Frequently Asked Questions

Why is distance education important to UNL?

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 assist 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 M.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.

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

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. Then visit with Tim Carr, Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Graduates Studies, or Amy Goodburn, Senior Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Undergraduate Studies. UNL's distance education campus coordinator, Renee Batman can also help you determine next steps, arrange for market research, and consult on other important questions.

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

There is no standard time frame for developing a distance course, 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.

How many students will be in my online courses?

Your online course can be designed for very large enrollments or smaller, more interactive classes. The maximum enrollment for your course will be determined by you with your department chair during the course development process.

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

Yes. UNL Libraries provide extensive online services. Assistant Professor Andrew Cao ( is the Library's Distance Education and Online Coordinator.

What support services are available to faculty?

Your Distance Education Campus Coordinator and point of contact for UNL distance and online initiatives, Renee Batman can offer assistance in planning and delivering distance courses and programs. Innovative Instructional Design sponsors ongoing Faculty Development opportunities and networking opportunities such as faculty demonstrations and luncheons, a Institute for Online Teaching and college specific activities. In addition, instructional designers provide individual consulting and support throughout course development and delivery.

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

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 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.

Who owns the intellectual property associated with distance courses?

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.