Online Learning

The Trefny Innovative Instruction Center supports best practices for teaching and learning online.  The following information is provided as a resources for faculty interested in teaching online at Mines. PLEASE NOTE: The 12+ week development process is a collaborative process where an Online Learning Experience Designer and the HIVE work closely with the faculty member to help develop distinctive, rich, and interactive online experiences. We provide the education and support to help Mines faculty provide engaging and rigorous education for our students.

Students interested in online courses at Mines can find more information at

Online Approval and Development Process

For an overview of the approval and development process, please view the diagram or the information below.

New Programs and Courses

All new programs and courses must go through the normal review and approval process (Undergraduate Council, Graduate Council, Faculty Senate, and the Board of Trustees in the case of new degree programs).  Any new online credit-earning, degree program must also be approved through our regional accreditation process with the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Online programs may not be promoted or advertised until HLC accreditation has been granted.

Existing Courses

Additionally, any course that is reducing contact hours (time spent in the physical classroom), must be approved for a change in delivery mode by the Department and the Executive Committee. Departments or faculty requesting a change in course delivery mode need to complete the Executive Committee Change of Modality form to start the review process with the Executive Committee.  Once a decision has been made, the Executive Committee notifies the Registrar, Trefny Center, Department Head, and submitter of status (approved or not approved).

Visit the Mines Online website to see a complete list of current programs and courses being developed.

Overview of Training

The Trefny Center offers the paced, asynchronous Engineering and Facilitating Online Learning (EFOL) course for faculty to experience online learning from the perspective of a learner as they work through their initial course design. This five-week online course for faculty is intended to support the development of the highest-quality online courses. Completion of this course is required before building or teaching any online course at Mines. Participation in the course will require approximately 10-hours of effort each week and faculty must receive an average grade of 80% on assignments to “pass” the course. After completion of the course faculty work collaboratively with an Online Learning Experience Designer (OLED) to continue the design and building. The OLED will also coach the faculty as they teach the first section. We will offer $2,500 in professional development funds to selected full-time teaching or tenure/tenure-track faculty for successfully completing the EOL course. This money will be allocated directly to the faculty member’s PD fund to help compensate for the time commitment. In addition, graduate students are welcome to enroll in the course. We will document completion of the course, but it is not credit-bearing and will not appear on transcripts. Graduate students will not receive funding to participate, but will also not be charged for the course.

Registration Information

Multiple sections of the course will be offered across each academic year. Space is limited and priority will be given to faculty who are part of an approved fully online program. A commitment to complete the course will be expected from all enrolled faculty and graduate students.

Please fill out this form to learn more about the course and to register (you will need to scroll if using the form below).

You can also reach out to Ana Lopez ( with any questions.

The online course design and development process consists of five phases: 

Pre-Course Build Phase

Faculty will take the self-paced Guide to Online Learning course to get comfortable with the eLearning environment, complete the Engineering Online Learning course with the Trefny Center, and attend a kick off meeting with an Online Learning Experience Designer (OLED). If the faculty member has already gone through this training, they will need to submit the course development request for Executive Committee Change of Modality form. 

Design/Development Phase (12 weeks)

This phase establishes the course design schedule for the faculty member and OLED working collaboratively. The typical commitment from the faculty member is 8-10 hours each week for approximately 12 weeks to develop each online course.

Course design and development phase condensed with critical check points

Course Review and Revision Phase (2 weeks)

During this phase the course is submitted to the Online Standards Committee to check against Mines Online Program Course Standards. The committee will have one week to review the course using the Mines Online Course Rubric and faculty members will have one week to make revisions.

Coaching Phase (semester being taught)

The Trefny Center will coach faculty during their first semester teaching the course. During this phase, the OLED will be actively observing interactions between the instructor and students and providing feedback. The faculty member and OLED will meet each week to discuss the course.

Continuous Improvement Phase (time varies depending on data)

Once the course has concluded, data and feedback will be analyzed by the faculty member and Trefny Center staff to determine any revisions needed before the course is taught again and to support/monitor student success and retention.

Online Procedures

The Online Courses and Programs and Procedures document provides relevant faculty policies to support online teaching, training requirements for developing online courses, the online course design/development process, and quality standards for all online programs and courses.

The FERPA-Virtual Learning page has been put together to help set up online courses to adhere to Privacy laws and regulations such as FERPA.

Online Programs and Courses

Visit the Mines Online website to see a complete list of approved programs and courses as well as faculty who have been trained to design and facilitate online courses.

Online Resources at Mines

This resource is set up for sharing information and resources related to the use and functionality of Canvas, the eLearning environment at Mines.

Mines Online Student Support Website

The Mines Online website is a comprehensive source for online services and resources available to students enrolled in Colorado School of Mines online courses. Mines Online courses provide opportunities for students and alumni to retool, enhance, and advance their disciplinary skill sets. Explore this site to learn more about the courses offered at Mines, how to be an effective online student, and the support and services offered to students for online courses.