DEFT Certification

DEFT: Distance Education Faculty Training

Are you ready to get DEFT?

Southwestern College faculty can take the Distance Education Faculty Training (DEFT) course to earn DEFT certification!

This 5-week, asynchronous online course provides practical, hands-on training in online course design and instruction. Topics include distance education regulations and guidelines, course design, course content, accessibility, regular and substantive interaction, and online assessments. This interactive training provides guidance, feedback, and support to instructors as they build key elements of an SWC online or hybrid course, such as a DE syllabus, student support materials, weekly modules, instructional content, interaction activities, and assessments. Completed “sandbox” courses with two modules will be peer reviewed as part of the training. See the DEFT Course Outline for more details.

Because participants will be building part of an online or hybrid course in Canvas, prior Canvas training such as Canvas Basics (part of Camp Canvas) or the self-paced Intro to Teaching with Canvas is highly recommended. Participants should have the skills to independently create Canvas modules, pages, announcements, discussions, assignments, and quizzes prior to beginning DEFT.

DEFT is designed for faculty who are preparing to teach online and/or hybrid classes at Southwestern College; we recommend SOLID (Synchronous Online Learning Instructional Design) training for faculty preparing to teach a live online class and Camp Canvas training for faculty using Canvas with in-person courses.

Is training required?

As per Section 16.10 of the SCEA Contract, "Unit Members teaching online or hybrid classes shall successfully complete a District-approved training course/program prior to instruction. In addition to District-approved training, Unit Members shall be able to request administrative review of work experience through submission of one course module to Vice President for Academic Affairs, or designee. The District shall maintain a public list of no fewer than four (4) District-approved training courses and/or programs including the District’s DE Faculty Training Certification Program (DEFT), an @one course, or comparable training at an accredited college or university. All online/hybrid assignments are subject to the Vice President for Academic Affairs' approval based on completion of District-approved training or contractually approved performance evaluations."

Online classes at SWC have section numbers in the 500s. Hybrid classes have section numbers in the 600s and 700s.

See DE Faculty Training Procedure on the DE Policies, Procedures & Guidelines page for more details about District training requirements.

Is compensation offered?

Section 16.11 of the SCEA Contract outlines four options for faculty who successfully complete DEFT:

  • 20 hours of Flex credit [for the current academic year]
  • 60 hours of Hurdle credit
  • 20 hours of Flex credit [for the current academic year] plus 40 hours of Hurdle credit
  • A stipend for $500 for all Unit Members who complete DEFT training after May 31, 2018, and who accept a DE class. Stipends may only be paid once per Unit Member.

Note: Faculty who successfully completed a DEFT course with an end date between 9/1/20 and 5/31/21 were provided options outlined in the 5/20/20 MOU.

Course Dates 

2024-2025 dates are now available on the DEFT Interest List! Additional dates may be added as needed. Here are our upcoming dates:

  • Sept. 9-Oct. 12, 2024
  • Feb. 17-Mar. 22, 2025


Please read this registration information carefully:

  • Current faculty members at Southwestern College are eligible to take DEFT.
  • Each class section can accommodate 20 participants. ​Sections fill quickly! Multiple sections may be offered at the same time, based on demand and funding.
  • Rosters are created in consultation with academic deans, and priority registration may be given to faculty with online and/or hybrid course assignments for an upcoming term.
  • Faculty who attempt but do not successfully complete will be eligible to retake DEFT the following term, for a maximum of three attempts.
  • Rosters will be adjusted through the Monday before the start date; they are locked at the end of this day, and a drop after this day will count as an attempt.

To be considered for an upcoming roster, please complete the DEFT Interest List form using your SWC email address. You will be contacted by the office of the Dean of Academic Services and/or the DE Coordinator when you are placed on a roster or waitlist, about three weeks before the start date.

Join the DEFT Interest List to request a spot on an upcoming roster!

Drop and Retake Policy

DEFT participants and facilitators are all busy teachers! This drop and retake policy has been developed to help as many people take and complete DEFT as possible.

  • Faculty who are on a roster for DEFT but do not begin work in the course by 5:00 pm on the first day will be recorded as no-shows, and their space will be given to an instructor on the wait list. ​Early access to the course will be provided, so participants will have several days to meet this requirement.
  • Faculty who attempt but do not successfully complete DEFT will be eligible to retake DEFT the following term, for a maximum of three attempts.
  • Instructors who have attempted but not successfully completed DEFT twice may not be prioritized during registration and will be contacted by the facilitation team with recommendations for additional training before attempting DEFT a third and final time. No-shows and drops are included in this count.

What can I do now to prepare?

It’s never too soon to start getting DEFT! Here are several ways you can get a head start:

  • Review the DEFT Rubric that will be used for the peer and final review of the course elements you create in DEFT.
  • Read the Distance Education Handbook and DE Policies, Procedures & Guidelines to get up to speed on current processes and requirements, such as online attendance procedures, syllabus statements, and regular and substantive interaction.
  • Attend Camp Canvas training and explore the self-paced Intro to Teaching with Canvas so that you are comfortable building in Canvas (including modules, pages, announcements, discussions, assignments, and quizzes) and have a solid understanding of how online learning works.
  • Complete the Creating Accessible Content self-paced accessibility tutorials in Canvas.
  • Block out time for DEFT. This is a fast-paced, interactive professional development course with multiple due dates each week. You will be applying what you learn while building a course in Canvas, and this takes time. Please plan accordingly so that time limitations don't prevent you from reaching your goals.