Online Course Design Guidelines

The Online Course Design Guidelines (OCDG) are the criteria used to evaluate online courses in the Brightspace by D2L learning environment. All instructors are asked to have (at minimum):

  • An instructor widget
  • The syllabus loaded to the content and easily accessed
  • A News Note or Overview introduction to the course
  • Grades are expected to be posted in Brightspace by D2L, unless the  instructor is using a third-party LMS to support their course, such as My Math Lab or a similar product.

The following documentation is provided to assist online instructors self-assess their courses.

The documents below are provided by Respondus.

Instructor Guide for Respondus Lock Down Browser

Student Guide for Respondus Lock Down Browser


Brightspace Courses Offered Through eLearning

eLearning offers three courses to assist all faculty and support Brightspace by D2L. Brightspace Basics is required for all instructors during the first semester of employment. Mastery and Leadership are optional but highly recommended for all instructors teaching online or blended courses.

Brightspace Basics

Required for all new faculty; everyone needs to know these essential skills, regardless of course delivery mode.  All topics are addressed at an introductory level.

Basic Topics Include:

  • ADA Accessibility
  • Homepage (Instructor information, News
  • Content
  • Communication (Email, Classlist, Discussions)
  • Toolbox (Dropbox, Quizzes)
  • Grades
  • OCDG Review

Brightspace Mastery

Completely voluntary: We will continue learning about Brightspace and begin looking at best practices for teaching in the online/blended environment. (Must have completed Basics.)

Mastery Topics Include:

  • ADA and Universal Design
    • Release Conditions
    • Special Access
  • Online Course Design
    • Course Builder
    • Competencies and Learning Objectives
    • Online Course Design Guidelines
    • Best Practices
  • Assessment
    • Rubrics
    • Formative Assessment vs Summative
  • Personalization
    • Replace Strings
    • Glossary
    • FAQs
    • Intelligent Agents
  • Gamification

Brightspace Leadership

Completely voluntary: We will dive deeper best practices for teaching in the online/blended environment, and discuss ways to share our learning with our colleagues to improve online learning on our campus. (Must have completed Basics and Mastering.)

  • 30 hour total (including previous 20 hours)
  • 2 credit hours through MSU Northern, paid for through eLearning

Leadership Topics Include:

  • Usability for All
  • Defining Leadership
  • Are we asking the right questions?
  • Emerging Technologies in Brightspace
  • Direct Instruction Online
  • Formative and Summative Assessment Online