Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching and Learning

  • Overview

    What is the Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching and Learning?

    The Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching and Learning (OTL) is for professionals in business, government, education, or other settings who want to develop their knowledge and skills in online teaching and learning.

    OTL utilizes technology-based environments to actively engage students in designing formal educational projects that meet professional objectives. The five core courses (3-credits each) are sequences to provide an intense immersion in a dynamic online environment and culminates in an online teaching practicum.

    Prime candidates for the OTL program are individuals with a need to explore online teaching and learning techniques and the willingness to engage in collaborative learning projects.

    OTL courses can be taken as electives by students who do not wish to complete the certificate program.

    Current NMSU graduate students can take the OTLGC program. However, the decision about if and how OTL courses factor into a degree plan, or not, is decided by the department issuing the graduate degree. It’s highly recommended you meet with your graduate advisor before you start the OTL program. You will either have to complete the OTLGC before or during the same semester you complete your graduate degree. If you start the OTLGC during your graduate degree program you cannot complete the OTLGC after completing your graduate degree. If you start the OTL program after completing your graduate degree, there isn’t a conflict.

    What is Quality Matters?

    Quality Matters (QM) is a nationally-recognized peer review process that certifies the quality of online and blended course design. Seven of the OTL course have gone through the QM peer review process and are recognized as meeting QM standards. The five OTL core courses EDLT 560, 575, 580*, 590, & 592, as well as EDLT 581* and EDLT 579, are all Quality Matters Recognized Courses.

    *EDLT 581 can be substituted for EDLT 580.

    What benefits does the OTL program offer?

    Benefits from earning a Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching and Learning include:

    • Proficiency in fostering online learning communities,
    • Skill in online teaching,
    • Knowledge of successful assessment and evaluation strategies,
    • Associations from a network of committed professionals,
    • Keeping current with emerging technologies and OTL strategies,
    • A foundation of theoretical and practical information, and
    • Expanded career opportunities.
    • Gainful Employment Information

    Can the OTL program be taken as part of a Masters degree program? Doctoral program?

    Yes, The OTL Graduate Certificate can be obtained while enrolled in another graduate program; see the Application information section.  This program is now also being offered as an emphasis in the College of Education’s Master of Arts in Education. See Master of Arts in Education with a Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching and Learning for more information. 

    What is required to complete the OTL program*?

    Once admitted into the program, you must:

    • Complete all five courses with a B or higher.
    • Maintain a 3.0 GPA.

    *If you are in a graduate program, all OTLGC courses must be taken during your program of study.

    Does OTL qualify for Financial Aid?

    The Online Teaching and Learning Graduate Certificate Program is a Title IV eligible program since it can lead to gainful employment. Students in the program qualify for financial aid.

  • Courses

    OTL is a Graduate Certificate* consisting of five three-credit courses, which can be taken in as little as one year.*If you are in a graduate program, all OTLGC courses must be taken during your program of study.

    Synchronous Sessions

    Introductory Session

    At the beginning of the fall semester an introductory session is held to provide you with an overview of the OTL Program, the semester’s courses, prepare you to use the course technology, and provide an opportunity to meet your instructors and other students.

    The session is online using web-conferencing software. If you cannot attend, a recording of the introductory session is available.

    Scheduling information for this session will be provided with your application confirmation.

    Course Sessions

    Some course sessions provide opportunities to meet online synchronously. Details will be provided in each course syllabi.

    Quality Matters

    Quality Matters (QM) is a nationally-recognized peer review process that certifies the quality of online and blended course design. Seven of the OTL course have gone through the QM peer review process and are recognized as meeting QM standards. The five OTL core courses EDLT 560, 575, 580, 590, & 592, EDLT 581 (can substitute one OTL core course) and EDLT 579 are all QM Recognized Courses.

