OTL Certification Program

This graduate certificate program in Online Teaching and Learning (OT&L) is designed to meet the needs of K-12 educators, higher education faculty, instructional design specialists, chief learning officers, and other professionals and individuals who wish to design, develop, implement, manage, and evaluate online learning environments. The certificate program serves individuals who do not wish to earn a Master of Science degree, but wish to expand their knowledge and skills in teaching online courses and managing online learning environments. View the brochure >

Program Description

The certificate program in Online Teaching and Learning (OT&L) provides participants with a diversity of learning experiences. These include design, development, implementation, and management of online courses using various Learning Management Systems (LMS); design and delivery of synchronous learning environments and learning management systems; design and development of electronic, self-directed learning materials, and others. The program is designed to be flexible in order to remain current with developing technologies and delivery systems.

The intention for establishing this proposed graduate certificate program has been discussed with North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI), Division of Instructional Technology. Although an official endorsement has not been established for K-12 educators yet, NCDPI has expressed its interest and support for the program and for considering Online Teaching and Learning endorsement for K-12 educators who will take the challenge of teaching online courses in their schools.

Until NCDPI officially establishes special endorsement for K-12 teachers who complete the certificate program, the licensed teachers who fulfill requirements of the program will receive Online Teaching and Learning professional certificate similar to other candidates from higher education, health, and other government agencies and business industries. By completing this certificate program, the licensed teachers and other candidates have required competencies for teaching online courses and managing online programs.

Certificate Program Objectives

The certificate program seeks to prepare professionals who have:

  1. Developed knowledge and skills of designing, developing, implementing, managing, and evaluating online learning environments and programs.
  2. Developed conceptual and practical understanding of principles of instructional design and effective online teaching.
  3. Demonstrated application of research-based, pedagogically effective learning strategies, appropriate organization of content, level of student engagement, differentiated learning, higher order thinking skills, and appropriate instructor-student and student-student interaction in the design of online learning environments.
  4. Demonstrated skills in integrating instructional design principles and procedures with multimedia technologies and course management tools to develop highly engaging and interactive online learning environments.
  5. Developed skills of planning, designing and incorporating strategies to encourage active learning, interaction, participation and collaboration in the online environment.
  6. Developed knowledge of legal, ethical, safe, and healthy behavior related to technology use.
  7. Developed knowledge and skills of designing, developing, delivering, and evaluating online learning environments and programs that are accessible for individuals with disabilities and are responsive to learners' diversity and cultural differences.
  8. Demonstrated competencies in creating and implementing assessments in online learning environments in ways that assure validity and reliability of instruments and procedures.
  9. Demonstrated administrative skills in planning, launching, maintaining, and coordinating distance education programs.

Admission Requirements

Applicants seeking admission to the graduate certificate in online teaching must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university in this country, or its equivalent in a foreign institution based on a four-year program, and have a strong overall academic record with a "B" average or better in the basic courses required in the area of the proposed certificate program.

To apply for admission to the graduate Certificate in Online Teaching program you must submit the following:

  1. An application for admission to the graduate school;
  2. Official transcripts of all prior university or college coursework (undergraduate and graduate);
  3. Three recommendations by individuals in professionally relevant fields; and
  4. A professional resume and personal statement describing reasons for pursuing the Certificate in Online Teaching.
  5. International students: TOEFL minimum score of 79 on the Internet-based exam, 197 on the computer-based exam, or 525 on the paper-based exam. Scores older than two (2) years will not be accepted.

    *GRE/MAT tests are not required for admission into any MIT certificate program

Applicants who plan to apply for Special Endorsement in Online Teaching and Learning must currently have (or be eligible for) a NC teaching license.

Students may transfer up to 9 semester hours as a non-degree student at UNCW toward this certificate program.
Individuals who fall short of one of these criteria may be admitted if other factors indicate potential for success. The courses in this certificate program are all project-based with individual and team collaboration. There is close mentoring from faculty in the hands-on design of online courses. These factors help in the successful completion of the program.


Students entering the certificate program must demonstrate basic technology skills. Students entering the program with very little or no computing experience will be required to take EDN 303, Instructional Technology, or pass the performance competencies test for basic technology skills.

Policies Governing Certificate Admission Criteria and Subsequent Admission to Graduate Degree Programs

The certificate admission criteria and policies governing the relation of certificates to graduate degree programs include the following:

  1. Non-degree UNCW graduate students who wish to pursue the certificate program must apply for admission to the program before 10 approved credits are completed.
  2. No transfer credit from another institution will be counted toward the completion of the certificate program with the exception of courses offered as part of an agreement between the certificate program and collaborating institutions.
  3. A certificate graduate student may enroll on either a part-time or a full-time basis.

Certificate Requirements

The program requires 18 credit hours.

Required Core Courses (6 credits)

MIT 500. Instructional Systems Design: Theory and Research (3). Advanced instructional design theory and research focus on analysis of theoretical foundations of instructional design and their application in design practice. Examines multidisciplinary and multicultural influences upon instructional theory and development. Explores a broad range of current design research and theory, and future directions in design theory and practice.

MIT 511 . Multimedia Design and Development (3). Focuses on cognitive learning theory, perception, motivation, color principles, communication, usability, multimedia learning principles and instructional design applicable to designing multimedia instructional products. Students will learn to design, develop, and evaluate multimedia applications. Each student will demonstrate basic proficiency across a wide spectrum of multimedia for print design, job aid design, graphic design and screen design

Required Focus Area Courses (6 credits)

MIT 514. Foundations of Distance Education (3). Examine the concepts, technologies, and issues related to the design, development, delivery, policy-making, and evaluation of distance education courses and programs. Provide an overview of distance education technologies; and focus on effective delivery techniques for teaching and learning within a distance education system.

MIT 531. Assessment of Learning Outcomes (3). Examination of the nature and purpose of measurement and assessment of learning outcomes. Particular attention is paid to the concepts of reliability, validity, norms, interpretation of scores, response sets, fairness in testing and performance assessment, and norm-referenced vs. criterion-referenced tests. A variety of instruments that are used to measure or assess human attributes and behaviors are studied.

Approved Focus Area Courses - Choose two from the following (6 credits)

MIT 515. Web Teaching: Design & Development (3). Prerequisites: MIT 500 and MIT 511. Focus on principles of designing Internet-based (web-based) instruction. Students will use Internet tools and other instructional design principles to design and develop web-based instruction. Four-to-six hour weekly lab required.

MIT 513. Computer-Based Instruction (3). Prerequisites: MIT 500 and MIT 511. Exploration of computer-based instruction (CBI) as a delivery system. Students will learn to design, develop and evaluate an interactive computer-based instructional program that meets instructional needs. Students will follow a systematic instructional design process (flowcharting, story boarding, prototyping, formative testing) to develop a CBI program.

MIT 516. Instructional Video Design and Production (3). Prerequisite: MIT 500 or permission of instructor. Designed to explore the process and techniques involved in professional video productions. Emphasizes fundamental theories and practice in camera and computer-based audio and video production, including recording, editing, and digitizing audio and video segments for education and training applications.

MIT 518: Managing Learning Management and Course Management Systems (3) (New Course): Designed to address administrative, management and tracking aspects of online courses. Emphasizes managing enterprise level Learning Management System, SCORM compliant and processes for launching courses authored in all standard course authoring tools.

Course Sequence

The following courses have to be completed before the focus area courses can be taken.

MIT 514. Foundations of Distance Education (3).
MIT 500. Instructional Systems Design: Theory and Research (3).
MIT 511. Multimedia Design and Development (3).
MIT 531. Assessment of Learning Outcomes (3)