The University of Central Florida believes so much in the potential of online learning that it is teaming up with a nonprofit Internet-technology association to offer a free online course – on how others can learn to create online courses. The university and EDUCAUSE will begin the course later this month on the Canvas Network operated by technology company Instructure.

The new offering, “BlendKit2014 – Becoming a Blended Learning Designer,” is a free massive online open course (MOOC) that will focus on the merits and methods of blended learning, the strategic combination of face-to-face and online learning experiences. The system is growing in popularity in K-12 and higher education.

The new five-week course was designed by faculty at UCF to provide key issues related to blended learning and a practical step-by-step guidance in producing materials for a blended-learning course. Educators and instructional designers will be taught best practices for developing design documents, content pages and peer-review feedback tools.

The course was developed and will be taught by two staff members from the UCF Center for Distributed Learning: associate director Kelvin Thompson and department head Linda Futch.

“As blended learning continues to grow across higher education, we are very pleased to partner with EDUCAUSE to deliver BlendKit 2014,” said Tom Cavanagh, UCF’s associate vice president of distributed learning. “With UCF’s extensive experience in blended learning and EDUCAUSE’s national IT leadership, we hope that the content and available credential will be of value to the higher-education community. By offering this course to educators and administrators across the country, we will be able to share the valuable tools, information, and methods that we, along with other participants in the course, have developed over the years.” The university has been a pioneer in online education more than two decades.

The new course amplifies EDUCAUSE’s role in micro-credentialing and online digital badging, said Julie Little, vice president over teaching, learning, and professional development. “EDUCAUSE continues its tradition of collaboration and excellence in delivering creative and convenient career-development opportunities as we build the profession within higher-education IT,” she said.

Participants in the course will have the option of paying for an official certificate and badge from UCF and EDUCAUSE.

Melissa Loble, senior director of Canvas Network, said: “This is a great opportunity for the education space to investigate new ways to most effectively reach students, and how to best organize learning experiences beyond the confines of a classroom. Education practices continue to evolve, and Instructure is proud to be providing a means of improving accessibility and outcomes for learners across the globe.”

Registration for BlendKit 2014 is open on Canvas Network for the class that begins April 21. Details can be found at and on Twitter at #BlendKit2014.