    Core Courses

    Fall Semester

    EDLT 560 Fostering Online Learning Communities (3 cr.)
    Quality Matters recognized: 4/30/2014
    Examines theoretical and practical aspects of communication and collaboration and their impact on the formation of online learning communities.
    EDLT 560 Syllabus

    EDLT 575 Designing and Organizing Online Learning Environments (3 cr.)
    Quality Matters recognized: 10/10/2014
    Explores the theories, models, approaches, technologies, and methods of online teaching and adult learning to provide a foundation for all other certificate courses.
    EDLT 575 Syllabus

    Spring Semester

    EDLT 580 Tools and Techniques for Online Teaching (3 cr.) *
    Quality Matters recognized: 3/1/2013
    Examines the theoretical and practical implications of various asynchronous and synchronous tools and their impact on teaching and learning through research and hands-on experience.
    EDLT 580 Syllabus

    EDLT 590 Assessing and Evaluating Online Teaching and Learning (3 cr.)
    Quality Matters recognized: 3/18/2014
    Explores a variety of online assessment and evaluation options with an emphasis on continual assessment and evaluation to improve teaching and learning.
    EDLT 590 Syllabus

    Summer Semester

    EDLT 592 Online Teaching Practicum (3 cr.)
    Quality Matters recognized: 6/3/2015
    The final capstone course demonstrating cumulative knowledge and skills acquired in online teaching and learning. Prerequisites: 560, 575, 580 or 581, & 590 must be completed before enrolling in EDLT 592.
    EDLT 592 Syllabus

    EDLT 578 Design and Delivery of Webconferences and Webinars
    Examines webconferencing and its impact on teaching and learning through theory, research, and hands-on experiences.
    EDLT 578 Syllabus

    Other Courses

    Fall Semester

    EDLT 561 Social Media in Blended and Online Learning Environments (3 cr.)
    Explores the role of social media in online and blended learning environments through practical hands-on activities, critical dialogue, and collaborative projects preparing learners to utilize social media personally and pedagogically. Consent of instructor required.
    EDLT 561 Syllabus

    Spring Semester

    EDLT 579 Universal Design for Online Course Design
    Quality Matters recognized: 9/27/2014
    This course explores theoretical and practical implications of universal design in the online course. A new paradigm for instructional design is introduced to demonstrate the potential of universal design to reduce barriers to learning. By designing instruction with accommodation in mind, you increase the opportunity to reach a broader audience of learners. In this course, you will learn how to maximize learning opportunities for all students and gain an understanding of global and policy implications.

    EDLT 581 Emerging Technology Tools & Techniques (3 cr.) *
    Quality Matters recognized: 6/30/2015
    Explores and examines emerging asynchronous/synchronous technologies and their impact on teaching and learning. Incorporating theory. research. and hands-on experiences. *EDLT 581 may be taken in place of EDLT 580 with the instructor’s consent.
    EDTL 581 Syllabus

  • Technology

    The Online Teaching and Learning Program requires you to have a reliable, up-to-date computer. Most computers purchased within the last two years should be sufficient. You will also need administrative access to your computer in order to download and install applications from the internet.


    A reliable high-speed internet connection will be needed to access course materials and to participate in synchronous events.

    Browser Requirements

    You will need a browser capable of running Canvas. Visit Canvas help to check your browser.


    Browser Plugins

    Multimedia Players


    • Headset with microphone

  • Application


    Before seeking admission to the OTL program, you must:

    • Have a Bachelors Degree or equivalent.
    • Have a need and or strong interest in becoming skilled in online education.
    • Already be admitted to the NMSU Graduate School or in the process of being admitted. Please visit Graduate Admissions to learn more and apply online.
    • For students who are already admitted to an NMSU graduate program*, you must declare a second major by completing a second graduate program application in the online application system. You will need to login with the username and password that you created when completing your first application. This video demonstrates how to complete a second application.
    • You also need to complete the OTL Application form.

    *If you are in a graduate program, all OTLGC courses must be taken during your program of study.

    Application procedure

    Applications are accepted year-round. However, a fall start date is preferred.

    Complete the OTL Application form. You are highly encouraged to contact an advisor to guide you through the process.

    For individuals applying to the OTL certificate program, prepare an answer (in at least 750 words) to the following questions before you begin the application. Individuals applying to take OTL courses do not need to complete the essay.

    • Why are you taking the class or program?
    • What expectations do you have for the program?

    Review, Acceptance, and Completion

    Acceptance to the program will be based on:

    1. After a review of your completed OTL Application, an advisor will contact you via email regarding your status. Only completed applications will be reviewed.
    2. Successful admission to the NMSU Graduate School. The Graduate School will send you a letter informing you of your status.

    Completion of Program

  • College of Education Contact

    Julia Parra, Assistant Professor
    Coordinator for Learning Design & Technology 
    Director of Online Teaching & Learning Graduate Certificate Program
    Office phone for Monday, 2-4pm Office Hours: 575-646-1767