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AP HigherEdge Solutions:

Academic Services

Partnering with faculty to create engaging, student-focused courses and programs

Our Process

Our dedicated team supports university faculty and instructional design teams with best practices in program planning, course development, course delivery and student experience review. Our approach is both collaborative and customized, with a focus on equipping faculty with information, tools and resources to help them design and deliver successful online programs.

Unparalleled Support for Faculty

Core Activities

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Program Planning and
Course Development

  • • Strategy
  • • Implementation planning
  • • One-on-one instructional support
  • • Managing program operations
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Student Experience Review
and Course Delivery

  • • QM, OLC, AP standards
  • • Technical review
  • • Optimized instructional models
  • • Building online learning communities
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Faculty Support

  • • On-campus and virtual
  • • Ongoing professional
    development opportunities
  • • Research grants
  • • Course acceleration and LMS
    migration strategies

Program Planning and Course Development

Using research-based best practices for online education, our team assists faculty and university instructional design teams with program planning, course design, development and review.

Our collaborative, strategic approach to program planning can facilitate a full curriculum refresh or lay the groundwork for individual course development. The collaboration begins with discussions about program parameters, requirements and aspirations. Whether the course is brand new or has been online for years, conversations with the AP team can enrich options and ideas available to faculty.

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Program Discovery

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Course Production

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Individual Course

Student Experience Review

A crucial step in effective and sustainable asynchronous course design and delivery is a quality review process that examines course characteristics most relevant to student success. All of our recommendations will be grounded in best practices demonstrated to achieve student success and may include:

  • Course sequence and workload
  • Perceived ease of use of course and platform
  • Authentic assessments and practice opportunities to foster student learning outcomes
  • Opportunities for instructor interaction and presence including real-time engagement
  • Instructional design and strategies guided by evidence-based practice

Using a review format that aligns with best practices in online education–including Quality Matters and The Online Learning Consortium (OLC), formerly The Sloan Consortium—AP conducts an independent student experience review and a technical review that includes testing of links and navigation.

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Faculty Support

We work in ongoing close alignment with the university's campus-based distance learning team and faculty members to achieve the shared goals of our partnership. Beginning with an on-campus launch with program faculty, we set milestones, timelines and objectives for the sustained success of online programs. Our professional development is geared to help each faculty member explore and develop their own teaching practice as part of a community of scholars. Hands-on and customized opportunities include:

  • Support in the design of program planning and the course carousel
  • On-campus face-to-face and virtual faculty workshops
  • Course mapping and course acceleration consultation
  • Guidance on research-based best practices for student experience review
  • Resources and how-tos on the latest learning technologies and innovation in online teaching and learning
  • Faculty eCommons: a repository of online teaching resources and professional development tools and tips
  • Semi-annual sponsored research grant opportunities focused on online innovation

Our Team

The AP Academic Services and Products team comprises Quality Matters-trained individuals with extensive experience in online teaching and curriculum design and development. Each member of the team brings expert knowledge of online learning technologies and pedagogy and is committed to ensuring that all online offerings meet the highest quality standards.

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Academic Services Professionals

The AP team engages with faculty members, instructional designers and distance learning teams at our partner universities and shares best practices in the development of quality, scalable online courses and programs. In addition, the team offers ongoing professional development opportunities for instructors. Our goal is to promote the dissemination and adoption of best practices to support faculty's successful and seamless transition into an accelerated online instruction model.

Our directors and instructional designers provide hands-on learning and ongoing assistance to department leaders, instructional designers, distance learning teams, and individual instructors. They are the day-to-day point of contact for faculty members and offer support in areas that include:

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Use of universal
design for scalability

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work sessions

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Student experience
review of courses based
on industry standards

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Recommendations on
rubrics, assignments,
student interactions and
student surveys


Learning Tools & Technologies

AP's Academic Services tools and resources help deliver best-in-class online teaching and learning experiences, positioning existing and new online programs for successful enrollment growth.

Tools for Effective Course Design

We have developed a number of tools and templates to assist in streamlining the conversion of a traditional degree program or an individual course into an online format. These include:

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Course Prototype

A simple and intuitive LMS-agnostic course shell and professionally designed templates aligned with university brand

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Course Map

A framework for allocating content to fit an accelerated model

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Course Carousel

A proprietary course sequencing model critical to scaling online degree programs

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Faculty Survey

An online teaching readiness survey that is the basis for customized faculty coaching

Technologies to Support Instructional Excellence

In addition to supporting online student success through well-designed and sequenced courses and faculty preparation, the AP Academic Services and Products team maintains relationships with educational technology providers, giving university partner faculty access to added-value technologies at low or no charge. Additionally, Instructional Connections is a strategic partner that provides virtual teaching assistants to the university. These include:



The AP Academic Services team has assisted more than 4,000 faculty members in the conversion of more than 4,200 courses into an online format across 350 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including business, health sciences, education, engineering, criminal justice and the humanities.

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Great Support

"Thanks again for your help. Believe my class is going to be a great learning experience for the students. Am so fortunate to have your support ... I am so pleased to be a part of this process!"

–Faculty Member

Meeting Raves

"Faculty are saying that the meeting with Academic Services yesterday was 'top-shelf.'"


Helpful Review

"Thank you for your QM review. I agree that the recommendations for improvement that you suggest will be easy to integrate into my course. I would like to revise my course based on your suggestions and have you reassess within the next few weeks. I am hopeful that with the edits and additions, my course will meet all the standards."

–Faculty Member

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Case Studies

Assistance with Program Design and Course Development – Emergent Program

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Challenge: A new AP partner with limited online programming experience and resources sought to bring on new programs in multiple disciplines while migrating to a new LMS.

Solution: AP addressed these challenges on multiple fronts by: (1) conducting on-site workshops and webinars for faculty to aid in program planning and quality course design; (2) working with the LMS provider to make sure faculty and ID/IT staff completed their LMS training; (3) providing additional staff resources to support faculty in course development, supplementing the on-campus instructional design team; and (4) ensuring that all courses were reviewed for design and technical quality before opening to students.

Results: With AP's auxiliary support, the highly anticipated online programs launched successfully and on time.

Program Design and Course Development Process – Growing to Scale

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Challenge: A new AP partner with previous online program experience needed to prepare for rapid enrollment growth.

Solution: As part of its professional development for faculty, the AP team led a workshop on strategies for scalability, facilitation and new technology tools to help instructors proactively design for and manage large numbers of students in online courses. The team also created a new custom course shell for use in the partner's LMS to ensure university branding and adherence to quality standards while providing an overall enhanced student experience.

Results: The faculty members were pleased with on-site training, learned best practices and gained a better understanding of their role in course facilitation. The course shell promoted uniform design across online courses, resulting in a seamless student experience.

Established Online Presence – Adding a New Program in a New Discipline

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Challenge: A longtime partner with a successful RN-to-BSN program was ready to add a new online MBA program to its degree offerings.

Solution: Our Academic Services team provided guidance to an on-campus Instructional Design (ID) team for the review of a new custom course shell based on their preferences. We also provided a research grant during program planning to assist with the selection and adoption of a new ed tech application to promote student collaboration.

Results: This legacy partner was highly appreciative of the customized and supportive feedback for their new program. The results from the research grant will develop a model that can be used by other partners in a similar adoption process.