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Online Distance Learning

If you are currently involved in the design and/or delivery of wholly online modules/courses, we as a University have to demonstrate to the QAA that you have been trained appropriately for this. This is defined in the Digital Literacy for Staff (DLS) Grid and the routes are summarised below:

On the DLS Grid the sections relating to online courses is split in two:

For online DELIVERY only – the content in all of the Technology-Enhanced section applies. There are three possible routes for demonstrating that you meet the criteria for this section.

You need to meet one of the following criteria:

Have the MSc in Multimedia and eLearning module identified in the DLS Grid (or equivalent);


Have successfully completed an APEL application if you are already experienced in online delivery (see details below);


Have completed at least part 1 of the Facilitating Online Staff Development course. The course is in 2 parts: Part 1 is 5 weeks of attendance with completion of all course activities; and Part 2 is post-course completion (and reflection) of an online facilitating activity. [N.B. Participants have 12 months from the date of the course to complete the post-course element] 


For online course/module DESIGN – this is seen as a higher level of skill so all of the content in the Technology-Dependant section applies. To meet the criteria for this section there are two possible routes:

Have the MSc in Multimedia module(s) identified in the DLS Grid (or equivalent);


Have successfully completed an APEL application if you are already experienced in online module/course design (see details below).

Until this criteria is met, any course/module design activities you undertake should be co-authored with someone who already meets the criteria.

Please Note: Members of the course/module team who do not lead any asynchronous activities, and lead 5% or less of the synchronous delivery, DO NOT need to meet this criteria in order to contribute to the course/module.


Apel Process:

This APEL process is only for people who have previous experience of delivering and/or designing at least two online modules/courses.

This process mirrors the FHEA application process for those with teaching experience, where the applicant has to complete a form giving examples to support various statements. There are two forms, one for online delivery only, and a second one for the design of online courses/modules, which is seen as a higher level of skill and knowledge, and covers delivery as well.

The process is as follows:

  • The applicant downloads the form from a page on the ipark website :
  • The applicant completes the form, and then emails it to the APEL Panel Co-ordinator ( ) who will manage the workload of the panel by sending each APEL form out to two reviewers. The name of the applicant will be removed from the form, to enable a blind review process.
  • The reviewers will read the application, make a decision, and provide feedback/comments
            - If the reviewers agree that the applicant IS experienced enough to APEL – this will be fed back to the applicant.
            - If the reviewers agree that the applicant IS NOT experienced enough to APEL – this will be fed back to the applicant, suggesting they take an alternative route.

            - If more information/details are needed to support the application, then these will be requested.

            - If the reviewers cannot come to an agreement on the outcome, the form will be considered at the next meeting of the Panel.

  • Approved applications will be signed off and sent to the School’s SAVP for recording and storing.
  • A copy of the Approved application will be sent back to the applicant for forwarding to their line manager for use in appraisal.
  • The SAVP is responsible for keeping a list of approved people for online design and delivery, and for recording the evidence against this for future auditing.

Please note: this aims to be a supportive process rather than an assessment. 




APEL – Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning

DLS – Digital Literacy for Staff

ODL – Online Distance Learning

SAVP – School Accreditation and Validation Panel


If you have any feedback, suggestions for improvement or spot any errors on this page, please email further details to:, thank you.