NOTE: the Keep Learning website has been created to provide additional support for designing and teaching online courses.


The Centre for Extended Learning (CEL) has been helping Waterloo faculty and instructors design, develop and deliver fully online courses, that align with research-based best practices, since 1997. Waterloo currently offers more than 500 online courses and 27 fully online programs to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Whether you need a small digital resource to demonstrate a concept in your course or you have been asked to build a fully online course for your department, we have an option to suit your needs.

Scheduled projects

Scheduled projects are those that have been approved at the faculty level as part of a coordinated annual online learning plan. These can range from the development of full online courses to the creation of discrete digital materials to enhance on-campus/blended courses.  We provide you with dedicated resources to design and build your course or digital materials from start to finish comprehensively and collaboratively.

CEL uses a project management approach with scheduled projects; this requires a structured, significant, and sustained time commitment from you, which for a fully online course will span 3 terms. Over that time, you can expect to receive in excess of 500 hours of expert support from CEL. If you’re interested in developing a course or digital resources in this way, contact your Chair. 

Flexible development support

Our flexible development support is a first-come, first served rapid response approach focusing on either smaller development requests or supporting you with designing and developing online learning materials independently. It may also serve as an alternative option where our scheduled projects model is not the best fit.

You’ll have access to the full range of CEL expertise (instructional design, web and media development, LMS setup, accessibility, copyright, etc.) in a flexible manner, without the structured timelines or deadlines associated with our scheduled projects approach. However, since it’s first-come first-served, demand and response time can vary; we also cap the dedicated time for any single support request at a much lower level (typically 80 hours max), to ensure we can continue to help as many people across the university as possible.

We are currently prioritizing two key strategic priorities through our flexible development support model:

  • The Teaching Fellows Blended Learning Initiative
  • The conversion of remote teaching courses to fully online

This option will be available later in 2021.

Support Model Comparison

Scheduled projects Flexible development support
  • ideal for those who want full design and development support and are able to commit to established timelines at project start
  • ideal for those who have the time and inclination to work independently
  • new projects are approved by faculty executives and scheduled every spring
  • requests can be submitted at any time during the year and do not require faculty executive approval
  • dedicated CEL support team assigned to your project
  • in most all cases, we build it for you
  • consultations with CEL staff experts as needed 
  • in many cases, we provide guidance to help you build it yourself
  • set deadlines and timelines with guaranteed completion before the term of offer
  • on-demand support, response times are based on our capacity at any given time
  • development completion dates are negotiated based on resource availability and demand as well as the complexity of the project
  • approximatelyt 500 hours
  • approximately 80 hours

An evidence-based approach

CEL is actively engaged in research with a mandate to advance online learning. Our provincially funded User Experience Design for Learning (UXDL) initiative is an award-winning example of our research pursuits and illustrates how our research drives our course design practices. We are always keen to hear from faculty whose research interests align with ours and welcome the opportunity to discuss potential collaborations. Learn more about CEL’s research activities.