional classroom setting, instructional materials developed for distance courses are subject to the ownership of intellectual property policy stated in the University of Nebraska Board of Regents Policies Section 4.4.1, subsection 5.b.2. Back to Top


Q: How can I get training in Blackboard?

A: UNL Information Services provides workshops, online tutorials and blogs to help you learn how to use Blackboard. Contact them to schedule department or college wide trainings. Back to Top