The Course-of-the-Year Awards are peer-reviewed assessments which award outstanding new courses developed over the past year by member organizations.  Judging is based on instructional design, media/materials development, and learner support. 

Any ACCESS member or member institution who has produced a course in the last 12 months may submit an entry. Members may submit more than one course. 

Courses may be submitted in three categories.For more information about judging criteria, please click on each category header.

  • Independent-courses that deliver materials, usually by mail or electronic means, to learners separated from the instructor and in which interaction is typically limited and initiated by the learner, while the course is self-paced.
  • Online-courses that are delivered via Internet-mediated technologies to interact with course participants and instructor and access course materials. This category includes courses delivered at a distance but which may not necessarily use Internet-mediated components. Courses delivered at a distance may use computer-mediated technology.
  • Hybrid-courses are those that blend face-to-face classroom teaching and learning with online technologies in order to provide students with more opportunities for learning, spiritual formation through community building, and deeper insight and reflection.

Please inquire if it is not clear which category best fits your course. Note that graduate credit, undergraduate credit, and non-credit courses can be entered in each category.


Winners will receive recognition at the Annual Conferenceby way of a commemorative plaque and cash award. Past winners have included acknowledgement of their awards in advertisements and institutional publications.

Complete an onlineregistration formand submit a $100 per-entry payment. Registration and entry fee must be submitted Conference materials.

All information for the course (online access, materials, course content) should be provided at the time of registration. Hard-copy materials will not be accepted.


All courses are evaluated by an ACCESS-member peer. Judges are selected by the Executive Committee from among member institutions. Qualifications for judging include previous COTY award winners, expertise in online course development, and experience with distance education delivery.Some of the benefits of peer-judging include detailed written evaluations and recommendations for improvement. Peer-reviewed comments provide an objective and outside perspective.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about the Course of the Year process, please contact Mary Lowe.


How many courses entered?

Send links to all your courses or relevant materials to